What is the Great Commission “What is the Great Commission and its aim
Missions and the missionary work are based on the Great Commission. Here is how the Great Commission is expressed in Matthew 28:18-20: “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”
In the Gospel of Mark 16:15-18 this same commandment is expressed in the following way: “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned…”
The Great Commission is expressed by Peter in a slightly different way: “…Always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1Pe.3:15).
In this Great Commission:
1. The verb “Go” applies to all believers, not only to professional missionaries and pastors. The invitation to salvation is for all alike! We have the same rights, obligations, privileges and promises. So all believers should help in every possible way to evangelize the world according to their ability and direction from God. There is no excuse for millions of church members leaving this work to a few only who seek to obey the Great Commission. The responsibility for world evangelization rests on every individual Christian. With this vision and with the power of the Holy Spirit, they should go out and open new fields.
2. The verb “teach” (Gr. “matheteuo”) means to ‘make disciples’, ‘to enroll’ someone as a student (Mt.13:52; 27:57; Ac.14:21).
3. The verb “baptize” means that those who have consciously been made disciples must pass through the experience of water baptism in order to declare that they have now acquired a good conscience before God and men and that they have destroyed the bridge between them and the world. This same verse bears also the meaning, by extenso, of “baptism of repentance” for the forgiveness of sins (Mrk.1:4; Lu.3:3; Ac.13:24; 19:4). It means what John the Baptist announced: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Mt.3:11) And finally,
4. The expression “teaching them” means ‘instructing’ them to the end of rendering them solid and mature Christians. Or, as Paul expressed it, “… warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Col.1:28).
I very much like what Daniel T. Niles said: « Evangelism is witness. It is one beggar telling another beggar where to get food. »
What Missions are and what is their aim “What Missions is and what is their aim
Missions and the missionary work are God’s purpose and command; they are the proclamation of the gospel to the unconverted everywhere. The church, which is the body of Christ, is responsible for evangelizing the world and planting strong churches in every country, which should meet the spiritual needs of believers and try to cover its own financial needs. In addition, the Church must try, if possible, without outside help, to be intensely evangelistic, sending out workers to the regions around the church as well as to other countries.
The evangelist John Rice has written in his book entitled “The Soul Winners Fire”: “So to be a soul winner means to cause people to realize their need of Christ as a personal Savior and lead them to receive Him, confess Him, depend upon Him, and commit themselves wholly to Him, with heart faith.”
The Bible says “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise” (Pr.11:30). All other labor is insignificant as compared with the supreme labor of winning souls. The Savior Himself indicated that one soul is worth more than the entire world when He said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37). Soul winning is the main business of a Christian. It is for that purpose that Christ came to earth and lived and died and rose again. There is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance (Lu.15:7). Also, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Ps.126:6 AV).
Soul winning is not a matter of talent or of schools
Soul winning is not a matter of talent. It is not a matter of schools and literature to become true soul-winners! It is a matter of faithfulness and obedience to the Great Commission. It is a matter of obedience to the Lord’s commandment: “…As my Father has sent Me, I also send you” (Joh.20:21). It is a matter of broken heart over sinners like our Lord who came “to seek and save the lost” (Lu.19:10). Soul-winners simply forget themselves and with the power of the Spirit go after sinners. They simply preach the Word and are ready to pass it to others “…in season and out of season…” (2Ti.4:2). Christians know that they cannot bring all the lost to Christ because “… wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.” (Mt.7:13).
The existing situation of missions all over the world “Which is the existing situation of missions all over the world
According to “Global Missions, General Mission Statistics”, the World Population amounts to 6 billion people. One third, that is 2,0 billion, of earth’s people call themselves Christians. 1,1 Billion are Muslims, 340 Million are Buddhists, 340 Million are Chinese Folk Religions, 890 Million are Hindus, 220 Million are Tribal Religions, 875 Million are Atheists & Non-religious and 7 Million belong to Judaism.
