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Feb 14, 2021

Call to Missions

Preacher: Jess Achenbach

Series: Romans

Category: Mission

Keywords: missions, calling


Call to Missions, story of Adoniram Judson


February 14th, 2021 Romans 10:14-15


  1. Intro and review
    1. Calvin vs Arminiasm
    2. Mystery (Has to be both) Rope illustration
    3. READ 8-13
    4. Behavior doesn’t change (Blind men elephant)
  2. Explain Jews vs. Gentiles
    1. Hosea
    2. Jonah
  3. Read Romans 10:14-15
    1. Adonyrum Judson Story
    2. Who is called? Ephesians 4:11, James 3:1 All are called to share the message have a different position
    3. What is your calling, why haven’t you gone?
  4. Gospel message
  5. Prayer option


If you have been attending for the last couple of weeks we have been covering some very deep theological topics.  So I just wanted to review here just a second before we dive into today’s passage.

Andrew and John covered Arminianism and Calvinism, and I just wanted to put my two cents worth in on the issue.  The great thing about this is that we have folks who land on both sides of this in our congregation and even among the pastors there are differing views.  Essentially these are the two beliefs.

Calvinists believe that God does all of the choosing when it comes to who will get saved, and Arminians believe that man has complete free will to either choose or not choose to follow Christ.  There are verses that support both views.  For example:  John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him”. Jesus is referring to salvation as he just finished feeding the 5000 in this passage and is explain that he is the bread of life.

This comes after John 3:16 which we all know: For Whosoever will.

Some things are a mystery and that is kind of where I want to leave the discussion.  I would point to my ladder here.  You see the two ropes, one is labeled Calvin and the other Arminius.  If you are trying to climb the rope of salvation and you grab just either one, you have a problem.  It is like this pulley at the top. God chooses those, and yet man has volition.  It truly is a combination of the two.

The great thing about it is that having either belief should not change our behavior of obedience once you are saved.  It is like this illustration: Blind men and the elephant, Trunk=snake Ear=fan leg=tree sides=wall tail=rope. 

None of the men had the complete understanding or the full truth about what this animal was, likewise none of us have the full understanding on this doctrine, but at the end of the day, regardless of your understanding on how you came to be here, you have responsibility.

Now that you are a Christ follower, part of His Church the bride of Christ, our behavior should be what scripture teaches.  If you are not a believe let me go over what was said in Pastor Bob’s message last week as he gave the gospel message.  This message flows right into today’s passage, so I am going to read last weeks verses and also the passage that we are going to dive into today.  Open your bibles with me to Romans chapter ten starting in verse eight.

Romans 10:8-13 “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 [e]that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, [f]resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, [g]resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be [h]disappointed.”(the word here for disappointed can also be translated ashamed) 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Keep in mind that Paul is writing this to the church and Jews in Rome.  These last two chapters, he is giving an argument that Jesus is the Messiah, but also that this promise of salvation is not limited to just those of the Jewish faith.

Paul had a huge hurdle to clear in that because the Jews detested Gentiles.  In fact their prayer each morning was “Thank you God that I was not born a woman, a slave or a Gentile.”  One of the reasons that whenever Paul would go into a new city to preach, he would always go to the Jews first, is because if he went to the gentiles first he would be considered unclean and not allowed to the synagogue.  This is also why he quotes so much from the Old Testament about this promise of salvation that is also for the gentiles. 

Paul is clearing the air to the Jews not just that Jesus is the promised Messiah, but also why this message is for ALL mankind.

Remember that this letter is being received by the church in Romans, so very likely many of them already were believers.  Perhaps there were arguments in the church but I think that Paul was giving them this logical breakdown of who Christ was, and the implications of that were significant in sharing the gospel message depending on who you were talking to.

Paul was a missionary and he wrote this letter on his third missionary journey. 

Romans 10:14-15 “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!"





And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.  Ephesians 4:11

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. James 3:1

Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? 1 Corinthians 12:29



For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” Matt. 12:40.

Asleep on a boat, killed to save others, delivered a message,


“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”  Luke 11:28.

"To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson.

Adoniram Judson (1788-1850)

Born of Congregational Pastor Father.

Went to Brown university where he became a dualist -rejecting Christ after a brilliant friend convinced him.  After college was travelling and experienced hearing a man dying in the next room of the inn. 

The next morning the innkeeper told him it was a brilliant young man – the same one that he knew.  He realized that the man was lost forever and committed his life to Christ.

