"The word of God is a human right."
Frank Kaleb Jansen - Founder/Chairman (1980 - 2009)
WITNESS CHRIST BEYOND THE BORDERS
Since the last two months we witnessed many painful incidents in our country. Among those the mis- happenings in Pulwama broke the heart of India the most. Still India is in agony and in the shock of the martyrdom of forty CRPF Jawans, killed by the terrorists. As a mission we pray for the bereaved families of the deceased and also praying for our Central Government and our Armed forces to take necessary actions in this regard.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy
Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth”. (Acts 1:8)
Jesus had given great commission to His disciples (Mathew 28: 19) to ‘go’ that means it’s an order or in an imperative form that begins with a verb and ends with a person. Here Jesus used the second person ‘You’ in singular and plural form. Sharing the gospel is our responsibility not duty. Duty and responsibility has got vast differences in its meaning.
Very often we teach and preach about Acts 1:8 and we have the exegesis of this verse that Jerusalem is our home, Judea is our neighbor and Samaria is the distant place and end of the world. Many evangelicals understand the term 'end of the world‘ or ‘beyond the border’ that means go to some other wealthy country to witness over there. They claim that our Master said you go to the end of the world.
Jerusalem- the place where Jesus was crucified and those who crucified Jesus thought this was the end of Jesus’ movement. Jesus said you start where Satan tried to defeat you.
Judea- The Christians were first defeated in Judea and it is also the place of Judas who betrayed Jesus before the Sanhedrin. The nation Judah is known after the tribe of Judah. Iscariot means a man of Kerioth a place in Palestine and in English, from 1640, as a noun meaning ‘traitor’ or liar or a false witness.
Samaria- a place of second rate Jews or social outcastes
Witness beyond the borders- Jesus said witness me to the end of the world. That means go to the end.
Witness: it was a command not a choice. Jesus’ disciples boldly testified,
“We are eye witnesses from the beginning.” (Lk.1:2)
"We are eye witnesses of His majesty" (2 Peter 1:16)
A witness must swear to tell the truth. minimum two witnesses were essential to give a witness according to the Levitical rule. Same rule is followed still in the court of Law.
Christian baptism is a witness and confession in identification with the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. (Romans 6:3-5)
What prevents a person from witnessing?
Cultural Pressure: Many of the non Christians in the pluralistic country like India know the truth but their culture and practices are a great bondage to witness Jesus in the public. There are lots of secret believers in India. They read Bible and pray but they are not the members of any church in this world and not ready to witness Jesus in public.
Millions of people massacred by the non Christians in the world. India, the world’s second most populous country, has risen to number 15 on the 2017 world watch list, up from 31, four years back. Christians are panic in India due to the threat of communal and religious elements.
Due to poverty, other religious people give monetary benefits and use their force to reconvert the believers.
Jesus commanded us to witness beyond the borders that means you witness where ever you can go with your capacity and capability. Few months back Indian army did surgical strike in Pakistan and they destroyed their arms and ammunition which were kept for destroying India. For this operation our brave Indian army risked their life. Likewise we the soldiers of the great army of the God’s kingdom have to be ever ready to share the gospel with courage in any place in any situation.
Many a time the servants of God select vulnerable people those who easily convert and many workers are not ready to leave their comforts and comfort zone.
Due to the persecution from Saul the believers scattered abroad and went everywhere to preach the gospel. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. People with one accord believed in Jesus and they experienced the miracles performed through Philip. Unclean spirits came out crying with loud voice and, many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. Actually Philip was preaching among the social outcastes.
Jesus Said to the Pharisees,”Truly I say to you that the publicans and the harlots will go into the kingdom of God before you”. Pharisees were self righteous people, strict observers of traditional and written law and pretended as they are people with superior sanctity. Suppose Jesus comes to this world right now, He will say the same words to us.
We are not ready to share the gospel with those who are in the bondage of drugs, drunkards, evildoers and atheists etc. We have to find time to share Jesus with those who need Jesus. “The son of man is come eating and drinking; and they say , behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, and friend of publicans and sinners” Lk.7:34. Kingdom of God is for those who repent their sin.
What are the present crises in the evangelism?
Surrogacy or substitution: Surrogacy is a familiar word now, the infertility dept. of medical science uses this word. Those who have infertility problems are suggesting surrogacy. Many people called by God for evangelism are either ignorant or not responding to their call and hiding in the woods like Adam. They are sending another person in place of them or sending money. But the call is on you and you have to respond to your call. “So the Lord God called out to the man, “where are you?” Genesis 3:9.
Professionalism or Competency:
Paul compared a minister with a soldier, an athlete and a farmer 2 Timothy 2:3-6. He put all his energy, ability, scholarship and his rich heritage and submitted everything for the extension of God’s kingdom.
Pessimism or Negativity:
If a servant of God minister with positive attitude and energy he can see the success in his church. There are negative people in the church. We cannot ignore them and be humble and teachable always. Jesus taught his disciples how to build the church; his chief command was to love the rejected and downtrodden people who have no one to love them.
Apprehension or Panic:
Many people are doubting about the providence of God . they think, if I go out for ministry who will support me and where will I stay. Their fear is blocking them from the love of God. Callousness: Manyaredoingministrywithoutsympathyorfeelingfor otherpeople. Jesus’ministryiswithsympathyandcompassion.Mark1:41 says ‘The Lord moved with compassion’.
Many a time we have the prejudice about the place and people. How can we share the gospel with the people who belong to other community or other religions, or more educated than me. But God is always using weak links for His great ministry. Naaman, the Captain of the Syrian army went to Elisha because of a small servant girl and he got healing from leprosy.
The Lord wants us to surpass all these hindrances and be His mighty witnesses wherever He sends us to. What we need is a submissive heart, tuned to His perfect will so that He can use us to be His effective witnesses.
May the Lord bless you all.
HEM, Binnaguri, West Bengal