Beyond Borders



Helen Roseveare became a follower of Jesus Christ while studying medicine at Cambridge University in 1945.  Not long after she gave her life to Christ, she knew she was called to missions, saying “I’ll go anywhere God wants me to go, whatever the cost.”

She went on to graduate from Cambridge with her doctorate in medicine. She spent the next few years preparing to go to the Congo as a medical missionary.

She arrived in the Congo in 1953, founded a training school for nurses—training women to serve as nurse-evangelists who would run clinics in different regions of the country.

In 1964 civil war ravaged the Congo.  All of the medical facilities she had established were destroyed, and Helen was among ten missionaries held captive by rebel forces.  She tried, unsuccessfully, to escape.  Later she wrote: “They found me, dragged me to my feet, struck me over head and shoulders, flung me on the ground, kicked me, dragged me to my feet only to strike me again—the sickening searing pain of a broken tooth, a mouth full of sticky blood, my glasses gone. Beyond sense, numb with horror and unknown fear, driven, dragged, pushed back to my own house—yelled at, insulted, cursed.”  While in captivity she was also brutally raped.

Through all the suffering and pain, she realized that she was privileged to suffer for the name and cause of Jesus.

After she was freed from prison, she went back to England for a time to heal and rest—but she returned to Africa in 1966 to serve in the newly formed country of Zaire.  Her time there was not without great trails and difficulties, but she realized that Jesus only was her greatest need.[1]

When I read of people like Helen Roseveare, it’s easy to be amazed at her story. It’s equally easy to wonder why she continued to go—especially when you consider all that she suffered.

But the answer to that question is not difficult—those who have been saved by God are not silent.

Today, as we conclude our emphasis on world missions, we need to know why we must go beyond borders.

By definition, a border is something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent.  It is something that shows where an area ends and another area begins.

A border is a point or limit that indicates where two things become different.

The reality is that God calls people to go beyond the borders of our comfort, our preference, our prejudice, and even our safety.

God calls people to go beyond borders to carry the gospel to spiritually bankrupt, morally diseased, hopelessly lost men and women, and boys and girls in every nation.

Isaiah 12 is a text that was specific to Israel and God’s promise to His people—but it contains excellent application for us—the redeemed—the church of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 12:1–6

1 And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. 2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: For the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation. 3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. 4 And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, Declare his doings among the people, Make mention that his name is exalted. 5 Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: This is known in all the earth. 6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: For great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.

Those who have been saved by God are not silent.  The text we just read tells us why every Christ-follower must go beyond borders.

We Go Beyond Borders Because of the Gift We’ve Received – vs. 1-3

Some of you will be very excited to know that Christmas is only 63 days away.  Although, if you’ve been to Lowes or Home Depot it looks like Christmas might be tomorrow!

Why am I bringing up Christmas?  I’m talking about Christmas because that is the time we celebrate Jesus—the greatest gift ever given to humanity.

The eternal Son of God came to this earth, and He was made in the image of man.  Like us, He was tempted in all the ways we are tempted.  Unlike us, He did not give into the temptation, and He lived a life completely free of sin.

Because He never sinned, He was the only person qualified to sacrifice Himself to pay for our sin debt.  Let me explain.

When I was 21, I was hired as a car salesman at a dealership in Centerville, Ohio.  One afternoon, we had to bring half-a-dozen Corvettes back from a show north of town.  A van took us to where the cars were, and I got to drive a ZR1 Corvette back to the dealership.  Now, I was pretty responsible for most of the drive—but then I came to the ramp that connects I-75 with I-675.  At the bottom of that ramp was a straightaway and there was no other car in sight.  So, I did something utterly foolish and entirely dangerous—I floored the accelerator and that ‘Vette roared to life!  Before I knew it, I was going much faster than I had ever been in a car before.

Now, let’s imagine there was a police officer at the end of that stretch of road and he recorded my speed on radar—I got busted.  I was going so fast that I didn’t get a ticket—instead, I got pulled out of the car and taken directly to the courthouse to face the judge.  Now—facing the judge wasn’t a bad thing because, in this story, let’s say my dad was the judge.  Because my dad was the judge, and because my dad loves me, he was probably going to let me off with a warning—even though I was guilty.

However, I also know that my dad is more than loving, he is also an outstanding judge.  He never punishes the innocent, and he always punishes the guilty.  So, which characteristic is going to win—Dad’s love or Dad’s justice?

I stood before my dad, the judge, and he said to me, “Son, this officer says you were driving dangerously fast—he says you broke the law. How do you plead?”

I would have to say I was guilty.  So, he looked at me with anger and said, “Because you are guilty as charged, this court fines you $1,000.00 or a week in jail.” And he banged down the gavel.

