Elliott Martin, Cross-Cultural Service Major at BJU
“When a man is filled with the Word of God you cannot keep him still, If a man has got the Word, he must speak or die.” - Dwight L. Moody
“We can only go so deep with Jesus until we start yearning to reach out.” - David Mathis
“If he have faith, the believer cannot be restrained. He betrays himself. He breaks out. He confesses and teaches this gospel to the people at the risk of life itself.” - Martin Luther
“To call a man evangelical who is not evangelistic is an utter contradiction.” - G. Campbell Morgan
“To be a soul winner is the happiest thing in this world.” - Charles Spurgeon
"Someone asked, ʻWill the heathen who have never heard the Gospel be saved?' It is more a question with me whether we—who have the Gospel and fail to give it to those who have not—can be saved." - Charles Spurgeon
“If there be anything about which we cannot tolerate lukewarmness, it is in the matter of sending the gospel to a dying world." - Charles Spurgeon
“The earth's families will be blessed only if we go to them with the Gospel. That is God's plain purpose." - John Stott
"It's not a real love if you aren't giving people what they need the most and that's the gospel of Jesus Christ!" - Steve Pettit
"A person that is convinced that God loves them lays down their life so that the gospel can be advanced." - Will Galkin
“But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” - Exodus 9:16
You’ve heard quotes like these. You’ve heard sermons on why you should share the Gospel. If you’re reading your Bible, you’ve undoubtedly run into verses about why you should share the Gospel. So, the question is, why don’t we?
Let me give you one more quote:
“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” - Jesus (Mark 16:15)
Seems pretty straightforward, right? Jesus tells us to go, so we go. So, if we aren’t going, we aren’t obeying Jesus. The problem is, we still aren’t going. We have an excuse for every possible Gospel-sharing opportunity. If you are an excuse-giver, read the last CGO blog post by Moses Kim or ask Dr. Kevin Oberlin to explain what he means when he says, “The extent of your sin is congruent with your ability to rationalize.”
Instead of trying to debunk all the common excuses for not evangelizing, I want to present one truth that, if you let it sink in, I think will change the way we think about sharing the Gospel.
Here it is: God wants to use you. God has this crazy plan to ransom people from every tribe, language, people, and nation (Rev. 5:9) by opening their hearts to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus through the Gospel (2 Corinthians. 4:6). But what is even crazier is that God takes that perfect Gospel, the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16), and He gives it to us (2 Corinthians 4:7) with the promise that it will be effective (Isaiah 55:11)! We are to share the Gospel! That’s worth skipping a little studying time. That’s worth pausing the video game. That’s worth giving our lives for.
People are dying and going to Hell. They are living in rebellion to God. They need to repent and believe the Gospel for the sake of their good and God’s glory. And out of every way in which God could choose to bring people to Himself, He says, “I choose you” (John 15:16, 27).
I already don’t deserve to be saved. I definitely don’t deserve to be the means by which God saves others. It is a privilege and a joy anytime to see Christ proclaimed (Philippians 1:18), and God offers to use me to proclaim Christ. Who am I to say no to that? As I see God as worth glorifying, Christ as worth sharing, the Spirit as worth obeying, and my joy as worth pursuing, shouldn’t I want to share the Gospel more?
In case you didn’t figure it out, the answer is yes. There is nothing more joy-bringing than being used by God to bring other people into loving relationships with His amazing Son Jesus. That’s what I want to spend my life on. That’s what Jesus tells us to spend our lives on. Let’s share the Gospel. Let’s hear the voice of our Savior saying, “Go,” and arm ourselves with the promises of God, then go! For the sake of the Savior we love, for the sake of the Father we follow, for the sake of the Spirit we trust, for the sake of our great God’s glory, for the sake of the lost world’s need, for the sake of our joy, let’s go.
Moses Kim, Assistant Coordinator of Outreach & Evangelism
When I was 7 years old, my family took Vitamin-C tablets together every morning. I’m sure it benefited us physically, but it was very sour and swallowing pills wasn’t under my belt back then. I would put it in my mouth with water and it would just sit there for 30 minutes. I had two choices: to swallow it somehow, or to let it sit and let the acid make my teeth feeling sour for the rest of the morning. And I can assure you—not taking it wasn’t an option in my family.
Why don’t you share the Gospel with others? As God began to convict me in this area, He revealed to me the web of sins that was entangling my life. Excuses such as “I’m busy,” “It will happen in the future,” or “I’m just waiting for the perfect timing” were mere facades I put up in order for me to avoid swallowing the hard “pill.” The reality, after everything was stripped away, was (and is) this: I’m much more sinful than I want to admit. I had to swallow this pill so many times in my spiritual walk with God. By His grace, He never allowed me to throw the pills away. I would like to share with you the honest answers to why I didn’t share the Gospel with others.
We know the greatest commandment: we are to love God with all our being (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 22:37-38; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27). Christ also said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). The greatest way we can express our love for Christ is to keep His commandments. Our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:18-20). I think of the demoniac in the country of the Gerasenes. After the demons had gone out of him, he begged Jesus that he might follow Him. Christ responded, “‘Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.’ So, he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him” (Luke 8:39). Faith without works is dead, right? Did I love God? Then where was the proof of my love for Him?
