Let us Restore the Word of Christ
"What? Trying to spread the gospel message without quoting from the New Testament? Impossible!" That may be your first reaction, but just think about it. Scholars tell us that the first New Testament book, either Galatians or First Thessalonians, was written in about 50 CE, nearly 20 years after that glorious Pentecost when Christ crucified was first proclaimed as the only possible remedy for sinners. The last New Testament books, probably the letters of John or Revelation, were likely written in the 90s, close to three generations after the Resurrection. The New Testament as a unit was probably unavailable until the mid-second century. And yet Christianity experienced some of its most dynamic growth during this period when its Bible consisted only of the Old Testament.
How did those earliest Christians do it? The Book of Acts is clear: The apostles said, "We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard" (4:20). It wasn't long before they were told, "you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching" (5:28). The early Christians "preached the word wherever they went" (8:4). They "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6 ASV). They were convinced that "faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ" (Rom. 10:17).
What is this "word of Christ"? At the time Paul wrote Romans it could not have been the written Word, because such did not exist. It had to be the spoken Word, translated to each human heart through the life-experience of a living, breathing Christian.
It is this oral Word of God that we must restore to modern Christianity. Not that we should throw away our New Testaments -- far from it! Let's read more and feed more. But let's also seed more and lead more. Speaking for Jesus in our world, to our FRAN (Friends, Relatives, Acquaintances, and Neighbors) is the key to a revival of dynamic evangelism. Let's commit ourselves to sow continually; that God may bless abundantly; and then let's reap unceasingly.
This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. JOHN 15:8
Can you imagine the fruit of six million lighthouses across America praying for, caring for, and sharing Jesus Christ with their neighbors, friends, and family?
I can imagine it, but there was a time when I couldn't have. Early in my Christian life, I had little faith as I prayed for one particular person. But, by God's grace, this person received Christ. Then my faith grew, and I could pray for two who received Christ. The more I understood the attributes of God and recognized His blessing on my witness for Him, the more I could trust Him for greater fruit. Later, as our Campus Crusade for Christ staff grew in number and as we trained more students and laymen, we began to pray for millions to receive Christ. God honored our faith and prayers with many millions of recorded decisions for our Savior in more than 182 countries. Now we are helping to train millions of Christians on every continent. We are associated with thousands of Christian organizations and churches of all denominations. Now I have the faith to pray for a billion souls to receive Christ. As I have come to know our Lord better, I have learned to trust Him more.
Faith is like a muscle - it grows with exercise. The more we see God do in the lives of His children, the more we expect Him to do. We glorify God when we bear much fruit. Too many Christians are satisfied with modest efforts and modest results. Yet the better we know God and His Word, the more we grasp His vision and His burden for all people throughout the world.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
As lighthouses for Christ, there is no greater privilege than bearing fruit for God our Savior. The truly Spirit-filled believer has faith that God will provide the opportunities and draw others to Christ.