Thursday, June 18, 2015
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
The below is an article written by a missionary who traveled with The Foreign Mission to South Africa this year. Please enjoy some of his heart felt thoughts from the trip!
May God be with Matthew wherever he travels to share the Word of God. JR
3The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
5And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
6The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
7The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
8The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. (Isaiah 40:3-8)
As I consider the three weeks I spent in South Africa, I think of the above words, and thank God for the opportunity He gave me to be a crying voice (however small and inadequate mine seems to be) to share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus. I also desire to express my heartfelt thanks to those who made this trip financially possible, and especially to those who upheld us in prayer. We may trust that God's Word will never return void unto Him, but that it will accomplish that thing whereto He sent it.
When God sends His Word to fallen, lost man, dead in his trespasses and sins, it sounds like a crying voice of awakening in the place of spiritual death, and the dry desert of the heart of man. Even in the Garden of Eden, so soon after the Fall, the tender heart of God's love came to seek for His lost children, calling to Adam, "Where art thou?" Yet, Adam said, "I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid...." Is this experience familiar to each of us? That time when our sins are revealed and our best, self-righteous efforts get us nowhere, and we become like the faded flower or like withered grass. This preparing word comes to reveal our sins, and to cut off the excuses we would make, so that we would truly be a people made ready to receive the Lord.
Oh that God would teach us, His servants, His Word so that we might know also, as John the Baptist, how to preach rightly this "baptism of repentance for the remission of sins". (Mark 1:4) This mighty word of God, preached by a plain man in the wilderness, effected such a repentance that many people were "baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins." (Matthew 3:6) Truly these broken-hearted ones were rightly prepared to receive a free and full Gospel of salvation, beholding by faith "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)
Dear brothers and sisters on the way to eternity, what a victory was won for us when Jesus offered His precious blood, and His sinless life, as a sin offering on Calvary's center cross! How great was the cost of our sins, and how great is the grace in which we now may freely stand. No wonder we may now "rejoice in hope of the glory of God", knowing that "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:1) Truly "It is Finished", and our Redemption is paid in full, and Heaven's door is open, and the Word beckons, "Come unto me.....and I will give you rest."
Oh that God would make us, His messangers, so small in ourselves that we would ourselves need this Gospel desperately, and so we would be endued with power to proclaim its necessity and glory to our fellows.
My thoughts go the BOSASA Youth Development Centre, a boys prison in Krugersdorp, South Africa. After the one hundred or so young men had listened to Pastor Bob's sermon, we had time to meet some of them personally. I was able to counsel with five or so of the most earnest young fellows. I do not know that any of them had yet reached the age of eighteen, but truly they knew of the burdens of sin and the sorrows of this world.
One youth told of his heavy burden, a weighty sin for which he was incarcerated, and he asked for prayer. I did that, but- even better- as a Christian, I was able to promise him that by the merits of Jesus' suffering and death he could believe all of his sins forgiven, in the name and blood of Jesus. When I asked another, keenly listening, if he felt God had forgiven his sins, I received the answer...."We don't know, we think that maybe God has some bad punishment waiting for us." How that reached my heart, and how gladly I could assure him that he also could be sure that God forgives him! I had told them how God will not demand another payment for the sins which Christ paid for already, when they receive forgiveness by faith in that sacrifice of Jesus. I pray that they grasped the true foundation, righteousness by faith in the crucified Saviour and the merits of His redeeming blood. So there would be rejoicing in Heaven, even as I felt in my heart. Please pray for these young brothers in faith; the road ahead will not be easy, even though their boys prison seems to be as gentle and supportive as possible. Yet, life is hard.
And for us, the Church in the West, may God send us a time of revival, that the latter rains would fall and our hearts would be drawn to behold Him who has suffered and borne so much because of us. Then we may say as the Shulamite in the Song of Solomon, "Draw me, we will run after thee". And with the Psalmist we will say, "I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart." Then we would be drawn away from the cheap distractions the Devil has contrived to draw us away from our Beloved: the worldliness so rampant in our entertainment culture, sports, TV, music, social media, etc. As citizens of Heaven, let's ask God to help us aim toward a higher goal, to be consciously different from this world, knowing we are in a different kingdom, called to be a peculiar people, separated unto the Gospel of God. As Jesus says, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
We do not have time any more to play away the time of grace: "The night cometh, when no man can work."