Do you love to tell the story?
Dear BPCWA worshipper, The previously church-organised City Evangelism has since been replaced by personal evangelism that spreads over a weekend. This weekend is evangelism weekend, and we have had many such evangelism weekends over the past months since we moved away from a church organised evangelism activity. As such, it is crucial for us to examine and reconsider our attitude towards reaching out to others, whether regarding evangelism to unbelievers or inviting friends to church.
I love to tell the story; ’Tis pleasant to repeat
What seems each time I tell it, More wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story; For some have never heard
The message of salvation, From God’s own holy Word.
A story for all to tell. Though we no longer have City Evangelism, there are still many opportunities to participate in reaching out to others. The Seniors Fellowship committee holds gospel meetings twice a year, we have the Good Friday, Easter, and Christmas services, and the Y180 committee continues to organize outreaches at 2 universities annually. With all these activities, there is simply no excuse for anyone to say that they have not been reaching out because they don’t know how to bring people to know the Gospel throughout the year. At the same time, we have our weekly services and fellowship meetings that you can invite your friends to. Our young have been active in doing that, as they invite their school friends to join them at some of our church meetings. Similarly, some of our elderly worshippers have also been very active in bringing relatives and friends to the Seniors Fellowship meetings, Good Friday, and Easter events.
A Story for you to tell. Sometimes you can unconsciously feel “outside” of all these outreaches, meaning that it does not occur to you that you yourself specifically must reach out. I know that not everyone we invite comes, but the question I want to pose to everyone – young, adult, and elderly – today is, have you made the effort to even try to reach out to those around you? Or, when you read these announcements in the bulletin, do you just let it pass, thinking “oh, I’ll be there” but never thinking of who you could invite to these outreaches? Or you may even volunteer to help in some background role at these outreaches but never actually step out to share the gospel in any way whether in public or private, at these events or otherwise. Evangelism is not just something for extroverts, outgoing, and sociable Christians while you pass by it and not even think about what you can do. If you have been genuinely saved, you should know the gospel and so should know the story and are able to tell the story!
Another story has been heard, sadly. It is not uncommon that when some visitors came to our church, some realised that they knew these visitors too, whether from school or work. Very sadly, the visitors often are already attending an unsound church because someone else had invited them earlier. They seem settled there but are just visiting us because their church did not have anything on that night/day. I recently spoke to a student that was invited to our church study. This student was an unbeliever until another friend invited her to a contemporary church. She got saved and has since been attending that. Another who recently came said that she had browsed the internet for churches in a certain vicinity prior to coming. And if she had not come to BPCWA on her own, the next option on the list was a questionable church. Young or old alike, many often settle down and continue to attend the church where they started in, even if it was an unsound church, because they don’t know any better. If they settle in unsound churches, the opportunity to bring them up with the conviction of God’s truth and eventually reach out to others with the truth is lost. If such, we have missed the opportunity to be used by God because we thought, “I don’t think they would be interested”, or we just simply did not do our part in reaching out to others. Even if they do join us in time, it is often too late, if not very difficult, to convince them what is wrong with the other gospel or unsound doctrines they have gotten used to hearing and learnt over the years.
A story that affects this life and eternity. However, it’s not just about this life. Yes, the power of the gospel is the power to save from hell. But it is also the power to transform a heart dead in sin to one that lives in Christ after salvation while living on earth. One can have rejected the true gospel of grace their whole lives but when God’s time is ripe, will humble themselves to receive the truth. This inward change will affect where they spend their eternity. The privilege for the bearer of the seed of the gospel will be the privilege to witness the power of the gospel firsthand. Though I have been a Christian for many years, God’s saving work in the heart of those who believe never ceases to amaze me. To see someone who was once hardened and possibly deemed “impossible” to save because they were such and such now understand and receive the grace of God offered in salvation is to see God’s Hand at work. This changes their life and eternity forever. If you see this, you sing your hymns very differently when you sing of God’s salvation. It humbles you to realise that only God could have done this. Be a worker together with God in telling others of the gospel while there is yet time before the day of sowing is over for you!
A story you will tell if you love it. I am convinced that you will only be an ardent evangelist if you truly value how God reached out to you to save you. This is the starting point – when we are convinced of the value of what we know, we will tell others about it. When we are overwhelmed with the thought that God – the infinite Almighty God – would come to save us, our hearts cannot contain the thought to itself. It cannot be held back. Don’t we love telling others about the best deals, the good restaurants, what’s popular, our favourite food? Why? Simply because it is something that we appreciate very much and want others to enjoy it as well. We must be honest with the condition of our own hearts. Let me be blunt to also say that if we do not tell those that we come across our lives in God’s providential arrangement, it is because we do not love the story of “unseen things above, of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love”. God intends to use His people to have the privilege to witness of the story that changed them personally. It is our privilege, and we must see it as such. May we repent if our hearts are not as it should be.
You may sing “I Love to Tell the Story”, but do you really love to tell the story? Have you told others about it? I am not asking if you have served in some way at the outreach activities that the church organises (which is good), but if you have spoken to anyone in the past months about this story that transformed your life. You don’t have to tell everyone that you have reached out to someone, but about whether you really have a heart for the lost and perishing out there. If so, though no one knows and asks you to do so, you will make every effort to reach out to those around you with the truth. It should be so for every Christian, not just for the young, but for the adults and the elderly as well. It was because someone loved this story of salvation that you were told about it and were saved. Won’t you tell someone of this story that will never get outdated? The story that only the redeemed will tell with joy. It is about your love for your Lord and Saviour. It is your Christian duty as a disciple. Will you seek out the lost, even if they are not your kin? That is the judge of your love for the story.
Lu 8:5 A sower went out to sow his seed . . . Lu 8:8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Yours in our Lord’s service,