Neglecting the Truth to Our Neighbor – Part 1

“Deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back. If you say, “See, we did not know this,” Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?” (Proverbs 24:11-12)

My father preached a stunning sermon one Sunday, a biased opinion, and it has rung in my ears lately and as I look around I fear that his words ring louder each day. He must have been having a frustrating Sunday as he boldly pronounced from the pulpit “it is time we stop playing Christian and became Christians.” In those younger years of the 60’s I was often off in my own world during service. But I heard that plea from my father and today it is a concern. As I look over the fifty some years that have passed by so quickly I realize that of the following questions I have failed my Lord. Jesus before His ascension gave this command to His disciples that would be His command to the Christian Church. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

This is a general command to each and every one of us that profess our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a charge to every one of us in the family of God. I realize that not all are called to be Pastors or teachers, Evangelist or workers in the Church. I realize as a corporate body the Church is involved in the same goal to spread the gospel to the uttermost parts of the world. That requires many people fulfilling many different duties according to their talents. So I am not pointing fingers at anyone other than myself.

On the other hand I feel that God in His providence has placed each one of us where we are to fulfill that commission wherever we are. There is corporate Evangelism and there is personal Evangelism. If one never graces the doorstep of a Church or comes into contact with a street level Evangelist he will never hear the truth of God’s Word. We each have a personal responsibility to offer the gospel to our neighbor. The one next door, across the street, the other side of the community, and the far side of the globe. This is what we were called to be. Christians are not called to sit and wait for the low swinging chariot to come and take them home. Christians were called to do the work of the Kingdom. We were created to do the good works for the glory of the Father. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

The questions that have been flowing through my mind these past few weeks is have we failed to seek out the unforgiven sinners and plant the seeds of Jesus’ Word into their hearts? Have we failed to walk through every door that the Lord has opened for us to give our testimony of Him? Do we hide the joy of His truth in our heart and suppress His light that others not see the glory of our Lord? The greatest need of mankind is the truth of Jesus Christ and if we fail to share that wonderful experience then we have been negligent towards our neighbor. Jesus gave us two great commands and if we love Him, then we must obey them. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

The focus of the Church is to sow the seeds of God’s truth into every ear that will hear. Pray that these truths are planted into the hearts of men and nurture them that God can cause them to grow into their salvation. This is the work that we all are to be involved in both corporately and individually. If we are acting on the conviction of His truth and living for the glory of God, then it is a necessary duty to share the joy of our salvation and speak to others of our belief. We live in a world stumbling in darkness and lost for a way to overcome, we see the misery of mankind, we hear of it every day, we are not unaware, and we have the answer that each needs found in the words of God’s Truth to address the heartbreak that men suffer. To fail to share what the Lord has given us is murderous as spirits of men are being eternally lost. We are allowing them to die just as sure as it were we that pulled the trigger and sent them to their death. It is not we that can save a soul but it is we who can share the truth of the gospel of Christ that they may have a choice between new lives or to remain in death. It is our obligation as our chief end is to glorify the Father through Jesus Christ. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

It is a crime unto ourselves the crime of negligence, we have no excuse for our negligence, negligence brings on condemnation, and there is a judgment for our negligence.

The Christian is empowered by the Holy Spirit dwelling within them. To not use this power for the good of mankind is a sin. The eleven Apostles were empowered on the Day of Pentecost with the power of the Holy Spirit. Immediately they began to preach the Word of God and many came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. If they had failed in their commission then neither you nor I would be having this conversation. There would be no Church of Jesus Christ. And there would be no hope for mankind. All of humanity would suffer the wage of sin which is eternal death and sin would have been so unchecked in the world I doubt that there would be a civilization today here on earth. The violence of men may slay by the thousands but the negligence of telling mankind of the gospel of Jesus would slay mankind by the tens of thousands.

There are many in the Church congregations that have seen and feel the sorrows of society in their hearts. They have taken them on as their own sorrow and fall to their knees in prayer every day that God in His mercy will raise up workers to go to the harvest fields and reap. Prayers that will convict the believers that they would answer the call in conviction to go out and bring in the shelves. “And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16)

No one need to travel to the far ends of the earth for each live in a neighborhood that is near to manifestations of sinful livelihood. One can look out from their windows and see, “those who are staggering to slaughter” and how can they not have compassion on them. Many do and yet they turn their backs and go on about their own life. It does not take a large amount of money, it doesn’t need to drain their resources, even a short piece of quality time is sufficient, all it takes is the greatest gift, the love of God through His anointed ambassador. Are there those who you know that do just that, allow God’s love to flow through them? Do you ever wish you could do that too? Here is a key truth the power that they have is born in the measure of their obligation. “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9:16)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, September 2, 2016

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