There are 410.000 Missionaries from all branches of Christendom. Only 2 to 3% of these missionaries work among unreached peoples! There are 140.000 Protestant Missionaries out of which 64.000 are from the USA. US missionaries make up only 30% of the world’s missionaries. Their number is slightly declining every year and is being overtaken by increased participation from Africa, Latin America and Korea. In addition, “The Gideons International”, which is the greatest Bible Distribution Association with more than 250.000 members in 180 countries, is a witnessing missionary organization in the world, and of the least costly one, whose members are self-supporting and who pay from their own pockets for the Bread of Life that they print and distribute in 80 languages. They are also supported financially by certain churches. Nowadays, “Wycliffe Bible Translators” labor in some of the most primitive areas of the world in order to give God’s Word to people in their own languages. The Bible or portions of it have been translated into more than 2.000 languages. Every 14 days another translation of the New Testament is begun in a new language. If the Lord tarries, at least some portion of the Bible will be translated into every language on earth by the year 2020.
Their number continues to increase rapidly, spreading the Word of God in the whole world! Worldwide, about 1.7 billion people now listen to Christian radio or watch Christian TV on a monthly basis. Another thing that must be mentioned is the increasing number of Christian sites on the Internet.
Active persecution of Christians takes place in: Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, North Korea, Laos, Vietnam, China, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, India, Algeria and certain other countries. Over 150.000 believers become martyrs each year. Persecutions are being intensified!
Let me mention what I read in a Christian magazine “The Evangelic Messenger”. During an official meeting on the Islamo – Christian dialogue, a Moslem, of influential character, speaking to the Christian participants, declared with calmness and seriousness: “thanks to your democratic laws, we will invade you, thanks to our religious laws, we will dominate you”.
Growth of the Church
True Christianity has grown by more than 300 million believers in the past ten years. About 10 million of these new Christians are from North America and Europe, and the rest –290 million – are from developing countries like Nigeria, Argentina, India, China and South Korea. Considering the growth rate of the world’s religious blocs, Christianity is by far the fastest-growing religion in the world today.
The strongest growth is currently in the following areas:
·In house churches, in many nations.
·In underground churches mainly in China, Indonesia, Cuba and India.
·In youth churches and cell churches.
·In indigenous churches, that is churches and movements led by nationals without outside intervention or start-up help from other churches.
Christian radio stations reach 99% of the world’s population.
In conclusion: Two thirds (2/3) of the world’s population are not Christians. Who is going to evangelize them? Just a small minority of missionaries? Impossible! The Great Commission does not put the responsibility on missionaries only but on every true Christian. Every Christian throughout the whole world should participate and become involved. Massive problems need massive measures! Our task is to take the Good News of salvation to all people everywhere. God enables us to do as He commands. The Holy Spirit will empower, strengthen, encourage and edify Christians to carry out their mission.
Problems concerning church growth
Unfortunately, indifference is a deadly weapon in the hands of Satan! But where does this indifference for evangelizing the world come from? Is it not due to the fact that many Christians have not appreciated the gift of their salvation and that Christ is not that important to them? The Lord Jesus Christ is just for them… Once forgiven and saved, they have no more interest for others who are at the gate of Hell! They are not preoccupied in other people’s salvation from Hell! “The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.” (Pr.11:26). And elsewhere the Bible says: “Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.” (Pr.24:11).
Judging from myself, despite the fact that since the very first day of my conversion, I have never stopped trying to win people for Christ, my interest became keener for evangelizing people when I became member of the “Gideons International” Association. I was also informed of the number of persons without Christ that perish and of the small percentage of those who are called Christians are true Christians and how small a minority are those who are Christian combat cells trying to win people to Christ! In addition, how great is the number of missionaries and pastors that withdraw from active service! And how rare are the Churches that have a missionary spirit! And how rare are the messages on Sunday that contain words that can save those who are present but unconverted. And when I saw how many are the Sociological and Psychological messages intended to comfort falsely unrepented sinners I became disturbed! It is very sad that there are many preachers that are preaching self-improvement psychological messages that tickle the ears of their listeners. Whenever a message is given at a Church, it must always include the basic elements for repentance and faith, that is a call to salvation and to edification. They must always get down to the fundamentals. Unfortunately, such a thing is very rare! Churches need to be refocused. They should put less emphasis on programs and more emphasis on Jesus, on repentance, on faith and on God’s fear! They often lose what is essential, what is really important and are, on the contrary, trying to build their little kingdoms… There are often too many programs and activities and they become very program-driven. Since pastors play a key role in missions in every local church, it is extremely important to them to be well informed and to understand their responsibility… It is necessary to create a missionary interest and enthusiasm in as many members as possible and reinforce the interest and enthusiasm with accurate and actual information.
