“Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
“He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
“He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep...
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature... Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” ~ John 21:15-17; Mark 16:15; Matthew 28: 18-20
These verses give us an obvious command to go and do a work — to develop the skill of reaching out to people, making a friend of them, gaining their trust and transferring that trust over to Jesus. We would all agree that is our commission.
Personally I feel I lack boldness in my witness to tell others about Christ, and I become more aware of my weakness as time progresses. Many of us struggle with that lack of boldness, at a time when we perhaps should be gaining it when we see events becoming more obvious that show that this world is about to expire. A growing number of people are convinced that things are becoming more extreme.
Events are happening that confirm the shortness of time. Here is an article from a completely secular source telling us our own message of warning.
Collapse of Civilisation is Coming - NASA Study
“Modern civilisation is heading for collapse within a matter of decades because of growing economic instability and pressure on the planet's resources, according to a scientific study funded by Nasa.
Using theoretical models to predict what will happen to the industrialised world over the course of the next century or so, mathematicians found that even with conservative estimates things started to go very badly, very quickly.
Referring to the past collapses of often very sophisticated civilisations - the Roman, Han and Gupta Empires for example - the study noted that the elite of society have often pushed for a "business as usual" approach to warnings of disaster until it is too late.
In the report based on his ‘Human And Nature Dynamical’ (HANDY) model, the applied mathematician Safa Motesharri wrote: ‘the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.’
His research, carried out with the help of a team of natural and social scientists and with funding from Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center, has been accepted for publication in the Ecological Economics journal, the Guardian reported.
Motesharri explored the factors which could lead to the collapse of civilisation, from population growth to climate change, and found that when these converge they can cause society to break down because of the ‘stretching of resources’ and ‘the economic stratification of society into 'Elites' and 'Masses'.
Using his HANDY model to assess a scenario closely resembling the current state of the world, Motesharri found that civilisation ‘appears to be on a sustainable path for quite a long time, but even using an optimal depletion rate and starting with a very small number of Elites, the Elites eventually consume too much, resulting in a famine among the Masses that eventually causes the collapse of society.’
The report stressed, however, that the worst-case scenario of collapse is not inevitable, and called on action now from the so-called real world "Elites" to restore economic balance.
‘Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion’" the scientists said.
This is not the first time scientists have tried to warn us of potentially impending global disaster. Last year it emerged that Stephen Hawking and a team of Britain's finest minds are drawing up a ‘doomsday list’ of the catastrophic low-risk (but high-impact) events that could devastate the world.” ~ New Zealand Herald, March 17, 2014
Need we have any more evidence? We may not agree with the article’s outcome, as we believe their will be a total collapse and only Jesus Christ can fix our world with a totally new world of His creation. But none-the-less, this sort of reading is now appearing in our local secular media outlets and the ‘masses’ need to know the solution.
Even if we are a little shy and reserved, there is a ministry that makes our witness easier and that is in sharing our message through the written word and printed page. While many institutional departments will collapse, this is one that will outlast many others. May we let inspiration deliver the counsel.
Need to Get the Books Out
“The great and wonderful work of the last gospel message is to be carried on now as it has never been before. The world is to receive the light of truth through an evangelizing ministry of the word in our books and periodicals. Our publications are to show that the end of all things is at hand. I am bidden to say to our publishing houses, Lift up the standard; lift it up higher. Proclaim the third angel's message, that it may be heard by all the world. Let it be seen that "here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Let our literature give the message as a witness to all the world. ~ Review and Herald, July 30, 1908.
This Spirit of Prophecy quote really wraps up our mission for these very last days. We face a great and wonderful time when there is a work of the last gospel message to be carried to the world. We are to evangelise through the books, periodicals and articles. Those pages of literature are to show the end is near and we are to lift up the standard very high, that all the world will hear and read.
What is the standard we are to lift the world up to? As a people, we have what we call pillars, based on the foundation of the Bible that support our whole belief.
The editorial for this month is to encourage each reader to realise the hour we are living in, and to realise the last work is just before us and the literature work is one of the last avenues to close up. No, we are not all called to be public evangelists, or door to door colporteur workers, but each of us certainly can have a book in the door pocket of our vehicles, handbags or in our homes to share. The beauty of offering and sharing a book is the satisfaction of giving a message to someone, and of course with a prayer that they will open it and read it, and that it can help them find salvation for their souls.
