“The utterly crucial question for many of you, as you have prayed and thought about giving your life, or a substantial part of it, to missions, is: Can I do this? Can I bear this weight of being the aroma of Christ in some new place? By God’s grace, you can.
Paul gives us five tests . . . to help us know that. I will turn them into questions for you to answer:
1) Do you treasure Christ enough so that you do not peddle his word? Paul says, “For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word.” That is, these peddlers don’t love Christ. They love money and use Christ. So the first test is: Do you love Christ more than money?
Strictly, the next four phrases in verse 17 all modify the word speak. Literally: we speak 2) from sincerity, 3) from God, 4) before God, 5) in Christ. So I ask you:
2) Will you speak from sincerity? Will you be real? Will you mean what you say? Will you renounce all pretense and hypocrisy?
3) Will you speak as from God? That is, will you take not only your commission from God, but your words and your authority from God. Will you speak his words and not your own. Will you speak in his authority and not your own? Will you draw your strength and guidance from his power and wisdom, not your own?
4) Will you speak as before God? That is, will you reckon him to be your judge and no man? Will you care more about his assessment of your words and not be deterred by human criticism?
5) Will you speak as in Christ? That is, will you get your identity and your assurance and your confidence and your hope and your courage from your union with Christ?
There are no perfect missionaries. The answer to these questions should be: O yes, Lord, as much as I know my heart, that is what I intend to be. Help me. To love you more than money. To be real and sincere. To speak your word. To fear no man. To get all I need from Christ.”