Here is the problem, I didn’t have any money, so the bailiff came to take me away so I could begin serving my sentence.  Just then, my dad stood up and said, “Wait a minute, bring him back here.” Then he took off his robe and walked down from behind the bench, reached into his coat pocket, took out $1,000.00 and paid my fine to the clerk.

What happened?  The judge is just, so he declared my guilt because I was guilty.  Then the judge rightly demanded payment for my lawlessness—a payment I could not make. But the judge also loves me, and so he made a great sacrifice to pay that penalty himself, on my behalf.

Our text tells us that God was angry—but why would God be angry with people?  God is angry because of our sin.  He has told us how to live, He has drawn the boundaries and told us not to cross the lines He has established.  Yet, we continually cross those boundaries, and we ignore His commandments.  We lived in rebellion against Him because we were born rebellious.  And because God is just, He is angry with the guilty.

But our text also tells us that God’s anger is turned away from us—God’s anger because of our guilt has been abandoned.  The anger that was once directed at us is now directed away from us.  At one point, we should have been terrified of being found guilty before God.  We should have been in great distress because we were condemned—but now we are comforted.  We are no longer in danger, instead, we are encouraged and filled with hope.

How could a just God turn His anger away from guilty sinners?

God is my salvation—God is the One who rescues us from punishment for our sin.  Yes, God is just—but God also loves.  It was God’s love for you and me that compelled Him to send Jesus to live and die and rise from the dead so that everyone who believes in Him can and will be saved because He paid the penalty for our sin.

You must understand, the only hope of salvation for every man, woman, boy, or girl from every nation is that which has been provided by God.

Don’t miss this–the angry God of verse one is the saving God of verse two!

This truth alone should make us marvel—but it should also make us stand in awe of the gift we have received.

No person deserves salvation, but it is extended to us.  No person could earn God’s love and favor, but love and favor are freely given to all who confess Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Now, look at what happens when we are saved.

We can live, trusting the God who cannot lie.  We can live, trusting that every promise God has made to us will be fulfilled.

We can trust God in the same way a child should be able to trust his or her father.  Dad’s, how many of you used to toss your children into the air and catch them?

The first time you played that game, your child was probably scared to death—why?  Your child was scared because he or she had to learn to trust you.  The first trip up was frightening, but once your child learned that you would catch them, they trusted you and they began to enjoy the ride.

Trusting God gives freedom—not freedom to do whatever we want, but freedom from fear.  Because we are saved, because we have been delivered from the distress of life without God, because of God’s promise to us, we do not have to live in fear.

We don’t have to be afraid of being condemned.

We don’t have to be afraid of being separated from God’s love.

We don’t have to be afraid of not having our needs met.

We don’t have to be afraid of living a life without purpose and meaning.

We don’t have to be afraid of people and what they can do to us.

We don’t have to be afraid of not having the resources needed to live for God, because Jehovah is our strength.  He is the One who empowers us to live.  He is the One who enables us to continue to stand and withstand the difficulties of this life.

We do not have to be afraid of being overwhelmed because we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

What does all of this mean for us?  It means that we have a joy that comes from within.  He is my strength and my song.

Brothers and sisters, if the truths of verses one and two are real to us, then joy will flow from us.  Joy does not mean that we are always happy—but it does mean that there is a distinct and intense experience of enjoyment that comes from our relationship with God.

This means that those who have been saved are those who have been given the opportunity and all the tools necessary to genuinely enjoy life.  Jesus said that He came to give us abundant life and true joy.

There is something else we need to understand. The end of verse two tells us that God has freely chosen to become my Salvation.  It is essential that we know that God did not have to take a step toward us.  God was not forced to rescue sinners.  God, who is completely satisfied with Himself does not need us.  Still, He chose to send His Son so that we could be reconciled to Him.

Because of this, all of the redeemed ones can draw water out of the wells of salvation (singular to plural).  God, according to His mercy and grace, continually gives everyone who follows Jesus everything we need—our salvation is not a one-time thing, it is an ever-available reality to enjoy and that which completely fulfills. (John 4)

Do you see it?  Do you see what an amazing gift God has given to those who are saved?  Do you see what an amazing gift God offers to those who are far from Him?  Do you see what an amazing gift God offers to those who deserve His anger?

When we understand the gift we have received, we will do whatever we can, and we will give whatever we must to ensure that this same gift will be extended desperate people beyond all borders.

We Go Beyond Borders Because That is How We Must Respond – vs. 4-6

When we think about everything we have already learned, we know there is a right response to the work of God on our behalf.

How should Christians respond to the gift of salvation?

