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THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST
Christianity Oasis Ministry has provided you with this The Judgment Seat of Christ lesson on The Judgment Seat of Christ verses. This the Judgment Seat of Christ book on the Judgment Seat of Christ meaning looks at the Judgment Seat of Christ message and asks what does the Judgment Seat of Christ mean, who is involved in the Judgment Seat of Christ, what is the Judgment Seat of Christ purpose, who needs the Judgment Seat of Christ help, how can the Judgment Seat of Christ be obtained, why the Judgment Seat of Christ is important, what is the Judgment Seat of Christ message and how the Judgment Seat of Christ message affects your Christian walk. Come and let us seek within the Bible and find the truth of the Judgment Seat of Christ verses with the Judgment Seat of Christ message together in this the Judgment Seat of Christ Bible study, shall we?


 

 

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BUILDING ETERNITY FROM A BED OF ROSES

By Victor Morton
 

 

This book takes a serious look at the Judgment Seat of Christ and world evangelization. When the North American church can only afford ½ of 1% from its vast church wealth for frontier missions (reaching the estimated 2.2 billion people who have never once heard the gospel of Jesus Christ), then we have a major decision to make. We must either reevaluate our traditional business-as-usual missionary programs or brace ourselves for a great disappointment at the judgment seat of Christ.


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter 1 Say What? 

Chapter 2 Is Christ Your Fire Escape? 

Chapter 3 The Great Commission Or The Great Omission 

Chapter 4 So Near, Yet So Far Away 

Chapter 5 Opportunity Knocks 

Chapter 6 Does God Love North America More Than Africa, Asia, the Middle East or South America? 

Chapter 7 Whose Kingdom Are You Building?

 

Copyright 1997

A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR

      Do you ever feel that perhaps something is missing in your Christian experience? Do you perceive that your spiritual life is going nowhere, and as the months turn to years you're still running in place, with no sense of real accomplishment? Have you longed for a change, something higher, purer and nobler than merely surviving as a Christian? If so, then I have good news for you! God has been preparing you for the great adventure! It is a journey through the spirit world, seen only through the eyes of faith, and as a faithful follower of Jesus Christ you can enter and take the spoil for our great King. The spoil--the souls of billions of Adam's fallen race. The obstacles are insurmountable, the enemy powerful, but “We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” (Rom. 8:37) Such is the life of a world Christian (disciple)

 

Chapter I

SAY WHAT?

      Why a book on the judgment seat of Christ and world evangelization? While these two subjects may seem worlds apart and destined for two different books, my purpose in writing this one book is to show the two subjects to be directly related. I will prove from the scripture that with the empowerment of prayer, Bible study, Christian fellowship and worship the church's highest form of glorifying her Lord is the simple and singular business of world evangelization and that every Christian will be judged accordingly. I believe I can prove from God's word that world evangelization is the church's primary responsibility while on this earth and that all other aspects of the Christian life (bible study, prayer, fellowship, worship and general holy living) all bringing glory to God in themselves are the essential tools needed to accomplish this otherwise impossible task. Once this is established, I will show you how as an average North American Christian you can send the gospel to the ends of the earth from the security of your own home, and literally win multitudes to Christ by the most cost efficient and effective Christian ministries available. Once you truly grasp this, you will never be the same, but first let me share how God has brought me to this point and how this book was conceived. 

Submitting to the Lordship of Christ

      I have had a hunger for the knowledge of, and a desire to see, world evangelization since the time in my Christian life when I truly made Jesus Lord. I have read everything I could get my hands on regarding the subject and I never felt it received the priority God gives it. Disciples are to make disciples and this means winning the lost to Christ and then equipping them to be able to do the same. I have never bought into the theory that the church exists for the church (like birds regurgitating down each other's throats), “You feed me and I'll feed you and let's all be happy while the billions of souls Christ died for and commissioned us to reach go to Hell.” How any Christian can read the scripture and live at ease with this lifestyle is beyond me. The God of the Bible has certainly given us a blueprint on the type of lifestyle we should follow in order to live righteous lives, but the highest compliment we could pay to the Lord is taking our then-anointed lives and as Christ did, spend them for the pardon of the world by whatever gift or gifts we have been given. We were saved to be a witness for Christ. That is what Christian means--Christ like. Christ left us here to carry on His work, and what work is that? Reaching our world with the redemptive plan Christ lived and died and rose again to accomplish. We were born (again) to reproduce.

      I was saved at the age of ten and knew I was saved, but it was not until ten years later after truly making Jesus Lord of my life that I began to sense the responsibility and privilege laid on the shoulders of the church of Jesus Christ to get the gospel to every living soul. I had such a hunger for the word of God that I would spend all my spare time in it. Soon I could not keep it to myself. I had to share it, and the more I shared it the more I had to study it to answer questions, and the more I prayed that Christ would be pleased to use me to give others the joy of this salvation. I brought what few people would come with me to church to hear this amazing gospel, but soon learned that non-Christians have no more desire to come to church than Christians do to go to some cultic or voodoo service. 

Christ Invites the Church to Come to the World

      Soon I discovered that Christ never asked the world to come to the church, but rather the church to go to the world, preach the gospel, and then when people become converted they will want to come to church to share in this common bond of Christ. “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Gal. 4:6. The lost individual (non-Christian) has no inclination to come to church. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” I Cor 2:14. 

      The unconverted mind has no hunger for spiritual things and it is only when they come under the sound of the gospel (the death, burial and resurrection of Christ) (I Cor 15:1-4.) that God draws to Himself in salvation those who believe. (“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” I Cor 1:21.) Christ went where the people were, commanded his disciples to go where the people were, and told them to train their disciples (us through the scripture) to go to the world. These truths all sank deep into my soul. I saw that every Christian had a vital part in winning the lost to Christ. This was exciting. I was involved in the greatest adventure and most important work in the universe, and I began to share this responsibility and privilege with other Christians. What I did not realize at the time was that what had made me so eager to share Christ was the fact that Jesus had truly become Lord of my life and I was unashamed to testify of Him. When we Christians have known, unconfessed sin in our lives our guilt will not allow us to speak of Him. I covered most of my city with an opportunity to receive Christ, going door to door. (I would color each street red on a map of my city as I covered them, signifying the blood was made available). God blessed me with such a joy and power for His purpose that I could hardly contain myself. Then I started to have Bible studies and to train others to do the same. Soon I was going to nearby cities and towns. 

Questions About the Whole Church Reaching the Whole World

      Then it dawned on me as I would read repeatedly how God loved the world, Christ died for the world, the Holy Spirit came to reprove the world, and we (the church) were to get the gospel to all the world, that it was a job much bigger than I, or my church, or my denomination could do. I began to consume all the information I could find on world evangelization. While thrilled to see what God was doing in some parts of the world, I was still puzzled at how many denominations would consider a town in Spain or Peru unevangelized even if there were six or eight other Christian evangelical churches in that town, but not of their denomination. So rather than sending a missionary to one of the tens of thousands of other towns in that particular country where there was no evangelical witness, many times there would be one more church in that one town. 

      It also puzzled me that many times national Christians were considered secondary citizens of Heaven, and in spite of the fact that there were millions of them (however untrained), trainable, selfless, and on fire to share the gospel with their people. They were not considered for evangelizing many times. Obviously, we needed North American missionaries in areas where there were no national Christians, but once nationals were converted, they already knew the language, were accustomed to the culture and food, and were not outsiders. More important to us North American Christians as wise stewards of God's money, they would have been much cheaper to support than additional North American missionaries who, after schooling, language school and moving expenses many times returned home because they could not adapt to the culture. For the North American missionary who did stay, depending on the country and ministry, anywhere up to a hundred nationals could have been trained and used for the same money and would have been much better qualified because of their background. These nationals could also take the gospel to all the other tribes and ethnic groups in their countries (in their own language) by means of literature, cassettes, film and radios. 

      We North American Christians have been blessed, but we are spoiled. These nationals need very little compared to our excess, and many of them will (and do) gladly lay down their lives for the gospel's sake. They only need the tools and training to reach the people they love with the salvation message. The church could increase the laborers 10, 50 or 100-fold depending on the country. 

      Another thing that baffled me was how many Christian leaders, however unintentionally, somehow gave the impression that this exciting privilege of world evangelization was the full-time missionary's job, and we ordinary saints had little to do with it. No wonder the Christian life seems so dull to the average pew warmer. We go to church and try to stay out of trouble. Ho hum! I knew from the scripture that the early church directly and indirectly (all) became involved in world evangelization. It was a family business.

North American Prayer and Technology + National

Christian Manpower = Nations Harvested

      God brought into my life ministries that were systematically reaching whole countries, town by town, with the gospel, discipling new converts and starting local assemblies like the early church. The emphasis was on people, not mega-million-dollar cathedrals like some ministries. These ministries were using nationals to reach nationals, and the results were phenomenal. These ministries joined hands across the waters, linking the North American spiritual and material wealth with the Army of millions of national Christians worldwide who were many times our superior when it came to dedication, faith and spiritual courage. They needed our prayers, training and tools, and we needed their manpower. This was a true picture of the one body of Christ having many members but one purpose (“For as the body is one, and hath many members and all members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” I Cor 12:12.)

      Just as vital as the nationals (who were turning their countries upside down) were the praying North American Christians whom God had given the financial means to co-labor in evangelizing the world. I will give more details about these ministries in Chapter 5. I still find my highest calling in supporting these ministries with my prayers and financial support. I have found them to be the most efficient, reputable and effective ministries out there.

My Perspective on Missions

      My perspective on missionary work has come without prejudice on behalf of any one missionary agency or denomination, but only as God has created in me an insatiable hunger for a working knowledge of His will for His church upon the earth. I am not a leader nor an employee of any missionary agency. My view on missions has come from over 20 years of God's leading me into the most profitable means of fulfilling His will on our planet (giving every individual in our world an opportunity to know and glorify our Savior through His blood sacrifice), and He has been consistent in this calling on my life. Through my faithfulness and unfaithfulness, God has remained true. As an ordinary American Christian with a regular job, I have studied various missionary ministries of men like Ralph Winter, Billy Graham, John Haggai, Paul Freed, Dick Eastman, Jim Montgomery and Bill Bright. I have served on the foreign mission field, and I have come to the conclusion that America needs to reevaluate its role in world missions. United efforts, multi-media exposure and nationals--I believe this is what God has prepared us for. 

It's Not Us Versus Them

      I am not saying that we should drop all our North American missionaries. However, what I am saying is that if we are even aware that our God expects us to get the gospel out to every living soul, we had better consider all of our options and begin putting them into place. With all due respect, if we are depending solely on our North American missionaries to accomplish world evangelism, the future of billions of unreached people looks very bleak. Our missionaries are doing a great job, but they can only be in one place at a time, and the task of reaching every soul on our planet with the gospel is more than these dedicated men and women can accomplish with their limited manpower. We in North America are doing more than our share in going to the nations, but there are just too few of us in light of the ever-increasing population of our world. In fact, our missionaries cannot even openly witness in countries holding the majority of the population of our world. We as the church of Jesus Christ have got to combine our efforts, multiply our outreach, and carefully look at our most effective options, if we are ever going to reach every person with the gospel. With approximately 6 billion souls on Planet Earth today, we need to go far beyond individual missionaries to mass coverage of whole countries. The Apostle Paul said the same thing when he said, “I am made all things to all men, that by all means I might win some.” Paul used all means available in his time to get the gospel to his generation. He used the Roman roads, ship, nationals, literature, and if Paul were living today, he would be using all means available to our generation.

Jesus Christ Wants You

      My prayer is that God will use this book to inform, equip, inspire and unite His church for the very real possibility of completing the task of world evangelism within our generation. After all these years of absorbing information on world evangelism, I cannot contain it any longer. The scripture verses and examples from the Bible have almost come to me faster than I could write, and here it is. I hope you will see the joy set before you from these lessons from God's word on your personal, vital role as an ordinary Christian in telling our world about our great Savior and what He has done for you, because as great as what He did on the cross was, your world will never know unless you tell them. We (the church) need every prayer and every gift if we are going to evangelize our world, even by the most cost-efficient and effective means. God has blessed us in America, and why do you think that is? To build our own kingdoms on earth (houses, cars, land, etc.)? No! To try and force nonbelievers in this country to believe? No!! God has not blessed us to build great cathedrals, or denominations (towers of Babel), but to work together with the rest of his body around the world to share Christ's sacrifice with those who have never heard, as one member of the body of Christ supplies the other. “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Eph. 4:16.)

Christ's Primary Concern

      So back to the original question. Why a book on the judgment seat of Christ and world evangelization? Because I personally believe that if the redemption of Adam's fallen race was Christ's top priority in glorifying His father during His earthly ministry, and if it is Christ's top priority that we glorify the Father by being a witness of what he did at Calvary to our world, then this will be Christ's primary concern at the Bema judgment. It is my contention that once we the church become one, as Christ and the Father are one, in our efforts to redeem mankind to God through Christ we will shortly thereafter have evangelized the world. (“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou has sent me.” John 17:20-21.)

