BE WISE WHILE YOU PREACH

Leslie M John (Recent trend of preaching in India shows that many innocent preachers are landing in Jails besides being beaten up very badly. In the light of above, I felt it necessary to write this article). "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme" (1 Peter 2:13) "And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:18-20) "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44) The last four verses of Matthew Chapter 9 show us that the preaching of the Gospel is so needed in those days. As Jesus was going down all the cities and villages, teaching in Jewish Synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of heaven, which was at hand, He saw multitudes of people craving for healing of their diseases. The Lord was moved with compassion for them because they had no leader to look after them. He called His disciples, and said to them that harvest is plenty but workmen are few. He meant to say that those who are receptive of the Good news of the kingdom of heaven are plenty, but the Gospel preachers are few. He then instructs them to approach the Lord of the harvest in order that he may put Gospel preachers at work. God is the proprietor of the harvest and He alone can send the workers to reap the harvest (cf. Matthew 9:35-38). Lord Jesus then calls his twelve disciples and gives them the power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and heal every kind of sickness and every manner of disease. The first and foremost instruction he gave was that they should not go in the way of gentiles or enter into the city of Samaritans, but go the lost sheep of Israel. The first preference was to preach Gospel to the children of Israel, and then to Judea and Samaria and then to the uttermost parts of the world. There are two reasons why Jesus said to them to first to the house of Israel. The first and foremost reason was that they were chosen generation the covenanted people offspring of Jacob, whose father, Isaac, was the promised son of Abraham. God had made unconditional covenant with Abraham that He will bless Abram's (later named as Abraham) offspring through Isaac, and not Ishmael, who was born to the handmaid of Sarai (later named as Sarah). The second reason was that all others were gentiles, especially those who were in Samaria, who were a mixture of people born to Jews and Gentiles. Many Gentiles were settlements of those, who were brought into that region by Assyrians. Jews from Southern Kingdom of Israel treated them like 'dogs'. They did not want to get defiled by them. If the disciples went first to Gentiles to preach the Gospel, they would never had a chance to enter into Southern Kingdom of Israel. Jesus was Jew and He gave all the preference for His own people first, and then to others. Was it tantamount to showing partiality? No! Because the children of Israel were chosen people of God from the time when the seed of Israel was in Abraham. That is why Jesus reiterated this preference after His resurrection and before His ascension into heaven as we read in Acts 1:8. Jesus said to them that as they enter a city or town they should enquire as to who in that city is worthy where they can stay. When they find a man who is worthy to accommodate them, they should salute the people in that house and stay there. The Lord says their peace will come upon that house. However, if someone does not accommodate them, or hear their words, they should shake off the dust of their feet. The Lord says Sodom and Gomorrah will be more tolerable at the time of judgment than that city which refused to accommodate them or hear Gospel from them. Another important instruction Jesus gave them was to be wise like serpents, and harmless as doves when they are preaching good news to the people. They were being sent by the Lord as sheep into the midst of wolves. The disciples of Jesus were innocent people not armed to fight with anyone, nor were they asked to confront anyone who opposed them. If people did not listen to their message they were asked to shake off the dust of their feet and leave the place and preach at another city. The Lord assured them that they would not have finished their task of preaching in all the cities of house of Israel even if they hurried up catch up with their task. In other words, there is no meaning in staying at one place and fight to teach the Gospel; leave the place if the people of that place are unwilling to listen and go to another place to preach the Gospel. In spite of being so careful the persecutions are inevitable. They come their way and Gospel preachers fall victim to persecutions, and when they fall victims of persecutions, as the Lord says, they need not be afraid of anything, but trust in the Lord, who will speak to the authorities through His Spirit. None of the authorities can destroy the soul of any believer. The believer should