The Service of the Overcomer
II. Seeking new blood for the Kingdom
Everyone knows that it takes people to get things done. It is also a universal truth. When there is Noah, there is the ark. When there is Moses, there is Exodus. When there is Paul, there is the establishment of the Gentile church. The present international conflicts are due to a lack of a person whose is as good as his word. The Kingdom of God has not come is for the same reason! Even until today, those chosen kingdom personnel are as rare as the morning star! Even though the Lord needs people to go find new blood and the cry is deafening: “Whom shall I send and who will go for Us?” (Is. 6:8) But the ones who can rise to the occasion are fewer than few! May the overcomers respond to the Lord’s calling. Rise up and pursue straightway. Lead people to the Lord. Find new blood for the Kingdom in order that the personnel required are readied early and the Lord’s Kingdom will arrive soon. Amen.
A. “You worthless slave.”
After reading Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 19:12-27, we will feel that these two parables are similar in principle but the objects are entirely different. Matthew tells us that the master gave different amounts to his slaves. One was given five talents, another two talents and another one talent. In Luke, we see that the master gave the same amount to everyone: one mina each. What is the difference? The former tells us that God has given us ‘gifts’. The latter speaks of the ‘salvation’ God gives us. Spiritual gifts are different from person to person. Salvation is the same for everyone. God gave us spiritual gifts in order for us to do business. Through doing business, our character can be trained. God gave us salvation for the same purpose. Unfortunately, the church today cannot see this point. Many people think that the Lord saved us, forgave our sins, gave us eternal life for no other purpose than to enjoy this life and be blessed in the next! This is extremely childish thinking! God gave us salvation for a purpose. It is just like the master in the parable. He gave one mina to his slave. He has a purpose. He wants them to do business. He hopes that they can make ten or five minas. In the same way, God gave us His salvation with the same hope that we can share His salvation with others. He hopes that we can gain ten or five soul. Unfortunately, one slave was unwilling to do business to make money. In the end, the master told him, “You worthless slave!” (Luke 19:22) Overcomers, the Lord saved us so that we can bear fruit. (John 15:16) in order that others can have the same benefit of the gospel as we have. (I Cor. 9:23) So, to lead others to the Lord is our responsibility. (Matt. 28:19-20 the Great Commission) It is not up to our own pleasure and when we feel like it, we lead others to the Lord. When we don’t feel like it, we do nothing. Bothers and sisters, strictly speaking, this couldn’t care less attitude is from hell.
God saved us in order that we can share it with others so that they can be saved also. If we do not do not fulfill our responsibility, when we come to His judgment seat in the future, He will rebuke us and say: “You worthless slave!” The author remembers one occasion when he was preaching at a church. After the sermon was over, a Christian worker came and said, “Honestly, I have never paid attention to the seriousness of this responsibility! I always thought that to save others was my compassion and my kind heartiness. I have never noticed that it is a requirement to me from the Lord!” We all know that there is a requirement to enter into the Kingdom. It is faithfulness to God. Now, there is another requirement: If we desire to reign with Christ, we must share salvation with others. The negative way is this: The Lord saved us and if we do not lead others to the Lord, we would receive the title of ‘worthless slave’ in the future. One day, maybe some people may not understand why the Lord rebuked him. They might think like this: I accepted the Lord and felt I was okay all along. I was not greedy or did wicked things. How come I could not reign with Christ? Overcomers, if we really want to reign with Christ, we must fulfill this service - lead others to the Lord.
B. Not that you can’t.
The Scriptures have many truths that are quite serious. But the church is afraid of offending people. They are afraid that the people might not like them. So, a lot of these truths were hidden away. As a result, the church today has become weak and powerless. Therefore, dear readers, I ask you in the name of the Lord, after you were saved, have you led anyone to the Lord or pray for the lost soul? If you say no, I will tell you honestly that you will have problems in the future! But some may say, “To lead another to the Lord is not easy. I am not that familiar with the Bible. I have never studied theology. How can I lead anybody to the Lord?” This is an accurate picture today. It is not that I am unwilling but I can’t! So often the preacher on the pulpit cried aloud, “Brothers and sisters, every day, thousands are heading headlong towards hell. How can you be so hardened in your heart, sit there as if nothing is happening? We have to save them!” Do you know what is the reaction from the congregation? They say, “Save souls, save souls, you go and save souls. You know the Bible and you have studied theology. We don’t know theology and are not well versed in the Bible, how can we save souls?” In the end, all the hot and boiling blood from the pulpit gets are cold words from icy people! For this reason, many of the Churches never grow. Many churches after several decades still have only several dozens of people. Is our Lord died? We certainly know that the problem is not with the Lord but with the people. Let us see what the Lord Jesus said about this. Did He want us to talk about the Bible and discuss theology with those who do not believe? No! No! He said, “You are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:48) He did not want us to talk about the Bible and discuss theology with those who do not believe. He wants us to witness to them.
