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Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Preaching the Word, in season, and out of season.

It’s Sunday, as I type, and my wife and I are enjoying a wee break, in our caravan, near to the fair town of Ayr. Yesterday, we were up in the town and, as we awaited a ’bus to take us to ASDA, there was an elderly gentleman standing in the adjoining pedestrian area, with microphone and loudspeaker, faithfully proclaiming the Gospel. He had no visible support, in the sense of other members of a fellowship and, if we had not been awaiting that ’bus, I think that I would have gone over, relieved him of his microphone, and given him a wee break. To my own shame, I failed to do so. However, I thanked God for that gentleman’s faithful witness – and I had two specific thoughts.

I realised, again, the truth of Paul’s word that there is no-one who has an excuse for rejecting the Gospel message (Rom.1:18ff). Certainly, those who “passed by” (cf. Mark 15:29), yesterday, in Ayr, can never claim not to have heard the news that each one of us is a sinner, needful of the grace of God as He has shown it in the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus. I remembered, sadly, the question put to the Hebrew disciples of Jesus: “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” (Heb.2:3)

The other thought that struck me was that, so often, our idea of ‘evangelism’ in the western church, today, is to put on a special service, and expect the unsaved to throng in – leaving behind the other interests that lay claim to their time. Yet the command of the Lord Jesus was that we should be the ones who make the move: “… go, and make disciples of all the nations, …” (Matt.28:19), and see also Mark 4:14; Luke 10:3, 14:23 inter al. I also thought of a man like Wilson Assavi, an Iranian pastor currently in prison for his evangelistic work among Muslims. I thought of his wife, Medline, who has been informed that her husband is “awaiting his trial and execution”! That gentleman in Ayr may have been ignored by those who passed him by; the worst that would have happened in the U.K. – at least, at the present time! – is that he might have suffered some name-calling. That is also the worst that would have happened to me, if I had taken the opportunity to support him in his vocal ministry. Yet so many, in over fifty countries around the world, suffer in ways that I am barely able to imagine – but they witness, boldly and faithfully, to the saving power of Christ.

That gentleman’s voice will, one day, be silenced as his mortal body reaches the end of its journey. I have no way of knowing what measure of ‘success’ he will have enjoyed – although, doubtless, there will be some for whom he will have been an important stage on their journey to saving faith. However, I am quite certain of one thing – that man will one day stand before Jesus, and will hear those wonderful words: “Well done, My good and faithful servant. … Let’s celebrate together!” (Matt. 25:21,23, NLT).


Lloyd said...

Thank you for such an uplifting and well written post. God bless, Lloyd

Brian Ross said...

Hi Lloyd!

Thank you for your encouragement. We give all of the glory to the Lord.