In 1810 He petitioned the general association of ministers to commission them as missionaries to Asia, they referred him to speak to the London Missionary Society, and so he boarded a ship, but it was attacked by French pirates and he was put in prison in France for a while, but eventually made it to London and presented his mission plan, it was considered but nothing was decided so he headed back to the US and discovered that the general association of ministers was ready to go ahead independently.  That same week he met a young woman named Ann Hassltine, Not being a man to waste time, just one month later he offered to marry him.  Her response was “Talk to my father” and his potential father-in-law this letter.

“I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world? Whether you can consent to her departure to a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life? Whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death? Can you consent to all this, for the sake of Him who left His heavenly home and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with a crown of righteousness brightened by the acclamations of praise which shall resound to her Savior from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?”

Her Father left the decision to her and they were soon married.

They left on their 114-day voyage and on the way, he was translating the NT from Greek to English and was convinced that baptism through immersion was correct and not sprinkling like Congregationalist do, in fact baptism is for believers.

When they arrived in India, they met with William Carey, who baptized them and they had to write back to the leaders of this brand-new mission organization in America and explain to them that they had converted to Baptists, and then they had to write to the Baptist Churches in American telling them “Surprise” they were their new missionaries and um, needed some support.

They were not given visas as missionaries into India, and against advice from everyone including William Carey, they set their sights on Burma (Current day Myanmar).  Ruled by a despot, they have savage practices.  Regardless they jumped on a ship.  Ann was pregnant, and in the first few days of the voyage their child was born dead and they had to bury their first child at sea.

They arrived in Burma and were greeted by a sea of chaos, Buddhist temples and naked children, leprous beggars and chanting monks.  After some time, they had another child, Roger and he was quite the sight, not many white folks in Burma, but fewer white babies. Unfortunately, after 6 months he became sick and passed away in the arms of his father one night.  Ann and he dove into their work, and in 1819 they decided to open their first gathering place.  It was a zayat.  These were small gathering places on the side of the road where Buddhist monks would teach their religion, so they made the first Baptist Zayat in Burma and their initial service had 1819 15 adults and a bunch of naked children smoking cigars.

It was six years after arriving in Burma that they had their first convert and

Ann got sick, and so it was decided that she should go back to American to recover and have a break.  It would be two years before she came back to Burma, and when she did, he had finished his translation of the Burmese New Testament.  Trouble came shortly there after when the British declared war on Burma and every foreigner was considered a spy. 

The military came into their house one night and dragged Adoniram to Let mei Yun, know as a death prison where he would be for the next 21 months.  Every night the soldiers would lower bamboo pole and fasten the prisoner’s feet, and then raising it leaving only their head and shoulders touching the floor.  This is how he slept that first night and every night after that of his imprisonment.

Ann tried many different ways to get to see him, and finally resorted to bribing officials to have five minutes with him as often as she could.  When she first saw him, he was unrecognizable to her.  She was worried to tell him, but he would know soon enough, she was pregnant with their third child. Baby Maria was born.

Adoniram was transferred to a prison in a rural area of the country where they could commonly put prisoners to death. Ann followed him with Maria, but she became sick.  So sick in fact that she couldn’t make milk for the baby, Adoniram was given permission to go door to door under guard and ask Burmese mothers if they could nurse his child.  By Gods grace the child lived.

It was decided by the government that he was needed as a translator and so they got a new start, they moved to Amhurst. Adoniram had to leave Ann and Maria to travel to the Embassy and so he left, she wrote him a letter shortly after that Maria was ill.  A man showed up shortly after that with a letter sealed in black.  The man told him that his child had died.  In anguish, he went to a quiet spot to read the letter and when he opened it and began to read that stunned him.  The letter was not from his wife, but from a man that informed him that his beloved wife had passed away, not his daughter.

His wife had been buried a month before he even knew she was dead her last words were in Burmese. 

As fast as he could he returned home to his daughter only to have her pass on to join her mother and two brothers in death four days after his arrival.  He wrote “I am left alone in the wide world my own dear family I have buried one in Rangoon and two in Amhurst.”

He sunk into depression, and at one point he dug an empty grave, sitting it next to it reflecting on the decay of the body. He sunk lower and deeper and at one point his faith tested to the point of breaking he wrote “God to me is the great unknown, I believe in Him but I find Him not.”.

God slowly restored his faith, and during that process he of another missionary Sarah Boardman.  Her husband had died of illness and was working in another part of the country.  He wrote her a letter saying “you are now drinking the bitter cup whose dregs I am somewhat acquainted with and I venture to say that it is far bitterer than you expected.” Take the bitter cup with both hands and sit down until you have repast, you will soon learn a secret that there is sweetness at the bottom.”

The end of the letter he encourages her to stay on and continue the work that she started with her husband.

