‘NOW IS THE TIME FOR SALVATION’
Isa. 49:8; II Cor. 6:2
The commencement of each year brings with it the usual best wishes and desires for health and prosperity for family and friends. Each New Year also becomes the opportunity for the origination of new slogans. As slogans go, these little catchphrases are designed to be remembered, and often are used for fundraising. For those persons, however, who are consumed by a fiery passion for evangelism and missionary work, the merchandising aspect of the use of watchwords is unimportant.
Every year I try to examine the main theme of my life and ministry on account of all outreaches that involve me. It is personal evaluation to see whether or not I fully subscribe to Christ’s verdict ‘not my will but thy will be done’. Sometimes what I learn about myself is alarming, even disturbing, when I permit God to fully reveal what he sees all the while he penetrates the mysteries of my heart. Yet I return again and again to the same verse, ‘Today is the day of salvation’. That means for me each day is a day for crucifying the flesh. Slogans change annually, but the one theme that I hope will prevail over your lives throughout 2018 is the idea that ministers are charged by God to die to self, that WMF members are only in this world for a season (a human lifespan). Every day that we encounter people whom we know and those with whom we are unacquainted, it is an opportunity to explain to them the rudiments of redemption, which is ‘our Father’s will for them in Christ’.
People are troubled by numerous issues in life; solutions are not readily accessible to them, so they think. But knowing the truth as we do, we understand that Christ provides the best answers in the light of his Salvation. It is amazing what God will do when he has a spokesman. King Amaziah sent away thousands of mercenaries that he had hired to fight for him: and this, after he already had paid them millions of dollars to go to war. He incurred a huge financial loss because he obeyed the prophet of God. In the end he received more than he had lost and God gave him a miracle. When we open our mouths to speak for Him, remarkable things happen.
Blessings come in a variety of ways. The anointing of God breaks and destroys burdensome yokes. This fact is verifiable everywhere amid the nations where evangelism occurs. In places around the world where yokes still are employed sometimes the brute strength of oxen are used to break up uncultivated soil. The earth yields the harvest when the top soil becomes productive. So it is with rescuing people with hardened hearts. Rarely does one yoke hold less than two or more persons at the same time. So when we help free a captive to sin, typically we free human hearts, i.e., a marriage, a family and monetary resources et cetera.
2018 likely will reflect the crop of seeds you sowed in previous seasons of ministry. If, however, you want to see God in move in the saving of souls, it is always a great time to inform people that today is their day to be delivered from whatever hinders them from obeying God. Missionary work begins with that announcement.
During this season when families all over the world celebrate the birth of Christ, we are reminded again of the need to reflect on the main reason for our lavish celebrations. Mistletoes, gingerbread cookies and lighted trees are seasonal and may have symbolic meanings; but they lack the clear meaning of ‘giving’ illustrated by God’s great act of love. Moreover those “Christmas” items lack the true qualities of things which should provoke children to ponder the real meaning behind the gifts given to them at Christmas time. Had not “God so loved this world…”, the greatest gift would not have been given. The significance of John 3:16 was paramount. The preeminent gift of his Son is foundational to any and all impetus on the believer’s part to give to others.
Jesus’ life was sacrificed on our behalf. Therefore we are indebted to him and should surrender all to him. The sacrifices that Christian parents make in order to supply natural provision for their families’ wellbeing exhibits God’s love-in-action, but only in a limited way. That parental instinct is native to parents who possess common sense. A deeper sense still exists. Jesus’ birth was so important that God led wise men and shepherds to him. What God did to redeem mankind was not instinctive to the human race. No one else ever had made such an attempt. Jehovah offered up his own unique son, his only-begotten son. Encouraging people to bring gifts to family members is one thing, encouraging people to bring Gifts to Christ is another; however, becoming a gift, wholly surrendered to God, one fully submitted to him and used by Him is the ultimate act of obedience. Throughout church history men and women have ventured to strange cultures and societies for the express purpose of reaching those who were unaware of God’s gift or that such love had been put into action.
These facts are true, and the simple message given will be endorsed by all who read these words. Whether the message will be translated into evangelistic action or not is entirely another matter. All around the world the spirit of jolly ol’ Saint Nick and Santa Clause will be celebrated. Will anyone take the time to read the story of Christ’s birth? Relating info of the former may produce smiles; the proclamation of the latter is anointed and will change lives for eternity. Since Jesus came into this earth, dwelling in it wholly without sin, the world has not been the same. The devil rages, the sting of sin was dealt with at the cross, and broken hearts now may be mended without the use of charms, witchcraft or belief in pagan gods. The resurrected son of God was vindicated when he was raised from the dead by the Spirit of holiness and power.
Indeed let us make our celebrations evangelistic this year. When confronted with the issue of possibly offending unbelieving persons who perhaps will join us at a Christmas gathering, let us not forget that Jesus was born to die, and that many sinners sought to destroy him when he was born and more sinners yet stood there at the cross where Jesus died. Should we not inform the offended of the truth of what their offenses required Jesus to do – to die? The narrative must be told, and forcefully. Who knows? There could be an Anna or Simeon ready to join us in telling others all about Christ’s remarkable Birth!
