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|Witnesses Unto Me||JUNE 16|
OUR GOD-GIVEN TASK
"For myself, I set no store by life; I only want to finish the race, and complete the task which the lord Jesus assigned to me, of bearing my testimony to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24, N.E.B.
The evangelism of Christ's disciples was regarded as supreme folly to most people of that day. That Jesus the crucified should engage His followers in an enterprise that required the total surrender of their lives, seemed madness; to renounce every worldly prospect and advantage in devotion to such a Person seemed folly of the worst kind. Paul said that for Christ he had suffered the loss of all things, including a leading position in the Jewish Sanhedrin. This kind of commitment obviates all neutrality and indifference.
The professed Christian who thinks of the third angel's message as a plan to play safety first, or a postmortem passport to Paradise, has not walked the way of the cross with Christ. We are face to face with the most compelling hour since Christ died for us. Can we deliberately elect to stay poor, if necessary, to be content with less of this world's goods?
The materialistic secular man does not understand that all our money should be dedicated to evangelism, that so many lives should be sacrificed in faraway unprofitable mission enterprises, that people would be ready to perish in disease-racked places of the earth or become victims of pagan hatred or finally return with nothing of this world's goods. The natural man is convinced of the madness of such a sacrifice. "Others, again, had to face jeers and flogging, even fetters and prison bars. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were put to the sword, they went about dressed in skins of sheep or goats, in poverty, distress, and misery. They were too good for a world like this" (Heb. 11:36-38, N.E.B.).
To become possessed by Christ and by the Holy Spirit is to overflow with love for people and to make any sacrifice in order to bring them to Christ. There is no fanaticism, no extremism; but dedication unsurpassed. The divine call to exalt Christ and draw all men unto Him does not repress ambition and desire. On the contrary, it develops excellence in the service of God. It requires more mental strength, more force of character, more courage and audacity, than any other enterprise in the world.
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