Entrusted With The Gospel
By Lois J. Stucky
One of the joys of serving the Lord at Herald of His Coming is the opportunity to correspond with brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. We who are in Christ are of various nationalities and cultures, but we are all devoted to earth’s one true God and Father, and we are devoted to the one and only Savior, Jesus Christ, who has redeemed us all to God by His blood. We are all indwelt by the same Holy Spirit: "By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:13). Together all saints around the world comprise the Body of Christ, or, to change the figure, comprise the Bride of Christ.
Most of us know this very well and the concept is precious to us, but how deeply do we truly grasp it? "Brothers and sisters in Christ" suggests "family," and that brings to mind wonderful words like love, loyalty, comfort and support. It speaks of special relationships and close ties. It is a privilege to belong to such a Body, especially when our exalted Head is Christ! But are we as eager to accept the responsibilities of belonging as we are to enjoy the privileges? Are we sincerely desirous to see Christ’s Church in every land edified and built up, bringing glory to God, being added to steadily? Are we burdened to see a glorious church worldwide, holy and blameless? And importantly also, how much heartfelt thought do we give to the unsaved multitudes around the world, to those whom God would add to the Body?
None of us is an Apostle Paul who had on his heart the care of all the churches God used him to start. But are our hearts caring enough to bear what God intends to be our share of the burden for the Church and for the unsaved? Several articles this month suggest that a determining factor in lack of heart concern for the peoples of the earth is losing what Jesus speaks of as our "first love" (Rev. 2:4).
What does loving the Body of Christ worldwide entail? How can we love someone who may be an ocean away? We should no doubt begin with loving the ones close to us, the local Body, the local church. We may even need to narrow it down to a particular local church member or two. It may be we will need to start by humbling ourselves and repenting before God for our indifference and failures to genuinely love others, with concern for their eternal well-being. Going farther, we must apply the cross to the self-centered, unloving old life, and then seek God to receive a new infusion of His love. When we humbly set our hearts to obey Him and depend upon His help to love others as He tells us to, lo, He enables us to do it! "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost" (Rom. 5:5). We become a channel of God’s holy love. In His love is longsuffering, gentleness, kindness, goodness and other virtues we may have struggled to produce and could not. God privileges us to be caught up in "love divine, all loves excelling." That love may be tested again and again, severely perhaps and maybe painfully. But how far superior it is to be a link in the sweet chain of God’s love than to be entangled in bondage to the old man, dominated by impatience, scorn, unforgiveness, resentment, perhaps even hostility.
To love the ones God puts on our hearts with all that God’s love includes, to desire the best for them, to seek to be of significant help to them, brings a joy that is full. As Dr. Kinlaw indicates at the close of his article, it is the way to fulfillment of God’s highest purposes for us. We are called to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love one another as ourselves! If God’s people would give themselves to that, what a marvelous difference it would make in many homes, churches and communities, to say nothing of the nation and the world. It surely was the desire of God’s heart when He created man and woman in the beautiful Garden of Eden. "Joy of heaven to earth come down...."
God, through His Spirit is preparing a love-filled Bride for His Son. Let us ask ourselves, where do I stand? Are there changes I need to make in my life? The Apostle Paul desired that the church at Corinth "may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 1:8). He urged the church in Philippi to conduct themselves so as to be "blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world" (Phil. 2:15). It was Paul’s prayer for the church of the Thessalonians that their "whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thes. 5:23). Notice Paul was burdened that the churches be "blameless" – be trusting in the cleansing power of Jesus’ blood and be walking in obedience to His Word, observing such commands as to love one another.
Clearly it is one of our responsibilities as a member of Christ’s Body to live to glorify and to exemplify Christ the Head. To do this fully requires a Spirit-filled, Spirit-controlled life. A church composed of Spirit-controlled members is powerful in drawing in the unsaved. And from a Spirit-filled church God can thrust forth workers into His harvest field nearby and afar. To live a Spirit-filled, blameless life is a most worthy quest for all of us to pursue.
