Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 20 Number 7 July 2018
Page 13

Evangelism Is the Answer!

Cliff Holmes

Cliff HolmesEvangelism requires preaching the Gospel and converting souls from sin. This is how Christ lived, what He taught and what His followers practiced. The full message of the Gospel was preached for the first time in approximately A.D. 33, and within less than 30 years, it had been taken to all the world. What a story!

Jesus was always on the move during His personal ministry. He went to villages and to cities. He spoke to multitudes and to individuals. He used physical acts to teach spiritual lessons. No man ever spoke with greater authority or showed the power of God more clearly in His mighty works. Truly, He is the Son of God.

Calling twelve men, known as apostles, Jesus taught them and trained them to carry on His work after His death, burial and resurrection. Some of His final words were, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28 19-20).

Just before returning to the Father, He said to the apostles, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Turning to Acts 2, we read of Jews coming from all over the world to celebrate Pentecost, a Jewish feast day. This was not by accident. The Lord planned it this way. With the apostles receiving the power of the Holy Spirit to guide them into all the Truth, from that very first day, the good news began to be taken to people of many nations around the world. Some 3,000 who heard the message, believed it, repented of their sins and were gladly baptized; the Lord added those that should be saved to His church (Acts 2:47).

However, this was just the beginning. The Gospel was preached again and again in Jerusalem and throughout Judaea. Then, the Gospel was heralded in Samaria and afterward in surrounding nations. As a result, within less than three decades, the Gospel was taken into all the world (Colossians 1:23).

There were fewer people back then, but there were many obstacles. They had the Gospel, but they did not have the written Word. They did not have the methods of transportation and communication we take for granted in our age. Travel was slow and dangerous, over land or by sea, and yet they went. Communication was primarily by word of mouth, yet Paul commended the church in Rome with the words, “Your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8). In spite of limitations, early Christians did the work God gave them to do, and the world was forever changed.

Morals and values came to be set by a higher standard because of the influence of God’s Word. A study of what was acceptable among “civilized” people in the first century compared to the early twenty-first century reveals just how much impact Christianity has had in reshaping the world.

Sadly, in the last fifty years, tremendous ground has been lost because we have allowed atheistic humanism to forge ahead. Abortion, rampant divorce, homosexual acceptance, immorality, indecency, violence, disrespect for parents and authority, foul language, and other types of shameless behavior have mushroomed as the influence of Christianity has diminished. Humanism has filled the void.

Yet, today we have the same Gospel to take to the world. We have the same command by Christ as did first-century Christians. What does that commission mean to you and me? Do we take it personally? Do we intend to obey it?

So far, a host of individual Christians and many congregations have done very little about our Lord’s command. The direct result is that we are faced with many problems, both outside and inside the church. How can we expect to please God when we fail to do what He has asked us to do? Will we never learn?

Do we feel comfortable with the world with all of its evil, ungodliness, materialism and outright unbelief? As conditions grow worse through the influence of sin, will Christians not also suffer grave consequences? Even many of the problems in our personal lives and in the church itself are the result of our failure to give ourselves to the Lord and to do the work He has asked us to do. How can we turn this tragedy around? We can achieve much by simply repenting and becoming serious about world evangelism. This also means evangelizing our own neighborhoods, cities and states. Evangelism is the answer that must begin with us right here today! Right now!

His Most Precious Possession

David A. Sargent

David A. SargentThe story is told of two soldiers who had recently been released from a prison camp in Siberia following World War II. “We did our best,” said an officer, “to repatriate the men as fast as possible, but many were still there when winter threatened to close up the port.” Only a limited number could board the last small boat.

Among those waiting to be transported were two who had been friends all through the war. One of them was selected, but the other seemed doomed to remain behind. An order was given that those who were leaving could take only one important item of luggage. The heart of the man who was chosen went out to his friend, so he emptied his duffel bag of its prized souvenirs and his personal belongings and told his companion to get into the canvas sack. Then carefully lifting the bag onto his shoulders, he boarded the ship with his dear friend—his single, most precious possession!

Because of our sins, you and I are doomed! “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). However, Jesus Christ died on the cross on our behalf as payment for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus did this willingly so that you and I might gain safe passage “home” to live together with our Heavenly Father for eternity. Our “ticket” home came at a great personal cost to Him; however, His self-sacrifice was motivated by His great love for us. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Through the death of Jesus, a “new and living way” has been opened up for us to enter that heavenly home (Hebrews 10:22). Accessing this way to Heaven requires faith (Romans 5:1), repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confession (Romans 10:9-10), baptism (immersion) for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38) and faithful obedience in walking the well-lit path of righteousness (1 John 1:7).

The last ship is leaving. Can you hear the boarding call (Mark 16:15-16)? Jesus has given up everything so that He can take you with Him into that ship whose destination is the safe harbor of Heaven. Don’t be left behind—because you are His most precious possession! Will you allow Him to carry you home?

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