He also re-entered the ministry after the time of mourning and depression, and the Lord started blessing.  It had taken nine years to see 18 converts, but in 1831 they had 217 in that year alone.  Sometimes God’s blessing doesn’t come until after deep suffering in our lives.

He finally finished the translation of the Burmese bible seven years after Ann’s death.

A couple of weeks after he had completed this monumental task, he got a letter from Sarah Boardman congratulating him on the success of the translation, and it was going to make the gospel so much easier to spread across the country.

He began to think about her being alone, and was alone both doing God’s work in Burma, but why not do them together? Again, not being a man to waste time, he wrote her.  And about a month after a month after he received her letter he planned a trip to see her.  He left on April 1st arrived on April 6th and on April 10th they were married.

They dove into ministry together and had four children and then a stillborn baby, after this whole family became ill and baby Henry died. 

Soon after she was pregnant again and they named this next child Henry as well, followed by two more.  In the years between 1835-1844 they had 8 children together and 6 had survived. 

Sarah had become weak and ill so they decided that they should take her back to America to recover.  They left the three youngest kids there in Burma with some friends and took the three older children with them on the ship back to the States.

At first Sarah improved, but then she worsened.  They both realized that she might not make it.  Late one night around three in the morning, he held her and gave her one last kiss and she passed in the glory of heaven.

The next morning, he took his weeping children and they continued on to America.

It had been 33 years since he had left, all that had gone with him had passed away and there were few that he still knew back in his home country.  His plan was to recover and rest, raise awareness of the needs in Burma but what he arrived to was the last thing he expected. 

He was a celebrity, thousands of sermons had been preached about him, and many prayers offered on his behalf.  Many parents had named their children after him.

He was uncomfortable with all of the attention, and all he wanted to do was to preach the gospel, however many of the churches just wanted stories of his ministry. 

Adoniram was also disappointed at the disunity that was happening in the churches. Remember this was pre-Civil war and the north and south were in contention about the issue of slaves.  The north saying if you were a slave owner how could you be involved in missions.  And so the Baptist church organization split and you have likely heard of the Southern Baptist Convention, which is alive and active today.  But during this time the northern convention to support the missionaries (like Judson) on their own as they were more interested in keeping slaves.

He quickly tired of the travel he was doing, but on his way to Philadelphia and a mission’s conference that was being held here and his traveling companion gave him a book to read by Fanny Forrester, her real name was Emily Chubbuck.  He enjoyed it so much that he asked the fellow if she was a believer.  “She is” he replied, and she is going to be a guest at my home you should meet her.

He met her that night and was fascinated by her. He asked her if she would be willing to write Sarah’s memoirs.  During the coming weeks as they worked together, he realized that he didn’t want her to just write Sarah’s papers but the also take her place as his wife. Not being a man to waste time, less than a month after meeting her, he asked her to marry him and return to Burma with him.  They were married in June of that year and sailed to Burma. It would be the last time that he would be on American soil.  When they arrived she gave birth to girl that they named Emily.  His last project was a dictionary 600 pages long, but shortly after that he became sick, they decided to send him to a better climate to recover.  Emily was pregnant so she couldn’t go.  Even though they both knew he need to go, they also knew it was likely that he might not return.

He said “it seems as if I am just beginning to be prepared to do the work for usefulness.”  But he would also say that the day Christ calls me home, I will leave as a boy bounds away from school.

He finally left and within a few days he breathed his last.  They gave him a burial west of the Burmese mountains.  He once prayed

“One prayer my God thy will be done one only boon I crave,

to finish well my work, and rest within a Burma grave.

What a legacy to leave for Christ.

I Corinthians 3:10-14 tells us:

 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, [a]precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test [b]the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.



Billy Reinheart writes this:  While Judson only had 18 converts after 12 years, when he died he left 100 churches and over 8,000 believers.  Today we can see the fruit of his work since there are 2.5 million evangelical Christians in Burma (modern day Myanmar) today (source). Myanmar also has the third largest number of baptist worldwide behind the U.S. & India (source).  Judson also wrote a grammar of the language that is still used today, & he also translated the entire bible into Burmese, which took him 24 years to complete. In light of what was accomplished, especially in the midst of such difficulties, we tend, it seems to me, to do so little compared to missionaries like Judson. May God use his life, and Ann’s life, to push us on towards the plans that He has for us.

How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.

Will you go?  Who will go?

According to Global frontier missions it is estimated that of the 7.75 billion people alive in the world today, 3.23 billion of them live in unreached people groups with little or no access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. According to Joshua Project, there are approximately 17,446 unique people groups in the world with 7,400+ of them considered unreached (over 41% of the world’s population!). The vast majority (85%) of these least reached groups exist in the 10/40 window and less than 10% of missionary work is done among these people.