By Tim Shoemaker
For the past two weeks we have been discussing the work of the church and the impact it has on the church. We have talked about benevolence and edification and both of these are aids in this third work, the work of evangelism.
When our Lord gathered that final time with His disciples before ascending back to heaven He told them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Mt. 28: 18b-20).
The primary work of the church is evangelism. This work has and will have a tremendous impact upon the world in which we live. Such vast improvement in the lives of people has been the result of people being taught the gospel. Those who obey become great assets to the church and the church’s greatest enemy, Satan, loses another worker. When the apostle Paul came to Ephesus and preached the gospel there were many who had previously worshiped Artemis gave up the practice to worship and serve the ne true God. To be sure it brought persecutions but that in itself was assign of the impact the evangelism being done had a tremendous impact upon the world. The man who started the persecution had told the people, “Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands. 27 So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship” (Acts 19:26-28).
When Saul of Tarsus was converted it had a great impact upon the church. In writing about this Luke said, “Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied” (Acts 9:31).
The church here has for a long time had an active work in evangelism both here locally and throughout our nation and the world. The congregation has been taught of the need and has responded with personal involvement in teaching and in supporting those who were able and willing to go preach the gospel in all the world. We have yearly conducted a local campaign knocking on thousands of doors yearly enrolling people in Bible Correspondence Course and in-home Bible studies. We have had youth campaigns and adult campaigns in various cities throughout our nation knocking on doors inviting people to study the Bible with us and to attend gospel revivals with our preachers delivering messages from the Bible intended to encourage people to obey the gospel. We have supported various missionaries in work in numerous nations and have seen the impact it has had on the lives of people in changing their lives as they surrender to Jesus. It has also changed then lives of our members who have become involved in going and doing this teaching. I have seen them go out working with those who were experienced teachers and learning the value and the good of doing that work. They learned and then began doing the teaching themselves. I have seen members who were prejudiced against such work (“That money could be better spent teaching here in Birmingham”) and against teaching those who have a different culture from ours, when they became involved in going to the mission field themselves. They became some of the most energetic and active members in supporting that work.
With such a responsibility that we have, and knowing the impact for good that it does, surely this is the one thing we would be most supportive in doing. With this in mind let us be generous in our support for doing the work of evangelizing the world both where we live and in all our nation and world. Please keep this in mind as we think and pray about what we shall purpose our regular contribution on December the eleventh.