STILL WITHOUT THE
THE AVERAGE CHRISTIAN
today is puzzled by two messages presenting two needs. Both needs are
clamoring for priority. The first says that we should first take the
Gospel to men who have never heard. The other insists that we should
take care of the "heathen at home" first.
I recently picked up a
well-known Christian periodical where these two messages were in
striking contrast. One article stressed the need of unevangelized areas,
quoting statistics to prove its point. The article immediately following
showed that millions in the city of New York were attending absolutely
no church, and further pressed the need of these people by logical
proof. Each article was well written.
God Only Goes So Far
I couldn't help but feel
that sincere men and women in America, England, Germany and France had
reason to be confused when I presented the challenge of world
evangelization and insisted that we should first go to men who had never
heard. Almost invariably they had said, "But there is such a need at
home!" And they were right! There is a need "at home."
But the question is
cleared when we realize that God only goes so far in presenting the
Gospel, and that WE must not go further. God Gave His Son on Calvary's
cross for a world of sinners, after first showing them their need by His
God makes opportunities
for men to receive Christ. And, once the message is given, God urges the
sinner by His blessed Spirit to receive the Lord Jesus (John 16:8). But
God only goes so far. He always gives a man the opportunity to reject if
he so chooses.
"We turn to the
Christ Jesus manifested
this. He dealt with the Pharisees over a period of time. But finally,
when His puzzled disciples wondered why He had spoken so harshly, He
turned to them and said, "Let them alone..." (Matt. 15:14a). They
had rejected Him. They refused to have this Man rule over them. They
chose to cast Him out, and He never stopped them. He gave them a chance
Paul realized this. In
the 13th chapter of Acts, when the Jews, motivated by jealousy,
contradicted and blasphemed the message of the Gospel, Paul never
continued to plead and beg them to receive it. But, turning to them, he
said, "Seeing ye thrust it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of
eternal life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles" (Acts 13:46b; ASV). And
this was but the second time they had heard it!
No, God has never
intended to coerce men into believing. God gives every man a chance to
Afraid Folks Will Reject
But today we hesitate to
do this. Christians are afraid someone is going to reject, and, if one
does, every means available is brought into play to "pressure" him into
We press him with the
scientific accuracy of the Bible and show him the logicalness of
believing, approaching him through his intellect. Or we try to
show him how much "fun" he can have and what "joy" there is in
believing, approaching him through his flesh. Or we display
before him all the Scriptures on the wrath of God, seeking to persuade
him through fear.
We are trying to MAKE
him believe! We refuse to accept his rejection.
Cramming It Down Throats
One famous soul-winner
even goes so far as to counsel his students not to put their questions
concerning the Gospel in the negative, because it suggests the idea of
rejection. Keep it in the positive so that men will "want" to accept. We
don't want to give them a chance to reject!
But we are going further
We are going beyond that which is written. The Lord told us to preach
the Gospel to every creature -- not cram it down every person's
throat! And in going beyond, we sin -- because we are wasting
hundreds of hours on people who don't want the Gospel; we are
wasting millions of dollars looking for new ways and new things
to make the Gospel "irrejectable"; and, worst of all, we are wasting
millions of LIVES.
It takes a very clever
man to make a person listen who does not want the Gospel. It takes lots
of ability in speech and illustration, lots of talent and mental
capacity to make intelligent people, who don't want the Gospel,
listen for an hour while it is presented. We are preaching to men who
don't want it, and we're trying to make them listen.
Talent Not Essential
But we are giving an
idea to our Christian people also -- the idea that unless you are
talented, and extremely so, there is no hope that you can get anyone to
listen as you preach the Gospel; that no one will listen to you talk to
him about his soul unless you are marvelously gifted.
And this is not true!
Anybody with God's
strength (which He offers to all) can proclaim the Good News to people
who WANT it! And those are the kind of people Jesus Christ is willing
and eager to save.
Hundreds of young people
are wasting their lives because they think they must be CLEVER to preach
the Gospel -- as clever as a man who can preach in a country where
Christ has been rejected.
Jesus Christ simply
wants us to make the good old simple, blessed Story available to
every man. God wants to give a chance to everyone to receive if he
wishes -- and to reject if he chooses. There are men and women in the
dark sections of the earth who have never had a single opportunity to
accept or reject this Lord of ours -- and they will listen to ANYONE who
will bring the message.
Lives Being Wasted
Yes, we are wasting the
lives of hundreds of young men and women, because we are giving them the
impression that they must have marvelous ability before they can be used
to present this message.
Then, think of the lives
that are being wasted out there! Who is willing to even count or
estimate the cost of that steady stream of men and women who are dying
constantly without a knowledge that Jesus Christ died for them? The time
and strength we are spending on men who have heard belongs to
What will we answer when
we stand before our God with our hands completely covered with their
blood? The money and lives we are spending belong to them, because our
Lord said to tell the Good News to ALL. We have done it in ignorance,
perhaps, but God help us for every moment we spend in continuing to do
so! We must stop this waste! Let's give them a chance to receive Christ.
We Can't Meet Need
There is no doubt about
it -- there is a great need at home. But the need is that of a sick man
who refuses the remedy. The need of the "home" field, the great need
that statistics show, is a need we can't meet.
It's the need to receive what is available.
One day our Lord went
out into a desert place to pray. And when the disciples found Him, they
told Him that a great mass of people desired to see Him. ". . . All
are seeking Thee. And He saith unto them, Let us go elsewhere. . . that
I may preach there also, for to this end came I forth" (Mark 1 :37b,
Certainly, if Christ
left those who were seeking Him to give others an opportunity, must WE
not leave those who are rejecting, and give ALL an opportunity?
Let's give them a chance!
Reprinted from BROWN GOLD, August 1949