In John Wesley’s charge to his pastors he said, “You have nothing to do but save souls. Therefore spend and be spent in this work. And go always not only to those who want you, but to those that want you most. Observe: It is not your business to preach so many times, and to take care of this or that society: but to save as many souls as you can: to bring as many sinners as you possibly can to repentance, and with all your power to build them up in that holiness without which they cannot see the Lord.”
What a powerful statement. I believe that evangelism and the edification of the believers are the only essential programs for the church. It is the salvation of lost souls that validates us as an authentic New Testament church. We should see lost people coming to Christ in all of our churches on a regular basis.
A quick perusal of our 2005 yearbook revealed that a number of our churches did not bring in one member last year by profession of faith. I am grieved and deeply burdened by this sobering statistic. The purpose of the church is to bring sinners to Christ and then build them up in the Faith. My assumption is that more than likely no one was saved in most of these churches and then discipled to the point where they were ready to become a member of the Church. How can this be?
We have always considered ourselves to be an evangelistic holiness denomination. Without question we have produced some powerful preachers and developed a number of outstanding churches. However, if no one is being saved or sanctified at your church it is time for a serious evaluation as to how you are doing ministry. It is time to get on our faces before God, repent of our bareness and seek divine guidance as to how we can turn this situation around.
Jesus said, “herein is my Father glorified that you bear much fruit, so shall you be my disciples.” God expects us to be fruitful. If we are a healthy, New Testament church we ought to be bearing fruit. In light of Wesley’s statement, “we have nothing to do but save souls” I must ask you, “What are you doing?”
It was the opening night of a short weekend revival. When I walked into the church five ladies met me at the door. They said, “We have a question for you sir, are you going to give an altar call in every service?” They went on to inform me that it had been 10 years since anyone had become a member of that church on profession of faith. They said, “for nine months we have been fasting, conducting home prayer meetings, and organizing 24 hour prayer chains leading up to this revival. We have several ladies in the church whose husbands have never been saved. We have been inviting them to the revival services. We believe some of them will be here, and sir you had better give an altar call in every service.”
When I walked out of the church on Sunday night the congregation was on a spiritual high. Four of the unsaved husbands had been saved during that three day revival.
We must get focused and intentional about reaching the lost. The need is great. The hour is late. We must move aggressively into action.
We don’t have anything to do that is anymore important than reaching the lost and then building them up in holiness of heart and life. May God help us all!