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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

 

Seeing the Cross and Seeking for Souls

Cartoonist Doug Hall depicted a preacher addressing his congregation: "The question is, how do we win the world to Christ . . . with a minimum of fuss and bother?" The cross of Christ reminds us that Jesus' efforts to win our own souls required a lot of fuss and bother. When was the last time you talked to someone about Jesus with the intent of winning them to Him? I love what Otis Keener said about missionaries — "Missionaries are not made by crossing the sea but by seeing the cross." A gospel hymn reminds us every Christian can be a missionary: "If you can't sing like angels, If you can't preach like Paul, Then tell the love of Jesus, and say, 'He died for all' " (There is a Balm in Gilead, verse 2). Mark 16:15-16 and Matthew 28:18-20 comprise what is commonly referred to as "The Great Commission." In it Jesus put the church in charge of spreading the world's best news to every person in every place in every time and age. That commission continues to grow even greater. World population is now over 7 billion and speed-toward eight. As of today (Thursday 1/9/2014), census.govipopclock reported world population to be 7,139,480, 921 and climbing at a rate of between two and three people per second! Since I started to type that last sentence it has climbed to 7,139,481,020 (a gain of 99!). The Lord wants them all to hear the gospel. The following words, written many years ago by an author unknown to me, are still compelling:

 

    Give us a watchword for the hour
    A battle cry, a flaming breath,
    A word to rouse the church from rest
    The call is given, ye hosts arise,,
    To fallen men, a dying race,
    The world that [still] in darkness lies,

A thrilling word, a word of power;
A call to conquest or to death;
To heed the Master's high behest.
The watchword is EVANGELIZE!
Make known the gift of gospel grace.
0’ church of Christ, EVANGELIZE!

 

Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:15-16). We sometimes complain the world will not listen to the Gospel. And truly, for a myriad of reasons, millions outside the church are not interested in spiritual matters. But simple observation tells us there is another problem —many inside the church are simply not speaking to others about spiritual things. Far too many Christians and congregations are "silent saints" when it comes to confronting family members and friends and others in our world about Christ and the condition of their own souls. The church has more money, means, methods, and opportunity to evangelize the world than ever before. We have been sought — now we ought to seek. We have been taught — now we ought to teach. No one among us can preach the gospel to everybody in the world. But every one of us can in some way talk to somebody — if not across the ocean then across the street or even across the dining room table. Somebody in your world needs you to see the cross to the point it moves you to be a missionary to them. God help us that more than ever before we will see the cross and do all we can to take Christ to all the world, starting right where we are_

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