Carrying Out the Great Evangelism Cause
BY LOREN TRIPLETT
Picture idyllic Eden. No traffic, no smog, no noise, no stress, and no sin with its consequences. What a beginning for the human race. As God said of all His creation, it was good. Everything was good, including His crowning acts of creationAdam and Eve.
THE GREAT CALAMITY
But the first Adam failed. Hand in hand the first couple walked into Satans trap, and the party was overEden ended. An angel with a flaming sword stood at Edens gate. Man was shut out of the Garden. Today the word Eden is used merely to express unimaginable fantasy.
Before the couples expulsion, Eden was the scene of an awesome and heartbreaking vignetteone that is repeated again and again in Scripture. God came into Eden to visit with His children, but they werent there. They hid when they heard Him coming. God stopped at the meeting place, looked around, and finally called out, "Adam, where are you?"
A suggested translation of that cry captures Gods great sense of loss: "Adam, how can I give you up?" As we view God in deep sorrow and loss, we see the great calamity. Nothing has been the same since.
THE GREAT CAUSE
Despite the Fall, we see Gods yearning love displayed toward fallen man throughout Scripture. This is the great causeGods campaign to bring back Adams race. He never stops loving the lost. Even when He gave up on all who were on the earth, He found an exceptionNoah. God started over with righteous Noah and his sons. Later, He was ready to destroy Israel again and start over with Moses. But Moses pled, "Please forgive their sinbut if not, then blot me out of the book you have written" (Exodus 32:32*).
Though God eventually sent His people into heathen captivity, all the while He hoped they would bow and call on Him for mercy and forgiveness. God is reluctant to punish. He is slow to anger. His mercy shines through His dealings with man. He is not a God of vengeance but is a God of mercy and reconciliation. His great cause is His unceasing search for a solution to the great calamity.
In the fullness of time, God reached into the deepest files of His eternal database and pulled up One who was before the worlds existed. It was a startling, radical solution that could not faila plan that called for Gods only Son to be sacrificed for all of the sins of Adams race. God himself, in the form of a man, would make the most inconceivable sacrifice ever placed on an altar. This was a God-sacrifice, a divine agonythe agony of the Cross. It was great Calvary.
Great Calvary is the centerpiece of Gods great cause. Calvary was God finding a way. Calvary was heavens pronouncement to Satan that there is always a city of refuge where the guilty can flee for mercy. Calvary is the gateway to that city. And going through Calvary doesnt hide sinsit washes them away. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Isaiah 1:18).
THE GREAT COMMISSION
Before His return to heaven, our Lord put in place a plan to reach the lost with the message of Calvary. We call it the Great Commission, a mandate for the greatest cause of evangelism ever considered.
At first glance it seems pathetically inadequate. Yet, the Great Commission is a divine arrangement that calls for every born-again believer to become a part of Gods great delivery system. Since Christ died for all, God wants everyone to know about Calvary. That is why every believer is to be a soul-saving member of His redeeming army.
All believers are appointed by God to carry the good news of Calvary and the empty tomb to all peoples, all nations, all tribes, and all tongues. We are the commissioned ones.
There is no need to fear or be overwhelmed. God knows we cannot do this on our own. That is why Jesus said as He was leaving earth, "As soon as I get there, where my Heavenly Father is, I will send you the enabling gift of the Holy Spirit" (cf. John 16:7). He enables us to obey the Great Commissionto do our part in telling the world about Calvary. When we obey, we can know the joy of participating in Gods great cause of finding the lost and turning them toward Calvary.
A GREAT OBLIGATION
Being involved in the Great Commission is not only a matter of obedience to Gods plan, it is also obedience to the holy idea of justice. Why should we have the joy of salvation and its benefits and not care that millions do not have it?
Scripture repeatedly speaks of the solace and healing that comes from knowing God. The Psalmist expressed the hope that all nations can be healed, so they can truly trust in the Almighty (cf. Psalm 67:2). All people of all nations must have a chance to experience the embrace of Gods love and promise.
There is a great army of commissioned ones around the world who seem to never stop reaching a little further. They see themselves as the called ones to spread the knowledge of His name to all peoples.
A Bible school student from our new school in Ethiopia returned from a witnessing outreach during the schools first semester break. Missionaries Duane and Sylvia Stewart tell about Nagusi, a commissioned one.
Nagusi was traveling to reach one more preaching point when the rain began to pour. So, as Ethiopians do, he stopped at someones house and asked if he could come in. A group was gathered there, and they welcomed him in. While visiting, he noticed one man sitting in the corner who never said anything. As time went on and the rain continued, Nagusi asked if he could say a few words to the group. They consented, so he preached the gospel. Afterward, as Nagusi prayed, the Holy Spirit came upon him, and he began to speak in other tongues. Immediately the man in the corner of the room leaped to his feet and threw his hands in the air. He said to Nagusi, "How did you know my language?"
"I didnt," Nagusi said. "The Spirit of the Lord was speaking through me."
"You told me in my language to stand to my feet," the man replied. "I have not been able to walk because my leg was shriveled up. Now you can see that I am standing normally."
Surely Gods commissioned ones will have courage, boldness, and power. Let us make new vows to serve the great cause of Gods love for the lost. This is the will of God for His Church. We must carry out the great evangelism cause of letting people everywhere know of Gods eternal love for them and of His provision for their salvation.
*Scripture quotations are from the New International Version.
Loren Triplett was the former Assemblies of God executive director of the Division of Foreign Missions, Springfield, Missouri.