C. H. Darch, Taunton, England
EVANGELISM is of the utmost importance. Men must be won for Christ, and God, in His infinite wisdom, has given great encouragement to do this work in 2 Cor. 10. 4-6. By examining this passage, sentence by sentence, we may learn much. It opens thus : " The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds." The world is full of opposition to Christ, rendering warfare inevitable, but God has placed in the hands of His servants weapons that are mighty through God. The antithesis of ' carnal' is, it should be noted, not ' spiritual' (as might have been expected) but ' mighty.' Paul concentrates on the effect of the weapons, not on their nature.
What are the weapons ? First, the Word of God, which is described as a hammer and which can break the hardest heart. It also is a sword which can penetrate the hardest conscience. Let us, therefore, ever remember that it is what God says that counts. Men arc not quickened by men's talk but by God's Word ; let us use it to the full.
By the law is the knowledge of sin ; therefore the law of God must be brought to bear on the conscience, because without conviction of sin there can be no conversion.
Again there must follow repentance, because the Lord said " Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish " (Luke 13. 9), To proclaim faith and not to insist on repentance is to delude souls. It is placing them on a false foundation. To tell them Christ died for sinners while they fail to realize their sinnership, is to propound a remedy without informing the patient of the disease.
God has also given the privilege of prayer ; what a mighty force this can be ; great soul-winners have been men of prayer. Neglect of prayer makes many a Sunday School teacher helpless to win his class for Christ. Prayer is hard work, but nothing yields better returns; " ye ask not," is the cause of much failure.
But what do these mighty weapons accomplish ? First, Paul says they pull down strongholds ; then they cast down imaginations or reasonings, with every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God; finally every thought is brought into obedience to Christ. How can modernism, or any other ' ism,' stand before this ? God will not cease to save H is own, modernist or anyone else notwithstanding. The most stubborn will can be broken down and the most irrational or the most logical can be brought to the feet of the Lord. This God docs in His own way ; He brings men into the New Covenant by first putting His law in their mind (Heb. 8. 10-12). That is, He causes them to think of it, and thereby be brought under conviction of sin. Next He writes it in their hearts, so that they love it. Not only do they love it but with purpose of heart they obey it, so that God becomes their God and they become His people. This is God's work and none can hinder Him. Thereby every thought is brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
With these mighty weapons in our hands, defeat should be out of the question. The Sunday School teacher may take courage and go forward, using these weapons for God, trusting Him who will not fail. The. Open-air Worker may have a sense of irresistibility: the Gospel Preacher may be confident.
But when and how are these things brought about ? By advertising ? By a well-known preacher ? By more money expended on the work ? No, it is none of these, but it is " when your obedience is fulfilled."
Someone has said there never was a day when so much money was spent on evangelistic work, so many books were printed, and so much stir made, yet with so little results. This, however, need not be, because God will use whom He will for His own glory in the salvation of perishing men " when our obedience is fulfilled." This means total and not partial obedience ; the whole life must be given to Him in perfect obedience to every known law of God. By this means, disappointment may be avoided.
Time is short, men are perishing, darkness is deepening : but Christ is Lord, therefore let His people proclaim Him. Exalt the Lord and the people will be blessed.