fear the Lord who can destroy not only their bodies, but also their souls. According to the Lord, we do not need to invite persecution by intruding into private lives of people forcibly to preach the Gospel, but if persecution comes on to us by itself while preaching Gospel, the Lord will speak for us. He said earlier "Happy those persecuted for righteousness' sake--because theirs is the reign of the heavens" (Matthew 5:10). The Lord says... "And whenever they may persecute you in this city, flee to the other, for verily I say to you, ye may not have completed the cities of Israel till the Son of Man may come. (Matthew 10:23) Finally, among many points mentioned in Matthew 10:1-42, four points are extremely important and noteworthy, especially in the present circumstances where innocent preachers, or helpers to preachers are getting into trouble. 1. Preach Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:5-10; Acts 1:8) 2. Stay in city/town/home which is worthy and receptive (Ref. Matthew 10:13) 3. If the city/town/home which is not worthy and not receptive, shake off the dust of your feet at that city/town/house, while you depart (Ref. Matthew 10:14-15) 4. Persecutions are inevitable while preaching, but we do not need to stay at one place to be persecuted. When we are persecuted we are blessed, but the Lord did not say to us to stay at one place and preach even as the city/town/home/people refuse to hear the word of God. Rather, the Lord says, leave that place and go and preach at another place. The harvest is plenty but the laborers are few. Some points that may be helpful for preachers in their localities in order not to get into trouble with authorities and land in Jail. Bear in mind what Lord Jesus said... "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44) There are misconceptions in understanding these verses that preachers would think they can go into any private property and preach violating laws of the land. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:19-20) and John 14:6; Acts 4:6-7; Acts 4:18; Acts 4:19 without realizing that those conversations were with religious leaders. Of course, in Acts 5:27-29 they were before Sanhedrin. The word "Sanhedrin" traces back to Numbers 11:16 where it says... "And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knows to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee" (Numbers 11:16). In ancient Israel the Sanhedrin was equal to present Supreme Court in our land. Much later after Peter and John preached and faced interrogations, "Sanhedrin" was dissolved by Roman Government. During the days of Jesus Sanhedrin tried Him, and several illegal decisions were taken (ref. John 18:12-14, 19-23). It is imperative that we consider what Peter and Paul spoke about obeying the law of the land. Peter says... "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. (1 Peter 2:13-17) Paul says... "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resists the power, resists the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor" (Romans 13:1-7) It is quite evident that Bible does not teach indiscipline. Can we intentionally disobey the laws of the land? No. Not at all! According to Bible as long as the law of the land does not contradict the law of God we are bound to obey the law of the land, but when the law of the land contradicts the law of God we are supposed to obey the law of God; nevertheless, we cannot do anything without accepting Government’s authority over us. This is evident the way Peter and John submitted themselves to flogging. They rejoiced in obeying God. We should bear in mind that we do have some rights to exercise to preach the Gospel. It is by doing in disciplined way. Some points to be borne in mind while preaching in local areas. 1. Obtain permission from Government before preaching in areas where Government has strictly restricted. We cannot sneak into private properties and preach Gospel where soliciting is not permitted. What is Government refuses permission? Do not preach there. It is as simple as obeying God's command that shake off your dust of your feet at that city/town/people, and go to another place and preach Gospel of Jesus Christ there. God is not going to ask an account from us for not preaching in prohibited areas. 2. We cannot use public address system unless permitted by Government 3. We cannot preach during night times. 4. Preach from Public property 5. We cannot disturb peace in an area where we preach 6. We cannot loiter. Circumstances and instructions vary from place to place. We should have clear knowledge of the law of the land, rules and regulations of that area where we preach. Many preachers violate the law of the land misinterpreting instructions and provisions in the Bible, inviting for themselves serious problems. "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time" (1 Timothy 2:1-6)

