We are living in the age of the Holy Spirit. During this period of time, the Holy Spirit is very active in fulfilling the divine plan and purpose of redemption in this world through the Church.
The Church in general does recognise the active ministry of the Holy Spirit during this NT period of time. However, there is a lot of confusion over what the Spirit is really doing in His work of extending the Kingdom of God. The confusion comes primarily from the charismatic movement. Third Wave Charismatism says that the Spirit today is in the business of producing signs and wonders in order to attract the world to Christ. I have addressed this charismatic confusion in my book— Charismatism Q&A. So I will not deal with this here. I want rather to explore with you the role of the Spirit as revealed to us by Christ.
The Holy Spirit’s ministry is revealed by Jesus in John 16:8–14. Jesus said, “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” Jesus clearly delineates for us what the ministry of the Holy Spirit will be: He will (1) reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, (2) guide believers into all truth, and in doing all these things, He will (3) glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus, prior to His ascension, told His disciples that they “shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit will not do the work of missions and evangelism alone. He will use the church and work through its members to spread the good news of salvation in Christ to all the world.
In the light of what Jesus has said, we find the ministry of the Holy Spirit in missions and evangelism to be two-fold:
The Holy Spirit Calls Sinners into the Saving Knowledge of Christ (John 16:8)
God calls people into the saving knowledge of Christ through His Spirit who has a ministry of convicting people of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. Before a person can be saved, he must realise that he is totally sinful, helpless to save himself, and needs the righteousness of Christ to be accepted by God, and to escape the judgment of His wrath. The outward call of Gospel preaching must be accompanied by this inward call of the Spirit in convicting a person of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, if he is to be saved.
In light of this, we should all be encouraged to do the work of evangelism. The duty of preaching the good news belongs to the Christian, but the responsibility of converting a soul is the Spirit’s. We ought not to feel guilty or despondent if people reject the gospel after we have preached to them. We are not responsible for soul-winning or soul-saving, but of gospel-preaching. We need just to sow the gospel seed, it is God the Spirit that gives the increase. In Acts 2:47, we are told that it is the Lord who added to His church such as should be saved.
When we preach the gospel, we need to preach to all kinds of people: young and old, rich and poor, high and low. Sometimes, we neglect preaching the gospel to little children and to the mentally retarded. We assume that they would not be able to understand the gospel. Let us not underestimate the power of the Spirit in His ministry of bringing such people into God’s kingdom. The Holy Spirit can give such people a heightened intelligence at the point when the gospel is preached to them, to cause them to understand and accept Christ as Lord and Saviour. Let us just be faithful to do the work of evangelising, and let the Holy Spirit do His work of convicting and converting.
The Holy Spirit Calls Saints into the Ministry of the Gospel (Acts 1:8)
Acts 1:8 says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
All Christians are duty-bound to evangelise, to preach the good news of salvation in Christ (Matthew 28:18–20). In a sense, we are all full-time Christian workers. We are all called to be witnesses for Christ. In our respective occupations, in our various places of work, we ought to testify for God in our speech and in our deeds. The immediate area of ministry would be our Jerusalem. That would be those closest to us—our family and relatives. Then our Samaria—our neighbours, friends and colleagues at the workplace. Lastly to the uttermost part— to strangers.
Some Christians are especially gifted in the area of evangelism. The Holy Spirit endows them with that spiritual gift of reaching out to the lost (Ephesians 4:11).
There are some whom the Spirit will call into full-time Christian service to become pastors, teachers, or missionaries. This was what happened in the Antioch church when the Holy Spirit said, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul” (Acts 13:2).
How do I know whether God has called me to be His full-time servant? There are several indicators: If the Lord has called you into full-time ministry, you would be experiencing an intense and inescapable desire to obey God’s call to do so; you would find yourself having the gift of preaching and of teaching as you serve Him actively in church; and you would find spiritually minded people (especially your pastors and elders) confirming your desire and suitability for full-time service.
Let us pray that the Spirit may separate some from among us to serve God as pastors, teachers, and missionaries.
We thank the Lord for sending the Holy Spirit to help us in the work of missions and evangelism. Our missionary and evangelistic efforts are successful because of the Holy Spirit’s involvement. May we be very conscious of the Spirit’s role in calling sinners to salvation in Christ, and in calling saints into full-time Christian service. JK
MISSIONS REPORT FROM JAPAN
To dear Pastor Khoo and brothers and sisters in TLBPC,
Hello. This is Tadahito Yamazaki in Japan. I am so sorry that my report is too late.
I really thank the LORD for your praying, encouragement, kindness and regular loving financial supports. It is exactly amazing grace for me. Thank you very much.
I report my recent situation. I am living in Abashiri city, eastern part of Hokkaido, and serving the LORD in the small Brethren church, and working in a company providing elderly care service. Our church is “Christ Gospel Assembly”. It comprises about 15 adults who attend Sunday worship regularly. Another 4 persons do not attend now because of the Covid. And 6 children attend the Sunday school regularly. We have Gospel & Prayer meeting on Sunday afternoon and Wednesday evening.
We have no pastor. Thus, we 5 brothers preach in order. I preach once a week, sometimes twice. I always struggle to prepare for preaching. Please pray for me that the LORD gives me wisdom and understanding and strength to preach clearly and boldly. And in Sunday school, usually sisters teach children, and I do once a month. And after Sunday worship, we give gospel tracts house to house. But I feel that most of the people have no interest in the gospel, and many of them are very careful and doubtful of the gospel. I do not know why they are so unconcerned and prejudiced. Our country is spiritually very poor. Please pray for the people in Japan that the LORD open their eyes and they repent and follow Jesus Christ. We hope that new truth seekers may come. Now only one man sometimes comes to the Gospel & Prayer meeting. Another two ladies do not come now because of the Covid. Please pray that new truth seekers may come and find the truth.
Our church was built by Mr and Mrs Nakano about 50 years ago. Now Mr Nakano has dementia and in the old people’s nursing home. And Mrs Nakano passed away on 3 September 2021. They have 8 children (2 sons and 6 daughters) and 16 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. Among the 8 children, 7 are believers, only one son does not yet believe. We feel lonely and tried, now that Mr and Mrs Nakano are not in church. All of us have to grow spiritually and keep the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ in this city. Please pray for our spiritual growth, for both adults and children.
Now concerning me. My job is very tough and tiring because caring for old people is all new to me. I still struggle every day with cooking and changing nappy etc. And my experience of the kitchen duty in FEBC has helped me much. I thank the LORD for giving me the opportunity to learn in FEBC, and I thank Mrs. Tow and fellow students in FEBC for teaching me many things. Actually, serving the LORD and working at the same time is very hard for me, but I just do my best and keep doing what I can do for the LORD. Please pray for me that I can continue to serve the LORD and testify for Him.
I pray for TLBPC and FEBC. May the LORD keep and help them very much and use them mightily. Thank you again for your kindness and consideration for me. Tadahito Yamazaki, 24 May 2022
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