Heaven or hell…heaven or hell…heaven or hell? One hundred years from now where will you be? If it’s heaven, what will be your standing? What will be your eternal reward? What will be your eternal position with Jesus? Will you reap of gold, silver, and precious stones or will your works go up in smoke as wood, hay, and stubble? (1 Cor 3:12-15). Did your life glorify God? Did you live whole-heartedly for Him? Are you born again and have you even come into right relationship with God through Jesus Christ? Death will come and is even now at your doorstep. Don’t play with God. An unscriptural mercy does not exist. Please repent and get right with God. Isn’t it time to surrender to Jesus Christ?
Oh Christian, and what of your family, friends, and neighbors? And what of all the lost people you know? Where will they be? Are you praying for them and being a living witness before them?
There’s such inspiration in my belly (heart) for eternal things (perhaps because I’ve given myself to the study of it recently, for my Arabic program is just that – a preparation for eternity in the Arab world and beyond) and the fulfillment of the great commission and a reaping of the precious fruit of the earth that remains.
“For I am full of words; the spirit within me compels me. Indeed my belly is like wine that has no vent; it is ready to burst like new wineskins. I will speak, that I may find relief; I must open my lips and answer” (Job 32:18-20).
“For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).
Truly I feel like I’ve been to heaven and back, and had a peek into hell.
THE WORK OF EVANGELISM AND UNDERSTANDING THE GOSPEL
Let me speak to you as an evangelist. The true work of evangelism is one of the most neglected in the Church, and yet it is one of the most important. I’m not even sure that many of us understand this ministry. Contrary to popular thought and opinion, evangelism is not just the announcement of the good news of the gospel, but it is also a call to warn people of the judgment to come as the apostle Paul did before Felix the governor.
“Some days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla who was a Jewess; and he sent for Paul and listened to him talk about faith in Christ Jesus. But as he continued to argue about uprightness, purity of life, the control of the passions (temperance or self-control), and the judgment to come, Felix became alarmed and terrified and said, Go away for the present; when I have a convenient opportunity I will send for you” (Acts 24:24-25 Amp).
Paul did not hold back. He warned the governor of the eternal consequences of living in sin. The above verses tell us that these themes of righteousness, self-control, and of the judgment to come that Paul expounded on were all part of the faith in Christ Jesus, and of the gospel he preached. I’m not so sure we understand that this is all a part of the gospel. People must know they are sick before they can appreciate and receive the cure. Sin is sickness, and Christ is the cure. Paul didn’t just preach the cure; he preached about the sickness, too.
Notice also how Paul “argued” and spoke passionately, something we need much more of today. Sometimes we can be such a passion-less people, but Paul was a man of overwhelming passion.
“Now while Paul was awaiting them at Athens, his spirit was grieved and roused to anger as he saw the city was full of idols, so he reasoned and argued in the synagogue…” (Acts 17:16-17 Amp).
“By the time Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was completely engrossed with preaching, earnestly arguing and testifying to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 18:5 Amp).
Paul had visions and revelation of the otherworld and the realities of eternity pressed on him constantly (2 Cor. 12:1-4). Oh, for such people in this hour who are possessed with eternity!
A REVELATION OF ETERNITY WILL GIVE YOU PASSION
I’ve been in that place in the spirit so many times over the years. I’ve had people tell me to tone things down, to not get too excited, to not raise my voice so loud, but they just didn’t understand the passion of one who knows, as a messenger of God, he stands between the living and the dead. A dying preacher once said, “I’ve taken a good look into eternity, and if I could come back, how different I would preach.”
If we’re not careful, our preaching can become heady, but heart-less, informative but passion-less. It can lack revelation of the otherworld and the life to come. Desperate times require desperate preaching. The urgency of the hour requires an urgent message. When a house is on fire and its inhabitants are perishing, an urgent response is demanded. And so, will we not help those whose souls are on the edge of the fire of hell?
Paul’s spirit was “grieved and roused to anger; he reasoned, argued, testified, and was completely engrossed with preaching”. This beloved man was possessed with another spirit. God gripped him. The words he penned throughout his epistles are full of strong emotions and consuming passions that still vibrate in the hearts of those who are also consumed with eternity.
The words that Paul spoke to Felix alarmed and terrified him. Somehow we’ve come to believe that words, which soothe and comfort are the only words we need to be speaking. How grave a mistake that is! How many have perished because there was no voice of inspiration to arouse them from their slumber? We must speak to the lost as if it were our last opportunity, with tenderness, love, and passion dripping from our lips, and weeping, if possible, through every argument. We must learn the art and skill of compelling sinners to Christ.
When I visit churches I see such a need for the impartation of the zeal and fire of evangelism. I see such a need for the ministry of the evangelist and for the local church to share its resources to support worthy men who fill that ministry.
It’s so easy for the local church and its officers to become complacent and to take on a form of academia and ecclesiasticism that kills the spirit of revival and the zeal for evangelism. There has been a great deal of secularization in so many of our congregations across America and the world.
Listen to the words of Gordon Lindsay:
“The tendency of the paid clergy in general has been to ecclesiasticism, the development of a form of religion and the freezing of it into a static condition. An office in the church can be made into a professional thing, a means of making a living. A man caught in the toils of its vicious cycle is to be pitied. God calls every minister to be a guardian of the souls of men.”
We need to take the gospel out of the secularization state and out of the academic sphere and apply it to the individual in terms of life and death and heaven and hell. Let’s put the gospel into the personal realm of human experience. The ministry of evangelism reminds men that beyond this world there is an after-life, and all of humanity is but one heart-beat away from eternity; to either enter heaven, the abode of the righteous, or hell, the regions of the damned…forever!
TO BE CONTINUED…
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The following book features similar themes as the above article.
Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.