Leslie M John

(Recent trend of preaching in India shows that many innocent preachers are landing in Jails besides being beaten up very badly. In the light of above, I felt it necessary to write this article).

“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme” (1 Peter 2:13)

“And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20)

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44)

Fight for your rights if you are not violating constitutional rights embedded in the law of the land with regard to freedom of speech, bearing in mind that your freedom is not an authorization to trample upon freedom of speech of others.

The last four verses of Matthew Chapter 9 show us that the preaching of the Gospel is so needed in those days.  As Jesus was going down all the cities and villages, teaching in Jewish Synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of heaven, which was at hand, He saw multitudes of people craving for healing of their diseases.

The Lord was moved with compassion for them because they had no leader to look after them. He called His disciples, and said to them that harvest is plenty but workmen are few.  He meant to say that those who are receptive of the Good news of the kingdom of heaven are plenty, but the Gospel preachers are few.  He then instructs them to approach the Lord of the harvest in order that he may put Gospel preachers at work. God is the proprietor of the harvest and He alone can send the workers to reap the harvest (cf. Matthew 9:35-38).

Lord Jesus then calls his twelve disciples and gives them the power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and heal every kind of sickness and every manner of disease. The first and foremost instruction he gave was that they should not go in the way of gentiles or enter into the city of Samaritans, but go the lost sheep of Israel.

The first preference was to preach Gospel to the children of Israel, and then to Judea and Samaria and then to the uttermost parts of the world. There are two reasons why Jesus said to them to first to the house of Israel. The first and foremost reason was that they were chosen generation the covenanted people offspring of Jacob, whose father, Isaac, was the promised son of Abraham.

God had made unconditional covenant with Abraham that He will bless Abram’s (later named as Abraham) offspring through Isaac, and not Ishmael, who was born to the handmaid of Sarai (later named as Sarah). The second reason was that all others were gentiles, especially those who were in Samaria, who were a mixture of people born to Jews and Gentiles.

Many Gentiles were settlements of those, who were brought into that region by Assyrians. Jews from Southern Kingdom of Israel treated them like ‘dogs’. They did not want to get defiled by them. If the disciples went first to Gentiles to preach the Gospel, they would never had a chance to enter into Southern Kingdom of Israel.

Jesus was Jew and He gave all the preference for His own people first, and then to others. Was it tantamount to showing partiality? No! Because the children of Israel were chosen people of God from the time when the seed of Israel was in Abraham. That is why Jesus reiterated this preference after His resurrection and before His ascension into heaven as we read in Acts 1:8.

Jesus said to them that as they enter a city or town they should enquire as to who in that city is worthy where they can stay. When they find a man who is worthy to accommodate them, they should salute the people in that house and stay there.

The Lord says their peace will come upon that house.  However, if someone does not accommodate them, or hear their words, they should shake off the dust of their feet. The Lord says Sodom and Gomorrah will be more tolerable at the time of judgment than that city which refused to accommodate them or hear Gospel from them.

Another important instruction Jesus gave them was to be wise like serpents, and harmless as doves when they are preaching good news to the people. They were being sent by the Lord as sheep into the midst of wolves.

The disciples of Jesus were innocent people not armed to fight with anyone, nor were they asked to confront anyone who opposed them. If people did not listen to their message they were asked to shake off the dust of their feet and leave the place and preach at another city.

The Lord assured them that they would not have finished their task of preaching in all the cities of house of Israel even if they hurried up catch up with their task. In other words, there is no meaning in staying at one place and fight to teach the Gospel; leave the place if the people of that place are unwilling to listen and go to another place to preach the Gospel.

In spite of being so careful the persecutions are inevitable. They come their way and Gospel preachers fall victim to persecutions, and when they fall victims of persecutions, as the Lord says, they need not be afraid of anything, but trust in the Lord, who will speak to the authorities through His Spirit. None of the authorities can destroy the soul of any believer.  The believer should fear the Lord who can destroy not only their bodies, but also their souls.

According to the Lord, we do not need to invite persecution by intruding into private lives of people forcibly to preach the Gospel, but if persecution comes on to us by itself while preaching Gospel, the Lord will speak for us.

He said earlier “Happy those persecuted for righteousness’ sake–because theirs is the reign of the heavens” (Matthew 5:10). The Lord says…

“And whenever they may persecute you in this city, flee to the other, for verily I say to you, ye may not have completed the cities of Israel till the Son of Man may come. (Matthew 10:23)

Finally, among many points mentioned in Matthew 10:1-42, four points are extremely important and noteworthy, especially in the present circumstances where innocent preachers, or helpers to preachers are getting into trouble.

