“Let us arouse ourselves to the sternest fidelity, laboring to win souls as much as if it all depended wholly upon ourselves, while we fall back, in faith, upon the glorious fact that everything rests with the eternal God.”
Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
“Good morning, can I share something with you?” Are these some of the words we use when we go knocking on our neighbor’s door with a tract? What if our neighbor did not wish to listen to us? What if the door is slammed on our faces? Or what if the person gets angry and begins speaking rudely to us? It may also be possible that the person may keep quiet, but later decide to lodge a complaint against our Church. We are all aware that we may face such situations when we carry out this good work. But this is something we do for our King in heaven, and we should encourage one other, for the Lord will surely be pleased.
In a tract entitled, “Evangelism and the Reformed Faith,” Prof. David Engelsma mentioned that, “The Church’s most important possession is the gospel.” With this in mind, may we therefore prayerfully consider how we can share this God-given “treasure” with others, so that many can come to the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Where do we begin?
1 Corinthians 9:14, “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” Yes we really need to begin with ourselves. We need to let others see Christ in us. We need to be able to manifest the fruits of spirit. We need to be able to speak to others through our godly living. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the work of evangelism would become natural for each one of us. If the world was to label us as Christians, it would mean that they see in us a people who have consecrated their lives to Christ, and Christ alone.
Who should we bring the gospel to?
Matthew 9:12, “…They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” God sent His Son into this world to heal the sick, lame and blind. He was sent to bring the good news of “healing” to those who are spiritually sick. Do you know anyone in your midst who is spiritually sick and needs to hear the good news of spiritual healing?
Matthew 7:15 reminds us, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
Our Lord also commands us to carry out the work amongst those who are scattered and who have been led astray by corrupt and selfish people.
Priests and false prophets, not only in the OT times, but even now continue teaching heresies and false doctrines. May this give to us more urgency to share with others the Reformed Truths so that many may come to become aware of those precious Truths which our forefathers defended over the centuries.
What IS the good news?
1 John 1:9 also reminds us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This is precisely the good news which we need to speak about. As Reformed Christians, we also aught to take every opportunity to speak about our fallen and sinful nature. The need for repentance and to ask for His mercy and forgiveness of our sins is something which is often not mentioned by many witnessing believers. We surely aught to bring this message to our neighbor with much conviction and assurance in our hearts.
John 3:16 reminds us, “For God so loved the love, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life”.
When can we carry out this work: Whenever God opens a “door” for us.
We should take every opportunity to share the gospel. Bringing the word to others on a more personal level can also be an added advantage. By building bridges of friendship along the way, we will no doubt be able to share the gospel more effectively. Furthermore, if we are able to share with others good Christian tracts, Cds, etc, we will be able to let others take home something which they may be able to reflect on later on.
What we may wish to avoid:
We have often been reminded that we need to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. In this respect, I would like to share with you some incidents which had recently transpired in Singapore, and how it had caused many to become somewhat more aware of their religious rights. I speak of certain rights which had been highlighted by a Bill called the Racial Harmony Act. These 2 incidents and its consequences will enable us to have a better understanding of the ever-changing environment in which we live in.
Not long ago a couple had been charged under Sedition Act (meant for troublemakers in society), and sentenced to 8 weeks jail. A news report stated that a Christian couple had been put on trial for sedition, facing charges of distributing publications that are seditious and objectionable to three Muslims.” This was because the tracts which they had distributed portrayed images which Muslims had found very offensive to their faith. Reports stated that the information found in those tracts was deemed “in ammatory, misleading, and distorted.” Some mention had been made to the Muslim god “Allah.” In one of the tracts which the couple distributed, entitled, “Who is Allah?,” it was alleged that Allah is actually an ancient moon god, etc. Many other details were penned in stylish comic- book style illustrations.
In another case, a Pastor had tried to bring to light the teachings concerning the Buddhist faith. By, using the means of a public arena, he allowed his participants to share their faith publicly, and then condemned the faith and the teachings of Buddhism. His act was published in the Youtube, and many were able to witness what transpired. A public outcry followed this incident, which resulted in a cabinet Minister appealing to religious leaders to exercise more tact and understanding towards each other. Leaders of religious organizations were also encouraged to speak up if any leader within their own religious groups made any comments which deemed to be offensive, dangerous or divisive to the other.I will therefore like to share with you something pertaining about the Bill which I had mentioned earlier.The Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act 1990
The Minister who proposed this Act, stressed, that – “…the purpose of the Bill is preventive, to nip problems in the bud. It is to prevent matters from escalating and creating tensions, frictions and conflicts between different religious groups. Fortunately, the majority in each religious group in Singapore are conscious of the need to be tolerant and sensitive in our multi-racial society, particularly in the manner they go about practicing their faith and persuading others to join them. The problems are usually caused by a small number of people who are insensitive, thoughtless, irresponsible or worse mischievous, and these few people must not be allowed to jeopardize the precious religious harmony that we have maintained all these years.”
So can we continue doing this good work?
Yes, surely! And we must. Matthew 10:16, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” This verse
reminds us that the Lord will continue to direct our steps and lead us according to His will and purpose. He will give us wisdom, strength and understanding when we thread the treacherous paths, or go through ery trials in our lives. In the rapidly changing world which we live in, we must look up to Jehovah, who will shine His light upon our path. If are to be wise, it would mean that we exercise discernment so that the devil does not make us do that which is sinful in the sight of God, and partake in that which may work against us when we go tracting.
For example, the kind of the tracts we use would be an important area of consideration for all of us. Using good Christian Reformed Tracts, approved by our Church, would not only be a useful tool for us, but it would enable us to explain more clearly and precisely what the Word of God was meant to bring to the hearers.
Secondly, there are many means by which we can bring the gospel to others. Using a public stage to criticize or condemn another faith is surely not one of the options we should consider. On the contrary,this kind of defaming tactics will not only work against our plans to evangelize, but will also cause many to perhaps shy away from us when we plan to evangelize.
In closing, I would like to share with us some tips, as we carry out this good work. May the Lord keep us under the shadow of His wings, and grant unto us His mercies each day.
•Avoid using words of defamation against other faiths
•Avoid the use of graphic images when speaking about other faiths
•Avoid the use pressure or emotions to try and convert others
•Always bring the message based on Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura)
•Always bring the Word, exercising love, patience and understanding
Written by: Ishtu Mahtani | Issue 2