Ken Rudge, St. Austell, England
‘And Jesus came . . . saying, ‘All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them . . . teaching them . . . and, lo, I am with you alway’, Matt. 28. 18-20.
It is no doubt true that the work of God has so often been delivered to and carried out by a remnant company of His people. What is not so clear is that they saw themselves as a remnant, or that they adopted, what is so common amongst us, a remnant mentality, which always means ‘small, weak and limited in effect’. Sometimes we are all too pleased to go a long way down this road because it offers to us the defence of what we feel to be a scriptural ground for retreat into exclusivism, barrenness and inactivity.
The truth is that, starting with the twelve, the Lord envisaged the glories of this our age as being an assault upon the total world of satanic dominion, which would ultimately bring to fulfilment His purpose, ‘and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’, Matt 16. 18. We belong to something that is vast in its scope, measureless in its immensity and which is unstoppable until completed.
No wonder then He makes the statement of the verses at the heading of this editorial!
There’s a new authority in the Lord Himself, no longer the unseen, intangible, God of Old Testament revelation. There’s a new sphere of activity, for now it is all nations and no longer the limitation of a single nation. There’s a new identification for those that belong for baptism replaces circumcision. Along with it there is a new revelation of the nature of God Himself, for baptism is in the Name of the Persons of the divine trinity. The new truth to which all are to be obedient derives its basis and authority not from Old Testament scripture but from the Lord’s own teaching. These new departures are immense, and mark a beginning of that which is distinct from all that was previously done and understood.
This was of course well beyond the capabilities of those to whom it was first required just as it is beyond ours to perform. Our resources are and always have been inadequate. But then the Lord never intended us to do it in our own strength but in His. That’s why He says, ‘and, lo, I am with you’, all the way.
Our one and only purpose for being here is to disciple the nations, firstly by evangelizing and then by baptizing the converts, then by teaching them the ‘all things’ of the Lord’s commands. It is the only recipe for success because it is His. It is an ongoing ministry for all the generations. We need to be about it and not to dig holes and sit around telling ourselves it will not get any better. We have a job to do and the presence and power of a risen and glorified Lord to do it with. Praise Him!
The current issue of the magazine offers to us a varied supply of challenge and encouragement. Amongst the practical issues are the important collective responsibilities of unity and the need for concerned giving to the Lord’s work. A timely encouragement to evangelize children is stressed by Bernard Osborne, a welcome contributor to the magazine. Sadly, we have the final article of Malcolm Horlock’s exposition in 1st Corinthians in this issue, but he is thinking of dealing with the earlier chapters of this epistle for us in the future.
We do trust you will enjoy browsing through this issue and be encouraged to press on in the service of Christ whilst looking for His appearing.