It's Time We Got Concerned

Donald P. Ames
Tampa, Florida

In this modern age, when attention is fixed on the masses, and the work and obligations of the individual have been shoved under, we need to come back to scheme of the teaching involving the obligations and duties of individual Christians. Today everyone talks about putting the gospel out for the "masses," and the individual is forgotten as men seek the big means of spreading the gospel. It is about time we paused to take an inventory of our personal obligation in this field also. Each of us are ministers for Christ as we seek to spread His kingdom, and this is an obligation of every Christian. But, somewhere down the line, many have forgotten they also bear an individual obligation in this field. It needs to be done, but let the others do it is the attitude they carry consciously, or unconsciously.

In Acts 8:4, when the Lord's church in Jerusalem was scattered, the disciples went everywhere preaching the word. They didn't say that the apostles could do it, nor did they go to some new settlement and quietly worship with their family. They went about "preaching the word." They had an obligttion-they were concerned with the lost condition of their fellow-man. They couldn't fulfill this obligation while "resting in Zion," so they got busy and spread the gospel; not to those coming to them, but they "went."

Seeing that Apollos was still preaching the baptism of John, Aquila and Priscilla couldn't be happy destroying his reputation behind his back. They had an obligation and a concern for their fellow-man, so they went to him and "exponded unto him the way of God more accurately" (Acts 18:24-28). This attitude is needed today as men teach error and false doctrine. We need not only to be ready to answer any man who asks us concerning the hope that is within us (I Pet. 3:15), but we must also be. ready to go to those who haven't yet asked. Due to this apparent lack of concern, thousands die annually without Christ. But even more tragic (?) is the fact that thousands "with" Christ are going to die for it too.

In 2 Thess. 1:7-9, speaking of the return of Christ, Paul tells us He has promised vengeance on those "that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus." One doesn't have to go overseas to find those who have not yet obeyed the gospel of Christ. True, there are thousands there, but we have them right here too. In fact, you don't even have to go to the North (where the church is liable to be located over 200 miles from the next nearest congregation) to learn these conditions. It isn't necessary to go out of the state of Florida, or Texas, or wherever else you may be. It isn't even necessary to go out of your own city, or town or neighborhood. Our next door neighbors are the beginning--right at home. To do this doesn't require thousands of dollars and foreign voices, but personal sacrifice of the god of mammon and giving a bit of our time to Jehovah instead. Many of our neighbors don't even know we are Christians because our light isn't shining bright enough to show them the path to Christ (Matt. 5:16).

The exhortation is alwavs good, but to some, that appears to be as far as it ever gets. They say the church is teaching over the radio, etc., So why should I bother? Preaching the gospel is also an individual obligation--one that we can't shirk. If the Lord made the only condition of salvation that we brought one other person to Christ, thousands of so-called Christians would be lost for eternity. Yet, you cannot get to heaven without doing so. I believe I can safely make the statement, "Unless you lead at least ONE soul to Christ, you WILL GO to Hell!" This may sound like a big statement, maybe one that is designed to "scare" you, but I believe it can be supported by the Bible. Turning to Ezekiel 3:18 we find a principle laid down by Jehovah that ought to make all Christians stop and think. Here, He says: "When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but HIS blood will I require at THY hand."

Jehovah is not so concerned about what the others are doing on a mass scale as He is about what you, an individual, are doing. We will stand before him as individuals, and as individuals, we will answer for our part in the spread of His kingdom. Our neighbors and friends are going to be there, our relatives and loved ones will be there. We will see them as they receive the recompense for their actions -- good or bad. Suppose they are lost; will you have to answer for it? Yes, it's time we got concerned-not only for the salvation of others, but for ourselves. Indeed, if you, as a professed follower of Christ, have not led at least one other soul to Him, what right have YOU to the riches and blessings He's promised to the faithful?

Truth Magazine IV:1, pp. 14-15
October 1959