[popup url=”http://blb.org/devotionals/me/view.cfm?Date=02/19&body”]» Today’s reading at Blue Letter Bible[/popup]
Click on the link above and then click on the Scripture reference. You will find a small add-on to the verse that Spurgeon leaves out. For whatever reason, he decided to focus on the first portion of the verse but I will note the latter half. The part of the verse that I am referring to is:
I will increase them with men like a flock. (Ezekiel 36:37b)
Jesus also mentioned that God will bring His people to His own flock who are not yet a part of that sheepfold. (John 10:16) Keep praying for those loved ones who are still to this point unsaved. Keep sharing the message of the Gospel knowing that if they are the Lord’s then they will hear his voice and respond as God brings them into his fold. Once they are Christ’s then they will, as God states in verse 38 of Ezekiel 36:
know that I am the LORD (Ezekiel 36:38b)
Is it OK to reach out to the uttermost and leave the close ones unreached for Christ? The command is to Jerusalem first, then Judea, then Samaria, then the rest of the world (Acts 1:8). Spurgeon is not indicating that we ought to forsake world missions until all of our neighbors have had the Gospel preached to them. Only, do not neglect the ones nearest to us. As God sends forth our missionaries to the uttermost, may our lost relatives and neighbors also have the Gospel preached to them.
To those preparing for short-term mission trips: alert those closest to you when you prepare to go into the mission field. Tell them why you are going to do such a radical thing. Explain to them the purpose for the trip and do not dance around the details. Don’t fear to describe in full detail how Christ’s death on the cross has impacted you to share with others. Your witness to someone living where it is unlawful to believe in Christ could lead to their physical death. And yet you desire to go, in essence, to issue their death warrant. But physical death is of no consequence. If you are not concerned with the implications of preaching the Gospel to people in places where it is unlawful, then you ought not fear what the friend or relative might think when they hear the message of the Gospel (Matthew 10:28).
Whether you speak with someone in a far off place or anyone here locally, use Scripture to minister the Gospel because God can use it. In fact, he will definitely use it if the friend or relative (or complete stranger for that matter) is a sheep destined for God’s flock (1 Corinthians 3:6). And who knows, maybe this particular person will be used by God to do greater things for His kingdom than even Peter or Paul or, dare I say, Jesus Himself (John 14:12). For it is the Holy Spirit who is at work within his people calling His lost unto the Lamb.
And I will add that those leaving for (or currently in) the mission field need our prayers to send them out. May our prayer and support for them elicit the help needed to preach the Gospel here before they go out unto the uttermost. May we also preach the Gospel by telling others of the great things our God is doing through His missionaries in all sorts of places.