 

 

Chapter II 

IS CHRIST YOUR FIRE ESCAPE?

      Will all Christians enjoy the same benefits and blessings throughout eternity? If so, then what is the Judgment Seat of Christ all about? Why does the Bible mention rewards and loss of rewards concerning this judgment for Christians, and what justice is there for Christians who have been faithful over those who have refused to take up their cross and follow Christ? According to scripture, every one of us will stand before Christ as blood-bought saints and give an account of how we spent our Christian lives while on this earth. We can face this now and make the necessary changes, or one day look into the eyes of perfect love and suffer the immense shame and loss of our disobedience. One look into the face of omnipotence and there will be no excuses, only overwhelming sorrow that we have failed our God and Savior, who gave His all for us. We will see our selfish lives in the light of His supreme sacrifice for us and His last command to us before His departure, “Go ye therefore into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15). He did the hard part. We were only to share the story and God will not wink at our disobedience and disservice. We seem to be of the opinion that it does not matter to God whether we serve Him or not, as long as we are saved. We look at what we are saved from, but what are we saved to? We are saved from the penalty of sin (Hell), but we are saved to serve God. So, who are we thinking of here? Is Christ simply a fire escape to us?

No One Judgment For All

      Much of the general public holds to a view of one judgment where all of humanity will someday stand before God and be judged by their deeds to determine their eternal destiny. However, this teaching portrays salvation by works and is totally contrary to scripture. If the Bible is crystal

clear on anything, it is the doctrine of salvation by faith in Christ's substitutionary death, burial and resurrection for eternal salvation.

The Judgment of Unbelievers

      The Judgment Seat of Christ for the believer is not to be confused with the Great White Throne Judgment for unbelievers. There will be an accounting at the Great White Throne Judgment for those who have refused Christ (Rev. 20:11, 12, 15) or whatever knowledge they had (Rom 1:18-20, Rom 2:14-16, Gal 3:24-25). “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their worksAnd whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the Lake of Fire.” (Rev. 20:11, 12, 15) “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shown it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:18-20). “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which do show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another; in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” (Rom 2:14-16). It is very obvious from these verses that the individual who dies outside of Christ will be judged, and justly, but there will also be a Judgment Seat of Christ where Christians will give an account of their service since salvation. 

The Judgment For Christian Service

      We as Christians may not all be overly interested in every intricate aspect of Christianity (history, prophecy, archeology, administration, etc.), but one thing we must all face is that inevitable reckoning day when we will give an account of how we carried out the Father's business while on this earth. The apostle Paul referred to this event as “The Judgment Seat of Christ.” “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God, which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia.” (II Cor. 1:1) “For we (Paul speaking to Christians) must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (II Cor 5:10).

The Overall Lifestyle Of the Truly Converted

Will Be To Please God

      In my humble opinion I have serious doubts about any professing Christian who says, “Well, I'm saved and that's all that matters to me. I can live as I please and still go to Heaven.” When I read the scripture I see that salvation is by grace and grace alone. “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8.9). “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ that we might be justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal 2:16) “Oh foolish Galations, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently sent forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, received you the spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Gal 3:1-3) “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Roman 10:9, 10, 13). These are just a few of the many, many verses that show God's salvation to be totally and exclusively by grace (God's remedy at Christ's expense), and not by our works. 

      I also read in God's word that when God saves someone the result is a changed life. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29). “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Cor 5:17). “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:17).

      When salvation occurs, the believer's standing before God, and his attitude, change; however, this does not mean that there will never be sin in the life of the believer. “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat, for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (I Cor 3:1-3). “For I (Paul) know that in me (that is, in my flesh), dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good, I find not. For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Oh wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but the with the flesh the law of sin.” (Rom 7:18-25). “For if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9). 

      The individual who has truly repented and received the blood sacrifice of Christ for remission of sin is totally and forever pardoned, and, although the old sin nature remains and the individual may succumb to it from time to time, their overall goal and lifestyle will be to please Christ. So, if your highest ambition is not to please the Lord, then this book is not for you. I have written this book for Christians who are willing to go the extra mile as Christ did and whose deepest yearning is to one day hear, “Well done” from God. 

Degrees of Punishment and Reward

      God is just! “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25). Just as the lost will suffer according to their deeds, we who have received the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for our sins will receive our just reward for service or the loss thereof. Common sense tells us that at the Great White Throne Judgment for the lost, Adolph Hitler will be punished harder than a proud religious man who lived a pretty good moral life but refused Christ. “He did it his way.” But let's look at the scriptures. Jesus said in Matt. 10:15, 11:22, Mark 6:11 and Luke 10:12-14 that it will be more tolerable (bearable, easier) in the day of judgment for one group of individuals than for another. “Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.” (Matt.10:15) “But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you.” (Matt. 11:22). “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when you depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.” (Mark 6:11). “But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. Woe unto thee, Chorizan, woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.” (Luke 10:12-14) 

      There will be degrees of reward in Heaven just as there will be degrees of punishment in Hell. That is why at the Great White Throne Judgment for the lost, the lost will be judged according to their works (Rev. 20:11-15), and that's why at the Judgment Seat of Christ some Christians will be saved, yet so as by fire (I Cor. 3:11-15). The unbelievers' judgment is to determine the degree of punishment they will suffer for their sin. Their salvation is not an issue here. That was determined before they left this life. Please note these verses again: (Rev. 20:11-15). The Christian's judgment is not about punishment for sin. The Christian had accepted Christ's punishment for his or her sin while on this earth and now their service is judged (I Cor. 3:11-15). Christians who made keeping up with the Jones' their priority on this earth will not have the blessings other Christians have for eternity, who have been faithful disciples of Christ. 

      As Christians God has not dealt with us according to our sin--true (Psa 103:10), and Christ became sin for us--true (II Cor.5:21), but God has a system of rewards and loss of rewards for us, and this will not be a small thing, but of utmost importance when we stand in His presence for judgment of our service. We Christians will not escape the Judgment Seat of Christ. 

      In Luke 19:11-27, when declaring that the Kingdom of God would not appear immediately, Jesus describes the Kingdom of God as a nobleman entrusting his servants with his business and expecting them to bring him profit in his absence. Then after returning as King, those who were faithful were rewarded, and the slothful servant suffered loss. Our King (Jesus) has left us with His business (the redemption of Adam's fallen race) and expects us to win others for His kingdom. (Matt. 28:19-20).

      God's system of rewards and penalty also applies in this life. Jesus said that he who gives up his own life's desires and ambitions for the sake of Christ will find the life or purpose he was created and redeemed for, and the person who puts his own selfish goals ahead of Christ's will for his life will lose the meaning and true joy of life (“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.” (Mark 8:35) God created us and saved us for a purpose, and when we are not fulfilling that purpose we have no life but a mere existence. Jesus also told us that if we would put His salvation and His righteousness first in our lives He would provide all of our needs. (“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:26, 33.) The opposite also applies to the disobedient Christian. God will correct His children by whatever means necessary, even death (Heb. 12:5-8; I Cor. 5:1-5).

God Did Not Overlook Old Testament Heroes' Sins

      God has in every dispensation rewarded obedience and punished disobedience, and we the church of Jesus Christ will also be rewarded or suffer loss according to our faithfulness after salvation. God punished Adam and Eve for their disobedience and cast them out of the garden. Adam would earn his keep by the sweat of his brow, and Eve would suffer in childbearing (Gen. 3), but this was only a fraction of the pain to come. One act of disobedience, and all of mankind and creation was cursed with sin and it's woes--pain, sorrow, death, and Hell (I Cor. 15:21-22), and we think our lives are our own, Christian. Every life, however (seemingly) insignificant, affects others by its actions or lack thereof. God's man Noah was obedient when he built the ark, and the lives of Noah and his family were spared during the flood (Gen. 6:1-8:22). Later, in a drunken stupor, Noah's nakedness caused a curse to fall on the lineage of one of his sons (Gen.9). Moses, God's deliverer for Israel, was used of God beyond measure, yet when he became angry and smote the rock in the wilderness (Num. 20:1-13), that rock being a type of Christ (I Cor. 10:1-4), he was refused entrance into the Promised Land. King David, a man whom God himself described as a man after his own heart (Acts 13:21-22) was anointed and blessed as a young man, and was a young man when he killed Goliath (I Sam. 17). God chose David to be King of Israel (I Sam. 16), and Christ himself will one day grace the throne of David with his presence (Luke 1:30-33), but even David was chastened after his adultery and murder by the death of several of his children (II Sam. 11, 12, 13 and 18) and the rape of his daughter by his own son (II Sam. 13). Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses, David, and all other heroes of the Old Testament dispensation were rewarded for their obedience and punished for their disobedience, and we Christians of the church age are no better than they. We too will reap the fruit of our labor since our salvation or suffer the loss of rewards for lack of service.

God Will Not Overlook The Church's Lack of Service

      Christ went to great difficulty to redeem us and He expects dividends. He expects returns. He expects us to work under His direction (it's in the word) to get the gospel to the rest of Adam's fallen race. God did not wink at Adam and Eve's sin, and He will not wink at our disservice. Again, we may say, “Well, Christ took our judgment on the cross.” That's true--for our sin, but we Christians will be judged by Christ for our faithfulness or slothfulness as disciples since our salvation. Please consider these verses again and keep in mind Paul is writing to Christians here, not the lost. “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Jesus Christ, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: (I Cor 1:2). “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (I Cor. 3:11-15) 

Our Debt of Love

      Our loving Lord not only forgave us our sin debt (Col. 2:13), sealed us with His Spirit (Eph. 4:30), reserved a place for us in Heaven (I Pet. 1:1-5), and ever liveth to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25); now He wants to reward us for serving Him. It seems very selfish to me that we would not serve Him for what He has already done for us, but He wants to reward us beyond that for our service. What a gracious, loving Lord we serve. 

 


 

CHAPTER III

THE GREAT COMMISSION OR THE GREAT OMISSION

      Is the great commission just one of hundreds of commands our Lord expects us to obey or is it the end result of an earthly life filled with prayer, the word, fellowship, worship and general holy living? As Christ's earthly life and walk as the perfect second Adam made Him the only worthy sacrifice for the sin of mankind, so our lives filled with the things of God make us worthy and empowered to make His sacrifice known to our generation. To those who would say world evangelization was given exclusively to the immediate disciples of Christ there in the first century just before His ascension, I am reminded that Jesus said in the great commission, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world. Amen" (Matt. 28:19,20)

Discipleship

      When Jesus said to His immediate disciples, "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you," this would have included His last command--now "go ye therefore. . . " Jesus also said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (age)" (Matt. 28:20) and we are still in the same age, the church age. So the first disciples were to pass on the mantle of world evangelization to their disciples, and each generation was to train their disciples to do the same until here we are in the 21st century. Today, through radio, printed page, cassette, film and national Christians, we North American disciples of the twenty first century can go to any country or every country of our world with our prayers and finances. With mass media we can reach more people for Christ in one day than Paul did in his lifetime, and we can accomplish this from the luxury and security of our North American homes. God has given us the opportunity to build eternity from a bed of roses. In John 20:21-23, Jesus tells His disciples, "Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them: and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." This tells me that as Jesus gave His life a sacrifice that the world might be saved, so we through our spiritual inheritance of discipleship are to give our lives for that same objective, that the world might be saved through the sacrifice of Christ. Jesus came to save the lost, "For the son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). Notice here Jesus seeks the lost and we, too, are to go where the lost are. Jesus speaking to the disciples in John 20:21-23 gave them the responsibility to carry on His work after his departure. They had the power to preach the gospel and those who believed were forgiven, those who did not remained unforgiven. Some will say, "Oh, no. Not all Christians are called to preach." Well, not all Christians are given the gift of evangelism, or pastor-teacher, or apostleship as the twelve were, but discipleship is for all Christians and preaching simply means proclaiming, and the message is simple. The gospel does not include all the Bible doctrines of the scripture, but it is in fact the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, and certainly requires no scholarship to share. Look at I Corinthians 15:1-4, "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures." The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and all disciples are to get the message to their generation. 

Why Are We Here?

      When we consider the fact that we were forgiven and given eternal life on the merits of Christ's sacrifice at Calvary, then we must ask the question, "Why did He leave us here on earth? Certainly we were left here to glorify God in our earthly state, but in heaven we will glorify Him in a perfect sinless way. We can fellowship with Him now, but in heaven we will have an unbroken, perfect fellowship without the flesh and sin. We can pray now, but then we will talk face to face. We can study the scripture now, but then we will know as we are known (I Cor. 13:12). We can enjoy Christian fellowship now, but then we will have a perfect sinless fellowship. The only thing we can do now while on this earth as Christians that will be everlastingly too late to do once we are on the other side is to evangelize the world for whom Christ died and commissioned us to reach. It is also true that we will not be able to glorify God in heaven as we do now when we overcome sin in this flesh, but of what value are our holy lives if we don't use them for His will on the earth as His disciples making disciples of all nations. We will continue all other aspects of the Christian life in heaven but in a perfect way; however, we will not have the privilege of bringing souls to Christ then who will forever add to the throng of worshippers around His throne. This is what He died for--the redemption of mankind. Yes, we glorify God in these earthen vessels when we submit to give ourselves as Christ did for the salvation of the world, ". . . as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you" (John. 20:21).

