Duties Church Members Owe the World
Matt. 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-20
The term “world” denotes lost impenitent sinners out of every nation and kindred on the earth. The Lord’s churches have the greatest task ever assigned to any individual or group in the history of the human race - the task of carrying the glorious gospel of Christ the Saviour to every nation and tongue. In carrying out this work, the churches have done more for the world than all the governments ever organized, all the other institutions ever established, or all the armies ever assembled. World history has been changed by the work of Christ through His churches. Every Christian by the very process which makes him a Christian is brought under obligation to do what he can to lead others to Christ (2Tim. 2:2). Church members must recognize these obligations, and avail themselves of the privilege to labor for the salvation of souls under the distinct impression that the grace which has saved them can save others.
God in His marvelous, manifold wisdom chose to establish little, independent democracies (Baptist churches) to carry out His great work. Ecclesiastical powers, the devil, man and denominations have sought to do this work by central control and highly organized powers, publicity or money. But God’s book and God’s Spirit have preserved the Baptists from their New Testament beginnings. God’s word has the answer in 1Cor. l:21. Preaching and teaching the Bible are God’s chosen agencies for the salvation of the lost and the edification of the saved (Acts 5:42).
We as church members should exercise our duties to lost sinners by personal conversations with them about their souls. We must speak to them of the - so great salvation - our salvation - our Saviour. The love of Christ should prompt our speech to see that every soul within bounds of our congregation is reached with the Gospel. It should not be said of us that “no man cared for my soul” (Ps. 142:4).
If we would reach others for Christ, we must be sure of our own salvation (2Pet 1:10). Many professing Christians are not doing personal work for the reason that they are in a backslidden state themselves. Our life must be right. To be a successful personal worker one must study the Bible and memorize scripture. We must know how to use the word of God in pointing souls to Christ. If we would have success in our personal work, we must know how to use the scripture in meeting men’s excuses. We must have an intelligent understanding of the value, condition and danger of the lost soul. We must love the souls we are trying to win. Love reasons with the soul. Where arguments fail, love succeeds. We must be filled with the Spirit. There is no substitute for power from on high. The highest archangel, if he could, would gladly come to earth to win one soul, but this task has been left to redeemed people. Nearly every one saved has been influenced by the personal work of some Christian.
Another effective way that we can use to reach the lost, is by the Sunday School. The Sunday School is not designed to supercede, but to aid family instruction. Most parents who are properly training their children will gladly avail themselves of the aid furnished by Sunday School instruction. Of course there are ungodly parents, backslidden parents, who are incompetent to give their children religious training. Are these children to be ignored and not cared for? We should try to get them all into our Bible teaching Sunday School. Someone has said that a Sunday School is: “A church actively at work on the Lord’s day for the good of the children, members and friends of all ages.” The teachers should remember that our desire and aim is to reach, teach, win, train, challenge and thrill the hearts of the people, according to the word of God, by His power, through His church, for His glory.”
Also we should use the distribution of the Bible, religious books, tracts, etc. (Luke 8:4-15; Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:13-19). God has given us a book which is unlike all other books. This book alone reveals the need of sinful man and also meets that need in Jesus Christ by His death on the cross. God’s enemies will not distribute this book. Are we going to do the job only half-heartedly? The Roman Catholics at the council of Tolouse in 1229, forbade the laity to read the Bible. God’s people must get the word out. Only we truly know the value of a soul. God honored us with the custody of His word that we might give unto others.
In common with all other Christians, it is our duty to bear testimony to all truths, but especially to our distinctive Baptist principles. We have nothing to apologize for. Ours is the only true church, the one that Christ started during His personal ministry. We must be aggressive in spirit and positive in the advocacy of our principles. These truths can be made known by the free and wide-spread circulation of our tracts, pamphlets and books. Comparatively few Christians realize the importance of tract work. Any person can do it. It can be done in secret or as a means of opening a conversation with the lost.
Lastly we cover the most important way of all to reach the lost - Missions.
Acts l:8 says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
The missionary enterprise is usually referred to in its two aspects, home and foreign.
· Home missions include: house to house visitation - cottage meetings - open air meetings - tent meetings -street meetings - gospel missions - radio - etc.
· Foreign missions, meaning in other countries - supported by churches and not by boards or conventions.
Indifference to the cause of missions is cruelty to immortal souls. How are sinners in our own land, or in foreign lands, to be saved without the Gospel? We have a human responsibility to tell others. No church, not motivated with the true missionary spirit, can be in a healthful, prosperous state. What do we as Christians and church members owe the world? We owe them the testimony of our own salvation and our program of evangelism will include:
1. A God worth accepting
2. A doctrine worth believing
3. A message worth telling
4. A life worth living
5. A church worth joining
6. A task worth undertaking.
“...it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” 1Corinthians1:21