How Shall They Hear?
The greatest problem facing the world day is an ignorance of God’s Word. In Hosea 4:6, we read “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” The Lord’s church needs ministers, evangelist, missionaries, and any and all Christians who are willing to sacrifice physical and worldly pleasures to promote the gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:24-26). The Lord goes on to say in Hosea 4:6, “Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being priest for Me;” But now consider 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” As Christians we are to “proclaim the praises” of Christ, but how is this to be done?
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”(Matthew 28:19). This is the only way to give the world that without which they will be destroyed. Is this not a simple, easily understood command? If so, then what does it take to get the Lord’s people moving?
Are not Christians supposed to be out saving lost souls from eternal death? What is the delay? Do we really believe that there are lost souls in the world? Do we recognize the urgency involved in trying to reach these souls? The church at Jerusalem had no such problem. They recognized the urgency and spread very rapidly into the uttermost parts of the world—and do you know why? It was because the members of that church scattered. “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). Do the members of the church today want to scatter? Are we not members of the same church as those in Jerusalem in the first century? If so, then why don’t we scatter throughout the world and teach the gospel? Many of us really do not want to scatter, do we? If we did, we would! Some of us would rather concentrate ourselves in places as near as we can get to a large congregation or a Christian college and segregate ourselves from the rest of the world. Are we really practicing Christianity like the early church?
There is an urgency to spread the gospel today because the truth is being perverted by denominations all over the world. The Mormon Church is growing. So are the Seventh Day Adventists, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and all of the Pentecostal groups. Why are they growing? Because they practice what they preach, they live their religion, and they fully believe that what they teach is the Word of God. We have the truth, but they are growing. They’re growing because they have many missionaries in the field. They’re growing because they are not afraid to knock on doors and present their doctrine. They are growing because they make good use of the printed page and the other media. Consider the vast number of people being led astray by charlatans of television who offer salvation by faith only, physical healing for spiritual salvation, all fakery. This is sad. But worse is that those who teach these false doctrines are lost, as well as those who have been taught and have accepted their false doctrines. Before the truth can be taught to these people, this false doctrine will have to be unraveled and dispensed with. For some it may be too late to unravel. These denominational television shows and denominational missionaries are teaching their false doctrines all over the world. Where is the Lord’s church?
We do have missionaries in the field but not like the denominations do. Our missionaries have to literally beg for funds to go abroad and teach the gospel while some denominational groups have the funds and are seeking more missionaries. Why don’t we have more? The answer to that is easy. Most of us want to be where we can go to church and sit and listen, enjoy the air conditioning and the soft seats, enjoy the fellowship with our wonderful brethren, live in our comfortable homes, enjoy our favorite television programs, and sing and pray and tell the Lord how much we love Him. John wrote in 1 John 3:17-18, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” And James wrote, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). Are we indeed deceiving ourselves? It is not for the “next guy” to evangelize the world, it is up to you! Christ said, “Go,” James said, “be doers of the word,” and the Word is the gospel and the whole world needs it. It is our responsibility to evangelize the world.
It is so easy to make excuses. We say to ourselves that we cannot go into a mission field because we must stay at home and work our jobs that we may make a living to support our families and send our children to good schools. There are jobs available in the mission fields and there are some very fine schools as well. The Lord will not accept excuses. There are many reasons why some cannot go but there are no good excuses. And if one cannot go, he can always send, but still we make excuses for that. An excuse not to go or send someone to the mission field to reach the lost is simply a refusal to fulfill the Great Commission and an admission that we are not willing to give our all to Christ and His church.
Think on these things for a moment:
He who is the Bread of Life began
His ministry poor and hungry.
He who is the Fountain of Living
Water ended His ministry thirsty.
Christ hungered but fed many as God.
His life was weary yet He is our Best.
He prayed and He hears prayers.
He wept but He will dry our tears.
He was sold for thirty pieces of silver but,
Redeemed the world with His blood.
He was the Lamb led to slaughter but
He is the Good Shepherd.
He died on the cruel cross that He might destroy death.
We, as Christians, are to be like Christ. He gave His life for the souls of others. Are not we to be prepared to do the same? “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mark 8:34).
“When I say to the wicked, You shall surely die, and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand. Yet if you warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul” (Ezekiel 3:18-19). Many die every day not knowing the Lord.
The responsibility to evangelize the world belongs to the church. As a member of that church, the only real question is: Will I accept that responsibility? The answer lies within the attitude of the individual. Our attitude should be like that of Samuel. When God spoke to Samuel the response was “Speak, for Your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:10). His attitude was one of obedience. We should have that attitude.
God will not ask of us that which we cannot do. When faced with the task of “going,” the apostle Paul tells us the reactions of the early Christians. “We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
We can all be ministers (servants) of God and we can all be evangelists if we know and spread the truth of the glorious gospel. We are responsible for evangelizing the world and saving lost souls. What is the value of a soul?
What would you give to see just one more person obey the gospel? What would it be worth to see one soul saved from the fiery depths of hell? Of course, no price would be too great if it were your own soul! But what about someone you don’t know? What about some lost soul in a distant country? One thought is found throughout the Bible: God is no respecter of persons. The gospel must be preached throughout the world for the sake of the souls of others as well as our own. The responsibility belongs to us all. If we do not take it to them, How shall they hear?