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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Have They Heard?

"The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.  Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves" (Luke 10: 2-4 NIV). 

It is estimated that 28% of the world's population (1.5 billion people) has never heard of Jesus...not even once!  Wikipedia and other sources also report that the percentage of people who call themselves Christian (whether or not they consider themselves "born again" or believe they have a relationship with Christ) is hovering around 50% in some regions of the United States.

Though I have some doubts about the accuracy of these statistics (I can't locate an original source), I think the statistics just underscore the necessity of missions work in the world.  The numbers are too high.  Even if they were half of what they are, they would still be too high.

There are so many missionaries of various kinds in my family and my circle of friends and acquaintances, so perhaps it's no wonder that I think about this topic so often.  It's been a reoccurring theme in my personal reading, lately, as well.  I just finished reading an incredible missionary autobigraphy called, Before We Kill and Eat You: Tales of Faith in the Face of Certain Death by H.B. Garlock, with Ruthanne Garlock.  I followed that one with a biography of Eric Liddell (the "Flying Scotsman" of the Olympics who was later a missionary to China), entitled Run to Glory, by Ellen Caughey.  Another title I could recommend is The Inn of the Sixth Happiness by Alan Burgess.

Calling All Missionaries


I don't feel God calling me to missions in a distant land, as these people did, but I support and pray for the missionaries who are at this moment out there spreading the truth among all those people who've never heard.  Are you a missionary?  If so, please feel free to share in the comments section.  I'd love to hear from you.

God hasn't called me to serve abroad (at least, not yet), but I do believe He is using my efforts on this blog for a missionary purpose.   Since the founding of this blog, I've noticed a marked increase in visits from "closed" countries and other countries that are predominantly non-Christian.  They aren't just coming in on strange, unrelated Google searches either;  quite often these visitors have a very pointed question and end up on the blog post I felt God leading me to write to answer those questions!  The world wide web gives me (and other Christian bloggers) a key to back doors that have been closed to Christ for centuries.  Are we using this key to bless God's kingdom, or are we wasting this blessed opportunity to gripe or glorify ourselves?  Lord, I pray that You will give us wisdom!

Paul, on Missions


The Apostle Paul wrote passionately about missions work in the book of Romans, chapter ten.  I want to remind my Christian readers of his words, because they cut to the heart of the matter.  Here is the bulk of what Paul wrote on this topic:
"If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.... for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'
   How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'....Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ."(Romans 10: 9-10; 13-15; 17 NIV).
Let us broadcast the "good news" so that everyone may hear the truth, and not a lot of nonsense.  Christ is coming back soon to judge the world, and time is running out for all of those people.  When He comes, they will be punished and swept away without having ever heard that there was a way of escape for them.  Who will have compassion?

So That Everyone May Hear


I can answer that question.  I do!  If you are someone who has never heard about Jesus Christ or why He came, here is your answer. >>>>>>

Long ago, the eternal, living God of the whole universe set the penalty for rebellion as death.  Blood alone could atone for wrong that had been done.  This was meant to emphasize how much God hates wrong.  For a time, this punishment could be put off through animal sacrifice, but in the end, every person had to die to pay the full penalty, and, after death, every soul would spend eternity cursed and separated from God and all good things.  This was called the second death--the death of the soul, not just the body.

Now, God loved the people He had made, and hated to see them all getting this punishment, but because He loved justice, He couldn't break the law He had established.  So God worked out a plan to rescue humankind.  He sent His son, Jesus (who is, in fact, God Himself) to die as a man on earth.  Jesus never sinned, because His very nature was God; therefore, He didn't deserve the punishment of death.  When He died, Jesus offered up His blood as a sacrifice for all who would ask Him, to atone for their sins.  Because of Jesus' obedience, God raised Him from the dead, to show the world that His sacrifice had satisfied God's requirements for sin.  Thus God proved that through Jesus, He would raise souls from the dead.  To this day, everyone's body dies eventually, but those who have asked Jesus to cover their sins will have their sins atoned for.  At the end of the world, when Jesus returns to judge the world, those who have believed in Jesus and His Salvation will not suffer the second death; they will be resurrected from the dead and will live eternally.  However, those who have rejected Jesus Christ will die eternally, without remedy.