Unfortunately, there are also other reasons for that great indifference:
·Some pastors think their church is too small to have a missionary program. It is my conviction that no church is too small or too young to be committed to missions and no church is too poor to have a missionary program.
·Some Churches receive the believers’ money but never or rarely explain how it is spent. So people are discouraged to give more! I am convinced that churches would be better financially supported if pastors were giving regularly a detailed account to the congregation about how the money people give is allocated to different activities and especially for benevolent activities. And what should we say about religious people who are lovers of money and make fortunes?
·Others believe that it is not necessary or urgent or obligatory to reach out to people and spread the Christian faith since only those who are predestined will be saved. God will find out a way to save them. So, there is no need to seek and save the lost! No need to send missionaries to tell them that Christ is the only true God!
·Others are afraid to be accused of doing a work of proselytism converting people from one religion to another! And what can we say about professional religious people of all Christian denominations who during open TV debates say that all religions are good and should be respected! They are afraid to say that Christ is the only way of salvation while there is freedom to propagate the Gospel! John 14:6 says that only Jesus is the way the truth and the life! They are ambassadors who are either afraid or ashamed of the heavenly country they represent! Isaiah says: “His watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.” (56:10). They are people having no Holy Spirit but just a religious profession! And what about certain churches that limit their ministry basically to social work?
·Another reason for the spiritual indifference among the members of the Church, in general, is the way those who are responsible treat their congregations: Some of them shepherd the flock of God as being lords over those entrusted to them (1Pe.5:2-3) either in evident authoritarian ways or in camouflaged ways manipulating people so as to impose their will and implementing the Church’s constitution according to their personal preferences. In addition, they always find excuses to justify the non-keeping of their promises. The problem, however, does not lie only in their conduct and manipulations but it is in great part due also to the congregation. Jeremiah says: “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” (Jer.5:31). Yes, “My people love to have it so” because they prefer the easy solutions and avoid being troubled… As regards false prophets and false teachers, 2Pet.2:1-3 stipulates their end destruction if they do not repent: “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.”
Who is a true missionary and what must be his message “Who is a true missionary and what must be his message
The word “apostle” means “one sent out”, which comes from the Greek verb apostello, which means “send out”. And the word “missionary” means also “sent out” and comes from the Latin verb “mitto”, which means “send”. Since Christ died for all for their salvation, all must hear the “good news” of salvation from those who are sent out by God and who are called to proclaim the gospel to the unconverted.
The entire world is included in Christ’s plan who commanded His followers to go into all the world and to preach to everyone. Every person who accepts the lordship of Christ is a member of His true universal church. The true Christian church, irrespective of local churches and numerous denominations, has nothing to do with denominations and geographical boundaries. Each and every true Christian must reach out to the unconverted and win people to Christ. “…lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (Joh.4:35) is the Master’s command!
Personally speaking, I believe that being a true and committed professional missionary or a truly committed pastor is one of the most difficult and the hardest “professions”. It takes a great deal of determination.
First of all, it demands an absolute devotion to the Lord. I say devotion to the Lord. Devotion to his ministry is the product or the result of his devotion and confidence to the Lord. Unfortunately, many sincere people are devoted to their task and not to the Lord and this is why they are discouraged when things go wrong or when they suffer hardships or when they are criticized etc … He who is devoted to the Lord is never discouraged and never resigns from his tasks. On the contrary, he is faithful to the Lord and his confidence in the Lord renders him faithful to his ministry.
