February 16, 2019

Come Over to Mexico

By Charles F. House

In Acts 16:9, 10 the record says: "And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: There was a man of Macedonia standing, beseeching him, and saying, come over into Macedonia and help us. And when he had seen the vision straightway he sought to go forth into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us for to preach to Gospel unto them."

Like the vision Peter had at Joppa, this was a revelation of God's will to Paul. Like Peter's, it was calling this man, Paul. Paul was now dedicated to the same Lord whom he once persecuted. Paul the preacher was being called into fields never before entered, to preach the good news of salvation. This man in Macedonia was pleading for some one to come over and help them in their country. He was in a foreign country, fully realizing what sacrifices Paul would have to endure if he came to him with the gospel, but he asked him anyway. When Paul saw the vision and fully understood its significance, the scripture says, "Straightway he sought to go forth into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us for to preach the Gospel." Paul and his companions did not dilly-daily. They did not procrastinate. They did not call a business meeting among themselves to determine IF they should go. They promptly obeyed the Holy Spirit. The record says: "straightway he sought to go forth." The King James Version says: "And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia."

Why were they to go? What was the purpose of this trip to a foreign land? Just to take a pleasure trip? A survey trip by Paul looking for customers who would buy his tents? The scripture says the purpose of the trip was to PREACH THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST to these foreigners lost in their sins, who were without God and without hope.

I am greatly pleased that the Holy Spirit in his choice of words said: "called us for to preach the Gospel unto them." We know that this command applied directly to Paul and his companions with him, but I like to think that it also applies to all Christians everywhere, and their duties to preach the Gospel in their "Macedonia." Every Christian, to the limit of his ability, is to preach the Gospel to every creature. He is to preach it at home, but his responsibility also lies in "Macedonia." If he is not preaching it to the limit of his ability, he will some day give an account to the Lord.

But again, "called us to preach the Gospel" signifies that it is a united effort. Help is needed to do this great job. It cannot be done alone. The preacher goes, but the brethren send him. The preacher preaches, but the faithful members of Christ's body sustain him, hold up his hands, pray for him, and support him. Taking the Gospel to the world is a tremendous task. It is a sacrificial task. But sacrifice is well pleasing unto the Lord, and the Lord said, "Called us for to preach the Gospel unto them." Nowif it is a united effort, and a sacrificial effort, well pleasing unto God, who is supposed to be united with whom, and who is supposed to do the sacrificing? Too many Christians have the idea "let George do it," not stopping to consider that possibly "George" is doing the job that you should be doing in the first place, and that is, preaching the Gospel.

It is understandable that everyone cannot go to "Macedonia," but everyone can preach the Gospel there, in the united effort of helping others to go. I am afraid that the great majority of us need to re-examine, rethink, re-study what the Lord has to say about sacrifice, and how it is well pleasing unto Him. We need to count our many blessings. We need to be jarred out of our complacency, our indifference. We need to realize that the United States of America is the most blessed nation on the face of the earth. One of the greatest blessings we enjoy today is freedom. The reason we are free today from Roman Catholicism is because some, through a great-united effort, and with much sacrifice, worked toward that end to bring this great freedom that we all take for granted. The Gospel, the power of God unto salvation, the HOPE OF THE WORLD, is being preached in "Macedonia~~ today because some, through united effort and sacrifice worked toward that end to see that it was preached there. But beloved, we haven't even scratched the surface. We haven't made much of a dent, as contrasted with what COULD be done if we all had
more faith in God's Word and sacrificed accordingly as we have been taught. The promise of Christ was: "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."

So, what about YOU? Do you believe the Lord? Have you been sufficiently converted to the Gospel and its power, to see that after it has been preached at home that it goes into Macedonia?" Are you sacrificing, personally, to see that it is going forth? If not my Christian brother, you had better re-examine your position in this matter. Salvation is a personal matter. Paul realized this, when he, by the urging of the Spirit, went to Macedonia with the gospel.

