Scripture and You

The World's Crises: The Christian's Opportunity

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
The uncertainty of life in these days gives greater opportunity for the proclamation of the Gospel.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

The uncertainty of life in these days gives greater opportunity for the proclamation of the Gospel.

At the height of the German bombing of London in 1940, Martyn Lloyd-Jones was the newly-installed pastor of Westminster Chapel, a church seating over 1200 just a short walk from Buckingham Palace, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey - a major target area for the Luftwaffe. At that time he wrote a letter to the members of an organization of Christian college students, reminding them that the crisis of those days was also a great opportunity for believers to bear witness for Christ.

"Herein Lies Our Opportunity"

As we face the uncertainties of our own time, with growing areas of the world at war, terrorist attacks in many nations, crime and rioting on the rise, mass movements of ethnic groups from country to country, economic uncertainty, immorality a greater pandemic than any physical virus, and world leaders seemingly powerless to stem the tide of ever-compounding crises, I believe Lloyd-Jones' words from eighty years ago bear repeating:

... The present war has revealed the utter failure of all human systems to deal with the problem of mankind ...

Never was the biblical view of man and of sin so evidently and clearly right as today. The radical evil in human nature is manifesting itself on a world scale. Never again can it be said, or should it be said, that man inherently and naturally desires the right, and the best, and is ready to accept it if it be but offered to him.

...The uncertainty of life in these days makes people more ready to listen to the Gospel. The most blase' person is uncomfortable at the thought of death, though he may try to hide the fact.

Here then lies our opportunity.

We must not abuse it by simply turning to those who do not know Christ and saying, "I told you so." Events in the world will truly prove we were right. But what matters is not that we shall be right, but that others may be put right.

We can seize the opportunity in many ways, but there are two special ways which we must always remember.

The first is our general life and conduct. There should be about us a calmness, a poise of spirit and general control of our lives which should differentiate us Christians from all others. Whatever the conditions, and however trying, we should show that we have hidden resources of which the world knows nothing....

The other way is the right use of conversation and of social intercourse. Almost every conversation today turns upon the strangeness of life and the uncertainty of the future. No more perfect opening for the Gospel is conceivable.

God grant that we all may be worthy of our high calling! [1]

"Always Be Ready"

In a time such as this, Christians are often portrayed as the evildoers of society. This is nothing new in the Christian experience. The Holy Spirit through Peter spoke of it in his first epistle and instructed Christians, then and now, how to think and live in the face of such opposition:

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For "He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled." But sanctify [set apart as precious] the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:8-17)

References:

Iain H. Murray, David Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Fight of Faith 1939-1981 (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1990), page 20.

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