Recently I had the privilege to listen to mission reports from various parts of Asia Pacific region. It was so encouraging to realize that the Lord is at work in various lands. Moreover the zeal of the Lord’s people in certain countries for the missionary endeavour was heartening. As I took note of the successful evangelistic activities going on in those places, the Spirit of the Lord forcefully touched me on evangelism afresh.
We have so many evangelists and evangelistic ministries, but do we have enough evangelism today? What is the out come of our mission conferences and the challenge generated? Do we have results in proportion to our efforts?
It seems somehow we neglect the work of evangelism. Of course, we are busy with various activities. Yet we are not so successful in communicating the message of Christ to those who have never heard about it. Is it true that as in many other sphere of activity, we have become lethargic and indifferent in the course of time? Have we lost the burden and the focus for winning the perishing souls with the gospel of Christ? It is high time that we take evangelistic ministry more seriously.
Consider our Master in His service, who finished His work triumphantly. The four gospels reveal a lot of truths in connection with the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. A study on His pattern of ministry will definitely persuade us and challenge us.
Around the end of His earthly ministry the Lord told His disciples, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” John. 20:21 cf. 17:18. That shows the great task a Christian has. We have to continue the same work the Lord Jesus Christ initiated. In fact the first and foremost commandment of Christ to His disciples is to ‘follow Him’. Mark.1:17.
Not only to walk like Him, have a mind like Christ or suffer like Him, we are also supposed to serve like Him. Cf. 1John 2:6; Philippians 2:5; 1Peter 2:21
Matthew sums up the type of ministry the Lord had undertaken in the region of Galilee. “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful but the labourers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers in to His service”.” Matthew 9:35—38
Here we find the method as well as the motive of Christ’s public ministry.
It was a systematic effort. He went from one city to another city and from one village to another village. Josephus says there were around 200 cities and villages in the region of Galilee. He went to all the cities and villages, preaching the gospel of the kingdom. Even when people wanted to take more of His time, He did not yield to their pressure. He said ‘I must go to other towns too’. Mark 1:37, 38.
Such should be our evangelistic efforts. We ought to preach the gospel to every corner of our land, to every people group. We can not just spend our entire life in one place leaving others to perish with out Christ. Others who have never heard the gospel must hear it. To happen that we need to work in a well planned manner. Our priorities must be set and stick to it. We should never be entangled with lot of other things, but focus on our work.
Another feature of Christ’s ministry is the method He used for communication. He taught and preached the gospel. In the synagogues He expounded the scripture; in the public He declared the truth about the kingdom of God. Also He found time for personal talk with needy people. In other word, He used every mode of communication. Whether preaching, teaching or personal talk, through every means His effort was to communicate the message of God.
There are some who think that their gift is only teaching, so evangelism is not their cup of tea. Some others consider the work of an evangelist is inferior to teaching or pulpit preaching. That’s a wrong impression.
Whether we are preachers, teachers or ordinary believers, basically, our responsibility is to make known the gospel of Christ using every media. Let those who never understood the gospel truth learn about it through our labours.
Apart from teaching and preaching, the Lord used another mode of communication! That is by healing the sick. It is true, most of His miracles were intended to prove His deity. Yet from the text that we consider we understand that He healed out of concern for them. He touched lepers and cried with bereaved ones. He was showing the love of God through action.
Words are not enough. Often we neglect this aspect easily. Some of us are experts to teach but practically we fail in showing God’s love and mercy to others. That’s not the saviour’s model ministry. He did what He could while He saw the misery of the people, similarly let us do what we can.
There are much more we can consider. Let us conclude with referring to the motive of His work. Was it to fill the gap, pass the time? He was moved with compassion. As He saw the plight of the people, their trouble today and the eternal hell they are going, He was so troubled in His heart. That forced Him to preach, teach and heal, visiting every city and villages.
Let us be filled with such compassion and care for the people around us. John Maxwell said this interesting statement, “People do not care how much we know till they know how much we care.” He is right. Our evangelistic efforts will be more effective if only we show love and compassion to people. Do not forget others come to realize our concern for them gradually!
Let us follow our master. He did His work well. With in the given time, He completed His work successfully. In this short span of life, let us endeavour to finish the course successfully.
How is our evangelistic effort for which the Lord Jesus has called us primarily? It is His concern, His great commission. Let us take it more seriously.
The Doctor Is Upstairs
In the USA, an old Southern doctor had his office over a drugstore. In from of the drugstore was sign reading: “Dr. Riley is upstairs.” When the old doctor died, after a long life of day and night service for mankind, he left no money ever for his burial, and across account after account on his books they found the entry “Paid off”.
When he was buried, his friends wanted to put up some memorial or stone on his grave. They had no money for an expensive stone or marker, so they set up over his grave the sign that was in front of the drugstore, and that was his beautiful epitaph: “Dr. Riley is upstairs.”
News & Views
At sixteen, looks like an infant
US doctors are baffled at the unusual case of Brook Greenberg from Baltimore, Maryland. In this January she turned sixteen yet her size is of an infant, with the mental capacity of a toddler.
Researchers say that her condition is not a reversed version of conditions that lead to premature ageing. It is not that Brook is some how ‘”frozen-in-time”, in perpetual infanthood either. Analysts found that different parts of her body and anatomy are maturing at different rates.
Even though she can recognize her mother and make gestures and noises, she can not talk. The maturity of the cells and structures of bones are of a 10 year old, though abnormally short.
How joyful it is to see a new born child. At the same time, it is a sad thing to see such abnormally immature children.
It is true in Christian life too. Its great and exciting to see one to be born again, but if there is no proportionate growth, our heavenly Father is not pleased and nor does it a fruitful life.
“I exhort you, press on in your course, and exhort all men that they may be saved.”
“My studies were……..sadly interrupted by the more practical business of saving souls.”
“The church has nothing to do but to save souls; therefore spend and be spent in this work.”