Christ Died For Us That We Might Live For Him

      Christ paid the sin debt for the world and He commanded us to reach our world with the plan of salvation. He spent His life unto death for world evangelization. Can we not spend our lives in service for the salvation of the world? We will not convert the world and God knows that, but He made a way through the cross for all to come and we are to evangelize the whole world. Evangelization is our responsibility. Evangelizing simply means giving everyone a clear presentation of forgiveness and eternal life through the shed blood of Christ and an opportunity to respond to it. Evangelizing does not mean trying to force non-Christians who do understand the gospel and refuse it, as is the case with much of America. A majority of our efforts are spent on evangelized but unconverted people while billions have never once had a chance to respond to the gospel. Conversion, on the other hand, is God's and the individual's responsibility. Conversion is when God pricks the heart of the unsaved individual through the gospel (death, burial and resurrection of Christ) and shows them their sin, God's holiness and judgment, and their need to repent and receive forgiveness through the sacrifice of Christ for their sin. The other part of conversion is when the individual makes the choice to accept God's provision for his sin. There has been much debate over the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. In my opinion, they are both essential and referred to in scripture, but the main issue here as far as I'm concerned is not how God's salvation works but how we disciples work toward evangelizing every nation, tribe, and tongue, because without us sharing the gospel (evangelizing) there can be no salvation. God in His sovereignty has given us (His church) one plan of salvation and there is one "name under heaven whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12) and we have the free will to obey Him or disobey Him.

God's Will For Us

      Jesus spoke of occupying till He comes (Luke 19:13). Doing what? Jesus, in John 9:4, spoke of working while it is day for the night cometh when no man can work. What work was He speaking of? I think most would agree that as the word Christian implies, we who name the name of Christ are to be as much like Christ as possible, and as Christ was about His Father's business even as a child, we are to be about our Father's business. In Philippians 2:5-8 Paul writes to the church and states that we as Christians are to have the same mindset Christ had when He made Himself of no reputation, became a servant, humbled Himself, and became obedient unto the death of the cross. Now why did Christ do all of the above? Certainly not for His health, but for the redemption of mankind. Again Paul says this is to be our mindset (passion, goal, objective and motivation--the redemption of mankind!). “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil.2:5-8) In John 4:34, Jesus said His meat was to do the will of Him that sent Him and finish His work. So if Jesus came to do the will of the Father and as the Father had sent Him, He sends us (John 20:21), then what is the will of the Father for us? Well, what was God's will for Jesus? To give His body a sacrifice for the world. "Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb. 10:5-10). In the garden, Christ prayed before His arrest and crucifixion that the cup of this sacrifice would pass from Him, but then replied, "Thy will be done."(Matt. 26:39-46). In II Peter 3:9, we see that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance and knowledge of the truth, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9). And how does God will for these perishing of II Pet. 3:9 to come to the knowledge of the truth? In Romans 10:14-15, Paul talks about the beautiful feet of those who preach the gospel and says the lost cannot know Christ without a preacher, "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Rom. 10:14-15). See--someone says, "God doesn't expect me to get the gospel out, that's the preacher's job" (meaning the evangelist or pastor); however, these same feet and this same gospel of peace are described in Ephesians 6:15, "And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace," (Eph. 6:15). Now, if you will back up to Ephesians 6:10, you will see this whole armor of God is for the brethren (Christians in general, not just pastors and evangelists). "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might," (Eph. 6:10). Then all the armor is listed for the Christian fight for souls, including the gospel footwear (Eph. 6:10-18). We are the preachers (proclaimers) the perishing of Romans 10:13-15 cannot hear the gospel without. Everything Christ did was important but Jesus' earthly work was incomplete until He cried, "It is finished" (John 19:30). "After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon Hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost" (John 19:28-30). He paid the sin debt for mankind and verified it with His resurrection. May I suggest as the church of our Lord Jesus Christ, that our work is incomplete until we obey our commander in chief's last command before his departure--evangelizing the world. If we are disciples or followers of Christ, then that means we should have His priority while on this earth, and his priority was fulfilling all scripture (as the perfect prophesied sacrificial lamb of God) and providing salvation for all who would come. Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me. . ." in Matthew 11:29. This yoke speaks of us resting in Christ and letting Him do the work--but what work? Also, when we learn of Christ, what do we see? We see the God man who spent Himself in life and death for the reconciling of man and God. This yoke also speaks of us and Christ yoked together for a common work, purpose, or job. So, if we are yoked together with Christ, resting in Him, learning of Him and His purpose, and let Him do the leading, what work do you think we will be doing and what priority do you think we will have? If we are yoked with Jesus, what do you think our highest goal will be? To glorify the Father--true, and if we are yoked together with Jesus, how will we look at the world--as a place to settle in and build our own kingdom, or will we see the world as Jesus saw it when He said in Luke 19:10, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." So if God's will for Jesus was to prepare Him a sacrifice that the world might be saved (Heb. 10:5-10) and we are to glorify God by being like Christ (Phil. 2:5-8), then this sheds a whole new light on Romans 12:1,2, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." If we present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice, we will find the perfect will of God for our lives (God's will is that none should perish--II Pet. 3:9.). Again God's perfect will for Christ was a holy life and sacrificial death that the world might be saved so the perfect will of God for our lives will be a sacrificial holy life that can be used of God to redeem the world to God through Christ. This does not suggest that we all go to the foreign mission field, but by whatever gift or gifts we have been given, we should see to it that all nations hear the good news. Obviously, God hasn't called all of us to go as evangelists to the world. "If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? (I Cor. 12:17). 

Christ's Love Is Contagious

      Matthew 3:11,12 speaks of Christ's coming after John the Baptist, and His purpose--gathering souls to Himself and burning those who refuse Him. Then Jesus' first message in Matthew 4:17 is evangelistic. "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near," --speaking of Himself. Heaven is as near or far from an individual as Jesus is. The individual who possesses Jesus possesses heaven. In Matthew 4:19, Jesus calls Peter and Andrew and declares that if they would follow Him, He would make them fishers of men, "And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." He doesn't say He will make them theologians, though He would teach them scripture and later inspire Peter to write scripture. He doesn't say He will make prayer warriors of them, though He would teach them to pray. He doesn't even say He will use them to encourage the brethren, though He would later say to Peter, "If you love me feed my sheep" (John 21:17). Christ doesn't even mention all the miracles they would later perform, but our Savior's purpose in calling these men was to make them fishers of men. Soul winners! Jesus taught the law and the commandments to show that none could be saved by them (Gal. 3:24,25 and Romans 3:19,20). Jesus would preach and perform miracles and the end results would be people believing on Him. Look at the times in His earthly ministry people believed on Him. Look at how many times in His earthly ministry the Scripture records people not believing on Him. This was the bottom line. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). In Matthew 7:21, Jesus says only those who do the will of God will enter heaven. Later he would say in response to what works must we do that we might work the works of God or the will of God? Believe on Him whom God hath sent (John 6:28-29), "Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent". The gospel of John begins in Chapter 1:7 describing John the Baptist as telling people to believe on Jesus, "The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe." In John 1:35-45, John introduces two of his disciples to Jesus, then one of them (Andrew) introduced Peter to Jesus. Then Philip met the Lord and introduced Nathaniel to Christ. There seems to be a pattern here, doesn't there?

Imitating Christ--The Highest Form of Glorifying God

      The supreme purpose of man is to glorify God, not evangelize the world, but how do we glorify God? It's as simple as obedience and submission to Him. Jesus said, "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father" (John 14:9), and "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15), and all the commandments are summed up in these two, "Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself" (Mat. 22:37-40). So, if we love God with all of our being, we are going to make His priorities ours. Because of God's great love, He has given His Son's life to redeem mankind and throughout eternity we will not glory in our accomplishments, (our prayer life, knowledge of the word, or verbal worship), but in His redeeming love. If the redemption of mankind is God's priority and we glorify God by submitting to His will, then what should our priority be--the redemption of mankind. The second part of glorifying God is loving our neighbor as ourselves. I think we often respond to this like the lawyer of Luke 10:25-29 when he said, "And who is my neighbor?" We think that perhaps this only includes people on either side of our dwellings. Well, first of all Jesus showed the lawyer that any one in need is our neighbor, and today with our mass media we know of the billions of people around our world who need Christ. Also, if we love them as we love ourselves, then we will go to any length to see to it that they, like ourselves, have every opportunity to know Christ's forgiveness, because the only alternative is Hell. This alternative is a harsh reality; nevertheless, if we believe the Bible, a reality (Psalms 9:17, Luke 12:4-5, and Luke 16:22-24). So what could be our highest calling in glorifying our God? Following His heartbeat--world evangelization.

Using Prayer to Glorify God

      I realize any time someone makes a statement like the one I have just made, someone else will respond, “What about prayer? Isn't it true that when we are confessing , petitioning, praising, and worshiping God, we are glorifying God?” Of course, but we can pray until we are blue in the face, and if we don't then leave the presence of God with our then spirit filled lives and allow ourselves to be used of God to accomplish His purpose on the Earth, what good it is? Words are cheap! We can tell God how great He is and how much we love Him and should, but God wants us to show Him how great He is by testifying of Him. God wants us to show Him how much we love Him by showing Him off to our world (John 14:15). In Psalms 51:13, the writer says once we pray and confess our sin, then we can be used of God to convert the lost, "Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee." Prayer is a vital part of the Christian life. It equips us for God's work. When we the church are prayed up and clean, then we can do what we have been called to do--reach our world for Christ. In the Lord's prayer, Jesus said pray--"Our Father which art in heaven." First of all is Jesus our Savior and hence God our Father. "Hallowed be thy name." Here is our verbal worship and when we truly love and adore Him, we want to elevate His name (Jesus) among the nations. We want as many people as possible in heaven forever hallowing His name. "Thy Kingdom come." Obviously we are here on this Earth to build His Kingdom with people from every nation, tribe, and tongue. "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Here we see that as our Lord receives all the preeminence in heaven, so our desire on earth is to see His will accomplished here, and how can our world give Him preeminence if they don't even know Him and His mighty works. "Give us this day our daily bread." While on this earth ministering for our Lord we can depend on Him to "supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19). "And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors". Again in Psalms 51:13, the writer says until we confess our sins we cannot convert the lost and we cannot be forgiven until we forgive others (Mat. 6:14-15). "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” Our temptation as we become weary in well-doing (Gal. 6:9) is to back off from our spiritual disciplines, and the results are that we become unfit for the Master's use (II Timothy 2:20-21). In I Corinthians 9:20-27, Paul mentions this and he talks about being all things to all men that he might win some, "And unto the Jews I became a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." Paul here talks about running in the race for souls that he might win the prize (reward, crown). Paul talks about disciplining himself spiritually so that he might be found worthy of the Lord to win the lost, and we are to follow Paul as he followed Christ (I Cor. 10:32-11:1), "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Be ye followers of me even as I also am of Christ." It's possible for us to become useless to God while on this earth if we become undisciplined (become lax in prayer, Bible study, worship, and Christian fellowship) and we can become castaways (I Cor 9:27). This is not speaking of salvation, but use for service (I Pet 1:3-9 and II Pet 1:5-9). "For thine is the kingdom and power and glory for ever. Amen." Here only God can enable us to be all that we can be for His service, and only He deserves the credit for the results.

Using The Word To Bring God Glory

      Another critical element of the Christian life is the word (Bible). ". . . thou hast magnified (honored) thy word above all thy name." (Psalms 138:2). But what have we been given the word for? First of all, the word contains the gospel which we (the church) are to be getting out to the ends of the earth--the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Then the New Testament is full of references to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and the rest is directly related to and because of the gospel. Even the Old Testament has the blood line of Christ running through it and is full of the pictures and types of the coming Messiah. Then the word is given for our sanctification. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,” (Eph. 5:25-26). The word keeps us clean, but this is a means to an end. Notice once we are sanctified, then we are meet for the master's use and work. "But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work" (II Tim. 2:20-21). The word is given to us as the sword of the spirit (Eph. 6:17). In the armor described in Ephesians 6, for all Christians the word is the only other piece of advancement equipment besides the gospel footwear. As Jesus used the word to fend off Satan before His earthly ministry, so we too have this sword of the spirit. The word Paul describes in II Timothy 3:16-17, as being profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction for the man of God is the same word the evangelists and pastor-teachers of Ephesians 4:11-12 use for the perfecting of the saints for their work of the ministry, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." What else would they use to equip the church for the ministry--their opinion? Of course not! Again, if prayer, the word, fellowship and worship were an end in themselves on this earth, then we would be better off in heaven now where we could do all of the above in a perfect way. Christ spent time in prayer with His Father, knew the scriptures from a child and lived a holy life to empower Him to work the works of Him that sent Him, so we too are to follow the same example.