“The second is like it, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt. 22:39). Here is the second greatest commandment. The classic question goes like this: if you knew someone was in danger of being killed soon, wouldn’t you tell him? Think about that a little bit more and apply it to the spiritual reality. The strangers I meet on a regular basis might be on their way to hell. My lost friends and family are going to burn forever because they don’t know the Savior Who is our true satisfaction. Faith without works is dead, right? Did I love others? Then where was the proof of my love for them?
“I don’t want to think about it. The world’s about me. I’d rather play more video games in my room than go share the Gospel with someone. Why would I want to be awkward? I don’t want to be smirked at or be judged by others. My pride is too valuable for that. I want to be cool and sharing the Gospel doesn’t really sound cool. And what if I lose my friends? Yes, Christ died for me, but I really don’t want to think about that because the conviction will grow stronger. Let me just live my own life. Let me do whatever I feel like doing and I’ll let others take care of evangelism.”
Quite selfish, isn’t it? I would have never said it. I would have never consciously thought through those words. But I know what was in my heart: my self-love trumped over everything. Did I love myself so much to be ashamed of the Gospel? Yes—absolutely yes. What I thought and cared about proved the desire of my heart.
I’m a wretched sinner with a deceitful heart. When I was in primary school, my mom sat me down and asked me a question: “Moses, do you love God more, or video games more?” I proudly replied, “God more.” And she said, “No you don’t. Let’s try it again—do you love God more, or video games more?” This went on for about 15 minutes. I started crying and accusing my mom for trying to make me lie. At the end, I finally said, “I love video games more.” As soon as I said it, I knew it was the truth. “Yes, Moses,” my mom said, “you’re an idolater.” That day, I learned what it means to worship idols.
Yes, I did love God and love others as His child saved by grace alone, even though the evidence was barely minimum. Why was that? Peter said, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Pet. 1:2-3). God sanctifies us through our knowledge of Him. Our love for God increases as we get to know Him better. My problem was that my view of God’s holiness, love, grace, mercy, kindness, goodness, etc. was way smaller than myself and the pleasures of this world. Obviously, I won’t share the Gospel if God is not sweeter than my life! “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You” (Ps. 63:3). I didn’t believe this and my life proved it.
I began to repent and ask God to change my sinful heart. I cried out daily, “God, I love You, and I want to love You more for the sake of Your glory. Reveal Yourself to me.” Then God sanctified me step by step through the truth of His Word just as He promised. I got to know Him more and He was so much better than I thought. The sparkles that I surrounded myself with began to grow dim and His light shone brighter and brighter. I wanted Him now. The more I got to know Him, the more I realized that I’m a wretched sinner with a deceitful heart.
My love for God grew and my love for others followed. There was a tipping point when I decided to just get out there and start sharing the Gospel. What a joy it is to express my love for Christ! The struggle is still inside me, so I continue to pray even today, “God, I love You, and I want to love You more for the sake of Your glory. Reveal Yourself to me.”
Why aren’t you sharing the Gospel with others? If you think you have a similar story like mine, would you pray with me? He promises us that He hears and answers our prayers (1 Jn. 5:14-15). I guarantee that God is fully capable of keeping His promises (Jos. 21:45; Rom. 4:20-21; Php. 1:6). After all, our infinite God is so much better than we can ever imagine.
Yakup Korkmaz (pseudonym), Missionary to the Muslim World
Ambassadorship and our Sanctification (2 Cor. 5:20)
You are sent to live in a city of one million people, and there is not one church. Not only that, you find out there is not one Christian in the city. Bibles or Christian materials are not sold in any bookstore. However, you are sent to this city for one reason: to be an ambassador for King Jesus.
Aside from the difficulty that you are the only Christian living in this city—King Jesus, his book, and church have been misrepresented to these people for over a millennium. They think followers of Jesus are polytheistic, drunken, promiscuous, war-mongering brutes. The city-dwellers have also been taught that King Jesus’ words have been changed and corrupted, and that churches are no different than places of idol worship. In this context what would you do to best represent your King, his church, his word, and his followers?
I have had to try to answer this question since I moved to the Muslim world in 2002. Over the years I have found that obedience to the call of ministering in whatever context God calls you to, has a direct correlation to an increase of faith and sanctification.
Sanctification through the word of God (Jn. 17:17-19)
Is the Bible your only rule for faith and practice?
As an Ambassador for the King I did not want to represent America, or American culture to those that I was sent to reach. I was made keenly aware of how important this was when my Muslim friends asked me questions such as: Do Christians drink water standing up or not? Do you really eat pork? How do you purify yourself? How do Christians use the bathroom? Afterwards why don’t you clean yourself with water? How do Christians bury their dead? How many times a day must you pray? What is and when is the Christian fast observed? Why do you believe in a book that has been changed and corrupted? Why do you believe in three gods?