Second, because the missionary or the pastor has no administrative authority on the people. He cannot give them orders. Their faithful presence and adherence to the Church of Christ depend on the free will and choice of the people. People one day shout “Hosanna” and the next day “crucify him”. One day they come and the next day they may leave the Church.
Third, because being a missionary or a pastor requires love not only for God and trust in God, but also love for people who are not worthy to be loved. It demands stability of character, discernment, tact, zeal, and many other qualifications, among which is leadership, which is the capacity to trace a trail, to enable others to become leaders and to leave a path for others.
Fourth, being a missionary means endless hours of work, no regular time schedule, and endless hours of studying, writing and learning one or more languages.
Last but not least, it means persecutions; it means honor and dishonor; evil report and good report (2Co.6:8); it means being submitted to critics; it means very often poverty; it means working in faith without seeing any tangible results for years and years; it means for many of them working without a pension in old age; it means living under unhealthy conditions, eating detestable things etc. Above all, it means that God’s worker is a permanent target of the enemy from almost all sides. He needs, therefore, to have much patience, purity, kindness as well as the authority and the power of the Holy Spirit, sincere love and be filled with the knowledge of the word of truth.
Let us thank the Lord Jesus Christ who has given to His Church such men devoted to Him and to His redemptive work! Let us thank the Lord Jesus who has promised us: “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”.
What should be their message “What should be their message
True servants of God should not preach their own words and reflections but they should preach Christ crucified and raised from the dead (Ac.8:5,35; 1Co.2:2), “…he whom God has sent speaks the words of God…” (Joh.3:34); they should preach repentance and faith (Ac.20:21), always and everywhere (Mrk.16:20; Ac.8:4), without reserve (Ac.5:20; 20:20,27; Ro.15:19), according to the oracles of God (1Pe.4:11) and not with enticing words of man’s wisdom (1Co.1:17; 2:1,4), not setting forth themselves (2Co.4:5), and behaving without deceitfulness (2Co.2:17; 4:2; 1Th.2:3,5). Their messages should be given with boldness (Isa.58:1; Eze.2:6; Mt.10:27,28) – I do not mean shouting and gesticulations –, with plainness of speech (2Co.3:12), with zeal (1Th.2:8), with constancy (Ac.6:4; 2Ti.4:2), with consistency (2Co.1:18,19), with heedfulness (1Ti.4:16), with good will and love (Php.1:15-17), with faithfulness (Eze.3:17,18) and without charge, if possible (1Co.9:18; 1Th.2:9).
Bad spiritual workers “Bad spiritual workers
There are sincere missionaries and pastors but they are not spiritually minded and not filled with the Holy Spirit. They confuse the gifts of the Spirit with the fruit of the Spirit, which requires the cooperation of the Christian. There are some who have become missionaries or pastors just because they have made a wrong choice of profession but do not want to change. They become, therefore, bad shepherds, feeding themselves (Eze.34:10; Jude 1:12). And this is not all. Some of them become also false prophets! They preach peace while there is no peace and use clever jokes in order to invite people’s attention and praises. And what should we say for missionaries and pastors who make fortunes, who pretend to be busy but are lazy, who are without a burden for those heading toward Hell? And what should we say about “sissy” pastors, men-pleasers, not fearing God, a certain number of them being involved in financial and moral problems? Some of them remove the freedom of the word from the members of their church and prohibit the dialogue, transforming the church into a one-way street. They do not accept criticism. Some of them do not pay attention to the nagging of their conscience. Of course, it is hard to accept criticism without resentment but this is a characteristic of maturity and wisdom. They avoid systematically confrontation.