  1. Preach Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:5-10; Acts 1:8)
  2. Stay in city/town/home which is worthy and receptive (Ref. Matthew 10:13)
  3. If the city/town/home which is not worthy and not receptive, shake off the dust of your feet at that city/town/house, while you depart (Ref. Matthew 10:14-15)
  4. Persecutions are inevitable while preaching, but we do not need to continually preach at one place until we face persecution.  When we are persecuted we are blessed, but the Lord did not say to us to stay at one place and preach even when the city/town/home/people refuse to hear the word of God. Rather, the Lord says, leave that place and go to another place and preach there. The harvest is plenty but the laborers are few and even by hectic preaching, we would not have covered entire area of House of Israel before Jesus comes again.

Some points that may be helpful for preachers in their localities in order not to get into trouble with authorities and land in Jail. Bear in mind what Lord Jesus said…

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44)

There are misconceptions in understanding these verses that preachers would think they can go into any private property and preach violating laws of the land.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20) and John 14:6; Acts 4:6-7; Acts 4:18; Acts 4:19 without realizing that those conversations were with religious leaders.  Of course, in Acts 5:27-29 Peter and John were before Sanhedrin. The word “Sanhedrin” traces back to Numbers 11:16 where it says…

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knows to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee” (Numbers 11:16).

In ancient Israel the Sanhedrin was equal to present Supreme Court in our land. Much later after Peter and John preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and faced interrogations, “Sanhedrin” was dissolved by Roman Government. During the days of Jesus Sanhedrin tried Him, and several illegal decisions were taken (ref. John 18:12-14, 19-23).  We cannot go by the transactions that took place when Sanhedrin was in place.  

It is imperative that we consider what Peter and Paul spoke about obeying the law of the land.

Peter says…

“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.  Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.  (1 Peter 2:13-17)

Paul says…

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resists the power, resists the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor” (Romans 13:1-7)

It is quite evident that Bible does not teach indiscipline. Can we intentionally disobey the laws of the land?  No. Not at all!

According to Bible as long as the law of the land does not contradict the law of God we are bound to obey the law of the land, but when the law of the land contradicts the law of God we are supposed to obey the law of God; nevertheless, we cannot do anything without accepting Government’s authority over us. This is evident the way Peter and John submitted themselves to flogging. They rejoiced in obeying God. We should bear in mind that we do have some rights to exercise to preach the Gospel. It is by doing in disciplined way.

Some points to be borne in mind while preaching in local areas.

  1. Obtain permission from Government before preaching in areas where Government has strictly restricted. We cannot sneak into private properties and preach Gospel where soliciting is not permitted. 
  2. (a) What if Government refuses permission? The answer  Do not preach there. It is as simple as obeying God’s command that shake off your dust of your feet at that city/town/people, and go to another place and preach Gospel of Jesus Christ there. (b) God is not going to ask an account from us for not preaching in prohibited areas, to which we do not have access.
  3. We cannot use public address system unless permitted by Government
  4. We cannot preach during night times.
  5. Preach from Public property
  6. We cannot disturb peace in an area where we preach
  7. We cannot loiter.

Circumstances and instructions vary from place to place. We should have clear knowledge of the law of the land, rules and regulations of that area where we preach. Many preachers violate the law of the land misinterpreting instructions and provisions in the Bible, inviting  for themselves serious problems.

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:1-6)


AMID PERSECUTIONS CHURCH GREWAMID PERSECUTIONS: THE CHURCH GREW STRONG

Keeping in view the various forms of persecutions not only of Christians of New Testament period but also of those who suffered during Old Testament period, this book encourages with the words of Lord Jesus Christ, who said “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28)

Nevertheless, persecutions, in the lives of Christians, are a part of life and God does not promise to remove the persecutions from among us but promises to deliver from them.

Persecutions may be of lesser intensity, like inflicting constant fear in the minds of people, or trying to subjugating them, or may be of slaying. In spite of the indisputable fact that the world has witnessed persecutions of Christians in various forms, it is also true that the Church grew in the midst of persecutions.

Jesus said “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10)

In the light of the clear consolation Lord Jesus Christ gave that a Christian does not need to fear persecutions, but fear the one who is able to destroy soul and body. No man can destroy the soul of a believer no matter how intense persecutions may be. Fear the Lord, who can destroy not only body but the soul of a person.