Since The Fall, God's Priority Has Been Consistent

      From the beginning God's priority has been a desire to fellowship with mankind, and since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden His purpose has been the redeeming of fallen man back to Himself. Right away He promised that the seed of Adam (the second Adam--Christ) would defeat Satan (Gen. 3:14-15) and once again mankind could love and fellowship with God. In Noah's day when the sin of man brought the judgment of God, before God sent the flood, He sent a preacher (Noah) to warn the people and He provided a safe haven for all who would enter (The ark) (II Peter 2:5). Noah's day was not unlike ours (Luke 17:26-27). God is using His church to call out a people to Himself and all who enter God's safe haven (Christ) will be spared the judgment to come. As all who entered the door of the ark were saved, so it is with all who flee the wrath of God through Jesus (the door) (John 10:7-9). So these Old Testament types of Christ sound far fetched to you? Jesus said, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me" (John 5:39). The Old Testament scriptures were given for an example for us. (I Cor 10:11 and II Peter 2:4-6). God had all the nations in mind when He told Abraham thou shalt be a father of many nations (Gen. 17:4) and all the nations shall be blessed in thee (Gen. 18:18). Israel was God's chosen people but God said in Isaiah 45:22, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth. . . " 

God's Followers Are Just As Vital To His Work As His Leaders

      Gentile people in the Old Testament learned of the God of Israel not just because of leaders like Joshua, Moses, David or Solomon but also by the gallantry, faithfulness and testimony of the everyday run of the mill children of Israel. God has always had His leaders to orchestrate His work, but without all the followers the victories would never have been won. God uses His people period. The correlation between the Old Testament followers of Jehovah and the New Testament church of Jesus Christ is much closer than we often recognize. Old Testament believers look forward to Christ's sacrifice like we look back to it. The shedding of the blood of bulls and goats was a covering until the lamb of God came (Heb. 10:1-10 and John 1:29), but at any rate God used Moses and the children of Israel to shake the world in their day just as He wants to use the whole church today. Sure the children of Israel moaned and groaned at times and God had to deal with their sins, but when they were faithful God used them to carry out the plans He had given His leaders. 

      Today the whole church has the instruction of God in His completed cannon of scripture and we are to follow our leaders as they follow the word of God. We (the whole church) are to function as a whole body made up of many members having many gifts and functions, but for one common purpose--the salvation of God's creational crown of glory--mankind. Certain leaders today have been given gifts of motivation and direction, but they cannot evangelize the world without our prayers and gifts. Read Ephesians 4:11-12. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor-teachers, etc., were given by God to the church to equip the church for the work of the ministry. So what is the work of the ministry? Ministry means service, and all of our service is to be as unto the Lord, and what service could we be doing for our Lord? Again, knowing Christ's priority to be the souls of man, it is no surprise that in II Corinthians 5:18,19 Paul describes this ministry as one of reconciliation. In Corinthians 5:18,19. Paul talks about a ministry of reconciliation, "All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation." Reconciliation means bringing two together and the tool used for this ministry is the word of reconciliation (the gospel). This is the same gospel of peace Paul talks about all Christians shodding their feet with in Ephesians 6:15. So as pastor-teachers, evangelists, etc., equip the church to reconcile people to God through Christ and as new converts come into the fold, it strengthens the church all the more. "For the edifying of the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-12). There is nothing like a new convert with their new-found faith and fervor to encourage us older believers who sometimes have forgotten where we came from. It's a shame that most new converts have to backslide to fellowship with the average church, but what a joy it is to be around a new Christian. They are trusting enough to believe God will do just what He says He will do and they want to tell the world about Christ. This should tell us something about the natural God-given instinct to witness each one of us has after our conversion and that it is only after much coldness that the new convert becomes disinterested in evangelism. Our commission is crystal clear! Teach the nations, preach the gospel to every creature, repentance and remission of sins be preached in His name among the nations, Whosoever sins ye remit they are remitted unto them and whosoever sins ye retain they are retained (Mat. 28:18, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47 and John 20:23). We have been taught to observe all things whatsoever Jesus taught the first disciples and Christ is with us till the end of the church age (Mat. 28:19-20), "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 alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

God's Priority Should Be the Church's Priority

      In Luke 10, Jesus sent 70 disciples into the cities to tell of Himself and asked them to pray that others would go. When they returned excited about the miracles they had performed in Christ's name, Jesus pointed out that eternal salvation was more important. Again we see God's priority. God's priority has not changed!. Christians, our primary business here is souls for Christ. He did die for them, didn't He? And for those of you who believe Christ died only for the elect, then find the elect. In Luke 15:3-7, Jesus talked about leaving the ninety and nine to find the one lost sheep. Verse 7 says God's priority is the lost, "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance" (Luke 15:7). Jesus talked about the joy over finding the one lost coin in Luke 15:8-10) Christ talked about the word (seed) being sown in people's hearts. Jesus was consumed with getting the word to people. God doesn't call all of us Christians to go to the unevangelized areas of the world, but He does call all of us to see to it that the gospel gets to these areas. We have all the tools we need to reach our world with the gospel, but are we using them? We have prayer but do we ever pray for the lost billions Christ died for and asked us to reach? "Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest" (Luke 10:2), and if we American Christians get our priorities straight we certainly have the financial means to reach the unevangelized regions beyond. We are to be co-laborers together with our brothers and sisters world-wide to reconcile the nations to God. "So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building" (I Cor. 3:7-9). Most of us Christians are so self-consumed that we can't focus on God and others. The life of a true disciple is one of those paradoxes that occurs when we lose our lives in God and others and find ourselves. We find the contentment we were created and saved to enjoy. When we are totally emersed in God and His plan for mankind, we take our emphasis off our own stumblings and failures and press on to perfection for the sake of others. "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it" (Matt. 10:39). Once we have evangelized every individual on planet Earth, and have given everyone an opportunity to accept or reject the gospel, then Christ's bride will be complete, and the church's work on Earth will be done--thus the end of the age (the church age) (Matt.28:20). "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

Did The Early Church Leave

The Great Commission To the Apostles?

      Thus far I have given scripture after scripture showing the church's highest calling while on this Earth, and that being world evangelization, but there is much more, so bear with me. In Acts 8:1-4, we see that Saul (later Paul) scattered the church at Jerusalem abroad, and they (the church) went everywhere preaching the word. "And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word." Therefore, they (the church, not just the apostles) that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word (gospel). As stated earlier, part of the armor Paul describes as a vital part of the victorious Christian life to the church at Ephesus in Ephesians 6:10-15 was, "Your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace." "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace." In I Thessalonians 1:1 and 5-8, Paul speaking to the church says he didn't even need to preach to the people there at Thessalonica because the Christians there had preached (proclaimed) the gospel everywhere. "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ" (1:1). "For our gospel came not unto you in the word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we are among you for your sake. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing" (1:5-8). The gospel is simply the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Jude to the saints sanctified and preserved in Jesus Christ says to have compassion on the world and others save with fear pulling them out of the fire hating the sin. "And of some having compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh" (Jude 22,23). Read Philippians 1:12-18. Here Paul writes to the Philippian church from prison and declares that his imprisonment had furthered the gospel. He writes "many of the brethren". Did you catch that?--brethren, not apostles, evangelists, or pastors. Many of the brethren had become bold by Paul's imprisonment to "speak the word" without fear. Some preached Christ out of envy and strife, and others out of sincerity. Regardless, Paul was thrilled that the gospel was preached by the brethren. "But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: but the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice" (Phil. 1:12-18).

Running The Race With Paul

      In I Corinthians 9:19-27, Paul talks about winning the lost world to Christ (v. 19-23) and compares it to running a race (v. 24-27). He says we run this race of presenting the gospel to the lost for a prize from our Lord someday (v. 25). This race was not just for Paul but for all Christians. "For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway," (I Cor 9:19-27). In Chapters 10 and 11, Paul goes into the spiritual disciplines needed to enable them to win this race for souls. He repeats this again in I Corinthians 10:33 and just in case his readers think this race was only for Paul, in the next verse (I Cor 11:1) Paul admonishes them to follow him in this race for the souls of men as Paul followed Christ. Paul emphasizes this again in Hebrews 12:1-2 with the "let us" of world evangelization, "Let us lay aside every weight and sin" etc., and "Let us run with patience the race that is set before us." "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us," (Heb 12:1). In the next verse, Hebrews 12:2, Paul talks about Christ's endurance on the cross for the redemption of mankind as our example. Souls! Souls! Souls!!! "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God," (Heb 12:2). Back in I Corinthians 9:25, Paul talks about an incorruptible crown we can win from Christ for winning this race. “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible," (I Cor 9:25). The value of winning the lost is described in Proverbs 11:30, "The fruit of righteousness is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise." Paul mentions this again in I Thessalonians 2:19-20, "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy." Daniel 12:3 talks again about the wisdom and eternal reward of turning our generation to God. "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever," (Dan 12:3). It almost seems as though the great commission is pretty important to God, doesn't it?

Other Crowns

      The crown mentioned in Revelation 2:10 is a martyr's crown. Martyrs for Christ are not secret Christians but a witness for their Lord unto death. In II Timothy 4:8, Paul mentions a crown of rejoicing for all of us who love Christ's appearing. It only stands to reason that Christians who are faithful stewards of the Lord's business will be glad and proud to see Him at His appearance for they will hear, "Well done." We who are slothful servants will suffer loss and, knowing this, will be ashamed (not rejoicing) at His appearance. In I Pet 5:2-4, pastors will receive a crown of glory for equipping the church of God for the work of the ministry. Compare this with Ephesians 4:11-12, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teacher; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." This same ministry is mentioned in II Corinthians 5:18-19, "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." Again remembering that this ministry for every Christian in Ephesians 4:11-12 is part of a spiritual cycle. The pastor feeds the flock, the flock witnesses to the fact of God's reconciliation through Christ, and the new converts come into the fellowship which encourages and edifies the church all the more. By our words and deeds we Christians are to be witnesses for Jesus Christ to our world.

All Rewards Point Back To The Cross

      In Matt. 10:41-42 when receiving a prophet's or righteous man's or disciple's reward for showing these godly persons kindness, one has to realize that as we aid these individuals we are furthering the gospel. A prophet will be presenting the gospel as the only escape from God's judgment. The righteous man and disciple will be faithful executors of God's business (world evangelization). A cup of water, lodging or financial support make us partners in their labor and reward. Look again at Chapter V and share in today's harvest. When we help God-annointed ministries win souls world-wide, we are accounted as going into all the world. In Luke 6:22-23 there is a reward for being persecuted for Christ's sake, but consider the fact that one would not be persecuted for being a Christian unless the one being persecuted was making it known that he or she was a Christian (witnessing - by word or deed). Luke 6:35 says there will be a reward for being good to our enemies, but our enemies are enemies of the cross and what better witness for Christ could we give them than exchanging good for evil? In Matthew 19:29 there is a reward for leaving houses, land, loved ones, etc., but again, what would one be leaving these things for? Christ and the gospel. All rewards point back to the cross!

Greater Works Than Jesus?

      What was Jesus talking about when He said we (Christians) would do greater works than He did. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father," (John 14:12). Greater works than Jesus did? That's what Jesus said. What does this mean? Well, obviously the disciples did many marvelous works and miracles, but greater than Jesus? Let's look at the disciples' miracles. Well, they did raise some from the dead, but when Christ rose from the dead, the scripture says many bodies of the saints arose, "And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many," (Matt. 27:52-53). What about all the other miracles the disciples did? John wrote in John 20:30-31 and 21:25 that Jesus did many other miracles which were not even written in the bible and that the earth could not contain all the books if they were written, "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name," (John 20:30-31). " And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen" (John 21:25). This may sound strange at first, but when we realize that Christ was not limited to time and dimension, He could have revealed an eternity of His miracles and works, from the creation and before, from the present through the future, and He could have done so in a moment's time. He is God, remember. So, back to the original question-what works can we do that are greater than Christ's? In John 6:28, Jesus says in answer to what works must we do that we might work the works of God, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent." Jesus also said to his disciples not to rejoice over the miracles they were able to perform, but that they were saved, "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven," (Luke 10:19-20). The eternal redemption of man was the work Christ came to accomplish. The miracles and works were only a vindication of His Messiahship. Christ provided eternal salvation for all and some believed on Him during His earthly ministry, but for the most part He has given this privilege of bringing people to salvation through His gospel to us. Jesus was despised and rejected by His own, "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not," (Isaiah 53:3). Even His own disciples doubted and later forsook Him, but on the day of Pentecost He used them to bring 3,000 people to God. Throughout the ministries of the first disciples, multitudes were brought into the household of salvation. These are the works greater than Christ's. When I first saw this I thought this sounds like blasphemy, but then I realized that Christ did the hard part. He paid for mankind's sin. He experienced the wrath of God for all, and then in His love He has shared this great privilege of redemption with us His church. Christ will receive the preeminence throughout eternity for paying the sin debt of all who will come, but then no one can come to Him unless we (the church) tell them. He has ordained it so. Today in our generation we have the opportunity and means to bring more souls to God than the first disciples did. No one but Christ could have made salvation possible, but He has ordained that we (not Himself) share that gospel that saves. On the day of Pentecost, about 3,000 came to Christ. Today, approximately 90,000 are being converted a day. Angels would have jumped at this opportunity to bring men to God, and we consider it a bother. It takes time and money away from our own agendas.