Let us also remind ourselves what has happened with some famous tele-evangelists or missionaries who were accused of financial and moral problems. Some of them are “dogs”, “evil workers”, “mutilators”, “enemies of the cross”, “serving their belly” (Php.3;2, 18-19) who by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom.16:18). During the days of the OT prophets, of our Lord Jesus Christ and of Paul such people existed. Nowadays, they do not exist any more…!!! Today, we call them “weak believers”… May God have mercy on us! They are people who have never heard the call of God for such a ministry. They are and remain as missionaries or pastors just because they have finished a Theological Faculty or Seminary. They have never been guided by God but they are guided by their own will; they have neither surrendered to God nor paid attention to God’s providence. Their ministry is just a career or a profession. Other ‘professionals’ have chosen and appointed them… Some of them pretend living by faith but apart from a regular salary, they draw money from different financial sources, which we cannot even imagine.
Missionaries under Mission Boards and independent missionaries “Missionaries under Mission Boards and Independent missionaries
Theoretically, missionaries under Mission Boards and Independent missionaries do the evangelization. Both categories have their pros and cons.
A. Mission Boards
There are several advantages working under the auspices of a Mission Board. The Mission Board plans strategy, evaluates projects submitted to it for approval and makes decisions about opening new fields or expanding in old ones. The Mission Board can systematically present an overall picture of the work of the church and help to secure the financial backing, prayer support and candidates needed. It is true that even the best Board can make a mistake, but the members are supposed to sincerely seek the will of God.
Missions face two main problems: Lack of financial resources and lack of spiritual workers. In addition, missionaries working together under Mission Boards or Missionary Associations are not often in good terms among themselves and in spite of an apparent good co-operation they are gossiping against each other. Getting along with other missionaries is a problem. It is difficult to get along with people who have an irritating personality. It is very difficult to “…keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph.4:3). Furthermore, missionaries belonging to Mission Boards are bound by their denominational doctrines and are afraid to preach the truth when some day “scales” fall from their eyes and receive their sight to see the Biblical truth (Ac.9:18). Others do not dare reprove believers or fellow missionaries disorderly walking because they are afraid to be falsely accused and be excluded of their posts.
B. Independent missionaries, non professional missionaries and lay preachers “Independent missionaries and/or non professional missionaries
When some candidate missionaries are rejected by a Mission Board or the missionaries do not agree with the mission’s denominational positions or doctrines or dictatorial policies or theological positions, they go their way and become independent spiritual workers. They prefer to be an opposition party rather than to be “yes men”. Some of them, in spite of the difficulties they face, have been greatly used of the Lord.
Of course, this is not always the case. The financing of their ministry, loneliness and other handicaps are often serious problems for the independent professional or non-professional missionary. He may find it difficult to secure the co-operation of the churches and of other missionaries. Independent or nonprofessional missionaries are obliged to live by faith! Living by faith means that they trust completely in God for their survival and ministry. But, as someone said: “God’s way will not lack God’s supply” they have cast all their care upon God, for He cares for them and for their ministry which is God’s (1Pe.5:7). Of course, some of those independent missionaries who are ‘demagogues’ can become very rich!
What and how missionaries and pastors should preach “What and how missionaries and pastors should preach
It is written, “…Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mt.4:19) And, “… be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2Ti.4:5). All true Christian workers must do evangelistic sermons. God means to make us soul-winners, whatever the gift we have received from God is! He who says that, “I am not a professional evangelist, therefore, I am going to limit myself to the teaching of the Bible in a University or a Theological Seminary”; he who says that, “I am a technician missionary, I am going to limit myself to my job”; or he who says that, “I am a businessman and it is not my job to try to reach out to souls”, I can assure you that they have lost their way… The man of God, whether missionary or not, must do both… If not, they disobey the Lord’s commandment, they have lost their zeal and sooner or later they are going to hear, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place——unless you repent.” (Re.2:5)
Evangelistic preaching must boldly attack sin. It is written, “Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet; tell My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isa.58:1). Only the grace of God can save, but grace saves only convicted, repented, confessed and changed sinners. We are called to preach the full Gospel and teach people to observe all things that Jesus has commanded us! Not only God’s mercy and grace but also God’s justice and severity to unrepented people. That is the kind of preaching Jesus did.