Those who do not know Jesus may tell you that this is an unlikely story, but I'm telling you that it's true.  Don't listen to them and find out the hard way!  Just remember:  God is not a liar, that He doesn't carry out what He said He would do, and He is not too powerless to do it.  However, God is also a loving God, and He wants to forgive you.  He hates having to punish you.  He'd much rather get to know you, as a friend. Will you accept the gift of salvation that Jesus is freely offering you?

If you answered, "Yes, but how?"  I'm asking that you bow your head, wherever you are, and pray along with me.  "Dear God, I know that I have sinned and rebelled against you, but I have heard today that you sent your son, Jesus, to take away my punishment, and that He will save me if I will believe in Him and obey Him with my whole life. I believe in Jesus, and what He did.  Please help me to obey You, so that I can enjoy eternal life with You.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen."

After that, get your hands on a Bible, or read it online, and God will help you to do what it says!

God bless you all!  See you here, again, in a few days.

5 comments:

Kamal said...

Thank you for the good thoughts you have shared. As you mentioned, Yes there is an urgency to preach the word of God to the "Lost."
I was reading Romans Chapter 1 today and Paul the Apostle writes in verse 1 that he is the "servant" of Jesus Christ called to be an apostle and set apart for the Gospel of God. In verse 9 of the same chapter Paul writes, "whom (God) I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son."

First Paul calls himself a bond servant who is set apart for the gospel of God and then, in verse 9 he says that he serves his master who called him with "whole heart" and in Living Translation we read "I serve God with all my might, telling others about the Good News about his son."

In his first ever letter to Romans whom he has never visited before Paul wanted to make it clear that all he is serious about is to preach the Gospel. He felt the calling, he felt the need and he was fully committed to the call.

In our times some things have changed so much and we don't realize it. Unless we sense the calling in our own lives we will never understand the urgency to reach others for Christ. One of the reason why some of us and I am including me are not sensing the urgency to preach the Gospel of God which is as you shared in your blog is very simple.

There are several reasons I believe why we are not fully serving Christ by preaching his gospel but in this reply I would like to share just one reason and that is "Priority."

We are not prioritizing the need to preach the Gospel above other things in our lives. We are not victims in the sense of not sharing the Gospel of circumstances but we are "victims of our own choice." I remember a Poem and may be you might have come across it. It is a poem by Harry Chapin and it is called "Cats in the cradle" Here is how it goes and since I cannot send you the poem in this reply as it is big, let me send you the link.
http://www.lyricsdepot.com/harry-chapin/cats-in-the-cradle.html

Like in the poem we are living our life the way we wanted at the expense of others lives.

Rachel M. said...

It is certainly true that people have a tendency not to prioritize sharing the gospel with others. However, I (personally, anyway) see more often fear of sharing their faith as a bigger reason for many people's silence. It is intimidating to try to talk to anyone about what we believe, even if the one we are talking to is our next-door neighbor! (So we come up with excuses to be "too busy.")
Culturally speaking, many people want to "save face," and fear that the one they are speaking to will call them crazy, think they're stupid, etc. It's a matter of thinking too much of what others think of us. It also might have something to do with weak faith--a fear that God won't defend us, or that He won't keep His promise that He would speak for us in such situations (Matthew 10: 19). The most I can say to those who are afraid, is "try it, and see." God is a powerful ally.

Kamal said...

Rachel, I read Joshua chapter 1 yesterday and when I read how God commands to Joshua to be Strong and courageous and not Timid and Afraid. I believe God commands us not to be afraid as well in preaching his word. Until we recognize that the Gospel of God is the Power of God unto Salvation to everyone who believes so the Power comes from the Gospel. You are right the real answer to not being able to preach the Gospel boldly is the fear of rejection from the audience. But what a strength when we know who is with us (Joshua 1:9).

Kamal said...

The picture in this post is just adorable.

Rachel M. said...

Thanks! I try. :)

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