I was scrutinized. Every word, action, or response was taken to be “Christian”. I was forced to examine every belief I held, and every action performed through the lens of Scripture. I began to realize that many low-level beliefs that I held were not necessarily biblical, but rather formed from my Bible-Belt upbringing. I also was challenged in my theological beliefs concerning the person and work of Jesus, and the authority and reliability of his word. I would have never been challenged to search the word so deeply concerning these, if I would not had gone as an ambassador for the King.
I also was aware that new converts could only evaluate belief, and practice from the Bible, as they had no previous Christian background to lean on. Some BMB's (believers from a Muslim background) do not have access to Christian resources in their languages. I did not want the new disciple to ask me, “I see you believe this or that, or do or do not do this or that, but I have read in the Bible here that….” As I searched the Scriptures afresh, God began to sanctify me from previously assumed doctrines and practices (or lack thereof). This removal of what I presumed to be biblical Christianity helped equip me as an ambassador to represent him better, and my culture less.
As I began to answer the “why” of each question asked, my faith was strengthened because I prayed through each and studied God’s word to find the grounds that justified my answers. I fell in love with Jesus and his word more deeply because of this. I trusted him, and his word - which empowered me, and I felt equipped to then declare him boldly, even to preach at the steps of mosques. I was more concerned about making him known than my culture or a denomination. (See 1. Pet. 2:2, 2 Tim. 3:17, Heb. 4:12; 2. Cor. 4:5).
Sanctification through Spiritual Disciplines
When you are called to serve, you do not have the luxury to have spiritual “off time”. I remember one of our interns telling me it was hard for him to have his “quiet-time”. We were in a Muslim city of 20 million people, crammed streets, and his apartment was full of people. There was no place, and no time for what he believed was “quiet-time”. He told me he did not feel prepared unless he had his “quiet-time,” and he went on to explain that is when he confesses his sins. I told him in this context, you must walk with the Lord from the time you wake till the time you sleep, and you must confess your sins and repent not during a “quiet-time”, but as soon as the sin is committed. You must be constant in prayer, have the word stored in your heart, and be prepared to give a defense to Muslims that will ask you questions (1. Thes. 5:17. Ps. 119:11; 1. Pet. 3:15). The intern had been trained to compartmentalize his spiritual life, starting with a “quiet-time”. I reminded him his entire waking moments must be quiet-times, and that many in the world do not even know this concept exists. In countries I have ministered in like Pakistan, many may live in one room with ten others, and in mega-cities there is no place to be “alone”. Cultures in the East tend to be more collective rather than individualistic. The intern needed to adjust his idea of spiritual disciplines, and make them as natural as breathing.
You will be challenged to fast because of the many burdens in your ministry. Countless times we felt compelled to declare a fast in our church, family, and supporting churches. For example, Muslim terrorists would threaten to bomb our church, or the local newspaper would write a slanderous article making us targets for extremists, or we would plan evangelistic trips to remote Muslim villages that had never seen a Christian, all would warrant a declared fast. In fact, as I write this, one of our Kurdish pastors is being targeted by extremist, and we are fasting for him and his family! This is something I was not accustomed to, until I obeyed the call to serve as an ambassador.
[Note about “quiet-time”: I am not saying we should not find time alone to pray. Even Jesus did this (Mark 1:35), but in some contexts it may not be as often as we wish.]
Sanctification through Putting the Flesh to Death (1 Thes. 4:3)
As an Ambassador for the King your eyes, ears, tongue, hands, legs - even your finger nails do not belong to you (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Every waking moment you must yield/submit the individual members of your body to God as tools, weapons, and instruments of righteousness (Rom. 6:12-14). Your calling demands this. Your obedience to Christ to make disciples of all nations must challenge you to live holy before the lost. Ambassadors must be holy (1 Pet. 1:14-16).
Stop watching pornography. Stop gossiping. Use your speech to edify and encourage. Do not be drunk with alcohol or be high on drugs, but adorn your body with eternal “accessories” (1 Cor 6:18, Eph. 4:29, Eph. 5:18; 1. Pet. 3:3-4). Use your legs to take you to bless, pray, preach, teach, and do good works. Use your hands to write/text words in a manner that edifies the body of Christ. Stop putting immoral and false teaching into your minds via the ear and eye gate, including some music, movies, tv series, and books (2 Tim. 4:3-4, 2. Pet. 2, 1 Tim. 4:1-2, Eph. 5:6; Heb. 13:9).
Daily submit your eyes, tongue, mind, ears, hands, legs, and every body part to God to be used as a tool, weapon, and instrument of righteousness, for his glory (Rom. 6:12-14).
As you seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, you will be at war with the flesh, but the daily discipline of coming to the throne of grace in your time of need (temptations) will train you to rely not on your own strength, but in Christ alone (Mat. 6:33, Rom. 7:22-23, Heb. 4:14-16; Gal. 2:20). Your salvation, and your sanctification is not in and of yourselves. It is in Jesus.
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:30-31).
Be encouraged--King Jesus that sends you as his ambassadors, will help, sustain, and complete you. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Php. 1:6).
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The CGO Blog
Written by the CGO staff, with guest posts from students and other faculty/staff at BJU to provide thought leadership for missions in a new millennium.