Those who have been saved should give thanks to the Lord.

Giving thanks is an expression of gratitude for the kindness of another displayed toward us.  Being thankful is more than merely saying “thank you.”  Being thankful is when our actions demonstrate the attitude of a grateful heart.  In other words, when someone is genuinely thankful for something or someone, no one wonders if they are thankful—their gratitude is evident to everyone who watches their life.

There is a story in the New Testament of a man who was possessed by many demons.  He lived out of his mind, dwelling in tombs, running around naked, terrorizing the people of the nearby village.  One day he encountered Jesus, who cast the demons out of him.  That miracle freaked out the townspeople, and they asked Jesus to leave.  That man was so grateful for what Jesus had done that he did not want to leave Jesus’ side.  His gratitude gave him a strong desire to be with the One who changed his life.

That made me wonder—is it possible that we struggle to spend time with Jesus because we aren’t really thankful for all that He’s done for us?

Is it possible that we are tempted to turn to everything but Jesus because we aren’t really thankful for the life He’s given to us?

Is it possible that we struggle to serve Jesus or sacrificially give because we aren’t really thankful for the things He’s given to us that enable us to serve?

Maybe we aren’t thankful because we forget that everything we have comes from God and is to be used for Him.

Every person who has been saved should be thankful, and that thankful attitude should be seen in our actions.

Those who have been saved should call upon His name.

Calling upon God’s name does not merely mean that use God’s name in prayer or that we end every prayer “in Jesus’ name.”  It means that we continually enter into fellowship and intimacy with the God who has revealed Himself to us.

Those who have been saved should make known his doings among the nations.

Christian, we are to speak of God’s work to save sinners.  It means that we are not saved to lead a good life.  We are not saved to live a moral life.  We are not saved to live a prosperous life.

I was recently directed to a blog by Jon Bloom in which he made some fascinating points about the trap of prosperity.  He wrote:

If we take the Bible seriously, material prosperity should frighten us, in some sense, because the Bible says frightening things about it…Not to diminish the dangers of sexual sin, but have you ever noticed that the New Testament issues more dire warnings against the spiritual dangers of material prosperity than sexual immorality? Jesus didn’t say it’s harder for a sexually immoral person to get into heaven than a camel to squeeze through a needle’s eye. He said it about rich people.[2]

Here’s the point—living a right and moral life should be proof that the gospel we continually present to the lost is true—that God does have the power to change a life.

Wealth should be seen as a gift from God to fund the spread of the gospel to every tongue, tribe, and nation.

The reason God gives prosperity is for us to have more to give away so that people in Westerville, Columbus, Ohio, the USA, and around the world can know that there is a Creator who loves them and sent His Son to die for them so that they can have forgiveness of sins and everlasting life.

Our life should be consumed with telling the story of God’s work to save sinners.

Those who have been saved should proclaim that His name is exalted.

We should speak of Him often because of all that He has done to save us.

Those who have been saved should lift up our voice and sing.

We sing in response to His works and because He is worthy to be made known in all the earth.

Psalm 40:3
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.

Psalm 96:1–2
1 Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.

Ephesians 5:19
19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,

Those who have been should delight in Him.

The idea in verse six is the cry and shout of a bride who sees her groom and cannot contain her excitement.  He is her delight—He is everything to her—she cannot and would never want to live without him.  Our focus should be on the One who has come and is coming again.

Our lives should be consumed with Him and with making Him known.

Let me tell you what all of this means—there is no place for casual Christianity.  Church, we cannot be relaxed and unconcerned about the condition of the lost.

David Platt wrote: The price is certainly high for people who don’t know Christ and who live in a world where Christians shrink back from self-denying faith and settle into self-indulging faith. While Christians choose to spend their lives fulfilling the American dream instead of giving their lives to proclaiming the kingdom of God, literally billions in need of the gospel remain in the dark.[3]

We have not been tasked with taking it easy.  Jesus said that we must work during the day because the night is coming when no man can work.  We have the opportunity of the moment to make God known, not the promise of a future.  We cannot be indifferent to the condition of the lost.  We cannot be apathetic about Jesus’ command to make disciples.  We cannot be unconcerned about people who will spend eternity in hell.

We have to know that the lost will not be saved by chance—we must be intentional.  Those who have been saved by God are not silent, and there is no place for casual Christianity.

This means that there is no place for passive evangelism. Those who have received the gift of salvation are those who are actively going beyond borders to make God’s salvation known to the world.

This means we must ask the question—am I willing to do what must be done, to give what must be given, and to live how I must live to ensure that I take the gospel beyond borders?

Will my commitment be evident to others?

[1] Story adapted from


[3] Platt, David. Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (p. 14). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


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