by Steven Chan
02 January 2011
It is the declared will of God that He “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim 2:4) and so He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet 3:9). Hence, in John 3:16 we read that: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” So, Jesus “came to seek and to save that which was lost.”(Luke 19:10) and He gave the Great Commission to all His disciples in Mark 16:15-16: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Salvation from the consequences of sin (i.e. death Rom 6:23) and the promise of eternal life in heaven as our eternal abode (Rom 6:23; 1 Pet 1:3, 4; Col 1:5) is what God offers through His Son Jesus Christ.
So, the early Christians “went every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). For Paul, preaching the gospel was central to his ministry: “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!”(1 Cor 9:16). It was not something that was optional; it was a “necessity”.
As members of God’s family we need to be united as One in serving the Lord and the work of soul-winning is our fundamental task. We need to be more focused in the New Year to help more people come to obey the gospel so that they can be saved from the consequences of sin.
Paul’s commitment to winning souls is best described in 1 Cor 9:19-24: “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
As Paul said it, we must run with a “soul winning mentality” – “so run that you may obtain it – win the prize – that I might win more of them – by all means save some”. Make it our aim to win souls. Run our lives in such a way that we may succeed in winning souls.
Through the years, there have been many fruitful efforts for winning souls to Christ. Some of them are as follow:-
1. Sunday School Programme: Many young people have been taught the Scriptures by the faithful Sunday School teachers in Klang (about 20 of them) who have laboured quietly and tirelessly through the many years. Under able supervisors Sis Connie Kirk and Lily Tan, this has been a wonderful means of helping young people come to know God and to love and obey Him. Through the efforts to reach out to young children, whole families have also been brought to Christ. In 2011, Sis Khoo Yen Nee (walking in the footsteps of her father, Khoo Kay Yeow of YDP fame and mother, Sis Lydia Teh, award winning writer in Malaysia) has agreed to be the Sunday School supervisor, under the leadership of Bro Ronnie Lee. We can endeavor to make this programme an even more successful one in 2011.
2. Youth Development Programme (YDP): Bro Khoo Kay Yeow has spearheaded this effort with the help of various brethren such as Bro Richard Lee and YDP graduates such as Jonathan Yang of LAP. This effort is targeted at those between the ages of 13-24. The annual YDP camp brings together youths from all over Malaysia and S’pore for a time of fellowship, fun, food and feasting on God’s Word. Friendships and stronger spiritual characters have also been forged. We are thankful for this annual effort in reaching out to youths. Three youths were baptized in Ipoh and one in Klang following the conclusion of this year’s YDP. It has certainly done much good for the youths.
3. Bible Correspondences Courses (BCC): Through the years, the BCC has provided opportunities for many to study the Bible at their own pace and in the comfort of their homes. I had also studied the Bible via the BCC before I obeyed the Lord in 1971. It is my belief that this is still a good medium to reach those who are seeking to know the truth.
4. Home Fellowship Groups: One of the most fruitful Home Fellowship Groups was the one held in Bro Charlie Chan’s house some years back (it continues meeting today). Many visitors including Yeoh Cheng Teik, Eng Lim Leng, and their wives were taught the Scriptures in the home of Bro Charlie Chan. Brethren invited them to the home fellowship meetings where individual studies were conducted for the visitors.
5. Personal Bible Studies: In order to be able to help truth-seekers come to obey the gospel, we need brethren who have prepared themselves to engage in one to one personal studies with truth-seekers. One of the greatest needs in the Kingdom today is for brethren to prepare themselves to help bible students learn the truth so as to be saved. We need brethren who are prepared and ready to study the Bible with those who are seeking to know and obey the truth (2 Tim 2:15, 24-26; I Pet 3:15). We need brethren who like Philip “opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus” (Acts 8:35), or be like Peter in Acts 10:34-35: who “opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” or be like Paul in Acts 28:23-24: “When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved.”
We are not all expert soul-winners but we have to start somewhere – why not start preparing to be a soul-winner in 2011?
Start by getting to know the bible yourself (2 Tim 2:15; 3:15-17) (through enrolling in the COPE programme or attend the classes being conducted by Bro Charlie DiPalma in Subang and in Section 17 PJ or the classes conducted by Bro Roger Campbell in Kota Kemuning) because we cannot teach what we do not know. Then seek to know those who desire to study the Bible and make the time to teach them the truth. When we are prepared vessels for God’s use (2 Tim 2:21) then God will use us to reach out to those seeking the truth as was the case with Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-40).
Resolve in 2011 to commit yourself to a specific area of work that you believe you will be effective in helping others to come to know and obey Jesus Christ. It could be as one who encourages young children in your neighbourhood or your friends’ children to enroll in the Sunday school, one who enrolls others in the BCC programme, invite friends to church services and activities, or being a friend to church visitors by sitting with them and helping them turn the Scriptures.
Please resolve in 2011 to attend each and every services of the church on Friday evenings and Sundays. Please know that your personal attendance is of great encouragement to all the brethren. Your absence is sorely missed –especially by brethren who make every effort to attend and those who are visiting. Please make the effort. The bridge over the Klang river is no longer jammed and you can cross over without too much difficulties. We hope to see a significant increase in our Friday Bible Classes attendance in 2011 and we are counting on each of you to make that special effort to attend and study the Scriptures together.