And what better book to offer than one exactly tailored for that purpose, Pillars of our Christian Faith. “On the firm foundation of Jesus Christ, mighty pillars of truth stand as support columns for His last day church – pillars such as the Sabbath, the state of man in death, the second coming, the sanctuary message and many others.” In this inexpensive but informative book, the authors show these pillars one by one, how vital and indispensable they are, firstly to the mission and message of God’s remnant people, secondarily to those who don’t know this message.
You are encouraged to read this book, apply its principles to your lives, and even more so, hand it on to someone else – a double blessing. A blessing for you and one for the person you pass it on to.
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” ~ Ephesians 2:19-22
How to Get the Books Out
“In the past, a large work has been accomplished in the distribution of the printed page. This is a line of service in which every church member can have some part. All cannot go out as canvassers for our larger books; but there is a field of usefulness open before many of our brethren and sisters in the placing of truth-filled publications in the homes of their neighbors and friends...
“Those who have long known the truth need to seek the Lord most earnestly, that their hearts may be filled with a determination to work for their neighbors. My brethren and sisters, visit those who live near you, and by sympathy and kindness seek to reach their hearts. Be sure to work in a way that will remove prejudice instead of creating it. And remember that those who know the truth for this time and yet confine their efforts to their own churches, refusing to work for their unconverted neighbors, will be called to account for unfulfilled duties.
“Lend your neighbors some of our smaller books. If their interest is awakened, take some of the larger books.~ Publishing Ministry p 370,371
“Watch for souls as they that must give an account. In your church and neighborhood missionary work, let your light shine forth in such clear, steady rays that no man can stand up in the judgment, and say, ‘Why did you not tell me about this truth? Why did you not care for my soul?’ Then let us be diligent in the distribution of literature that has been carefully prepared for use among those not of our faith. Let us make the most of every opportunity to arrest the attention of unbelievers. Let us put literature into every hand that will receive it. Let us consecrate ourselves to the proclamation of the message, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." ~ Christian Service p 169
Books Carry a Message
May we not under-estimate the value of the printed page. Many a soul has received the witness of the silent messenger and been introduced to Jesus Christ and become convicted through the study of the Bible of the message of salvation.
A group in New Zealand has a literature distribution programme up and running, with some great results. One of the team of dedicated volunteers, makes book-stands to suit each location that they can put a display. These are strategic places where people queue for service and have time to look over the free literature. On these stands, they put Bibles, study guides, pocket books, witnessing books, Spirit of Prophecy books, and DVDs. Also, Bibles and other books are taken into prisons on a regular basis, with reports that even the wardens read them.
Because there is no person monitoring the stands, it is hard to determine who actually takes what book, or why, but as folk are becoming more familiar with the stands, they are becoming less fearful and happily taking more materials. Among those who have been taking the materials are an Anglican vicar and a New Life minister, plus those that worship at those churches. In one town where a stand is operating, tourists come and go on a ferry service and are happy to help themselves. Only in heaven will it be revealed who took, for two weeks running, all the Spirit of Prophecy books from one stand in particular.
A pocket book discussing Harry Potter has grabbed the attention of the young ones, who ask their parents if they can take one and read it. A book on the subject of marriage was commented on with, “I have been married a number of years but I need to go home and read this book.” The most common comments received from the public is that they are impressed with the variety and how they are free to choose without pressure or hassle.
A lady took a book on the Sabbath message, believed what she read and was so enthusiastic that she passed it on to her husband who also embraced it and now believes in the Sabbath. They are now having Bible studies and attending church.
This is just one ministry working to reach the multitudes in New Zealand with literature, and many are the testimonies that have been told, and could be told of souls being affected by the gospel through the printed page. And what’s more, many more souls will be affected in the days ahead by the efforts of faithful workers sharing the pages of truth. Whether we will personally do it or not depends on our personal choice, but God will have a people to do His work. May we be one of them and hear the words, “Well done thou good and faithful servant...” ~ Matthew 25:21
Have A Reserve At Home
What is a case of books worth? Perhaps we could preface that question with another, what is a soul worth? The books may go onto the shelves, but we are told that there will come a time when those books will be taken down and be read to fulfil enquiring minds. We may not see the results of this work, but that is not our worry. We are seed-sowers, it is the Holy Spirit that gives the increase.