C. Bear your witness.
We all know what is called witness. In court, when a person is called to be a witness, he is to tell all he knows and all he experienced. If he says things he does not know or did not experience, then he is giving a false testimony. According to the law, he would be sentenced to prison. So, bearing witness is to tell honestly the facts your have experienced. What are the facts? Luke 4:28 says. “You are witnesses of these things.” What does ‘these things’ refer to? The answer is in verse 47: “... repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations.” The Lord wants us to tell others our experience in repentance of sins and how we received forgiveness. Tell others how the Lord changed our desires and thoughts. How we hand over our sins to Him. How He thoroughly removed all our sins so that we are full of peace and joy in our heart, ... et cetera. This is what He wants us to give witness to. Overcomers should know that unless a person is not saved, not born again, otherwise, he would have these realities. This is because the term ‘saved’ is not a philosophy but a solid experience. We are saved today and know that we are the children of God because we have experienced salvation. Seriously speaking, if a person do not have these experiences, you can tell him that he has not been born again and not saved! Since we have these experiences, all we need to do is to tell others these experiences. This is what the Lord wants us to do.
D. The Holy Spirit also bears witness.
Unknowingly, Christianity has been influenced by the teachings of other religions in ‘going to heaven’ and ‘entering into paradise’. Just in the matter of ’ saving souls’, it has already left the teachings of the Scriptures and adopted the action of strange religions. We no longer can believe that a person can come to believe in Jesus in five or ten minutes. We frequently think that the non-believer needs to come to church. He needs to sit there and listen to the sermons. Gradually, he will understand though his rational thinking. Gradually, he will come to believe in Jesus. We are unwilling to witness to him. This is not the Biblical method! If the church does not change this type of behavior, it will have difficulty in growing! The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. If spiritual mattes are not in accordance with the principle of truth, the Holy Spirit will not work with us. Then all our labor will never produce any spiritual fruit! Overcomers, God want us to be His witnesses. He wants you to tell others what you were like before you believed in Jesus. Then you tell them how after you believed in Jesus, how God has changed you. Everyone can do this, right? Perhaps some will say, “You mean that if I only give my testimony, that person will believe in Jesus?” Yes, there are many examples of such proof. The reason a person can believe in Jesus is entirely the work of the Holy Spirit. (Refer to John 16:8 and I Cor. 12:3) The Holy Spirit witnesses for Jesus Christ, (John 10:54) When we witness for Christ, the Holy Spirit often will open their spiritual understanding. They will see the reality of our salvation and receive Jesus. However, there is a sentence you must remember to say after you gave your testimony. If you forget that sentence, all might be lost! You must ask him, “So and so, are you willing to accept Jesus just like I accepted Jesus?” Often you will be surprised when he responds; “I am willing.” Nowadays, even though people’s heart is getting worse and harder, but at the same time, you will also find many people just waiting for us to witness to them.
