Sin destroys the soul (Rom 6:23). That sobering fact is the reason our Lord and Savior came to this world to offer salvation to all men (John 10:10). Who will proclaim this message to the world lost in sin? That is the mission of those who have already found life (John 1:41). There are four places that call us to go to the lost with the message of life. We will look at each of these areas in this lesson.
Call from above
God calls us to proclaim the same message that brought life to us (Matt 28:19,20). This message is as clear as if God spoke it directly to us in a vision. We proclaim this message in a variety of ways. We do so through public preaching (Acts 17:22-31). We do so through individual preaching (Acts 24:24,25). We do so through our partaking of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:26). We do so by cheerfully living a life above reproach (Phil 2:12-16). God calls us to proclaim that message (1 Pet 2:9) using every gift with which He has provided for us to do so (Matt 25:14-30). We see an example of this from the disciples of Jerusalem who were scattered abroad by the first persecution (Acts 8:3,4).
Call from below
Jesus illustrates this call in the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). The rich man becomes self-less for the first ever when he realizes the horrors of hell and calls for a warning to his brothers. Who will take the place of Lazarus in this life? Surely we cannot be so cold-hearted as to turn a deaf ear to this call for the loved ones of those who now suffer eternal punishment. Paul spoke of the judgment seat of Christ and then says “knowing the fear of God, we persuade men” (2 Cor 5:10,11).
Call from within
We have been given a wondrous gift. What will we do with it? It is interesting to watch children play with new toys. Some will open the package, exclaim in joy, and immediately try to go off somewhere alone, so they do not have to share their precious gift. Others will open, exclaim, and seek a partner to share their joy with them. Which child are we? I might add that the gift we have been given does not diminish in value as we share it with others. Just the opposite, it multiplies in value to us as we share it with others (Rom 10:1).
Call from without
It has been awhile since 3000 people gave their souls to Christ in one day (Acts 2:41). It would be big news, in most areas, if more than one person became a disciple in one day. We think about numbers like those and begin to wonder if anyone is really interested in the message of the gospel. I believe there is for two reasons. One, in areas of the world where the message of the gospel is relatively new, it is having tremendous success (Acts 16:6-10). I know this was true when I was a child in places like Nigeria. In more recent years, souls from Communist China, Vietnam, India, and much of the former Soviet Union territory are turning to Christ in shocking numbers. Second, there are people right here among us that are calling for truth. There are many people who are tired of the inconsistency and corruption of man’s religions. If there is only one person calling for truth, we must respond to that call.
Not everyone is, or can be, a Philip (Acts 8:5) or Apollos (Acts 18:24-28). But everyone can be a Cornelius (Acts 10:24). We can all answer one or more of these calls.