May Your Holiday Be Filled with Evangelism and Cheer,
Brother Darrell Sutton
By Matthew Kuruvilla
When we think about the Great Commission and missions in the Far East two great names come to our mind, William Cary and Mother Teresa. Both of them spent their life in Calcutta India. William Carey (17 August 1761–9 June 1834) was a British-India Christian Missionary, a Particular Baptist minister, translator, social reformer and a cultural anthropologist.
Mother Teresa, known in the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta (born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu; Albanian. 26 August 1910–5 September 1997), was an Albanian-Indian Catholic nun and missionary.
I have been asked by many people, what is a Christian missionary and a Christian mission? A Christian missionary is commissioned by the Lord to make disciples of Christ. Jesus commands all Christians to share the Gospel, which is the message of His death and resurrection that paid the penalty and conquered the power of sin. A Christian mission is an organized effort to fulfill the Great Commission.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20).
A Christian mission should function on the platform of evangelism. An evangelism platform must be Culturally Appropriate, Biblically Faithful, Theologically Sound, and Morally Ethical.
William Carey translated the complete Bible into 6 Indian languages, and portions into 29 others, yet he never attended the equivalent of high school or college. His work was so impressive, that in 1807, Brown University conferred a Doctor of Divinity degree on him posthumously. Also, he translated the Hindu Epic Poem 'Ramayana' into English. He and his family lived in India, died in India and were buried in India. Mother Teresa, too, is famous, because she was a person who was faithful to her profession of faith in Christ. In other words, she was a faithful and dedicated Christian. She spent her whole life among the poorest of the poor in Calcutta India. She worked with lepers, outcasts and the homeless. She was a walking Bible and a walking testimony. She lived among them, died among them and also was buried among them.
As well, I would love to introduce one more person to you through this blog. His name is Sadhu Sundar Singh. He was born into a Sikh family in the village of Rampur Kataania, Punjab, India on September 3rd 1889.
In his teenage life Sundar felt that his religious pursuits in Sikhism, and the questioning of Christian and Hindu priests, had left him without ultimate meaning. Sundar resolved to commit suicide by jumping in front of a train. He asked that whosoever is the 'True God' would please come before him, otherwise he would commit suicide. In that very night he had a vision of Christ Jesus who introduced the truth to Sundar. Sundar told his father, Sher Singh, that he was experiencing a transformation in his soul, and from this point on he committed his life to Christ and to His missionary work. His father denounced him at that point.
Many people said, "He not only looks like Jesus, he talks like Jesus must have talked." He was a walking Bible. His speeches were informed by his habitual early morning meditation on the Bible. In 1918 he made a long tour of the Southern part of India, Sri Lanka, and the following year he was invited to Burma, Malaya, China and Japan to preach the Gospel.
Some of the incidents from these tours were very miraculous, especially his Tibetan tour. He claimed power over wild animals and King Cobras. He had power over disease and illness, though he never allowed his healing gifts to be publicized.
However, the government of India which was British, and the Church of England, did not recognized his salvation experience and his ministry work because he looked different, dressed different, and talked different. This put Indian Christianity at least one hundred years behind. Still it is an epidemic in many parts of the world.
He continued his Culturally Appropriate, Biblically Faithful, Theologically Sound and Morley Ethical work of Savior Christ Jesus. Before he died Buckingham Palace invited him for a special tea with her royal highness. Following his example, let us together come to Know the God of Abraham and Make Him known to rest of the world.
The month of October finds many WMF members in fields of service around the world. Present difficulties with individual health issues or the effects of inclement weather have not discouraged God’s people from attending to Kingdom matters. The desire to fulfill the great commission is an unquenchable passion for those who have had their sins washed away in the blood of Jesus. In this season when so many of our ministers are building schools and medical facilities, teaching ministers abroad, feeding orphans, holding open-air crusades, digging wells and providing financial support to overseas nationals, oh what a joy it is to know that we are doing the works of Jesus amid all these things.
On one occasion, Jesus sent his workers into towns and villages two-by-two. People were set free from demon power, others were healed. All were edified. The two-by-two arrangement affords mutual reinforcement for Jesus’ witnesses. God certainly gives boldness; but it is also a blessing to have another person with you to give you confidence and to witness the signs and wonders that will attend the proclamation of the Gospel. Now is not the time to close your mouth, but to speak loudly. Paul and Silas prayed and praised in prison. All the prisoners were freed by their audacious act. Despite prisoner belief in Roman gods and cults, the two Apostles made God’s name great in the earth where they were dwelling: a prison.
The Lord expects no less from us who are free. Somebody’s deliverance is dependent upon what you will do. So pray and praise Him in good times and in bad ones, but always evangelize, whether it is achieved in prayer, sermon or in song!