The Power of His Resurrection

      In Philippians 3:10, Paul wrote about wanting to know Christ, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings (Phil. 3:10). What did he mean here? When Paul wrote of wanting to get to know Christ, he already knew Him as Saviour (II Tim. 1:12). Paul was wanting to get to know more about Christ and more of Christ. The next question is what would Paul do with this knowledge and for what purpose was he pursuing it? Paul was pressing toward the same mark all of us disciples (learners, students, pupils, followers, imitators) are to aim for--following Christ's example. This is what Christian means--Christ-like, and again as we imitate Christ's example while He was on this earth, we realize that the one event that affirmed everything He did was His resurrection, "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection." The resurrection was Christ's means to an end--the redemption of mankind. By Christ's resurrection, His sinless life and vicarious death were made legitimate on behalf of the sinner before God. So, too, when we as disciples of Christ (following Paul as he followed Christ (I Cor. 11:1)) get to know more and more about Christ, the more we see the need to imitate His total dependence on the resurrection power of God to accomplish the Father's purpose on this earth. As we see how by Christ's resurrection all might be redeemed to God, then our priority will be to partake of this resurrection power to bring our generation to God. How do we do that? The power of His resurrection is in essence the gospel (the death, burial and resurrection of Christ). The same power that raised Jesus from the dead raises the sinner to spiritual life from the dead by faith in that same gospel (I Cor. 1:18 and 21 and Eph. 2:1 and 5-6). As Christ died and rose that the world might be saved, so we who have experienced the transforming resurrection power of salvation can now resurrect others through the power of the gospel (the power of His resurrection). 

      In Philippians 3:10 we also read, "And the fellowship of His sufferings." As we are faithful in Christ's battle for the souls of men, our enemy (Satan) is going to try to hinder us. So, as we really get to know Christ, His resurrection power surges through our beings to bring mankind to God, and as we do this we should be willing, if necessary, to suffer (as Christ did) for the sake of others, hence "and the fellowship of His sufferings." All this can only be accomplished as we die to ourselves, "being made conformable to His death." Again look at Philippians 3:10, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death."

Christ Died For The World

The Church Is To Tell The World

      In Acts 1:8, Jesus said He would send the Holy Ghost after His departure to make the transfer of responsibility of the redemption of the world from Himself to His church. Jesus had paid the sin debt and now the same Holy Spirit that came upon Him at His baptism for His earthly work was passed on to the church. Christ was empowered to be the lamb of God for the sins of the world, and we the church witnesses of that fact. "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 Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Look at Acts 2 to see the entrance of God's spirit upon His people and the beginning of the church age. Today we receive the Holy Spirit at salvation (Ephesians 1:12-14 and Romans 8:9), and our orders haven't changed.

Let Your Light Shine

      Let me close this chapter by giving a very simple biblical illustration. Jesus said in John 9:5 that He was the light of the world while He was here, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." So what happened to the light that illuminates the way to God after his departure? Christian friends, we are to reflect that light of Christ. Christian means Christ-like, or an example of Christ. A disciple is an imitator of his master and one who gives his life for the same purpose his master has. In II Corinthians 4:3-4, Paul talks about his ministry and gospel as light shining to the lost that they might be saved, "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." Again, in Acts 13:47, Paul says Christ set him to be a light to the ends of the Earth, "For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth." Remember in I Cor 11:1 where we talked about Paul inviting all Christians to follow his example of getting the gospel to the world? Well, here again we (everyday, average, run-of-the-mill Christians) are to be lights to our world. Look at Matthew 5:14-16: "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Jesus said in John 9:5, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world;" Paul said in Eph 5:8, "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light;" Rom 13:12, "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light;" and again in I Thessalonians 5:5, Paul says, "Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of the darkness." God wants his people to reflect the light of Christ (the true light) to the world by whatever gift or gifts they may have. We are to reflect Christ, and what was Christ? A sacrifice for the sin of mankind. This is our business! This is our calling and purpose! Are you a gospel light or are you hiding your light under a bushel?

      It should be obvious now that every one of us as believers are responsible and accountable for world evangelization. The next chapter will deal with some of the reasons we aren't pursuing our calling. 

 

 

CHAPTER IV

SO NEAR YET SO FAR AWAY

      If world evangelization is the ultimate praise gift from the church to Christ and if filling heaven with saints from every people, tribe, nation, and tongue, who will glorify Christ for ever is the highest form of glorifying God while on this Earth, then why do the New Testament writers not dwell on it even more than the many, many passages referred to in the preceding chapter? I believe Peter, Paul, James, John, and Jude all spent so much time in their letters dwelling on holy living, a faith life, praying always, studying the scriptures, and an unblemished relationship between the saints, and the saints and their God because without these things we the church can't even get along long enough to plan our strategy. Without the love of God ruling our lives we certainly aren't going to be willing to give our lives in service for the souls of people who hate our God and us. Again David in Psalms 51:12,13 said sinners won't be won to God until God's people are grounded in their own salvation, "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee." Only when we fall in line with New Testament teaching can we be the answer to Christ's prayer when He prayed "Neither pray I for these, alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou has sent me." (John 17:20-21). God the father and Jesus the Son were one in accomplishing an earthly redemption plan for mankind--the cross and empty tomb. So, too, once we (the body of Christ) become one in our goal to get the gospel to every living person on Earth, the task becomes much simpler and smaller. According to the U. S. Center for World Missions in Pasadena, California, there are 600 evangelical congregations world-wide for each people group who has never heard the gospel. If "the church" increased its giving to world missions by 1/3 of 1% (details in Chapter V), it would finance the job, but we would rather squabble over a pre or post-tribulation rapture, or who the antichrist might be. Meanwhile we consider our Christian duty to stay out of trouble and go to church--for what? Christ never intended for His church to merely survive until we get to heaven. This Satanic attitude is going to produce a lot of Christians at the judgment seat of Christ who will have nothing to show for a lifetime of grace and who will suffer eternal loss (I Cor 3:15). 

Reasons We Aren't Pursuing God's Priority

Doubting The Credibility of The Bible

      Sometimes when I consider how obvious it is from God's word that His whole church should be involved in sharing the greatest sacrifice of love ever made (Christ) with the object of that love (mankind), I wonder if we really believe the credibility of the scriptures. After all, here in the 20th century our world goes to no end to discredit the Bible in the minds of believers and spiritual seekers. Satan is the God of this world and according to James Dobson (Focus on the Family radio broadcast) the majority of our higher learning institutes so weaken the faith of most uninformed Christians or Christian-influenced students that they leave the church never to return. This attack on the word of God goes on at every level of our society, from the public schools, to the arts, to the streets. Some whole political systems have put the destruction of the word of God near the top of their agendas (communism). To convince oneself that the Bible is untrustworthy soothes the conscience of the sinner who doesn't want to think about the consequences of his or her sin. So it stands to reason that if we Christians have doubts about the scripture then we aren't going to put our full weight on its message. There are many proofs that this book we Christians call God's word has to be just that. Archeology, prophesy, historical accuracy, detailed scrutiny of the resurrection, the lives of the apostles, the early church, and other writings of the time, even comparing our copy of the scriptures to the early hand written copies all vouch for its supernatural origin, but it is not my purpose to dwell on this here. This would require many other books and there are presently many other books on these subjects. I would recommend some of Josh McDowell's books or tapes such as Evidence that Demands a Verdict or Evidence for Your Faith-Practical Apologetics, but I will give one quick little boost to your faith here (general concepts and illustrations from Evidence for Your Faith) in hopes that you will pursue these studies further if this happens to be a problem for you. Once our faith is strengthened, then we can carry on the work of the Lord. This is why you will read throughout this book that world evangelism is not a spiritual cure-all for the Christian, but the end result of a life of faith, holiness, and obedience. First of all, is it wrong to question the validity of the scripture? Well, this is in fact the first thing we must establish in our Christian faith, because all else rises and falls on the Bible. It is true that only a fool would ignore it if it is God's word, but if this book is not God's message to mankind then we Christians have no grounds to stand on. 

      First of all we weren't there to see the creation or resurrection, so our faith is built on what this book we call the Bible says happened. Can we depend on it? Absolutely!. Our Bible was written over a period of 1,600 years by over 40 different authors, most of whom never knew each other or even met each other. These writers lived at different times in history, within different cultures, spoke different languages (Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic), lived on different continents (Africa, Asia, and Europe), and had varying occupations (Moses was a prime minister, Amos was a herdsman, Matthew was a tax collector, Peter a fisherman, Joshua a military leader, Luke a doctor, etc.) and yet all sixty-six books of our Bible agree as one. One theme--Christ the redeemer of mankind and no contradictions on intricate prophesies, doctrine, or its source (the word of the Lord came unto me, thus saith the Lord, etc.) If you were to take just two individuals of the same culture, time period, language, occupation and country and put them in two separate rooms and say write some new religious book, do you think their books would agree? Of course not!. Yet this is exactly what happened in the case of the Bible, but with many, many more variables. Why? Because God orchestrated our Bible. We have over 14,000 old hand-written manuscripts of the New Testament alone and they agree with our Bible today. And what about the writers of our New Testament? Did they all get together and make up some new religion? When you consider the fact that Christ's disciples left Him, denied Him, and even returned to their old occupations, disillusioned and in hiding for fear of losing their own lives, you begin to realize that they weren't looking for His resurrection. They thought it was all over! Then if you compare the bold, joyful, uncompromising lives of the disciples who, after that first Easter morning, were imprisoned, beaten, tortured and died martyrs' deaths, you begin to realize that nothing short of the resurrection would have brought about such a change. People have died in ignorance for a lie before, but if the disciples did not see the resurrected Christ and weren't convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt by talking to Him and touching Him, then they suffered and died for nothing. If the disciples did not see the resurrected Christ, then they would have perpetrated a false religion that would produce the same senseless suffering they endured down through the ages and did so knowingly. If you've ever heard the expression that says "Some people would rather climb a tree backwards and tell a lie than stand on the ground and tell the truth", then you know this certainly applies to those who hold to the theory that the disciples invented the resurrection. No, what the disciples spent their lives for, suffered for and died for was our risen Christ, and the Old and New Testament writers had nothing to gain by making up some new religion. Look at the suffering of the Old Testament writers for their faith. They were ridiculed, persecuted, and did the most insane things if for a known lie. Look at all Moses gave up and look at all the self-inflicted suffering the children of Israel brought on themselves if for a lie. I don't think so. What your Bible says you can bet your life on and that's exactly what God wants from us--our body's living sacrifices unto God that He might show us His perfect will.

Reasons We Aren't Pursuing God's Priority

Doubting Our Salvation

      In I Cor. 3, Paul addresses carnal (baby, immature, young) Christians and tells them they are not spiritual Christians ready for the deep, higher things of God. I contend that most of Paul's letters were addressed to such Christians who were not ready to become involved in world evangelization, but were struggling with their own salvation. This is why Paul's writings so often and strongly emphasize the readers' and hearers' own secure salvation being exclusively and wholly in the shed blood of Christ. It's pretty hard to get Christians involved in sharing their faith with the world, whether by means of going, or praying and financing the gospel, when they are unsure of their own salvation. Paul's audience is no different than the Christian community today. In spite of the completed cannon of scripture, its easy access, and abundance here in America, many Christians are unfamiliar with its contents and unsure of their own salvation, and until this is settled we can go no further as individual Christians.

