This month we once again receive our annual teaching on the subject of Missions from the pulpit.
The challenge for me – and I suspect for many of you as well – is to not just end up enjoying the stirring and inspirational sharing of others involved in missions and simply going home happy and satisfied, but to be actively reaching out to others with the gospel myself.
The sad fact is that due to increasing terrorist acts, maintaining peace and order has become more difficult for governments the world over. Apart from beefing up security forces, secular authorities are becoming very sensitive to people seeking to share their faiths with those from other persuasions. There is subtle pressure to maintain the status quo as the authorities feel that such engagements across different faiths may not be conducive to the maintenance of peace and harmony in a multi-religious country.
We learned from Elder Kiat Hoe’s recent Romans 13 sermon that as Christians we must be subject to the governing authorities and not make their governing difficult. But at the same time, the Bible requires that we preach the gospel in season and out of season and so the need to obey God rather than man can sometimes come into sharp focus regarding the task of evangelization. May God give us wisdom how to walk this tightrope in the complex world we live in.
While we ponder this, the truth is that the best way to start witnessing our faith is by loving our neighbours. The Lord Jesus Christ modeled that for us. Countless testimonies of people turning to faith in Christ sprang out from the love shown to them by Christians, often love shown though the recipients made themselves unlovely or unapproachable. The unexplainable love poured out by these ambassadors of Christ was used by the Holy Spirit to stir and move minds and hearts towards Christ.
So though the world situation is complex, we should focus our attention on the people whom the Lord has brought into our sphere first – are we showing them the love that will point them to the Lord Jesus? Our parents, siblings, neighbours, colleagues and friends to name a few. Or are we instead indifferent, or worse, hoarding our time, property, money and opportunities for ourselves and our loved ones in a way that says to the onlooker – “I’m not really interested in you as a person – but would you like to be a Christian like me anyway? ” The disconnect will be obvious and, as they say, ‘your actions will speak louder than your words’.
We believe that the Lord Jesus’ Second Coming is imminent and the only reason He is tarrying is because He wants as many as possible to repent and turn to Him and be spared eternal damnation.
And He is giving us, his followers, every opportunity to be His instruments to reach out to those in our sphere just waiting to be saved. We just need to do our part and leave the convicting of hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit. When we do so, we will receive the Holy Spirit’s direction on the right moment to share the gospel explicitly.
Today, will you repent of your inaction, and carry out those acts of loving your neighbour which you have been putting off for the sake of your own convenience and comfort? Humbly seek God’s power to appropriate action so that your listening to teaching on Missions will not be in vain.
By Daniel John (YCKC Bulletin 21&22 October 2017)