I was greatly encouraged to read the program of the 18th lectureship held at Florida College this year. Among the subjects covered were: "THE WORK OF GOD IN JERUSALEM AND JUDEA," and "THE WORK OF GOD IN SAMARIA." Although I did not have the privilege of attending this lectureship, I am sure that much good was accomplished. With dedicated and talented men like those who run the affairs of Florida College, preaching to "Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria," all of us will soon come to the realization that "Macedonia" needs to be preached to as well.

Where is Macedonia? Actually, it is to the north of the Aegean Sea, within just a few hours sailing time of Troas. This was a kingdom many years before, under Philip and Alexander. It had conquered all of Greece, then Persia, and in so doing had seen the Grecian customs, culture, and language spread all over Western Asia. The Romans had later conquered it, and when Paul was called it was no more than a Roman Province. There were several large cities, but Thessalonica was the Roman Capital. This was ancient Macedonia.

Paul, and his co-workers knew where ancient Macedonia was. They encountered no problems whatsoever in locating it exactly. But let us bring the question home. Where is "Macedonia" for you? Month after month, year after year, reports are sent out all over the nation, crying out

"Come over into Macedonia." Hundreds of letters are written in behalf of deserving Gospel preachers saying "Come over into Macedonia and HELP US." The majority of these letters are never answered, but indifferently shrugged off as "not important," ending up in the wastebasket. Yet, sacrificing preachers, truly dedicated to the Lord, many times living at a starvation level, that they may devote all of their time to "the ministry of the word" rather than "serving tables" continue to call out in faith that their cry will be heard by their brethren, "Come over and Help us." Oh my brother, if YOU are "at ease in Zion," aren't you the least bit thankful to God that there are some preaching brethren who are willing to "pay the price" to continue pure New Testament worship and practice? Aren't you the least bit proud that "Macedonian brethren" are refusing financial support and working with their hands because the sending congregations themselves do not conform to authorized practices in the New Testament? Doesn't a feeling of deep shame and humiliation come over your conscience when this desperate need is considered, as contrasted to the complacency, and the smug satisfaction with which so many congregations and individuals are afflicted? Have you forgotten Paul's statement in Romans 8:9 that says: "But if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his?" Doesn't the Spirit of Christ entail LOVE, CONCERN, HUMILITY and COMPASSION? WHERE IS MACEDONIA? Paul found it. Where is Macedonia for you dear brother? You'd better find it before its too late.

Is your "Macedonia" in Tecate, Mexico? Brother Santos Gomez lost $100 per month from a supporting USA church that had "just changed local preachers that had other plans." This amount has not been found on a regular basis yet. He has been working on the Tecate church building for nearly two years and still it is not completed. If only fifteen individuals could be found who would send him $100 each, he could complete the building. Could your "Macedonia" be in Sonoyta Mexico? Fidel Cisneros, local preacher there, his wife and two teenage children are trying to live on $50 per month. It can't be done without suffering. Would you do it for the Lord in order to see the Gospel preached? They do. Could your "Macedonia" be Andres Guiterrez, the former Christian church preacher who preached at Ejido-Puebla, Mexico, and who has NO support whatsoever? Could it be Gregorio Sierra Oiiva, who formerly preached for the liberal church at Mexicali Mexico? Could it be the Rio Grande Valley of Texas with its army of dedicated workers there? Could it be the Spanish language work at El Paso, Texas, or Vernon Hawkins and Phil Morgan in South America? Any one or all of these could very well be "Macedonia" for you. What is the congregation where YOU worship doing about appeals from "Macedonia" when they come -in? But to be more personal, what are YOU doing?

THINK MY BROTHER . . . THINK AND DO . . . "And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: There was a man of Macedonia standing, beseeching him and saying come over into Macedonia and help us." Whether we want to accept these words or not, it does not alter the fact that some day, they will face us in the judgment. "COME OVER TO MEXICO and help us." Write for the monthly mimeographed paper, "Report of the Work of the Churches along the U. S-MEXICO border."

Truth Magazine VIII: 9, pp. 8-10
June 1964