FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2013
BELIEVE AND NOT BE PUT TO SHAME
November 30, 2012
Psalm 19:8-11 (or Psalm 19:2-5)
How does one experience the salvation won by Jesus on the cross? Paul spells it out: “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10:9). Jesus died for our sins, and by his death and resurrection, defeated darkness and Satan. He paid the price and freed us. If we truly believe that, and if we put ourselves under his dominion and lordship, allowing him to run our lives, then we are saved. With understanding with the mind, with belief and conviction with the heart, with profession of faith with the mouth, one is saved (Rom 10:10). It is demonstrating faith with one’s whole being.
Thus, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Rom 10:13). Now here is the tricky part. “But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent?” (Rom 10:14-15a). Here then is the process of evangelization: one is sent, he preaches, another hears, that one believes, and he calls on the name of the Lord. Then he is saved. Jesus came in order to win for us our salvation, for us to be saved. And he accomplished that. But then, people need to proclaim that good news so that others might hear and believe and then call on his name. So Jesus got the process going, when, before he ascended into heaven, he issued the Great Commission, for his disciples to proclaim the good news of salvation to the whole world. Jesus sent.
This is why the task of those sent is so important, nay, crucial. This is why it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” (Rom 10:15b). To be called to be an evangelizer is a great privilege and honor. But if we who are called and sent do not evangelize, then we do a great disservice–to God and to our fellow men. We in effect deprive someone of the salvation that Jesus went to extreme lengths to gain for all.
How should we respond? Jesus called his first disciples. Their response should be the manner in which we respond as well. Jesus said to Peter and his brother Andrew, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mt 4:19). How did they respond? “At once they left their nets and followed him.” (Mt 4:20). They left their livelihood, what they had known and done all their lives. The left the comfort of familiar territory to enter an unknown field.
Then Jesus called another set of brothers, James and John. How did they respond? “They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.” (Mt 4:21b-22). They not only left their known livelihood, but they left their family as well.
The two sets of brothers, by the grace of God, attracted by the mysterious power of Jesus, turned their backs on everything of greatest important to them–family and livelihood. And they did it “at once” or “immediately.” There is a great urgency to the work, as people are dying in their sins, and the tsunami of evil is overwhelming the whole world. Evangelization is the most important work of all, because it is all about what Jesus came into the world for, and all about the eternal destiny of all humankind.
Unfortunately, “not everyone has heeded the good news” (Rom 10:16a).
In the call to the New Evangelization, in this Year of Faith, we need to give a vigorous response to Jesus’ call to all of us. Every professed disciple of Jesus ought to be an evangelizer. All of us need to share Christ, for “faith comes from what is heard” (Rom 10:17a). While not neglecting our other responsibilities such as family and work, we need to see the priority of evangelizing. Fortunately, we can do this in the normal day-to-day circumstances of our lives.
Our task is to get people to BE.LI.EV.E. And there is God’s assurance: “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” (Rom 10:11). Indeed, what is of God refreshes the soul, gives wisdom to the simple, rejoices the heart, enlightens the eye (Ps 19:8-9). What is of God is of the greatest value, “more desirable than gold, than a hoard of purest gold, sweeter also than honey or drippings from the comb.” (Ps 19:11). Is that not worth giving up all for God and His work?
So since we are sent, then we proclaim God’s word. When we do, we are assured that God will use our effort to make a difference in the lives of others. We do not have to doubt, even as those we try to evangelize seem to be not interested. We are sent to preach so that others can hear and thus BE.LI.EV.E. We simply do our task, and we leave God to work His wonders in the lives of those who hear. “But I ask, did they not hear? Certainly they did” (Rom 10:18a).
May we respond with all vigor, passion, commitment and endurance. May all CFC-FFL members be evangelizers, that having met Christ and now striving to live Christ, they would share Christ. And here is our assurance: “Their voice has gone forth to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” (Rom 10:18b; Ps 19:5a).
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