CALL TO OBEDIENCE #248
Reimar A.C. Schultze
"God's Plan For World Evangelization"
By Pastor Reimar Schultze
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Since God’s will is for all mankind to be saved, it is preposterous to think that with God sending his Son, Jesus has not also revealed a plan for world evangelization. Unfortunately, this divine plan of our Lord has been hidden to some, ignored by others, and rejected by many as being too costly.
However, the church, having been at this effort of world evangelization for centuries, must eventually recognize that all her efforts to save lost humanity have come far short of God’s purposes. Hence, the day when “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” keeps eluding us (Hab. 2:14). Hence, the following prophecy of David remains unfulfilled to this very day: “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee” (Ps. 22:27).
The “turn unto the Lord” here speaks of conversionsmass conversionsand the strong implication is that neither of these two prophecies can be fulfilled without Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam falling at Jesus’ feet! Yet no significant dent has been made in these ancient strongholds. When will it become obvious to us that all the well-polished, well-oiled machinery of modern evangelism is not God’s design but man’s good intentions and plans.
And what about Zechariah’s prophecy? “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you” (Zech. 8:23). Does not this tell us that the Jews will be part of God’s plan for world evangelization? Yes! Does Jesus have a plan to reach all mankind with the gospel? Do we know what it is? Are we willing to follow it? Is Jesus praying for it? If he is, will his prayers be answered? Are we praying with him that his plan would be fulfilled?
The Divine Plan To Reach the World
Only hours before Jesus shed his life’s blood for the world, he prayed this prayer which reveals how he believes the whole world is to be evangelized, leaving no stronghold standing: “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one: and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (John 17:11, 23).
This is Jesus’ plan for world evangelization: oneness amongst his peoplethat the world will believe. How many church seminars do we have on this master plan? How much do we find on it in our Sunday school curriculum? How much is this emphasized in our religious periodicals? How many pastor’s conferences can you attend with oneness as a major theme? How many pastors would attend conferences and workshops on the subject, sacrificing their popular church growth seminars?
That they all may be one that the world may believe! How much prayer is there about this in your church or in your denomination? Jesus is ever interceding for the church that she “may be made perfect in one.” How much are you praying for that oneness, and how much are you working toward it?
Do you realize that we can do more good by coming to oneness than by going and telling? How would the book of Acts have been written had Jesus’ disciples begun preaching without having come to oneness? Do you know that the tarrying has to come before the telling? The oneness in the early church history tells us that the power will fall and multitudes will be saved and sanctified once we are one!
Yes, the devil does not fight going and telling as much as coming to oneness. If he can put just a little disagreement between a missionary and his wife or a little feeling of resentment or jealousy or selfish ambition into the heart of another missionary couple, the devil does not mind if they go to the uttermost parts of the world since he knows God’s plan will be defeated. It is oneness that the devil fights the most.
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1).
The devil has seen what oneness accomplished in the first century, and he does not ever want this to happen again! He knows that oneness can bring down Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and any other stronghold in a day’s time. Now you know why the devil fears and fights God’s plan for world evangelization. And now you know why he is hiding it from many of God’s precious people.
Likewise, the devil does not mind if one missionary goes to one part of the village and leads a soul to Christ and another missionary goes to another part of the same village to lead a soul to Christ. He knows that both souls born of God in oneness will have little to do with each other a year later when one is a Baptist and the other is a Methodist.
Jesus’ final prayer, his farewell prayer, was that they all be one so that the world may believe. But Jesus knew that oneness requires sanctification, and so he also prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
Division Must Stop
Unfortunately, the history of the church is a history of division. There is division all over Christendom, in most churches and in most homes of church-goers. How many husbands and wives are in spiritual oneness? How many homes are there where both spouses know the Lord, and they are one as the Father and the Son are one? How many homes are there where there has not been a divorce or where there is not an atmosphere of divorce?
“...that they may be one” must begin in the home. It must begin between the husband and the wife, between the sixteen year old son and the thirteen year old daughter, between brother and brother and sister and sister. If the husband and wife are not in oneness, and if the siblings are not in oneness, how can the church come to oneness? How can the power of God ever fall upon her if she is in one place to worship without her people being in one accord?
Father and mother, what is more important to you? Is it a good income? Is it for mother to pursue a career to supplement father’s income to keep up with the neighbors? Or is it more important for her to stay home and labor to bring the family to oneness, to teach character instead of supplying toys and gadgets and clothing that are not necessary? How many Christian families are there in the church who have Jesus’ priorities as their priorities, so that the local church might be empowered with the saving and sanctifying work of God? If we are not in oneness in the home, we grieve the Holy Spirit and break the heart of Jesus, no matter how busy we are for the Lord otherwise. Is it any wonder that the world does not believe Christ when Christians have division in the church and at home? Who is attracted to that?
Steps toward Oneness
The first step toward oneness is that we must be born again (John 3:3).
The second step toward oneness is forsaking all. Until we forsake all, we cannot be Jesus’ disciples (Luke 14:33). The one thing we refuse to forsake is the one thing that will prevent us from following Jesus.
The third step toward oneness is obeying Jesus in every way. The first disciples of Jesus had done this. Jesus confirmed this in his high priestly prayer by saying about his apostles, “they have kept thy word” (John 17:6). But although these men had forsaken all and obeyed Jesus in every way, they still had resentment, jealousy, and strife in their hearts. Because of this, the first disciples were headed for the divorce court. Whenever there is strife, resentment, and jealousy, we are headed for a divorce court. What held these men together was being with Jesus. They all loved Jesus, but they did not love each other as they should have. They never fussed at Jesus, but they fussed at one another. Isn’t that the way it is in many of our churches and homes? What holds us together is our common interest in Jesus. We are all taken up by him, but we don’t love each other like the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father. We have resentments, critical attitudes, and jealousies toward one another just as these disciples had.
So the disciples were headed for the divorce court once Jesus would leave. Once the one that held them together was gone, they would split up. What did Jesus do to bring his disciples together again? He told them what he tells all of us to do. He told them what every judge should tell every couple seeking divorce. He told them what every parent should tell every brother and sister who are in discord: lock yourself up in a room at home, and confess, and pray, and weep, and repent until you are entirely sanctified, cleansed from the carnal nature, and the power of the Holy Spirit comes into your life.
The first step toward oneness is being born again. The second is forsaking all. The third is obeying Jesus in every way. The fourth is being sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit. Then, dear ones, it’s time to pray. It’s time for the church to pray together and time for families to pray together to ask for oneness on the authority of the Word of God, for it says, “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Ps. 2:8).
Are there any prayer meetings about this? Are they frequent? Is there fervent prayer about this matter? Can we win without prayer? Can we win without fervent prayer? How far can God go without the fervent and effectual prayers of righteous people? Can he make Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam fall at the feet of Jesus without it?
My friend, this is God’s plan for evangelism. We don’t need divorceswe need sanctification. We don’t need squabbles among siblingswe need sanctification. We don’t need division and strife in our churches and our denominationswe need sanctification. Then the power will fall and the world will believe, and he will add to the church daily such as should be saved!
This is God’s plan for world-wide evangelism. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” That is the will of the Lord. The method to bring this about is in Jesus’ high priestly prayer. Let us give ourselves to it: fathers and mothers and sons and daughters in our homes and families and in our churches.