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Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Responsibility of the Gospel

About fifteen to twenty years ago I went on a mission trip to Mongolia. I was sent to a village named Zoan Ma'ad. (This may not be the proper spelling but it is how the name sounded phonetically.) I took with me to this village one man from my church who had never been on a mission trip before. The missionary in that region said that he had never ministered in there before. Our responsibility was to see if there was any interest in the gospel and start a church. We were dropped off and promised we would be retrieved in five days. We were on our own. The law prevented us from going door-to-door. (more like hut-to-hut)

The missionary took us to the hut where we would lodge and left. I had Bob, the one who came with me from the states and a translator. The gospel had to go out in five days and I decided we had to go hut to hut right away. So we did.

Every person we encountered was very welcoming. They wanted to hear what we had to say about Jesus. They had never ever heard of Him. Many of them would say, "O, he is like Buddha." I would deny this and start the gospel story again.

One day we got a small portable tv which had a VHS player attached. We hooked it up and played the story of Jesus. It was translated into Mongolian. The people actually jumped when they heard their own language. Most of their tv programs came from Russia and were in Russian. I counted forty-eight people in a room that measured about 12 X 20 feet. They were all standing around a 5" tv. No one left through the whole program.

I asked if they would like to hear more. Nearly all of them said yes. I realized that we had just started a church. Not everyone of them thought it was something they would accept but some of them did.

Paul's story at Athens reminds me of that time in Mongolia. He used what he had to tell the gospel. They were very interested. Some would think it made no sense and others would realize the truth. Paul's story is an unlikely scenario. Who in an area with so many gods would accept having only one God? Why should they believe?

I went into an area that had no god. Most of the people believed in superstitions but I couldn't say that they really believed in Buddha or anyone else. They lived and expected to die. They created their own means of believing in an afterlife. Mostly though, they believed nothing.

We never know who will receive the gospel. We simply have to use what we have and put it in God's hands. Some will receive, believe and identify with the Lord. Others will simply walk away.

Tomorrow is Easter. Many people will come because that is what is expected. They will walk out the same as they entered. If they believed before, they will still believe. If they didn't, coming to church won't affect them. But some will "hear" the gospel for the first time. I will present it according to the times we are facing. I believe that people without Jesus are living empty lives. I don't see how they can turn away from Jesus if they are honest with themselves.

Yet, I and we must continue to share the good news of Jesus even if no one accepts Him. We don't know who will and who won't. This determination is not our responsibility. Telling the gospel is.

Acts 17:32-34 (ESV)
32  Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.”  33  So Paul went out from their midst.  34  But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. 

2 comments:

Anthony Chia said...

Some days ago, I believe it was here, in one of my comments, I mentioned I tried to do a little on my part for this Easter season (Christmas and Easter are common times for people to give their lives to Jesus, for altar calls are common for the occasions, in churches; although I must say, altar calls must be made more often); for that I spent some time talking my brother in law about the faith.

My sister had just accepted Jesus Christ NOT long ago, when she married this brother in law of mine who then was NOT a believer. It was a “match-make marriage”. And what the mother of this brother in law of mine said then, was that so long as my sister had NOT been baptised, it was alright for the marriage (family of non-believers). That was many, many years ago; my sister and this brother in law are now having 2 young adult children who are believers. Until today, my sister has NOT gone for water baptism although she did go to church from time to time, and did not object to their children going to church.

I have been sharing with this brother in law from time to time, over the so many years. He was just not prepared to give over his life to Jesus. So, did I have to give up? No, I did NOT have to, and I did NOT discontinue my repeated sharing about the things of the faith with him, over the years. The simple reasons were these: One, I was to share, that is the kind of thing God said in His Word that I am (we are) to do and two, he, my brother in law, did NOT forbade me to share.

Often, there is a responsibility on our part to share (the gospel or things of the faith), and we must not ignore that. Now, whether or NOT, salvation results, that is beyond us. The correct posture often is this: There is a part we have to play, and we should take note NOT to ignore it; and there is a part that God knows is His part to play, and we should NOT question if God is doing His job! It is we are to just do our job.

This time, I covered some ground I have NOT covered before; sensitive and provoking grounds! I am NOT suggesting you can anyhow zero in on such ground, though. Among other things I said to this brother in law, I said things to the tune of, “We are old already, don’t you know! What are you waiting for?” (In some situation, people will take offence! They could take it that you are cursing, that they will die soon!) Then, I also said this thing, “You know where your wife and children would go. Do you NOT want to go to where they would be, where your family would be?” I added, “You want to be with your parents (both his parents have passed away some years now), or you want to be with your ‘this family’ (spouse and children) that you are having?” His (living) siblings are also NOT believers. I went on to say, “It was no fault of yours, that your parents would NOT be in Heaven, and you cannot be blamed, for you were NOT a believer, while they were alive!” Then, I explained to him that salvation is personal; each person has to receive the Lord, personally; no one can accept the atonement of Jesus for a person, except himself. As to his siblings, they are NOT without hope, for they are still alive, but he has to take a stand for his own life. I left him the reminder to consider seriously what I have said, and said that the Easter services ahead (now passed), at church, would be a good time to give over his life to the Lord. The good news is that he received the Lord last Sunday, in an Easter Service, in church. Praise God.

May this encourage believers to continue to share the gospel with others; continue to share it with their loved ones, and continue to pray for them, for their salvation. May it help them to see: ours is to do our part, and believe that God will come in for His part when it is for Him to come in.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

Prentis McGoldrick said...

Anthony, you are absolutely correct. I thank God that you are sharing Christ with your brother-in-law. Don't stop. God is not through with your work on him.