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MISSIONARY LESSONS FROM DR. CAREY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Evening, February 19, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).


Although Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was a Lutheran, and didn’t see some things quite the same as a Baptist, yet I was always very fond of him. My wife and I once had the honor of being with him and his wife for dinner in their home. Pastor Wurmbrand spent fourteen years in Romanian Communist prisons for preaching the gospel of Christ. This alone made him a hero of the faith to me. But Pastor Wurmbrand was also a man of deep commitment to evangelizing the world, particularly the Third World. It is fitting that Wurmbrand wrote these words about our Baptist forefather, Dr. William Carey, who has been called “The Father of Modern Missions.” Wurmbrand said,

    William Carey was inflamed for missionary work by reading about Captain Cook’s journeys. He asked himself, “If others can [do] so much out of a spirit of adventure or in the desire to serve science, why should we not do the same in the service of Christ?”
    In his cobbler shop [in England], he put a map [of the world] on the wall and noted what he knew about the religions of different peoples. He constantly had on his mind the millions who were lost.
    As an assistant preacher in a small Baptist [congregation], he attended a church conference and asked whether the commandment to preach to all nations [in Matthew 28:19-20] was still binding. He was not allowed to continue speaking. He was called “a miserable enthusiast.”
    Later Carey went to India, where he proved to be a genius of languages. It was he who translated the New Testament into [the Indian language of] Bengali. Eventually he was able to give the people of India the New Testament in 34 languages [He superintended the translation of the Bible into 42 Oriental tongues and thus made the Word of God available to a third of the world. One of his colleagues made the earliest translation of the Gospels in Chinese].
    Carey became a professor of oriental languages at the University of Calcutta. He wrote grammars and dictionaries in many Indian dialects…He was a creator of schools and teacher of native evangelists.
Because of his influence, the savage habit of throwing children to the crocodiles at [Hindu] religious festivals in Gango Sangor ceased, as did the burning of widows and their being burned alive with their dead husbands. He also cared for lepers.
    When he was on his deathbed, one of those standing in the room praised Carey. His last words were, “You have spoken about Dr. Carey. When I am gone, don’t speak about Carey but about Carey’s Saviour.” (An excerpt from Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, The Oracles of God, available for $7.00 from Voice of the Martyrs, P.O. Box 443, Bartlesville, Oklahoma 74005; phone (918)337-8015 to order by phone).

Please  stand  and  read  aloud  one  of  Dr. William  Carey’s  favorite  passages,  Matthew 28:19-20.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

We learn from this text three of the great missionary principles taught by Dr. William Carey.

I. First, we must go.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…” (Matthew 28:19).

Dr. Carey went first to his village in England, and then to the people of India, and finally, through his translations, to a third of the world, mostly in the Orient.

Every man and woman, every young person and child, is commanded to go. Dr. Carey emphasized that this commandment is for every Christian, and not only the Apostles. The rest of the New Testament, as well as history, prove that his view was right, and those who do not evangelize are wrong. All of us are commanded to go to the lost world and bring people to Christ as best we can. Our zeal for evangelism must never become cold. We must pray for the Spirit of God to inflame our hearts to win the lost as Carey did.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…” (Matthew 28:19).

As Reginald Heber (1783-1826) put it in his great missionary hymn,

From Greenland’s icy mountains, From India’s coral strand,
Where Africa’s sunny fountains Roll down their golden sand,
From many an ancient river, From many a palmy plain,
They call us to deliver Their land from error’s chain.
   (“From Greenland’s Icy Mountains” by Reginald Heber, 1783-1826).

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…” (Matthew 28:19).

Could it be that God is calling a young man or woman from our church to a far-off mission field? How should you prepare for such a call? Exactly the way Dr. William Carey did! Study hard and long to prepare your mind. Spend much time in Bible reading and personal prayer. And above all, go out to evangelism from this church every Thursday night and every Saturday night! Los Angeles is filled with teeming millions of unsaved, unchurched, and unloved people. Go after them when we send you to evangelism! Never stop! Let Dr. Carey’s God inspire you to fulfill this task! A man or woman who cannot bring lost people to Christ, and to his church here in Los Angeles, will not be able to do so on a foreign field! Get busy and learn how to do it now! That is the very best preparation for the foreign mission field! Start right away to bring people into this local church to hear the preaching of Christ crucified and risen! That is the first lesson we learn from Dr. Carey.