      If you aren't sure of your own salvation, then let's settle this here and now. If you are sure of your own salvation, then skip over this section. Psalms 51:5 says we were born sinners, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." We have inherited our sin nature from Adam, therefore it's not what we do that condemns us but what we are. We are sinners. We can't change what we are because sinning is our nature. We try to teach our children to do right. We don't need to teach them to lie or steal or be selfish. It's inbred in them. The little girl who's not satisfied with her piece of candy pushes her smaller brother down and eats his candy also, and then with chocolate all over her face denies the obvious truth. Now, who taught her to do this? Again, it's inbred. Some people are obviously worse than others but to get to heaven one has to be perfect. That certainly eliminates me and everyone else who is honest. The Bible says "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Because we are sinners, there is a price to pay. Romans 6:23 states that the wages or payment for sin is death, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." The Bible speaks of two deaths. One is physical and the other spiritual. One is on earth, the other in the lake of fire, where one never dies but is ever dying, but the good news is the second part of Romans 6:23, "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." First of all, a gift can't be earned--it's free! Eternal life is through Jesus Christ and what does that mean. In John 3:16, the Bible says God gave His Son Jesus on the cross to pay that second death (penalty) for our sin, and when we come by faith to accept the payment Christ made for all our sin, we are debt free to God. This is what is meant by whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Believing does not mean believing the fact of His resurrection. Read James 2:19, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." Satan knows what Jesus did on the cross and in the tomb and why, but Satan's fate is sealed. He will be damned forever in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10). Believing means trusting. If I come into your home and you ask me to have a seat in an old chair, I may comment, "I'm afraid it won't hold me." You assure me that it will and I reply, "Oh, I believe you", but I continue standing. If I truly believed the chair would hold me, I would sit in it (place my faith in it). Now how do we do this with Christ? Rom 10:9-10 says you prove your belief in Christ for eternal life when you call on Him in prayer and ask Him to be your Lord (master), believing (trusting and accepting) His death, burial and resurrection for payment for your sin. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Rom 10:9-10). To make this clearer, look at John 1:14, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." This is speaking of Jesus. Now, back up to verses 11 and 12. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." You see, believing on Christ means receiving Him as your Savior from sin. Jesus came to Israel but they refused Him. Now, as many as receive Him have this free gift of eternal life. Look at Rev 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Jesus speaks to us today through His word. This is Him knocking at the door of your soul. You have heard the gospel (death, burial and resurrection) which was accomplished on your behalf. So, if you believe you have sinned against God and Jesus paid for your sin on the cross and rose again the third day to verify it, and if you receive that payment for your sin according to God's word you have eternal life. "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved," (Rom 10:13). Here is a simple prayer to pray, "God, I know I have sinned against you, I am sorry and I now, the best I know how, turn from my sin to you. I accept the payment Christ your son made on the cross for my sin. Lord Jesus come into my life and forgive me. I thank you that I now have eternal life because I have obeyed the gospel and you cannot lie. Help me now to follow you in believers' baptism. I will talk to you daily by prayer. I ask that you speak to me daily through your word (John and Romans are good starters). Direct me to a church that teaches your word and help me to be a testimony of your great love to the world. Amen!" If you have done this and meant it, you are saved (born again, forgiven, have eternal life). You are a Christian and now if you have any doubts, I would suggest writing down what you have just done, sign your name to it and date it. Let God's word be the mirror you look into to see if you are saved. These verses will reassure you in the decision you have just made (John 3:16, Acts 8:37-39, Acts 16:29-31, Rom 3:21-26, Rom 5:9, Gal 2:16, Eph 1:6-7, Eph 2:8-9, Phil 1:6, Col 1:12-14, Col 1:21-22, Tit 3:5, Heb 9:12 and I John 4:9-11). If you have accepted Christ, you will start to notice some changes, a love for the word, a common bond with Christians, and a deep sorrow when you fail God (confess it and move on). It will also be natural for you to want everyone else to experience this great salvation (don't lose this).

Reasons We Aren't Pursuing God's Priority

Unconfessed Sin

      Another problem that hinders us from getting the gospel out is unconfessed sin. Paul to the church at Corinth wrote that many were weak and sickly and some had died because of their taking the Lord's supper with unconfessed sin (I Cor 11:26-32). Much of the church today is also fighting just to survive and not pressing forward in the battle for the souls of men. It only makes sense that no Christian in his right mind is going to tell others about Christ if he has sin in his own life because he knows he will be made a laughing stock. It's also true that when we get out of fellowship with the Lord we very soon revert back to our own selfish motives and have little concern for others period, much less people we have never met, saved or not. Even if we continue to attend church in a backslidden frame of mind we are often too busy fighting each other and other denominations to fight as a unit for the lost. With sin in the camp, the church very quickly turns inward rather than outward to the world, and very soon we are fighting over the real issues, you know, the color of the new carpet or who gets to sing the solo. Then if we can't stir up a fight amongst ourselves, we turn on our brothers and sisters of other denominations. Again, you know, the Baptists are too dull, the Charismatics too emotional, the Lutherans too formal, etc., etc. Paul admonishes the Corinthian church to put love (charity in the King James Bible means love) above all minor differences. (Cor.13). Once we learn that and become one, we can get on with the family business--the world Christ died for.

      As I am writing this, I can hear someone say, "Oh no, I'm not participating in any free-for-all, believe-anything, ecumenical movement that will one day become the one world religious system under the anti-Christ." Wait a minute! Please! I am not talking about participating in any such activity (and this religious system is already in place and at work in our world). This church of the anti-Christ will be an apostate church (a religious system which has departed from the faith and true God). Look at I Corinthians 12:3-7, "Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal." Because we may differ with another brother or denomination on minor issues does not mean they are apostate. Look again at I Corinthians 12:3, "Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." I am talking about the whole body of Christ (those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for remission of sins, and who love and serve Him) working together on the foundations of the faith (the trinity, virgin birth, bodily resurrection, inspiration of the scripture, forgiveness of sin through faith in Christ's shed blood, a literal heaven and hell, the literal return of Christ, and the church's duty to share Christ with our world). We should major on the major and minor on the minor. Certainly every word in the Bible is important, but you tell me . . . is a belief in a pre-tribulation rapture, post-tribulation rapture, or any rapture as vital to Adam's race as salvation through the merits of Christ? We (the whole church) can come together around the fundamentals of the faith, letting the love of God, the love of one another, and the unevangelized world for which Christ died, motivate us to give everyone in our generation at least one chance to respond to the gospel. No one individual, church or denomination can accomplish this alone. In I Corinthians 13, Paul talks about love as being the prominent gift we should seek as Christians, and as God out of love gave His Son for the lost, so we as followers of Christ out of love should give Christ to our world.

Reasons We Aren't Pursuing God's Priority

Spiritual Immaturity

The writer of the book of Hebrews points out to these Jewish believers that they were not ready for the meat of the word. "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment," (Heb 5:12-6:2). Again the New Testament writers were trying to establish these young churches in their own faith, then these churches could disciple others. After all, Christ trained His own disciples before leaving and sending them out on the great commission. Sometimes I think we forget that these baby churches did not have the complete cannon of scripture, nor a complete understanding of their position in Christ as we do today. I believe this is why the New Testament writers spent most of their time on the basics of the Christian life. Every Christian is called to be a disciple of Christ, and what does that mean? A disciple is a student or pupil who imitates his master or teacher, and again when we imitate Christ we will discipline ourselves as He did in order that we might pursue His priority--the salvation of Adam's fallen race.

      Now the question arises, how can I as an individual Christian be a witness for my Lord to the ends of the world? I'm glad you asked that question! The next chapter addresses this very issue. 

 

 

Chapter V

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

      As we have passed the year 2000 and the dawn of a new millennium, how responsible will we Christians be for reaching our generation with the gospel? The apostle Paul, Martin Luther, and David Livingston would have given anything to have had the opportunities we have today, and yet God in His sovereignty has laid this privilege in our laps. The saints of generations past who gave up everything to share the gospel with those who had never heard will have great eternal rewards for their faithfulness, but they saw extremely limited results in terms of world impact.

Evangelize The World From The Comfort of Your Own Home

      Today from the comfort of our own homes we North American Christians can literally blanket our world with the gospel and yet this seems to be too much of a sacrifice for us. God has made it so easy! It's almost as if we have a home shopping club for world evangelization at our disposal. With our prayers and finances we can choose any country and ministry (or all countries and many ministries). The problem is, many of us cannot imagine why anyone would spend time praying for, much less giving their money for something they cannot eat, wear, drive, live in, or be entertained by. With satellite, film, radio, mass printing and almost instant, easy access, world travel, we have no excuse.

Gospel Radio

      By means of radio we can penetrate any social, religious, or political barrier to share Christ, and we can do it almost instantly. We do not have to wait years for missionaries to be educated, raise money, learn languages and adapt to new climates and cultures, if possible, while millions die without Christ. In many closed countries like the Moslem countries and other nations hostile to the gospel, we have no option as effective for mass evangelism. There is something about nationals hearing nationals speak the gospel in their own language that speeds up the thrust factor. Imagine some foreigner coming to your door with some strange new religion. There are 1200 million radios world-wide (Operation World. 1993 Edition). Most of our world could have access to the gospel by radio if we had the funds. The potential here is phenomenal, and unlike North America, radio with its easy access is the media of choice throughout most of our world. The potential of over 13 major evangelical international broadcasters is extraordinary. Of the 210 languages spoken by one million people or more, gospel radio is now broadcasting in 175 (Mission Frontiers. Nov-Dec 1996. “God's Symphony Of Effort”), and again unlike North America, most of the populace of our world use radio as their chief source of media. With the right resources radio could cover our world with the gospel.

The Jesus Film Project

      The JESUS  film (a film on the life of Christ taken directly from the gospel of Luke) has been translated into more than 1,000 languages (including most languages spoken by one million people or more) The JESUS Film Project diligently continues translating this film into the remaining world's languages. The majority of the population of our world live in countries that are closed to the traditional North American missionary for open evangelism. If you total the population of China, India and the closed Moslem countries alone, you have about 2-1/2 billion people that we cannot reach by traditional means. Then add in all the great host of other nations closed to us and it becomes very apparent that if we are going to reach our world for Christ, we must use other means. The JESUS film has been shown by national Christians and television broadcasts to more than 5 billion people so far in 236 countries with 200 million professions of faith. Again, the proper finances could make short work of the process.

Christian Literature

      Christian literature has been called the paper missionary that keeps on giving. One $.25 gospel booklet can be passed around to an entire village or read years later when rediscovered. Over half of all Christians attribute literature at least in part to their conversion.

      Every Home for Christ has used national Christians to deliver 2 billion gospel booklets to homes in over 200 countries. 28 million decision cards have been received (God only knows how many people did not have the postage to send their decision in), and Bible correspondence courses follow. For the illiterate of our world, EHC works with Gospel Recordings in providing the gospel on cassettes. The results are that every home reached has an opportunity to know Christ. There is one reason why this ministry is not working at full capacity. Once again, it is a lack of interest among Christians God has blessed with the financial ability to help. All of this and so much more that God is doing in our world today make us North American Christians with our spiritual and financial wealth the most responsible generation of Christians ever. (Luke 12:48). We especially in America will have no excuse why we spent our lives worrying about how to keep ourselves entertained rather than carrying on our Father's business of world evangelization. Those of us who are not wealthy by American standards are not responsible for our wealthy brothers and sisters who could give $10,000 or $1 million toward world evangelism, but we are responsible for the $5, $20, or $50 we could send monthly. 

What In The World Is God Doing?

      No generation has had the technological capabilities to put the gospel out there as we do, and compared to Christians in the rest of our world, we are living like kings and queens. God has surely blessed America, and He will surely require an accounting of how we Christians used the gifts He has given us. What is God telling us by closing off most of the population of our world to our North American missionaries and then raising up millions of Christian workers worldwide who are willing to pay whatever price necessary to win their countries to Christ? What is God telling us here in America who have been given so much spiritually and materially when we cannot go to most of the people of our world ourselves, but see national Christians in almost every country who can and who do try but do not have the means to reach the masses? 

      In my opinion, it is very obvious that God is now shifting us from depending almost exclusively on our traditional means of missionary work (North American missionaries), to now training the hundreds of millions of converts our missionaries have made worldwide to accompany us in reaching the remaining unevangelized people groups. Why would I say that? Consider the following: These national Christians are already there, used to the climate and food, and are basically from the same ethnic background (eliminating much of the trust factor.) They can be trained at a fraction of the cost of education, developing support, language school, moving expenses, monthly support and furlough expenses of additional American missionaries who cannot even get into most countries to evangelize and who many times do not stay where the doors are open. Again, these national Christians are not spoiled to our extravagant lifestyles and require very little to carry on the work of the ministry. So, if God is using national Christians to reach their own countrymen, but they do not have the means necessary to reach the masses (approximately 6 billion people today), and if we American Christians have the spiritual know-how, technology and freedom to primarily make money, why does it not stand to reason that we need to labor together with our brothers and sisters worldwide by our prayers and money to accomplish our Father's business--world evangelization?