To speak or to preach on faith and God’s love is a marvellous thing. To proclaim the love of God and God’s free salvation is something commendable! Not to explain, nevertheless, or not to give a description of what man is saved from is a very dangerous thing when one does not make a mention, —for example— of Hell, of eternal condemnation or perdition, of God’s wrath or nothing about the fact that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb.10:31). The Church must be protected from such false teaching but also from false comfort…
Certain preachers when they preach on John 3:16 or make reference to this verse or to other similar verses (Jean 3:18; 3:36; 5:24; 6:54), they put the accent on the love of God and man’s faith but they avoid systematically to describe what the word “perish” means and what the word “salvation” actually means and implies! They avoid mentioning verse Joh.3:36, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (Joh.3:36). They avoid speaking on the wrath of God. Such Gospel is not “The Full Gospel”! It is a lame Gospel, a handicapped Gospel! The words or expressions such as “eternal shame”, “eternal fire”, “the wrath of God”, “everlasting punishment”, “gehenna of the fire”, perdition of ungodly men”, “the second death”, “the lake of fire” etc. are not even mentioned… And God’s fear disappears… But these words did go out from the mouth of our Lord and from His prophets and from His apostles… who were not trying to be agreeable to their audiences but were trying to save those who were listening to them!
They say that they preach the whole Gospel but they do not, because they give exhortations, consolations but never warnings. That is false comfort! He who loves warns! Parents that don’t warn their children do not love them! In the same way, God’s workers who don’t warn unbelievers and even believers concerning the consequences of their indifference, disobedience or even of their lukewarmness don’t love them! He who loves warns… The Spirit of God said through Jeremiah the prophet, “But if they (that is my prophets, my pastors and missionaries) had stood in my council, then they would have caused my people to hear MY WORDS, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings” (Jer.23:22).
Somebody may say, “An evangelist can do that, but a pastor cannot, because certain people might get mad, quit giving money and leave the Church.” So what? Let God’s worker do his duty and God is responsible for the rest. This is, however, the only way to revive believers and bring to life dead souls. All those who want to live a pious life, who preach the Word and are instant in season and out of season (2Ti.4:2) will be persecuted. The Church of God does not need soft-speakers, who never hurt anybody’s feelings, never offend anybody, who never cross anybody but who rarely awaken a believer and rarely save an unbeliever! Preachers ought to preach the kind of preaching that will make people sleepless at night. They must not give them false hope, consolation and security.
And another problem: Some pastors insist so much on the Old Testament that one wonders if he is in a Christian Church or in a Hebrew synagogue! The only difference is that they mention the name of Jesus Christ in their starting and their closing prayers! Jesus Christ must be the centerpiece of any preaching, whether in the OT or the NT or both.
In certain cases, the Christian ministry is done in the power of the flesh and not in the power of God, because, like Nadab and Abihu, certain people try to reach out to people with strange fire, that is, with common fire, not divinely kindled (Lev.10:1-2). Sociology, psychology, human reflections, soft-speaking, peace-at-any-price, modernized reach-out methods accompanied by … a lot of decibels … draw people in vast numbers, but can they really save souls?
The world perishes! What are we going to say to God when we stand before Him? Telling the world about Jesus is not optional; it is a commandment to be obeyed unquestionably and unconditionally. As the Father has sent me, so send I you, ordered Jesus! The needs are tremendous. We are facing a world in despair, perverse and self-destroying. Iraq, Israel, Kosovo, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, Algeria, terrorism etc. do they mean something to us? Can we ignore the great spiritual need of this world and its misery, as well as the “Great Commission” to evangelize the world that Jesus Christ himself has entrusted to us?
We know that the number of Christians in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and elsewhere is increasing daily by the thousands. We, therefore, live in a missionary field where a much greater mobilization is required, including the Western World. “The world has more winnable people than ever before, but it is possible to come out of a ripe field empty handed” someone said. Jesus has commanded His people to spread the Gospel to the whole world. Not everyone can go as a professional missionary, but every believer can make the Gospel to be heard.
