No people in history have had as many opportunities to hear the truth about God, to learn how salvation can be found by turning to Jesus Christ, than those who live in this country. There are about 360,000 churches in the United States. In fact, about 25% of protestant congregations in the world are in this country. There are hundreds of religious radio stations, the vast majority run by evangelical Christians, who daily broadcast the message of Jesus Christ to people across the land. Christian TV, Christian publishing, Christian music recording, all communicate the Bible’s message. God has given us so many chances. But, there are so many folks who continue to reject the truth.
America can plead that we had stony hearts and deaf ears, but we can never stand before God and declare that we had no opportunity to hear the Gospel. Even many of those that were reared in church are unable to tell the simple steps of the Gospel, why Jesus died for us, and why God had established that the “wages of sin is death”. Although churches have folks “seated in the sanctuary”, it does not mean that they are “heeding in their hearts” what is being preached.
There was a time when preachers preached with passion and the awe of the Almighty the clear, compelling message of the Gospel every week from the pulpits of this country. There was a full awareness of the reality of hell and that those that die without Jesus die without hope. Richard Baxter, the Puritan preacher of the 17th century was such a man of God. When asked about his motivation for his preaching, he responded that the burden of his heart was the urgent need of men to surrender to Jesus as one’s personal Savior. The zeal that drove him to be bold in his appeals for men to be saved was simple (according to him), “I preached as never sure to preach again…. and as a dying man to dying men!”
Something has happened to American Christianity. Seemingly, we are more interested in making sure that the people in the pew leave church affirmed and not offended than we are of “not offending” the Lord God of Heaven by diluting the Scriptures. Churches emphasize psychology, emotions, sensual approaches to men’s desires, and appeasing sinfulness rather that calling on men to abandon it. Tragically, that view has now permeated missions and the focus on evangelism is no longer the demand placed at home or on missionaries in too many instances.
Michael S. Hamilton, Assistant Professor of History at Seattle Pacific University wrote, “In the 1930’s, most missionary agencies emphasized evangelism, church-planting, and discipleship. In 1998, however, four of the five largest overseas ministries specialized in relief, development, and education work. For many of these agencies, evangelism is a secondary concern.” (Copied).
C.T. Studd, a wealthy, nationally famous athlete put it all aside to disappear into the mission field: China, India, and then Africa. He was lost from sight for 13 years without contact. WHY? ’Some people love to dwell near church with choir and steeple bell. But I want to run a rescue station a yard from the gates of hell.’
Too many of us are so ready to “rest in Jesus” we have failed to suit up for the battle that is raging against our Lord Jesus all around us. The role of Christ followers is clear. We were called to be “witnesses”. Jesus told the disciples, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” If we are not “fishing for men”, then we have to consider, “Who are we following?”