When did the Great Commission become the “Great Omission”?
We know the Lord has called us to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” But how many of us are doing it these days?
That is exactly what we are planning on doing for Harvest America.
Here is an excellent article written by John Collins on this vital topic. John is the director of the Harvest Crusades and knows what he is talking about. So, check out what he wrote and let me know what you think.
A Passion to Proclaim
By John Collins.
We’re swimming upstream with Harvest America. We know it’s not popular to hold an event in a public forum to boldly proclaim the message of Jesus—that He came, suffered, died, was buried, and then rose again from the dead—that it’s through Him, and Him alone, that man can find salvation. He is the only way!
That message used to be the red meat of American evangelicalism. Now, some in our culture view it as divisive and intolerant of other religions. How far we have fallen!
But the downward slide of American culture should not be a source of discouragement for followers of Jesus. It should be a source of motivation. The apostle Paul faced a similar dynamic in the culture he addressed. He was unpopular among the dominant secular culture—Rome. He was also unpopular among the dominant religious culture—Judaism. To their ears, to the ears of the “popular culture,” and to the scholarly who did not know God, Paul said his message sounded foolish. Then he said something that should cause our hearts to soar:
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” And also, “It pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe”!
God is not interested in the church looking cool. He’d rather we be faithful. I’m sure Harvest America looks foolish to some. There are those who say we should be eschewing the old-school methods of proclamation evangelism. Prevailing thought among many in the church is that we are better off demonstrating our faith via good works. Better to show people Jesus than talk about Him. It’s the ol’ saw, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!” The days of Billy Graham calling thousands to faith are over, they say. Those “emotional events” just don’t work anymore. It’s with that logic that many in the church have forsaken the simple, bold proclamation of the gospel.
I will agree that good works earn believers respect in the eyes of the world. But respect does not and will not deliver a person from sin. God didn’t choose good works as the method for sharing the gospel; He chose preaching! Our lives can and should overflow with compassion for the hurting because of Christ in us, the hope of glory. But let us not confuse that with evangelism; it is pre-evangelism. It plows the ground for the seed to be planted. We must always remember it is the “goodness of God that leads men to repentance,” not the goodness of men.
The world looks fondly upon Christians when they feed the poor and care for the wounded. But there are kind and compassionate humanists, too! What separates Christians from these groups is our message. That message is and will always be “an offense” to those who are unbelieving, but we must not remain silent—even if we look foolish. The kindling of kind acts must somewhere burst into the flame of loving words. The gospel is not a philosophy to be used as seasoning for life; it is the supernatural power of God at work in our world. It is the power of God to free a drug addict from his addiction, to restore a hostile marriage, to redirect the course of a lonely life—and it can all happen in a matter of seconds as a penitent hears and believes!
In 22 years of bringing the gospel into arenas and stadiums around this nation and in Australia and New Zealand, we have seen the wise confounded, the confused enlightened, and the hopeless restored. Rebellious teens have turned to the mission fields, strung-out drop-outs have become pastors, all because they came to an event, a place where a preacher stood up and talked straight and clear about turning from sin and turning to Jesus.
I can’t say I understand it. But I will stand toe to toe with those who say it’s not effective. History has not recorded that revival broke out on the heels of good works; it always follows the passionate prayer of the saints and the passionate proclamation of the gospel. That’s why we’re pursuing Harvest America; our nation needs revival. As a people, we must cry out to God for an outpouring of His grace.
Harvest America is an event where we, the church of Jesus, can work to bring people toward a singular moment of preaching, where one of our nation’s most effective evangelists can declare the gospel, and possibly where we can witness a change in the course of our nation. It’s a time to be bold, and if necessary, to look foolish!