In many seminaries, some students are very afraid of in doing personal evangelism. This is especially true when they run into those who are well educated. They assume that if they witness to them, they definitely will not believe! What they do not know is that a person’s belief in Jesus is not necessarily dependent on how well you speak. It is completely based on God’s grace. When the Holy Spirit opens his spiritual eyes, he will believe in Jesus. In our church, we have a Church Training Program on every Lord’s Day afternoon. It is about an hour and usually attended by two to three hundred brothers and sisters. It is to train them in serving as church leaders in the future. In this Training Program, there are classes for training Sunday School teachers, Personal Evangelism, et cetera. There was a very introverted brother who came and completed the Personal Evangelism class. However, he never witnessed to anyone. Once, two brothers who often go to Chinatown to witness said, “It is really a pity for our brother. He took the Personal Evangelism class, but never did any personal evangelism!” So, they made up their mind to encourage him and go out together with them. When they saw him, they told him their intent. He answered, “Oh no, oh no. You know that I have no speaking skill and can’t talk. You fellows go and witness, I will pray for you.” But these two brothers said, “No. Tonight, you must accompany us and go together.” This brother could only follow them and went out together. He told me later that when they were on their way, he was hoping in his heart all along that if there were only two prospects, then all he had to do was to pray for them. Who knows that when they got there, there were three prospects! The two brothers looked at each other and said, “one on one.” So, he had no choice and was forced to do it. So, he did according to what he learn in class. Step by step he witnesses. At the end, he remembered this sentence he learnt and asked, “Sir, are you willing to accept the Lord Jesus like I did?” He thought the man would shake his head for sure. But the man said, “I want to.” He was shocked. So, he led him in prayer and helped him to confess his sins and ask Jesus into his heart. After they finished praying, he asked the man, “Where is Jesus now?” The man replied, “I know Jesus is in my heart.” He was so surprised that he did not even say good bye to his two friends and ran back to church. While he was running, he shouted, “It works, it works!” I was in the study at that time and I told him, “Quiet down! Quiet down! Don’t be too excited!” He then told me the whole story. Overcomers, there are many such examples! So often we thought that he would not believe in Jesus. But after you gave your testimony ask him if he wants to believe in Jesus, the majority will say, “Yes!” Thank God. There is a sister who served in Indonesia for some ten years but she never knew how to lead others to the Lord. She came to the seminary and took the training class. She learned how to lead people to the Lord. One day, after class, she called a taxi. The moment she got in, she started to witnesses to the driver. After the taxi driver heard her testimony, he stopped the taxi and asked her to pray for him. He received the Lord. Overcomers, saving souls is not as difficult as people imagine! We must believe that our Lord would never ask us to do what we are unable to do. What he asks us to do is all doable. Even though it is so, the author knows that some brothers and sisters do not know how to begin. So, the author will briefly make the following suggestions with the hope of helping the overcomers:
F. Some recommendations.
First of all please think about the people you know already. Among the one you know, which one that you love the most is still in darkness? You should start with him first. I recommend that you should take it one at a time. Don’t plan on saving twenty or thirty people at once. If so, you might not even get one saved! So, just take one at a time. Pray for him every morning and evening. Ask God to open his spiritual eyes so that he can see the emptiness of life and the reality of eternal life. At the same time, ask God to open a way for you so that you can have the opportunity to witness to him. If you pray and God is with you, the opportunity will come. Perhaps one day, he will call you and tell you that he wants to come visit you. You can ask God, “Lord, is it you who opened the way now? Please help me!” After a little while, he arrives. You talk about this and talk about that. When it is about time, you can ask him if you can tell him some small experience that you had. After you have his permission, thank God that He has opened the way. Then tell him about what you were like before you believed in the Lord. How you received Jesus into your heart. How Jesus changed you. Perhaps you can also give him some examples about how the Lord was gracious in treating you. At the end, don’t forget to ask him by saying, “Are you willing to accept Jesus like how I have accepted Him?” Perhaps he may reply, “Give me some time. Let me think it over.” or such polite turndowns. We should not force him but ought to say, “It is okay, take your time.” Following your answer, ask him or a favor. Normally, people will answer, “Sure, but I don’t know if I am able to?” You should then say, “You can for sure.” Normally, he would say, “Please tell me.” Then you say, “Can you pray these words daily: God, I want to believe in you but I don’t know how. Please show me?” If he is really willing to pray like this, he will definitely meet Jesus. Some people may take three or four days. Others may take ten days or a month. Also, there was one that met Jesus on the same day and he has continued to serve the Lord in the church until now. Once, there was a student from India that came to our church. After the worship service, the author went to greet him. Since I did not have an opportunity to witness to him, I said to him, “Thank you for coming to worship God with us. I would like to ask you for a favor, would it be all right?” He asked me what it is and if he can help. I said, “You certainly can.” So, I asked him to pray everyday those three sentences. He said, “I can.” Then I said, “Thank you for promising me.” At the same time, I also told him, “I am unable to ask a person to believe in Jesus. But if you pray like this, I believe that one day, you will meet Him.” The next Lord’s day, he did not come. I thought that it is doomed. Thank the Lord, he came on the third Lord’s day. After the worship service, I greeted him again. I asked him, “Brother, has the Lord answered your prayer?” He replied, “Wonderful! Wonderful! He did!” Overcomers, there are many people waiting there for us to witness to them!
