Yet while this is good, and only good, it isn't the thing we are driving at in missions. While it would fully warrant all the expenditures of money, and vastly more than has yet been given, it should be said in clearest, most ringing tones that all this is merely incidental. It is blessed. It is sure to come. It is remarkable that it always has come where the Gospel of Jesus is preached.
Yet this is not the thing aimed at in missions. The one driving purpose is to carry to men a Saviour from sin. And to take Him so earnestly and winsomely that men yonder shall be wooed and won to the real God, whom they have lost knowledge of.
It cannot be said too plainly that the world is lost. It has strayed so far away from the Father's house that it has lost all its bearings, and can't find its way back without help. The old preaching that this is a lost world, is true.
But we need to remember the different uses of that word "world." In the old-time conception it was used in a loose way as meaning the spirit that actuates men in the world. The scheme of selfishness and wickedness and sinfulness which has overcast all life is commonly spoken of in the Bible as the world spirit. In that sense the world is bad, and only bad. Men are to be saved out of it, as Moody said.
But, in the other commoner use of it, that word "world" simply means the whole race of men. And we must remind ourselves vigorously of the plain truth that this is a lost world. That is to say, men have gotten away from God. They completely misunderstand Him. Then they do more, and worse, they misrepresent and slander Him. The result is complete lack of trust in Him. They have lost their moorings, and have drifted out to deep sea with no compass on board. Thick fogs have risen and shut out sun and stars and every guiding thing. They are hopelessly and helplessly lost, and need some one to bring the compass so as to get back to shore, back home to God.
But this world of men is to be won. Jesus said He came to save a world. And He will not fail nor rest content until He has done it, and this has become a saved world. He said that He gave His life for the life of the world. And the world will yet know the fulness of that life of His throbbing in its own heart.
This does not mean that all men will be saved. There seems to be clear evidence in the Book that some will insist on preferring their own way to God's. And I am sure I do not know anything except what the Book teaches. It is the only reliable source of information I have been able to find so far. It must be the standard, because it is the standard.
There will be a group of stubborn irreconcilables holding out against all of God's tender pleading. John's Patmos vision of glory, with its marvellous beauty and sweep, has yet a lake of fire and a group of men insisting upon going their own way. If a man choose that way, he may. He is still in the likeness of God in choosing to leave out God. He remains a sovereign in his own will even in the hell of his own choosing.