Friday, February 09, 2007did you know we were at war???
This is what I do every Friday night. Right after work, I drop by my pastor's house, and after a short time of prayer, we both pick up some Bible literature, a Gospel sign and we make our way to the marketplace of our city, which is located right in the middle of downtown.
I've been at this for 7 years now. My pastor has been at it for decades. The overwhelming response to our preaching is mockery, insults and occasionally violent hatred. While such words and acts are no fun, nothing aggravates us more than this: the indifference of our brethren.
In the conclusion post of my series called "A Heart For The Lost" (a series which hardly gets any traffic at all), I expressed my frustration with the down right lamentable number of saints who get into any degree of mass evangelism. My frustration still hits the roof when I hear believers hide behind 1 Corinthians 12, claiming they do not have the "gift of evangelism". I don't know how many times we've encountered Christians during our street preaching, who claimed that what we were doing was "good for us", but that it wasn't for them. Every time, I would think:
"Do they not realize that the Great Commission is an unqualified statement to all saints? Do they not get that we are at war?"
The Great Commission: You know, every believer, when he/she first reads the Great Commission, he/she knows EXACTLY what it means. A believer has to be in church for some time to forget all about the Great Commission. How does this happen? Simple. The saint reads the Mark 16:15, and knows that he/she must declare the Gospel to the lost. After months of evangelism, the saint realizes that God isn't saving people like He did in the book of Acts. Looking for comfort and encouragement, the saint looks to his brothers and sisters in his local assembly and realizes that all of them have quit evangelism along time ago. The saint quits, just like everyone in his/her church.
Spiritual Warfare: In charismatic circles, there is much talk today of "spiritual warfare". Their warring though is carnal, and therefore ineffective. In Baptist circles, you're hard pressed to find anyone talking about spiritual warfare, and those who do, speak of it in a pure theoretical or academic fashion. My pastor once told me he had received an invitation to attend a conference on evangelism at a Fundamental Baptist church we have some fellowship with. He told me that none of the men who headed up the conference had ever done any kind of street preaching, tract distribution or other forms of mass evangelism. So for a week, these great Baptist doctors in theology would "talk" about evangelism. My pastor's assessment: a total waste of time.
And I couldn't agree more.
There is such a thing as spiritual warfare, and it's not about finding demons behind every hardship or sickness, nor is it something that happens once in a blue moon. WE ARE AT WAR! RIGHT NOW! We read, in the Bible, of spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6, and we are commanded there to put on spiritual armor to wrestle against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Well, where does one get into this wrestling match? At a charismatic crusade when faced with a poor soul dying of some deadly disease? At a Baptist conference where everyone stuffs there faces with food and then spend some time "discussing" the subject of evangelism?
The principalities, powers, and rulers of the darkness of this world are... well... IN THE WORLD! That's the battlefield my friends. Church and church conferences are the believer's base camp. There shouldn't be much wrestling there. So are you on the battlefield? Are out there, in your communities, preaching and distributing God's Word? Are you doing it consistently? Or just "when you feel like it"?
Consistency is key.
Imagine, for a moment, a military officer going in the forward trenches of a battlefield to inspect his unit. Once there, he finds that over half his men are missing, and why are they missing in action? Because they had shopping to do. They didn't want to miss the Superbowl. They were too tired to bother with the whole war thing tonight. How impressed do you think the officer would be with his unit? How impressed do you think the Lord is with you, dear brother and sister, when, despite all your great doctrine and spot-on theology, you choose to vainly waste your time instead of proclaiming the Truth in the battlefield of this world?
What? You'd love to be more involved in mass evangelism but you don't have the time? How much TV did you watch this week? How much time did you spend playing some sport or some other game? What have you replaced the battlefield with this week?
The conclusion of the matter: Despite my numerous shortcomings, I remember the Great Commission, and I'm doing something about it. I could be doing alot more, but I'm doing something. Lord willing, and by His grace alone, I will be at my post tonight. I will be warring and wrestling tonight.
What will you be doing?
Update: It's 12:30am, and I just got back home from our open-air evangelism. I thought I would be by myself again tonight since Pastor Tim is still recovering from his lung infection, but the Lord blessed me by getting brother Laz off work early. The two of us preached the Word for 2.5-3 hours, we distributed a fair number of Bible tracts and we had a few one-on-one conversations.
I was a real "weather-wuss" tonight. I was only -14 Celsius (that's 7 Fahrenheit) which, while still quite cold, is warmer than the last two weeks' -20 Celsius temperatures. My toes and fingers froze within the first hour, making it extremely difficult to walk around and distribute Bible tracts.
Tonight's Good: The parking garage attendant, who works right behind our "preaching corner", came by again as I was preaching the Gospel. He said: "Preach it, my friend... I'm with ya!" Despite his kind words of support, I'm still not sure if the man is genuinely saved. Please pray that the Lord would give me an open door with Collin (that's his name). Nothing would make me happier than to be used of God to bring this man, who has shown us much kindness, in the kingdom of the Lord Jesus.
Tonight's Bad: As we made our way back home, after our time of evangelism, a young man came out of a bar line-up to ask me what I was doing. I told him I was preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. He wasn't too impressed with my answer and told me he didn't need to have the Gospel preached to him; he told me "he went to church all the time". I answered that that didn't matter in the least. I told him he was a lost sinner, just like like all the others in the line-up to enter the bar. NOW HE REALLY WASN'T IMPRESSED! So he upped the ante. He told me "he prayed to God all the time". I told him God didn't hear his prayers, for "if he regards iniquity in his heart, the Lord won't hear him" (Psalm 66:18). This infuriated him even more. He started cursing and blaspheming, and at that point I told him that if he didn't want the Truth of the Gospel, I wasn't forcing him to walk with me. He walked away yelling obscenities at me. Please pray that the Lord give this poor soul no rest, until he seek the Living God.
In closing: "I thank God for the privilege to be a nobody telling everybody about Somebody that can save anybody."
Goodnight, dear readers...
Labels: Friday evangelism