TBT – The Decline of Evangelism in the Assemblies
This post is a portion of an article titled “Hindrances to the Gospel” written by Alexander Marshall and published in “Uplook Magazine”, December 1977. Section titles have been added by the assemblyHUB editors.
Taking the call of evangelism seriously
We have been put in trust with the Gospel (1 Tim. 1:11) As trustees it is our privilege and responsibility to see that the Gospel is carried to those for whom it is intended. The Lord’s first recorded command to His disciples was: “Come ye after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17) .
His last one was an expression of the first: ”Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
Paying attention to the lost
Let us take to heart the Master’s words: “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35). If we lifted up our eyes more frequently and, looked over the walls of our garden-plot, steadfastly gazing upon the millions who are hurrying to death and woe, our hearts would be “moved with compassion.”
Though not expected to bring the whole world to Christ, we are responsible to do our best to bring Christ to the whole world. Yet, alas! every morning as the sun rises, thousands of souls have in twenty-four hours passed into eternity, most of whom have never heard of God’s salvation.
When the “Iron Duke” was asked what he thought of “foreign missions,” he characteristically replied, “Attend to your marching orders.” If it is the Lord’s will that the Gospel be preached to “every creature,” we may well ponder His words, “Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
This is a “day of good tidings,” and if we “hold our peace” when men are perishing through lack of the Bread of Life, we will certainly not be accounted blameless. (See Proverbs 24:11, 12.)
Satan’s influence on the world
Among the hindrances to the spread of the Gospel are those persons to whom it is carried. The “seed” is good, but the soil is hard. “Satan deceives the whole world.” “The god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:4). How sad to think that the arch-enemy of souls has been so successful in his terrible work!
The church is guilty of dropping the ball
The greatest hindrances, however, are from ourselves. It’s awfully possible for us to be hinderers rather than helpers in the work of the Gospel. Surely we would seek to roll away every stone that would impede its progress. Preaching and practicing are like the blades of a pair of scissors-good when connected, but useless if separated.
“Do as I say, not as I do,” is much more practiced among us than professed. If we don’t practice what. we preach, we shall become stones of stumbling in the way of the perishing. Too often the unsaved are heard saying: “If So-and-So is a Christian, I don’t want to be one.”
The strongest evidence of Christianity is the power of a godly, consistent life. “If it were not for Mr. ???’s life,” said a Glasgow merchant, “I would have been an infidel long ago.”
Worldliness in the church is driving people away from Christ
“Why are so few from the world joining the Church?” was the question once asked of the late Dr. Horatius Bonar. “Be cause so many from the Church are joining the world,” was his reply. Perhaps the most respectable sin amongst us is worldliness. The Lord commands us to “Seek . . . first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” but instead of doing so, we look first after our own interests and concerns…
How money is loved and sought after! What devices and schemes are tried to obtain it! Covetousness., which God calls “idolatry,” is spreading on all hands. “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (1 Tim 6:8 NIV) is a Scripture little pondered.
How much of our income is spent in the endeavor to “feather our nests” and make our homes as unlike pilgrim “tents” as possible! What a comparatively small portion of our means is given for the spread of the Gospel!