Pray One for Another
Again we ask, how can we love someone who lives an ocean away? God will call some of us to go in person and minister His love. Some will be asked of the Lord to give of their best, of their sons and their daughters, to go as missionaries.
Prayer is a means within reach of all of us as a way to share love to the Church and to the unsaved throughout the earth. As we here in the USA pray for the Church in other lands, we ask that those in turn pray for the USA. How urgent is the need for revival everywhere!
And in this hour of increasing hostility to Christianity, let us bear up in prayer without fail the persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. The September 2006 issue of Herald of His Coming contains a prayer schedule for the persecuted Church in the 10/40 Window. Write us for a copy of the September Herald if you have not received one. We are urged to make this a part of our praying through September 2007. This material will be useful in observing the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church on November 12, 2006. Unsung heroes of the faith are advancing with the Gospel at great risk, and it is costing the lifeblood of some, leaving families that sorrow and suffer intensely. They ask our prayers.
Ask God to lead you to what burden you should bear for the Body and Bride of Christ as well as for the unreached multitudes, as Dr. Kinlaw instructs us. God gives us all the world to love, but our hearts are small. Ask Him to instill in our hearts all the measure of His holy love they can hold. Give yourself to the Spirit that He may pray through you with groanings that cannot be uttered (Rom. 8:26).
Pray for Herald of His Coming
We value highly the friends who take a vital part in the Herald ministry through regular prayers. A good number of you friends who are an ocean away write that you are praying for Herald of His Coming. We are glad when you give thanks and praise to God for raising up and sustaining a ministry that has been helpful to you. While we of the staff gladly put our hand to the work here at headquarters, it is to Him alone that thanks and praise are due for the blessings you reap. Thanks to the brother in Africa who prays that the Lord will "keep the fire burning in the Herald." Perhaps more of you will take up that request – that the fire, the power, the life of the Holy Spirit will be mighty in the messages.
It gives us joy to read from a brother also in Africa that the Herald helps him to win souls for Christ, keeping him stable in his work of evangelism. All of you friends who support the Herald ministry with gifts, prayers or volunteer labors in the mailing room – have a part in the winning of souls through this brother and through others. This is the Body of Christ united in service to our Lord.
Just this word to the one in Zimbabwe who asks for a package of Right Choice Salvation heralds to give to the new converts with whom he is working: we are thankful you are eager to help these babes in Christ become well established in the faith. This is very important, for Satan tries to turn many back by interjecting false teachings. We hasten a package of Right Choice papers off to you.
All who send financial help are vital co-workers also. As members of Christ’s Body, we have been put in trust with the precious Gospel. Let us strive to be faithful stewards, even to sacrifice, in order to share it as widely as possible!
Praise God –
* For the blest ties that bind our hearts in Christian love and service, as each of us seeks and fills the place God purposes for us in order that the Gospel go into all the world.
* For friends whose loving hearts prompt them to go and to give and to pray even sacrificially that others an ocean away may freely receive the blessed Gospel as they themselves have received. Christ paid the cost for us all. To Him be the glory!
Please Pray –
* That God’s people will cast aside sin and every weight that hinders and make it a priority to carry out God’s plan for this generation, that souls not perish but hear and believe the Gospel. Pray we will be enabled of God to overcome the apathy of the flesh and the plots of the enemy to waylay us from this important work we have to do.
* That God will so anoint the messages of Herald of His Coming that thousands of individual Christians and many churches will be stirred to seek and to find new life in Christ and be enabled to reach out effectively to the unsaved of their locality.
* That the Bride of Christ will make herself ready for the coming of her heavenly Bridegroom, becoming the glorious Church without spot or wrinkle!
* For fresh anointing on the Herald’s salvation literature and that zealous distributors will write for copies and faithfully, wisely make effective use of them in witnessing.