The Holy Spirit is at work, creating a hunger for the Bread of Life amongst all social classes. There, where the action of the Spirit is engaged and the strong wind of spiritual revival blows, it is necessary that our attention, our help and our action speed up things that happen in favor of the work of God. What we are living through nowadays is not “the signs of the times” but rather “the time of the signs”. These are historic days in which we live. This is the reason why we must pray intensely so true spiritual workers to be recruited by God with zeal and faithfulness. Also, we must raise money either for Missions or for the reproduction of this incomparable treasure, which is the Bible. It is urgent!
How many of the so-called Christians are really active and committed? We do not know. One thing we do, however, know and that is that true, committed Christians are but a “little flock”, to use our Lord’s expression. (Lu.12:32). Now, there are also other open doors which were closed for centuries. We must “exploit” these unprecedented possibilities and walk in the good works that God has prepared for us. Christian TV programs are all over the world. The responses in the form of letters and phone calls come in by the millions. They all ask for Bibles. Time is irreplaceable. We must become good managers of our time and of our talents. We must understand the urgency of our times before it is too late. The night will come and then no one can work. Massive problems need massive measures!
What can we do to reach more souls for Christ? “What can we do to reach more souls for Christ?
Let me now tell you what you and I can do to help us reach more souls for Christ.
1. We can PRAY for the missionary work. We can do nothing without Jesus Christ, our Savior! The spiritual success is, of course, impossible without any efforts from the part of the believer and without, parallelly God’s approval and intervention. We plant and water but it is God who makes things grow (1Co.3:7-8). Let us pray concretely and in a regular and permanent way so that the Holy Spirit will destroy the work of the Devil and his resistance but as well as our inertia, that sincere workers will be raised, that the wind of a spiritual revival may blow on the multitudes. Let the missionary ministry become one of the objects of both our collective and individual prayers in a regular and permanent way.
2. We can – at least some of us – get engaged directly or indirectly in the missionary work. Our ministry of evangelism will be to present Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit so that every man can put his trust in Him as a Savior and serve him as his Lord. “Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Mt.9:38).
Someone said, “God doesn’t want your ability, He wants your availability.” In two words: Let us support our missionaries. Our prayers, finances and love can help them to wake up those who do not know the Lord. And another man of God said: “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”
The “bottom-line” is not money for missions but seeing other people coming to and working in this ministry and convincing the Churches to PRAY. The bottom-line is not money but it is seeing Christian hearts aflame with love for a humanity inflamed with sin and seeing Christian Churches PRAY for this wonderful ministry. Money is necessary but it is not the “sine qua non”. We are desperately in need of warriors of prayer with faithfulness and fervency and spiritual authority! In spiritual warfare, money is not enough. Prayer is our most powerful currency.
God has asked us to bear fruit, much fruit, and fruit that remains; so we shall be His disciples (Joh.15:8, 16). Today God is asking us: “…Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” If, my brother, you hear his voice do not harden your heart. Accept His calling. Tell Him, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isa.6:8). And do not forget that His yoke is easy and His burden is light! Also, do not forget that the One who calls you is faithful and He will do it (1Th.5:24). Choose the right priorities. Let His will and His Kingdom take the first place and then everything else will fall into its place and God will take care of everything. Great will be your reward! Let the Great Commission that you and I have received from Christ, the need of this sinful and perishing world, the lack of workers, of faithful workers, and the compassion of your heart for those perishing become the driving force of our life. What we need, then, is to repent, confess our sins and forsake them, until we are anointed from Heaven. Then the Word of God will be in our hearts.
We should put the shoes of the gospel on our feet before we start out for the day! We need a refreshed dedication to soul winning every day. Let us take time to get ready every day for soul winning! The study of our Bible, the cleansing of our heart through a sincere repentance and our prayer for discernment and wisdom will give the Lord the possibility and opportunities for witnessing and soul winning! Brothers and sisters, let us put in our heart a pure zeal for the evangelism of the world and of all those who surround us. Let us commit ourselves to pray in a consistent way so that we may boldly and efficiently do our duty and fight the battle of the Lord… When you and I keep our hands steadily lifted up to the Lord on the top of the hill of prayer, we will become victors and our enemy will be discomfited (Ex.17:12-13). Amen.