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New Horizons

May, 2003: A City Set on a Hill

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God, the Evangelist

Jesus said, "Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest" (John 4:35). "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field" (Matt. 9:37-38).

He was signaling the dawn of a new age in redemptive history, the age of the harvest. As the book of Acts records this harvest growth, it always reminds us that God is in charge of it. "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47). "And all who were appointed for eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48). Read more

The God-Appointed Agent of Evangelism

Beyond dispute, the Christian church is the God-appointed agent of evangelism. However, when making that statement, one does well to define the term church. In this context, it has two references, which, although inseparable, are properly distinguished from each other. The church, both as an organization, operating through its special offices, and as an organism of believers, each of whom holds a general or universal office, is the God-ordained agent of evangelism.

The Church as an Organization

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The Best Way to Love Your Neighbor

Summing up the law of God for human relations, Jesus calls on us to love our neighbors as ourselves. There are of course innumerable ways to show proper loving interest in the well-being of others. But the Lord also sums them up like this: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets" (Matt. 7:12).

Now ask yourself, if you are a Christian, "What is the best thing that ever happened to me?" You'll be able to think of many good things: family life, good work, happy retirement, etc. But what are all these worth, compared to receiving the gift of salvation? When you trusted Jesus, you became an heir of God, an heir of the new creation. What are all the riches of this age in comparison with this? Read more

Effective Evangelism

Every faithful church longs to be effective in evangelism. But too many of us express doubt when we hear: "The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effectual means" of evangelizing the world, extending the church, and building up believers (Larger Catechism, 155). "Especially the preaching of the Word"? Today the majority report seems to be that there have to be better ways than preaching to make disciples—much better ways! But the Lord insists that "the foolishness of preaching" is the means he has chosen principally to use (1 Cor. 1:21 KJV).

The importance of preaching grows out of the fact that Jesus Christ really is alive, really is exalted, and really is himself supernaturally working to save sinners and to gather, build, and rule his church. It pleases him to do so through the agency of his Spirit working by and with his Word—especially the preaching of his Word. Note the chain of reasoning in Romans 10:13-17: Read more

The Certain Success of Evangelism

Inasmuch as each and every disciple of Christ is bound to contribute his share towards the evangelization of the globe, it becomes an interesting and important question, "Is the work feasible?" May it not be that the church is attempting too much? The greater part of the world is still pagan and totally ignorant of God in Christ. And a considerable part of nominal Christendom consists of unrenewed men who are as distant from heaven as the heathen, so far as the new birth is concerned.

How can the church at large, and the individual Christian, be certain that they are not undertaking a work that is intrinsically impossible of performance? No laborer desires to spend his strength for naught. It was one of the torments of pagan hell perpetually to roll a stone up a hill, and just as it reached the summit, perpetually to see it slip from the hands and roll back to the bottom. Read more

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