“PREACH THE WORD! BE READY IN AND OUT OF SEASON” 2 TIM 4:2

by Steven Chan

We have been having online Soul-Winning Workshops on Saturday afternoons for the past 11 weeks. About 30 brethren from various congregations participated in the weekly sessions.

2.           One aim of the Workshop was to motivate brethren to start sowing the seed of the Word of God (Luke 8:11) and to keep sowing the seed for in due season we shall reap if we faint not (Gal 6:9). We also shared with the participants the dos and don’ts of conducting personal Bible study sessions, as well as the available tools to assist us in sowing the seed.

3. Most of us know that our Lord Jesus Christ has commissioned us to go and preach the gospel to all the nations (Matt 28:18-20). But only a few are actively obeying our Lord’s instructions in this matter. Many lack motivation while some do not know how to go about doing it.

4. This series of Workshops has revealed and demonstrated the desire and commitment of brethren to actively preach the gospel to their friends and family members, using the tools that are available to us all.
The participants were encouraged to think and pray about friends and family members whom they may be able to reach out with the gospel.

5. One participant reached out to his grandmother and he has shared the gospel with her. A spiritually young sister-in-Christ reached out to her friend who had indicated her interest in the gospel about 20 years ago – and they are now studying the Bible together every Saturday night via online. That study has now grown to include another mutual friend who had also indicated her interest in the study of the Bible.

The young sister-in-Christ is conducting the study using the Jule Miller DVD. This study has been ongoing for the past month. Another sister-in-Christ set up a study with her friend on Mondays and that study has also been ongoing for the past month. This sister is now emboldened to start studying with another friend on her own. There are many other studies that are going on now – being conducted by the participants.

6. Two participants were moved to approach their friend and engage in Bible discussion. Their friend had studied with various brethren earlier on but had not obeyed the gospel at that time. As a result of their effort, he decided to be baptized in Klang on 23 June.             

7.   Here is an interesting account to share with you. On 21 May, a normal WhatsApp chat was turned into an opportunity to share the Scriptures with a friend. On 22 May, this friend enrolled in our online Bible Correspondence Course. He subsequently completed 6 BCC courses. On 27 May, after doing the BCC course, he commented: “Good to know that the church of Christ follows the Bible so closely.”

On 21 June, he was invited to join our online Sunday worship and he was much encouraged by the sermons on unity and humility delivered by bro Mark Lim.  On 11 July, he expressed interest in attending the services of the Ipoh congregation as he lived in Ipoh. Bro Victor Chan of Ipoh was requested to follow up with him on his visit. He attended the physical worship service of the Ipoh congregation on 19 July and was well taken care of by bro Victor Chan.

He commented: “I am very comfortable with the worship.” On 12 Aug, he commented, “the current course on the Fundamental of the Faith is absolutely comprehensive.” On 15 Aug, he said, “I am very happy that I actually found the church of Christ.”  I immediately called and spoke with him about how he could become a member of the Lord’s church and that bro Victor Chan would be able to assist him.

On 18 August, he brought his two grown-up sons and his daughter-in-law to the worship service of the church in Ipoh. On 23 August, he was baptized into Christ at the Ipoh church meeting place. What an incredible journey of faith. Praise God for the power of His Word that is sown in good and noble hearts.

8. All the participants in the soul-winning workshops were blessed to be able to follow very closely the journey of faith from the time when the seed was being sown until the birth of the child of God into God’s family.

9. The account of conversion in Ipoh shows that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16). The Gospel is still relevant today. God’s Word is powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb 4:12). We just need to be willing instruments/vessels (Rom 6:13; 2 Tim 2:21) that can be used by God for His Word to be preached to those in need of the gospel just like Philip the evangelist was used to reach out to the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-40).

The eunuch was baptized in just one study session as was also the case in almost all the accounts of conversions recorded in the book of Acts. In the case of the conversion in Ipoh, it took only about 3 months for the Word to be sown and to grow in the noble/honest and good heart (Luke 8:15). It is God who gives the increase (1 Cor 3:6). Of course, it is important hereafter that he is to be equipped for service and to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 4:11-16; 1 Pet 2:2; 2 Pet 3:18).

10. Like the account of the conversion in Ipoh, there are still people out there who are seeking for the truth. In his presentation on how to reach out to the elderly, Bro Ong Eng Boon shared the story of how one elderly lady said to him, “I have waited so long for someone like you to come and teach me the way of God!” She obeyed the gospel.

11. The recent conversion in Ipoh also shows that we can use modern communication channels such as Whatsapp for the purpose of preaching the Word. We just need to be always on the lookout for the opportunity when it presents itself to turn a conversation into a sharing of what the Bible teaches in the spirit of love, compassion, and peace (not to argue or be contentious – James 3:18; 2 Tim 2:23-26).

“The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” (Psa 119:130). However, it is not advisable to engage in discussion on spiritual matters in the public space such as Facebook, etc… as you may inadvertently invite unprofitable and fruitless comments.

12. It also shows that the Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) that we are offering in Klang can be an effective tool that we can use to reach out to our friends. Many including me, were taught the gospel via the Bible Correspondence Courses. It is still a useful tool today. You may not be able to teach someone the Bible but surely you can encourage someone to enroll in the BCC and very importantly, follow up closely with the friend/BCC student to help him overcome any problems he may encounter during the course.        

13.         In the above instance, the student had faced challenges trying to enroll online. Later on, he faced challenges with the computer system being down for a period of time. Close follow-up enabled us to assist him to overcome such challenges and ensure that he was able to continue studying the Bible. We even resorted to sending/couriering hard copies of the BCC lessons to facilitate the study.

Close follow-up is so very important. We should not just sow the seed and then walk away. The seed needs to be watered. We recently met a BCC student who told us that she was still waiting for her BCC lesson to be marked and returned to her; she had waited for about 5 months. We checked and found out that her BCC lesson was lost in the mail. A close follow-up with the student would have been helpful.

14. The Ipoh account of conversion also showed that brethren from different congregations can and ought to cooperate and work together to help teach the gospel to those who are seeking the truth. Church autonomy should not become a hindrance/obstacle to working together for the sake of the gospel. Church autonomy should not result in indifference/apathy to the fellowship and efforts of brethren in/from other congregations who are doing the work of God.

We are much encouraged by the wonderful help and assistance rendered by the Ipoh brethren in making the visiting truth-seeker felt welcomed, giving him a positive and favorable experience so that he was able to “worship God and report that God is truly among you” (1 Cor 14:25).

15. Brethren, the Great Commission should not be omitted from our busy or retired lives. Even persecution did not stop the early Christians from preaching the Word: “As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.” (Acts 8:3-4). We must keep on preaching the Word: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Cor 15:58).

16. We are charged to preach the Word “in season and out of season”. This simply means preach the Word all the time – regardless of it being convenient or otherwise, good times or bad times, busy or retired, financially supported or otherwise, whatever the circumstances. The hymn says, pray all the time; we ought also to preach all the time. There are people out there still waiting for someone like you to come and teach them the way of God.

Will you reach them before they leave this world? “In season and out of season” highlights the urgency of preaching the Word. Let us not procrastinate or wait for a more convenient time to start doing God’s work as best as we can because we will have to give an account of ourselves to God on that day (Rom 14:12). Will He say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant… Enter into the joy of your lord’?” (Matt 25:23). Are we faithful in our service to Him?

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