HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Written by: Peter Denby, Jr.
As we enter into the new year what are we planning for our lives? Are we planning to go forth and teach the lost more? Many times people make New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately most of the resolutions are buried before the end of February. In December's issue there is a Spiritual Inventory. When you took, did you make any decisions as to how you might improve your imitation of Christ. After all that is one of the definitions of being a Christian.
With all the problems that the world is facing right now, do we worry about earthly problems or do we trust that God has a plan? As Christians we know that we have the promise that if we “... seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things (food, drink, and clothing) shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) Matthew 6:24-33 talks about how we are not to “take thought” for those items listed above. No matter what happens here on earth, these verses show that if we are seeking first the kingdom of God then we will be taken care of. Thus my point is we need to help those people who are not Christians to have a opportunity to see His working hand and to have inner peace, even in times of great stress (now and maybe then).
We should not need a special event to make this decision though! We are COMMANDED, by Jesus, to “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:...” Matthew 28:19-20. (Also see Luke 24:47) Many of us are lucky Jesus is not here to come to us and treat us like the money changers in the temple. I fully believe that one reason that the world is in the state it is in is that there are not people willing to go out and teach the way they used to. Not just the intensity but the quality also. If God is going to spue the Laodicean church out of His mouth for their lukewarmness, why would we be treated any differently.
Why do we think that the Bible has changed? Is that not what we are saying though when we say that terms of modesty have changed? Or that we need to be more careful in how we talk to people so that we do not offend them? And we worry about not seeing more people come to Christ. I would like to mention two things on that subject.
ONE - As I have previously mentioned, we need to not be like the sluggard in Proverb 26:13 BUT more like David with Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. It would appear that we are not taking God seriously, because He is not really in our hearts. If He were we would do anything that had to be done to follow ALL of His commands. As parents we would move mountains to save our children from serious harm. Why then do we not do the same for those who will find eternal life in torment as their punishment for their actions. I would dare say that we may well have the blood of many sinners on our hands because we have let them go their own way without letting them know about the salvation that is waiting for them. 2 Peter 3:9 is clear about this, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” If God is not willing that any should perish, why are we allowing it to happen?
TWO - Remember that Noah preached to many people (some people say millions) for 120 years and saved eight. I see no references to where God chastened Noah for not preaching hard enough, so he must have been doing his job. More importantly, we are told to TEACH, not to save. We are to teach and the Holy Spirit will do the convicting. While the Holy Spirit has been able to work alone, our commanded job as Christians is to go forth and teach all nations. Forget the numbers of ’people you have saved!’ Work with the number of people you have taught. I do not expect that we, as individuals, are to, or can, teach all nations, as there are billions of people on this earth. However if we look at nature we see that the oceans come from many small streams. Our battle cry needs to be TEACH - TEACH - TEACH!!!!!!
Part of the problem may also be the way that we bring the message across. In today’s society our message has to go beyond salvation for one’s self. We need to returning to the teaching that say convert a member of a family and then they will convert the family. (Example Acts 16:15) If we look at the brand new church of Acts chapter 2, we see that “...they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” What are the results that we see later in that chapter? “...And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Why are we not on fire to teach the Word of God? If we were then we would see that we have taught all of those people that we come in contact with. If we do not continually teach people the Word, we are abusing our salvation, as well as abusing Jesus Christ, God and the Holy Spirit.