Obstacles We Must Overcome

Leslie Diestelkamp
Rochelle, Illinois

God's people are probably doing more gospel work today than ever before. This is because we are so many, we have so much and therefore our opportunities are far greater than those of any other people before us. But this does not mean that we are doing more than other generations did in comparison to what we have ability to do. Since there are so many who eagerly await the saving gospel, and since we certainly have the power to take it to them in this decade, let us consider the hindering obstacles and determine to remove or overcome them.

1. God's people are hindered today by a geographical curtain that prevents many Christians from "seeing" the truly fruitful fields of the world. Some brethren refuse to get excited about "all the world" because, as they say, "We have not converted our neighbors yet." But we will never convert all our neighbors--or even most of them. We are not commanded to convert people we are commanded to preach the gospel to them.

And we must not continually waste our time on those who will not hear, regardless of
how near they may be to us by the ties of the flesh or how near they may live to our meeting house. There are others who are pleading for the saving gospel, by dying in sin without it. Jesus did not say, into all of Illinois." He did not command, "Go to all the people of Indiana." The Lord did not direct that the gospel be preached to all of Ohio, beginning from Akron, to all of Kentucky, beginning from Louisville or to all of Tennessee beginning from Nashville. We must lift up our eyes and look upon the world --that is our field--Mt. 13:38.

2. Christians also are hindered by fleshly ties. We need to realize that God does not care whose son or whose brother it is. It is quite certain that we will really never do the work God expects of us until we fully realize that God desires the obedience in faith of the most wretched, lowly, ignorant, degraded and unknown person in some far away land just as much as he desires the salvation of your mother! As good stewards of our time we surely have a responsibility to go especially to those who will hear, and we must not bind ourselves to a certain family tree, to a particular race or to those of a preferred culture.

3. Pride and vanity are obstacles hindering God's people. Sometimes we think that if we build a meeting house as nice as that of the sectarians, it will mean success. But no church building ever converted a soul and that which can be done by the gospel cannot be accomplished at all by material vainglory. Big programs and nation-wide promotions are not the answer to God's challenge to us, but deep devotion in the hearts of Christians that is expressed in commitment of lives, treasures and facilities would produce a world-wide harvest that would probably surpass our fondest dreams.

4. Selfishness in the use of preachers and an improper attitude regarding their duties is an obstacle we must overcome. Some would make him "The Minister," with a capital "M"--a rifled man, an administrator over the church and or an errand boy, hired to visit the hospital and to see that the church house door is open early and finally locked after everyone else is gone home. We will never go into all the world as long as we tie every mature, capable preacher to a local pulpit and as long as every congregation demands a full-time preacher and insists that he be present every Lord's day locally. It will be a fruitful day when every preacher who desires to do so is free to "go preach," here, there and everywhere and when capable men {both supported and those who support themselves} are respected for their work's sake in the congregations where they devote themselves as functioning parts of an active unit and not as executives in a corporation, performers on a stage or nursemaids for spoiled church members.

5. But when it is all said and done--when all the excuses have been counted, all the failures have been excused and when we really face up to the marching orders of our King, the problem of world evangelism boils down to deep commitment in love for the Lord and for the lost, to full surrender of our lives in living sacrifice to the cause of Christ, to absolute obedience in faith on the .part of those who have already obeyed the first principles of the gospel but who must go on unto perfection, and to enthusiastic zeal for souls--a zeal that is guided and directed by all the wisdom we can discern from God's revealed Word. So let us press forward, upward, onward, always abiding in the doctrine of Christ, but at the same time always striving for more glory for God, more souls for salvation, more living stones in that great spiritual house of God (1 Peter 2: 5).


April 2, 1970