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Why are we not weeping for the souls of man?

Reverend John Lin // April 15, 2018, 12:04 am

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Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

The biblical mandate is clear: Take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations, starting from where God has placed us.

Much has been taught about the importance of the Great Commission in the life of the Church and in the life of the individual believer. 

Yet to what extent does every believer take the Great Commission seriously enough to do something about it, in the midst of our busy and cluttered life? Why are some of us not actively involved in missions and evangelism at all? Why are we not weeping for the souls of men and women?

We are not obeying God’s Great Commission with commitment and passion if we are:

1. Not seeing the Cross of Christ clearly

I once heard this statement at a missions conference: “Missions is not just about crossing the seas, but seeing the Cross.”

When we can see the cross of Christ clearly, we will understand the love of God deeply. Hence, we will be motivated and challenged to commit our lives to reach out to others with the good news of the Gospel.

The hymn-writer Isaac Watts understood this and wrote the inspirational hymn, When I Survey The Wondrous Cross. In his last stanza, he wrote:

“Were the whole realm of nature mine / that were a present far too small / Love so amazing, so divine / demands my soul, my life, my all.”

2. Not thinking about heaven and hell seriously

A brother in Christ shared about his encounter one day while driving past a petrol station, during those days when words on banners consisted of individual letters of the alphabet assembled together and pasted with glue.

After a heavy storm that afternoon, one of the letters dropped off and the petrol station banner became an effective evangelistic banner which read: “YOU CAN BE SURE OF _HELL”.

“Why didn’t Christians come to my country to share the Gospel? My family in previous generations died without an opportunity to hear the Gospel.”

Yes, hell is a sure reality. But has this reality really sunk into our hearts and minds, for us to realise the seriousness that those who depart this earth without salvation in Christ will have the fiery hell as their destination?

Each time I scan the obituary pages, my heart responds with sadness silently for those who die without coming to faith in Jesus Christ, “for the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Much as we like to hear about the love and mercy of God, we must also remember the wrath and judgment of God.  

3. Not loving the people around us deeply

In my pastoral ministry, it is encouraging to have come across church members who love their family very much. You can sense their desire and heart’s cry to see their pre-believing loved ones come to faith in Jesus Christ. This loving desire leads them to decisions that honour the Lord and to actions that sow the seed of the Gospel.

When we truly love the people around us, family, good friends, colleagues, people we meet on the streets, and so forth, we will want them to receive the most important gift that they can ever have: The gift of eternal life.

A well-known Mandarin song entitled, “一件礼物”, translated as “There is a gift”, encourages every Christian to have this desire in their hearts to see others receive the most significant gift of all.

4. Not setting our mind on things heavenly

We are constantly faced with pressures in life, demands at work, struggles of family and anxieties about the future. These life realities often drain us and distract us from being purposeful in our evangelism and being a good witness at the workplace or to our family.

In our life pursuits, our minds become so preoccupied with “things that are on earth” that we forget to “set (our) minds on things that are above” (Colossians 3:2).

Do we just drift along in our outreach and evangelism? Or are we intentional and clear in what God would want us to be and to do for the sake of the Gospel?

When we set our minds on heavenly things, we will be deeply concerned for the salvation of others.

A great way to begin is to be faithful and “faith-filled” in praying for the Spirit of God to touch the lives of our pre-believing loved ones and friends. Then ask God for wisdom and direction in sensing the Spirit’s leading and guidance in reaching out to them.

5. Not willing to pay the price sacrificially

In our goal and purpose to reach out to others with the Gospel, there will be times when we are called to suffer for the Gospel or to pay a price so that others can hear.

For some Christians, it may involve the strong endurance of faith in the midst of fierce persecution, bearing powerful witness and testimony for Jesus Christ. For others, it may mean leaving the comforts and security of home and homeland to live and bear witness amongst a people group in another country.

6. Not sensing the task of evangelism urgently

As pastors, there are times when we are called upon by church members to the home or hospital to share the Gospel to a critically ill family member. We have joyfully experienced and witnessed a number of “deathbed” conversions, all by the amazing grace of God at the eleventh hour. But there were also sad occasions when it was too late for any conscious response or when there was no response forthcoming.

There will be many times in our life, whether planned or unplanned, when the still, small voice of God speaks into our hearts and minds these words: “Be courageous and share the Gospel with this person now.”

When those moments come, do not delay, for tomorrow may never come for that person.

Weeping for the souls of man

I met a Thai Christian at a missions camp in 1987. In sadness and tears, he spoke these words to the Singaporean campers during the time for sharing: “Why didn’t Christians come much earlier to my country to share the Gospel? My family members in the previous generations died without an opportunity to hear the Gospel. Why didn’t you come and share the Gospel?”

All the campers sat in silence.

Our hearts were stirred to weep for the souls of man and to purposeful action as we sensed the great urgency to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

As we weep, let us pray for “beautiful feet” for ourselves and for everyone in God’s family.

Romans 10: 11-15:

For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? 

As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

The full article was first published in St Andrew Cathedral’s online publication, the Courier, here, and is republished with permission.

About the author

Reverend John Lin

Reverend John joined St Andrews Cathedral in 2005 and is now the Vicar of St John’s Chapel, Singapore. He is also the Dean of the Deanery of Vietnam, Diocese of Singapore.