(December 11, 2018) Missionary statesman Dr George Forbes reminds us that Christmas is an opportune time for sharing the real Christmas message… here at home!
It’s virtually Christmas! This is a time when people are expecting good things and encouragements by way of cards and gifts. The gospel speaks of the greatest gift of all – God’ gift of his Son, Jesus Christ who would become our Saviour.
Paul made it very clear in Romans 3:23 that ‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ – John 3:16 is still the most relevant of all scriptures: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’
Having been associated with world missions for decades, naturally overseas missions and missionaries are very much on my heart. But, bringing my blog closer to home at this Christmastime I would say this to every Christian at home: We may not be a missionary overseas but as missionaries abroad share the good news of Jesus as Saviour even here at home we can be missionaries by fulfilling the great commission in our local suburbs!
Let’s be Christians of action – moving in faith and seeing the impossible become possible! We can find opportunities to share the good news of the gospel, the real reason for the season.
A time to be daring in sharing
A little but great booklet God’s Little Instruction Book, has a powerful saying in it – ‘Faith is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes can see!’
Now that’s a saying that tends to stick in one’s mind as it encapsulates a fundamental truth.
Jesus taught us that God’s word is truth (John 17:17). God’s word is his instruction book – the Holy Bible! And it declares that …
- ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God!’ (Hebrews 11:6).
- It is not possible to be a Christian without faith.
- It is equally impossible to live the life of a believer without believing.
- With the assistance of the Holy Spirit the first disciples began fulfilment of Jesus’ Great Commission commandment of Matthew 28:18-20 in their local suburbs – in Jerusalem! (See Acts 1:8).
As believers we must take every opportunity to share the gospel message to a needy world.
If we only look at what can be seen in society both here and overseas we could be overwhelmed, discouraged and depressed. Nations in many places around the world are in serious trouble, economically, socially and above all, spiritually.
I remind us that our own Australia is part of what writers term ‘the world.’ Sadly the post-Christian ethos of Australian society is symptomatic of the sick world in which we live. Yet we can rejoice in the Lord and praise the God of our salvation because ‘with God nothing is impossible!’ (Luke 1:37).
Trust God and move in faith
Let’s be daring! I would encourage us to move in faith here at home; faith – that word which gives us assurance that what we see with our natural eyes is not the ultimate reality. God’s word says that ‘We walk by faith, not by sight!’ (2 Corinthians 5:7 Darby). The Message puts it his way: ‘It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going.’
It’s by faith that missionaries and other servants of God around the world ‘see’ …
- Barriers yielding
- Walls crumbling
- Gates opening and
- Giants tumbling … as Isaiah 52:10 is fulfilled: ‘The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.’
God is honoured by active faith; he is glorified by the testimony in the life and confession of believers.
When we consider the complex situations in Korea, Israel, China, Russia, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, to name just a few countries, it would be so easy to be confused and confounded – but faith in God’s word recognises his ‘Master Plan!’
Absolutely nothing takes God by surprise. He is in control and what he has said he will do, he will do! The church can rest in the certainty of God’s love for the world, his mercy to sinners and his unchanging purpose for all nations.
Faith calls for action
The fundamental action on our part is obedience to the word of God – obedience to his command without necessarily seeing all the pieces of the divine plan and purpose.
I remind us again…
- We are commanded to ‘Go and make disciples of all nations’… that includes Australia!
- We cannot be fruitful in the service of Christ without active faith in his word.
- We will never impact any unreached peoples and evangelise the lost without a faith that dares and a love that cares!
The Bethlehem shepherds who found Jesus went immediately into their local suburb to share the good news that a Saviour had been born (Luke 2:17).
What are you doing about sharing the good news this Christmas in your local mission field, I dare to challenge!
Dr George Forbes is internationally recognised as a missionary spokesperson with a heart for the lost of the nations. With a wealth of missionary knowledge and a unique ability to communicate the global picture, he is widely known as the ‘story-teller.’ Link: firstname.lastname@example.org