KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–“Will you be the one to herald the message of Jesus Christ? Will you go to tell a world [full] of people who desperately want to hear the message of Jesus Christ?” Gordon Fort, vice president for overseas operations with the International Mission Board, asked at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s fall convocation Aug. 23.
Fort, a veteran missionary to Africa whose parents were missionary doctors, underscored the responsibility for all Christians to touch lives for Jesus Christ. To have a balanced perspective on the global task of missions, he said, it is critical to understand the lostness of the world without Jesus Christ.
Preaching from Romans 10, Fort said, “Despite your current location, God intends for you and your life to impact the lost world for the sake of His Kingdom.”
Fort said the command to spread the Gospel leads him to have a heavy heart not primarily because people are lost but because they have not been told the Gospel, which many are ready to accept.
Recalling a policeman in Botswana who ridiculed Christianity out of his misunderstanding of the faith, Fort recounted how this compelling burden guided him to clarify the Gospel and lead the man to Christ.
“Why was this man lost?” Fort asked. “He was lost because he had not heard the Gospel of Christ.”
Fort noted how the Apostle Paul understood that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was a message that must be heard -– and a message that had to be boldly proclaimed.
“We ought to be heralds, proclaimers of this message. It ought to be loud and it ought to be public, letting people know where we stand as the church,” Fort said. “We need men who will stand in the pulpit and herald, ‘Thus saith the Lord.’”
The Kingdom of God needs people to “go into the Iraqs and Irans of the world. We need people who will go to the Afghanistans and the hardest countries of this world to herald the message of Jesus Christ, so that at least one time in their life they will be able to hear this message,” Fort said.
He ended his address by asking how Christians will herald this message. “How will this happen if we will not send those called to go?” he asked, adding that felt God is calling more people to go than those actually going.
“Brothers and sisters, I believe God is laying before us a lost world. God is saying, ‘I lay out before you this lost world and here is your life, ‘What part do you want to play? How do you want your life to impact this world and generation for the sake of my Kingdom? … There are people all around the world wanting to hear the Gospel. Will you be that herald?”
Midwestern President R. Philip Roberts said Fort “was God’s messenger to us today. He vividly reminded us that people cannot believe the Gospel until they hear it and they cannot hear until we go and tell. This message was vital to the start of a new school year and underscores why we are here.”
Roberts said Fort’s message also helps spark a fall semester that includes a record increase in new students and the recent accreditation of a new bachelor of arts degree in biblical studies.