G. Bringing him to the Lord.
After a person says that he is willing, the next step is to bring him to the Lord Jesus. You are to lead him in prayer. You pray a sentence and ask him pray the same. First you lead him to confess his sins. Certainly you don’t know what sins he committed. So, you can confess some common ones such as lying, jealousy, and hatred et cetera. But the best, if possible, is to let his confess himself and ask Jesus into his heart. At the same time, you pray for him. This is more effective. Then after the prayer has ended, you should ask him, “Can you tell me where Jesus is now?” Most people will point to their heart and say, “Here.” Thank the Lord! At the close of 1979, the author was conducting a Chinese student winter conference in the south. There were not enough counselors and the speakers were also drafted. There were several students from the Far East that were sent to my cabin to talk. One of them is from Hong Kong and was studying Chemistry in a certain graduate school. He came in and immediately asked, “Didn’t you say that if a person is willing to invite Jesus into his heart, Jesus will change his heart and desires?” I answered, “Yes, I did say so.” He shook his head and said, “This is impossible, it is too mysterious!” I said, “The gospel is mysterious. Otherwise, this gospel would have died long ago.” After ten or so seconds, he returned to the same subject and asked, “You did say that if I am willing to accept Jesus, Jesus can change my heart and desires?” I replied, “Yes, I did say so. I can guarantee it!” He was quiet for a while and again asked me the same question. Again, I answered him as before. But I added another question to him: “You dare to take a chance?” He thought about it for a while and replied bravely, “Yes, I dare.” So, I said,’ Great! Then you pray with me. I will pray one sentence and you follow one sentence.” I led him to confess his sins and invite Jesus into his heart. After we prayed, I felt that it would be better if he would invite Jesus into his heart by himself. So, I said, “The way you just invited Jesus into your heart was not polite enough. Can you invite Him yourself?” He said, “You want me to pray by myself?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “I don't know how.” I said, “Now, just close your eyes and open your mouth to pray and see if the Holy Spirit would lead you to pray.” He thought for a moment and said, “Okay, I will pray.” His prayer was like that from a believer who has known the Lord for years. It was great. He was not shy and he confessed his sins in front of me. At the end, he invited Jesus into his heart. After the prayer was over, I asked him, “Where is Jesus now?” People usually would say, “I know Jesus is in my heart.” But he didn’t. He lifted up his head and said, “It is so wonderful, even the color of the light changed!” (The light didn’t change, his heart changed!) Overcomers, you can do these things, right? Ask the Lord to grant us grace. Don’t allow us to see Him empty handed. Now, some may ask, “In this way, the elderly and those weak in the body cannot witness to people. What can they do?” Thank the Lord, there is a Chinese proverb that says: “Heaven does not have dead end roads.” In Luke 19:23, the Lord said, “Then, why did you not put the money in the bank and having come, I would have collected it with interest?” The meaning is if you cannot do business, come up with a way to ask others to do for you. This is just like putting money in the bank and the bank invests it. We can share in the investment profits (interest). In the same way, if we really cannot lead others to the Lord ourselves, we can try to have a part in other’s work. We can pray for the ministries that share the gospel. We can support missionaries and gospel organizations with our finances. In particular, if you can support needy seminary students. If you can support him for two or three years, you have only invested your capital for two or three years. But he will work his whole life and you will have part of all his fruits. Or if a brother goes on a short missions trip and you pray for him and as a result, people were saved in his meetings or received grace. In the future, you will also be paid the spiritual dividends. Overcomers, this is the Scriptural principle: If you pray for missions work or support it financially, you will have your equal share in the spiritual results accomplished by them. (I Sam. 30:24) Let us hope that there will not be a single brother or sister among us that God will say, “You worthless slave.” when we see God one day! Amen!