Do Some Christian Investigating

      It is not a sin to take inventory of our prayer and financial investments; however, praying and giving for the sake of convenience and tradition is. Do some research. Compare your mission budget and its effectiveness (not food and clothing, or hospitals and schools, but souls won and discipled) to what nationals are doing when given the tools to evangelize and the cost of using them. As good stewards of what God has given us, this is the route to go. Why can't we swallow our pride and aid our Christian family around the world in the Lord's work and share the bounty of God's rich reward for world evangelization? Why do we keep sending more of our missionaries to the same areas where there are national Christians who can do the work? On the average, an American missionary who stays on the foreign field with his family for life costs about $1 million. For this same amount of money the workers could have been increased 10, 50 or 100 fold (depending on the country) using nationals. When so many Christians in Africa, South America, Asia and the Middle East are suffering persecution and death for trying to get the gospel to their countrymen and lack only the tools to accomplish the work, and we in America who have no price to pay for our Christianity have so much, how can we not help them? 

      God is using many Christians here in North America to finance these national-oriented ministries. There will be great reward in Heaven for those faithful at praying and giving to enable ministries to win these millions of people Christ died for, and there will be loss of reward for those who refuse to lift a finger, or pray, or financially support God's soul winners, and eternity is a long time to suffer loss. (I Cor. 3:7-15)

Choosing Ministries to Support

      When choosing a ministry to support, one of the first considerations should be: is the ministry legitimate? Get references from men of God or other ministries you know and trust. Do they have a good record? Are they accountable financially to anyone like ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) or other similar checks and balances ministries (EFMA - Evangelical Fellowship of Mission Agencies), or is there some other form of financial accountability? Some ministries ask the Internal Revenue Service to do an audit on them every year as proof to their supporters of financial integrity. Then there is the matter of doctrine. Get a doctrinal statement from the ministry. Are they scripturally sound (do they believe in the Trinity, virgin birth, bodily resurrection of Christ, salvation through Christ's atonement, the inspiration of the scripture, Heaven and Hell, the literal return of Christ, etc.) or are they a cult (a false religion whose final authority is not God's word rightly divided, but some man's opinion)? Also, is God's hand on the ministry? Would your prayers and money be a waste of time and stewardship with them? The bottom line--is God using them to win souls and disciple them to do the same, and is this ministry the most effective and cost efficient work you can be involved in? 

      This is what being a wise steward is all about. We are accountable to God as to how we use our prayers and money. The following is a letter which I have sent to pastors across America. Please note that the effectiveness of these national oriented ministries over sending additional North American missionaries to areas where national Christians presently exist is my own conclusion and not the statements of these ministries. The comparisons I have made are for the benefit of evaluating our stewardship. God is using a host of ways and means to build His church, including the vital role of our North American missionaries. My purpose, however, is to expose the North American church to what I believe is an often neglected, misunderstood, and much more effective means of fulfilling the great commission. The ministries I am about to recommend should be a vital part of every church's budget, and can even greatly enhance the work of our North American missionaries in the countries they are presently working in. Consider supporting one or several of these ministries with your prayers and finances. Although this list is by no means extensive, several ministries which I have found to meet all the above criteria are as follows: 

Dear Pastor:

      Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I know as a pastor you are called to prayer, fasting, and the study of God's word in order to feed your flock and have little time to make studies such as I am going to present you. Therefore, as a fellow servant of Christ I am exercising my calling to study and inform the church as to our degree of success and failure in completing the one job our Savior commanded us to do until His return--evangelizing and discipling all the nations (Greek = “ethre; or peoples”) of the world. 

      The good news is, because of the sacrifice of many faithful senders and goers down through the years there are over 150,000 missionaries in the world today. Approximately 3,000 new churches are planted every week and over 90,000 people receive Christ daily; however, looking ahead to the task before us, more than 90% of these missionaries are working where the church has already been planted. Less than 10% of these missionaries are working among the 8,000 unreached people groups where there is no witnessing church. 48,000 of these people die each day without Christ.

      Can we do it? What do we have to work with? What are the obstacles? According to God's word, there will be people in Heaven from every nation, tribe and tongue, but will you and I be privileged to be a part of the generation that completes the task? What do we have to work with? There are 100 million evangelical young people in the world today. Only 20,000 are needed to reach the unreached. Christians worldwide earn $2.5 trillion in disposable income. We give $8 billion to missions--1/3 of 1%. 20,000 missionaries would cost $300 million more. There are 6 million great commission congregations worldwide. That's 600 congregations for each unreached people group. So what are the obstacles? First of all, we must get organized. Who are these peoples and where are they? I will give you an address where you can get a list of these unadopted people groups to pray over and consider reaching in some way. Secondly, we must realize that the majority of the population of our world live in countries where North American missionaries are no longer allowed to evangelize. I will give you some information on several missionary organizations which are using other means of reaching these people (very effectively and cost-efficiently I might add). Thirdly, we must determine who our Lord really is, our denomination or Jesus Christ. Do we give to missionary work simply because it is of our denomination, not even questioning the returns (souls) for our Lord, or are we investing our talents as a wise steward in the most profitable work for our Lord? If you will write or call, the following Christian missionary organizations will send you any information, including doctrine, financial accountability, and results of the ministry. (I'm sure many churches from your denomination are currently supporting these ministries.)

      Pastor, I hope this information will be of value to you and your church as you endeavor to proclaim His majesty among all the earth. God so loved the world...Christ died for the world...the Holy Spirit came to reprove the world...and we are to go into all the world.

      Conforming to the image of Christ equals (=) giving one's life that the world might be saved.

                  Every Home for Christ

                  World Literature Crusade

                  P.O. Box 35930

                  Colorado Springs, CO 80935-9945

                  (Ph: 719-260-8888)

      EHC has used national Christians to hand deliver more than 2 billion gospel booklets to homes in over 200 nations, yielding a harvest of more than 28 million decision cards received, and more than 32 million Bible correspondence courses handled. Through EHC the gospel is now available to 95% of the population of the world. EHC has reached every home in 82 nations and are currently in the process of reaching every home in 110 nations, with a goal of many more in the next 36 months. On the average, for every $11 spent, one response is received. Many well-known Western evangelists spend $200 to $300 per response in crusades. EHC also has ministries to the blind, prisoners, seamen, hospital patients, and those who are illiterate. In cities, towns and villages where there are no Christians, EHC volunteers to go in and distribute the gospel. More than 44,000 “baby” churches (known as Christ groups) have been started as a result of these volunteers laying down their lives for the gospel. These national Christians need very little, and consider it a privilege to share Christ with others who have not heard.

                  Haggai Institute

                  P.O. Box 13

                  Atlanta, GA 30370 

                  (PH: 770-449-8869)

      HI works in 166 countries. They train proven Christian military, political, religious, business and medical leaders, etc., etc. in the how of evangelizing their own people and passing their training on to other Christians. So far, HI has trained over 44,000 national leaders in 146 countries who each try to train at least 100 others to train 100 others to train 100 others, etc. These 44,000 have passed on their evangelism methods to over 4 million others. An American career missionary and family costs $1,000,000 plus for their years of service. Expenses include language training, education, monthly support, airplane tickets to and from fields every 4 years or so for updates in churches, moving expenses, special projects etc. They must be educated, learn a foreign language, adjust to a new culture, food and climate, and are usually mistrusted as outsiders. These national Christian leaders know the language, know the people, are used to the climate, food and culture, and are known and trusted by their people. Most of the world's population is closed to American missionaries. Leaders have even been trained from Arab-Moslem countries and now China. These national evangelists are turning their countries upside down, and for what it would cost to support one American missionary for life who cannot enter most of these countries, you could train 30, 50 or 100 (depending on the exchange rate of the country) national missionaries who are first of all screened and proven leaders, secondly much better qualified because of their background, and thirdly, once they return home they are self-supporting. HI will send detailed statistics if you wish. 

                  Trans World Radio

                  P.O. Box 8700

                  Cary, NC 27512-8700 

                  (PH: 919-460-3700)

      TWR is broadcasting to 160 countries by radio in their own language and are working on the remaining languages. Radio has and is playing a major role in world evangelism. Here in America very few of us listen to foreign radio, but in other countries radio is the only media option for the masses. TWR has had an impact on the Communist and Arab countries that no other method has. Think of it, the gospel is available to 160 countries of the world, and every year hundreds and hundreds of thousands of letters are received from all over the world telling of salvation, churches being started, and lives changed. By radio, TWR is evangelizing, training Christians, and training pastors and evangelists, and no country's religious or political system can stop radio waves as they do our missionaries. You can specify any country in which TWR is working to which you wish your money to go. TWR will send detailed statistics if you wish.

                  The JESUS Film Project

                  P.O. Box 628222

                  Orlando, FL 32862-8222 

                  (Ph: 407-826-2400)

      The JESUS Film Project has made a film of the life of Christ using Jewish actors, filmed in Israel, and taken directly from the gospel of Luke. The film has been shown to over 5 billion people so far in 236 countries with 200 million professions of faith. They are then grounded in the faith and churches are started. This film is shown in over 1000 languages with a goal of translation into all languages of the world.. Dollar for dollar, this is the most profitable soul winning ministry I have come across in my 20 plus years of research. If you know of a more productive ministry, I would like to be a part of it.

                  Dawn Ministries

                  7899 Lexington Drive, Suite 200-B

                  Colorado Springs, CO 80920 

                  (Ph: 719-548-7460)

      Dawn ministries train top Christian leaders in a country to organize and plant a church in every community in that country. No American missionaries are needed and the results are as follows: In 1989 they estimated they would need to plant 7 million churches for every community in our world to have a church. Today it is down to 3.5 million.

                  U.S. Center for World Missions

                  1605 Elizabeth Street

                  Pasadena, CA 91104

                  (Ph: 626-797-1111)

      U.S. Center for World Missions has a list of unadopted people groups. Most of page 1 of this letter came from them. If you can do nothing else, please write or call for this list to pray over.

Again, God bless you and your church, and thank you for your time. 

You Are The Missing Ingredient In World Evangelism - Go For It!

      God has provided the sacrifice of His dear Son for all the world and all the world (though perhaps ignorant of the fact) waits. Many, many ministries are attempting to reach these billions by the many means God has given us in our day. The main ingredient missing in world missions today is the multitude of God's average, everyday Christians to pray down the political and religious barriers over the nations and give financially to enable workers to reach the masses. (“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you.” II Thess. 3:1. “So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” I Cor.  3:7-9.).

In The Midst Of Many Good Works, Don't Lose Focus

      Let me say something here that may at first sound cruel, but Christ never gave the church the primary command to build hospitals, educate, or even feed the poor. As a witness of God's love and as a springboard for evangelism we should be doing all of the above, but our primary business while on this earth is evangelism and discipleship. It seems extremely cruel to me to minister only to people's temporal needs and leave their eternal souls to perish. Out of God's love and human compassion, how can we not minister to the poor, afflicted and the hungry? This we ought to do, but it is very disheartening to hear of “Christian missions” in other countries who educate, feed and/or medically treat hurting people, yet have no evangelistic outreach among the people. Theirs is simply a social gospel! Traditional one-on-one evangelism may be restricted in some of these areas, but for whatever reason, Christians back home in America send their prayers and hard earned money often supposing that the gospel of Jesus is being shared, when in fact this is not always the case. We as wise stewards of God's money (and it's all God's money) are responsible to find out what our tithes and offerings are going for, and as commendable as these other ministries are in and of themselves, they do not solve the larger, eternal, core issue of sin. This is why Christ came. If these ministries are an open door for evangelism then fine, but if these “missionaries” cannot or will not proclaim the gospel in these countries, then in addition to these ministries we need to find some means of evangelizing the people, and there are other options (refer back to Chapter V). Wait a minute, someone says. Did not Christ heal the sick and feed the hungry? Yes, as proof of His claim to be the Messiah, and out of compassion, but Christ knew that these temporary solutions were only Band-Aids on the larger issue--the cancer of the soul--sin (John 6:24-29). Christ Himself said He came to seek and save that which was lost, and later, when He sent His apostles with the same mission, signs and wonders verified their apostleship, and the results were conversions. We too, as the church of Jesus Christ today, are to reflect our Lord's compassion in meeting the physical needs of hurting people, but always concentrating on the deeper issues of the soul. Perhaps about now, Matthew 25:31-46 comes to mind. In these verses Christ refers to a future time where the nations will stand before Him to be judged, and those nations who have fed the hungry, taken in the stranger, clothed the naked, etc., etc. will inherit the kingdom of God, while the nations who have neglected these people will be cast into everlasting fire. Someone will say here that not only are these ministries of human compassion the church's preeminent mission, but also of such importance as to merit eternal salvation. If at first glance these verses of scripture seem to teach salvation by works, then a closer look and a scripture-with-scripture comparison will reveal the contrary. First of all, look back at the section on salvation in Chapter 4, noting all the verses dealing with salvation through Christ's merit and not our own. These are just a few of the many, many verses describing Christ's substitutionary death for our remission of sin. If we could enter Heaven by these good deeds referred to in Matthew 25, then why did Christ come and die? These righteous nations are not justified by their actions, but their actions testify to the fact of their faith. Secondly, the wicked nations mentioned are being judged by their treatment of Christ's brethren. Remember, there will be degrees of punishment in Hell based on the losts' works because they have refused Christ. Now, whether these brethren are Christians or the Jewish people is a matter of debate. Either way, you don't cross God's people! I personally am of the opinion that since Christ is here talking to His “Jewish brethren” (no Gentile church yet), that this judgment is a consummation of the promise made to Abraham, the father of Israel (Gen. 12:1-3), and that these brethren in question are, in fact, Jewish. At any rate, the Bible never refers to a general “brotherhood of man.” These “brethren” are not the huddled masses of humanity. There are two families of people on the earth, God's and Satan's. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:3 that we were by nature (birth) the children of wrath, and Jesus referred to those not born of God as “of your father the devil.” (John 8:42-45). So, when whole ministries, based on Matthew 25 are meeting only the temporal needs of the masses (not the brethren), they are not adhering to the true interpretation of this verse nor the great commission. Our (the church's) mission is defined in Matthew 28: 19 and 20. If you still have doubts about this, read chapter 3 again.