II. Second, we must go and bring them in to the local church.

Dr. Carey was a Baptist, and he wholeheartedly agreed with that. Any “evangelistic” techniques that simply throw tracts around and say a few words to people at their doorstep or on the street, fall short of New Testament evangelism. Our goal must never be how many we can say a quick prayer with, but how many can we get into this local church to hear gospel preaching, be trained and baptized. That is what Dr. Carey did, and that is what we must do if we expect to truly obey the Great Commission of Christ! Please stand and read Matthew 28:19-20 again, out loud.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

You may be seated. Note the words “teach” [make disciples], “baptizing” [a local church ordinance], “teaching them to observe all things.” Note that those words and phrases all point clearly to local-church-centered evangelism - evangelism that is aimed at getting lost sinners into the church where they can be preached to, discipled, baptized, and trained! That was Carey’s method. That was the Apostles’ method. That was Christ’s method - local-church-centered evangelism! Not mass tract passing! Not door-knocking and a quick prayer! Not ecumenical nonsense that leaves people where they are! No! New Testament evangelism, first and foremost, brings people in to the local church, which is

“the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Timothy 3:15).

Call me a Landmarker! I can bear the name! Christ bore witness to this truth in our text! The Great Commission demands that we bring them in! There is no other way that we can “teach” and “disciple” the lost! We must reject outdated methods that don’t work! We must go out and get people’s names and phone numbers, telephone them, and bring them in our cars. We must obey Christ and

“compel them to come in, that my house may be filled”
     (Luke 14:23).

As that old song puts it,

Bring them in, bring them in, Bring them in from the fields of sin;
Bring them in, bring them in, Bring the wandering ones to Jesus.
   (“Bring Them In,” by Alexcenah Thomas, 19th century).

III. Third, we must not quit.

William Carey pointed out that the last phrase of our text shows that the Commission is for all of us, throughout Christian history,

“And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:20).

We are told to go and make disciples “unto the end of the world” (actually, the end of the “age”). We must never quit. We must never stop evangelizing - right to the end of this present dispensation!

That, of necessity, means that we must go through many trials and overcome many obstacles. One has only to read the Book of Acts to see how many hardships and obstacles the Apostles encountered. This was also true in the life of Dr. Carey.

William Carey faced strong opposition when he first thought of going to the mission field. Carey proposed the question, “Whether the command given to the Apostles to ‘teach all nations,’ was not obligatory on all succeeding ministers to the end of the world, seeing that the accompanying promise was of equal extent?” That was the first time Carey spoke about this in public. Dr. Ryland, who was conducting the meeting, said, “Young man, sit down; when God is pleased to convert the heathen world, He will do it without your help or mine.” But Carey prevailed and in a few years Dr. Ryland himself supported the cause of missions.

When Dr. Carey reached India he failed in three attempts at preaching. He said, “I am in a strange land alone.” After years of trial, bewilderment and sadness, Carey said, “It has been a great consolation to me that Abraham was alone when God called him.” Five years after he arrived on the mission field his wife became insane, and Dr. Carey had to nurse her until she finally died.

Carey did not see a single person converted for seven years. At long last, on December 28, 1800, a former Hindu named Krishnu, who had renounced his idols and had been converted to Christ, was baptized. An observer named Ward said, “Brother Carey has waited till hope of his own success has almost expired.” Krishnu became a very useful preacher and was faithful till death.

Dr. Carey spent forty-one years as a missionary in India. He never took a furlough, and never saw his homeland again. He lived to see much fruit from his work. He translated by his own hand the entire Bible into the Bengali language. His colleague, Dr. Marshman, did a translation in Chinese. Together they printed portions of Scripture in over forty languages and dialects. They established a college to train native pastors, a medical hospital, a leper hospital, and over thirty large mission churches.

As he lay on his deathbed, several missionaries came to see Dr. Carey. Dr. Culross described the scene. He said that they

Spent some time talking chiefly about Carey’s missionary life, till at length the dying man whispered, “Pray.” - Duff knelt down and prayed, and then said good-by. As he passed from the room, he thought he heard a feeble voice pronouncing his name, and turning, he found that he was recalled. He stepped back [into the bedroom and Dr. Carey said], “Mr. Duff, you have been speaking about Dr. Carey, Dr. Carey. When I am gone, say nothing about Dr. Carey - speak only about Dr. Carey’s Saviour.”

As we think of William Carey tonight, let us remember the subject of his most famous sermon, “Expect Great Things From God. Attempt Great Things For God,” preached at Nottingham, England, May 30, 1792. Let every person here tonight do just that - “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” The mission field of Los Angeles lies open before us. Let us obey Christ Jesus, who said,

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).

(END OF SERMON)
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at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Matthew 28:16-20.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“From Greenland’s Icy Mountains” (by Reginald Heber, 1783-1826,
sung to the tune of the “Marines’ Hymn”).


THE OUTLINE OF

MISSIONARY LESSONS FROM DR. CAREY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).

I.   We must go, Matthew 28:19.

II.  We must go and bring them in to the local church,
I Timothy 3:15; Luke 14:23.

III. We must not quit, Matthew 28:20.