Christ First - The Rest Will Come Naturally

      At this point let me reiterate that world evangelization is not a spiritual cure-all for the Christian. First and foremost our first love must be the Lord, not His work, but I am of the opinion that when we are head over heels in love with the Lord we will naturally love the things He loves, and He did die for the world. Conforming to the image of Christ equals (=) giving one's life (in service) that the world might be saved. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Rom. 8:29)

 

 
 

Chapter VI

DOES GOD LOVE AMERICA MORE THAN AFRICA, ASIA, EUROPE, SOUTH AMERICA, THE MIDDLE EAST OR THE ISLANDS?

      We know that God is no respecter of persons (“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34), and we know that God is not willing that any should perish (“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” II Pet. 3:9). Yet America being only 5% of the population of the world has approximately 24% of the evangelical congregations of the world, according to Operation World (1993 edition). We have more gospel opportunity in America (books, tapes, film, radio, television, Christians, billboards, computers, etc.) than most other countries combined, and with this in mind, consider the following. According to Bill Bright, of Campus Crusade for Christ (How You Can Experience the Aventure Of Giving. p. 58), 95% of North America's vast church budget stays in North America, 1/2% goes to frontier missions (those who have never heard the gospel), and 4-1/2% goes to established foreign missions. If God loves the world, who do we love? Ourselves? Again, “To whom much is given, much is required” (Lk 12:48), and American Christians have certainly been blessed above measure financially and spiritually.

Seeing The Real Picture

      For the most part we American Christians are a generous people. Usually if we see a need we will help, but I am not so sure we always see God's bigger picture. Example: Say our church budget designates 15% to missions. This sounds pretty good until we break this 15% down by country, evangelized or unevangelized, evangelism or other ministries (hospitals, orphanages, schools, food and clothing for the poor, etc.); then it becomes pretty discouraging. If 8-1/2% stays here in our great evangelized nation, and if 6-1/2% goes to areas of other nations where the gospel is presently available, then in actuality only 1/2 of 1% goes to new unevangelized frontier areas. What makes matters worse is when we realize that most of the unevangelized people we want to reach are in countries closed to the traditional means of missions we presently support. Our Lord never asked us to perfect every area of society in our city or country before evangelizing the rest of the world. The kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our God at His return (“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in Heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” Rev. 11:15). I totally understand why world missions is so dull to us many times. I think the American support team is often so downplayed that we feel we have no vital interest in it.

You Are As Vital To World Evangelism as

Any North American Missionary

      If you get nothing else out of this book, my prayer is that I can communicate to you that as an ordinary (as we would term it) praying, tithing Christian, your part in world evangelism is just as important as the individual on the foreign field winning souls and discipling them. Did you hear me? You are personally winning the lost to Christ around the world when you pray for and support others with your money. They could not be doing God's work there without your faithfulness here to God's purpose for your life as an equally important member of the body of Christ. Did not Paul say that the less seemly members of the body of Christ have more abundant honor bestowed on them? (“And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.” I Cor. 12:23). If God had wanted you to go, He would have called you to go, but He has called you to send, and without your prayers and giving through the course of your life,

multitudes would never have been saved. Therefore, use your prayers and money wisely in the most effective works for your Lord.

You Can Win More To Christ Worldwide From Your Home

Than Any One North American Missionary In Any One Foreign City

      The way I see it, your ministry here goes further than any one worker in any one foreign area of the world. You see, he is limited to that one area unless he is also praying for and supporting others around the world. You, however, by picking several of the most effective ministries, praying for and supporting them, are winning people to Christ in all the nations for which you designate your gifts. You live in the richest nation on the earth with the greatest technology in history, and all of it can be used to preach the gospel. You have film, cassettes, literature, radio and a host of other means. So, brothers and sisters, go for it! Don't let Satan tell you that your purpose is to simply go to church and stay out of trouble. You do need to do these things, but for a higher purpose than merely warming pews. There is no age factor here, no talent factor, and no health factor, just an obedience factor. So please realize that your life is not an insignificant one, and again in the span of your lifetime through the most cost efficient and effective ministries you can win thousands, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions (depending on your faith and material means). God has called you to live in American and be among the most spiritually blessed and wealthiest people on the earth, so use your God given calling for His purpose and we know what that calling is, don't we? Let's say it together--world evangelization. 

Invest In Eternity

      We truly do live in the most exciting time in church history. According to the U.S. Center for World Missions, 90,000 people a day are coming to Christ worldwide, and 3500 new churches are being started a day. So what's the difference in all of this for the average Christian? We have the greatest opportunity of any Christians in history to literally evangelize the world in our generation, and this is not some temporal accomplishment that will fade with time. These souls we win for Christ will stand forever as our tribute to Him and we will receive eternal rewards for simply being involved in the most exciting and important work ever accomplished. Talk about fulfillment! What greater sense of accomplishment could there be than winning eternal souls for our eternal God and Savior, Jesus Christ, and eternal rewards for the privilege! Please look again at the ministries mentioned in Chapter V and ask the Lord what He would have you do concerning His divine will, your eternal reward, and the fate of billions of precious souls living today in your generation!

 

 

CHAPTER VII

WHOSE KINGDOM ARE YOU BUILDING?

      While Christ's church is to be populating Heaven from among the masses on earth, and while we are to be turning people from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God's dear son, much of Christ's church are hiding their talents in the earth (investing themselves in this world system). Our God has promised to provide all of our needs as we are busy about His work, but the temptation here in America is to shift our effort from our needs for His purpose to our wants for our purpose. When we spend all our efforts on our houses, our cars, our land, our clothes, our vacation homes, etc (and it is all God's), then in reality, we have ceased (if we ever started) from building His kingdom of souls to building our kingdom of possessions and we have ceased from glorifying Him and are spending our lives trying to make ourselves look good. We are either building His kingdom or ours. “No man can serve two masters.” (Matt.6:24) We are either involved in His work or we are not. Again, going to church and staying out of trouble is not the extent of His work.

A Divine Sense of Purpose Now And Eternal Reward Then

      While our calling is to war for the souls of men, the biggest battle we often face is how we are going to be entertained next, and we have done it all. In light of the multitude of martyrs and sacrificing saints down through the years who have given their lives in service and themselves in death for the cause of Christ, guess who will receive the eternal rewards mentioned in I Corinthians 3, and guess who will have nothing (suffer loss) for all eternity? You would think as intelligent as we are, we would see that investing all our time and energy in gathering earthly things to ourselves and then shortly thereafter leaving it all behind we would begin to wonder if it's worth all the effort. Then when we consider that our faithfulness to His cause, for this short while, will reap eternal dividends, never to tarnish, rust or fade, why do we not pour ourselves into His work? Well, some will say, “As long as I get to Heaven, that's all that matters to me.” I don't think so! Suffering loss means suffering loss, and Christians who have not been about the Father's business will not receive the reward of the faithful. I have to wonder what this will do to Christians who have spent their entire lives trying to keep up with the Jones', only to have the most coveted prizes in Heaven elude them. I don't know the answer to this, but I do know that there will be those who will suffer loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ and this loss will be forever.

      So what exactly is this loss? It is a loss of the rewards these disobedient servants could have received. Maybe a better question would be, what are the rewards faithful Christians will receive in I Corinthians 3:11-15? Well, I know for a fact that the streets of gold, the gates of pearl, and the overall magnificence of Heaven will not be what makes Heaven (compare our earth's six-day creation to Heaven's almost 2,000 year preparation so far) (Gen. Ch. 1 and Ch. 2; John 14:2-3). Jesus will be what makes Heaven! Have you ever met someone with so much charisma that you stood in awe of them? You enjoyed their presence so much you wanted to stay around them. If not, then we all can certainly appreciate the company of someone we deeply love. When we see Jesus in all of His splendor and glory, just to be near Him will be Heaven, and I suspect that in Heaven perhaps the greatest reward we could receive will be in service close to Him. Tell me what greater reward there could be than being near Jesus, the God-man, who gave Himself for us and has borne so long with us.

      Throughout this book I have dovetailed The Judgment Seat of Christ and World Evangelization because I am convinced from the scripture that when we Christians stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ we will be judged by what we did with His supreme sacrifice (Did we receive it and hide it, or did we receive it and share it to bring Him an increase of souls?) Christ will not necessarily be so concerned about how many hours we prayed as what we prayed for. Were all of our prayers fox hole prayers? Were all our prayers spent on our agendas to the exclusion of His? We pray for better jobs, but what do we do with the extra money when we get it? Do we use at least part of it to further His kingdom or all of it for ours? We pray for good health, but do we use any of our energies on behalf of the billions who Christ died for and commanded us to reach? Do we pray for God to bless our local church spiritually and materially and then when He does, keep His blessings within the confines of our church? How much time have we spent praying that we might be effective in reaching our world with the gospel? Have we spent time trying to pray down the strongholds of Satan over spiritually blinded countries that Christian ministries might win the lost there? (For $1 you can receive a World Prayer Map, including countries, leaders and Christian ministries. See Chapter V for the address of Every Home for Christ). I am also convinced from the scripture that when we stand before Christ He will not be concerned so much with how much scripture we memorized as with how much of it we applied to our lives to make us holy, obedient, anointed servants for His cause.

If You Know God's Love, Then Show God's Love

      In I Corinthians chapter 13 Paul describes love as being the preeminent force the church should pursue regardless of our individual gifts. And what is love? God is love. “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (I John 4:8) And what is the proof of God's love? “For God so loved” that he gave. And what did God give to prove His love? He gave His only Son, and what is the object of God's love? “For God so loved the world (mankind).” “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).

      If we then as one body (the church) are governed by the love of God, then what will be our purpose? To give. To give what? God's only Son. To give God's only Son to whom? The world (mankind). Do you want to glorify your Christ? Then see to it that your priority on earth is His.

Consider the Parallel Between Christ's Mission On Earth and Ours

      Christ died a sacrificial death that the world might be saved. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (I Tim 1:15) “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man, Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (I Tim 2:3-6)

      We are to die to sin and present our bodies a living sacrifice that the world might be saved. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” (Rom 12:1,2) When we as Christians present our bodies as living sacrifices to God, we become selfless and we begin to develop a concept of God's all-consuming love and of God's perfect will (that none should perish). (II Pet. 3:9) Now, look at John 13:35. As we sacrificially love one another as Christians, the result will be our working together to reach all men. “By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35) 

      There is no way around the fact that we (the church) are to be evangelizing our generation, and we will be judged accordingly. So if our individual level of living in eternity will be determined by our earthly obedience to getting the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to our world, then let us take courage in the fact that we are not our own, but the responsibility of Jesus Christ the Lord, who would not have asked us to do something He knew we could not do. Let us look afresh at our Savior's last words to His church before his departure and understand what we His church) will be responsible for at the Judgment Seat of Christ. “And he said unto them, go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) “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 always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matt. 28:19-20. 

      My prayer is that the information contained in this book will be of encouragement to you (the average North American Christian ) as you realize how through the course of your lifetime you could win tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions to Christ from the comfort of your own home. The greatest harvest of souls in all of church history is occurring now (approximately 90,000 people a day are coming to Christ), and you can be a vital part of it.

      When we consider the fact that we were forgiven and given eternal life on the merits of Christ's sacrifice at Calvary, then we must ask the question, "Why did He leave us here on earth.” Certainly we were left here to glorify God in our earthly state, but in heaven we will glorify Him in a perfect sinless way. We can fellowship with Him now, but in heaven we will have an unbroken, perfect fellowship without the flesh and sin. We can pray now, but then we will talk face to face. We can study the scripture now, but then we will know as we are known (I Cor. 13:12). We can enjoy Christian fellowship now, but then we will have a perfect sinless fellowship. The only thing we can do now while on this earth as Christians that will be everlastingly too late to do once we are on the other side is to evangelize the world for whom Christ died and commissioned us to reach.

 

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