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Time to Preach

God entrusts us with something so that in the end He may bless us with good things. We are now entrusted with the gospel preaching. It is God's blessing for our own salvation as well as for others'. Under-standing this, we should walk our path of faith.

Destruction of 3,000 people and salvation of 3,000 people in history

In the time of Moses, the Israelites were emancipated from Egypt the land of slavery by the grace of God and marched toward Canaan. While they moved about in the desert, they fell into the worldly manner; they worshiped an idol when Moses went up to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments. As a result, God's wrath arose against them and about 3,000 people died in the desert.

Ex 32:1-28 "When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, "Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him." Aaron answered them, "Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me." ... He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." ... And he [Moses] took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it. ... The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died."

On the contrary, in the Gospel Age only a few disciples including the Twelve Apostles saved about 3,000 people in one day; it was possible because they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost by continually praying in one accord.

Ac 2:1-41 "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. ... Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. ... With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day."

Comparing the two cases that brought opposite results, we know how important it is to preach the gospel in our life of faith.

The history of the Old Testament especially teaches us that we should not be concerned only about our physical security. When Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, the Israelites became agitated; they felt insecure without a leader and feared that they would perish in the desert. In such a moment of crisis, they abandoned their faith in God and chose to make a golden calf; each of them feared for his own safety, thinking, 'How can I survive here?' and finally they made such a vain idol for themselves.

On the contrary, the disciples of the Early Church thought of others' safety, 'How can I save them?' They did not fear any threat, so they could save 3,000 souls in a day. Jesus was crucified and they were continually threatened. Despite such an unfavorable situation, they were not concerned for their own safety; they fulfilled their mission of preaching the gospel and saved so many souls.

In the parable of talents, the servants who gained more talents were praised and blessed; but the servant who hid his talent in the ground was deprived of even what he had.

The Israelites in the desert were like the servant who just kept the one talent. Considering 3,000 people were saved through the apostles' preaching, we understand how important our preaching is for our own salvation and the salvation of others as well.

Christ saved the whole world by sacrificing His one body, so He has been exalted by all mankind. At this moment, too, Christ is praised by many people; His love warms our hearts.

In the message of the cross, we find out that when we save others, we can keep ourselves saved. So Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation" (Mk 16:15).

"You will pass on to them the warnings I give you."

God sternly warns us that if anyone fails to be saved because we do not preach to him, He will hold us responsible for him.

Eze 3:17-21 "... I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me [You will pass on to them the warnings I give you, TEV]. ... and I will hold you accountable for his blood."

Today we are God's appointed watchmen for truth. The function of the watchmen is to pass on to the world the warnings God gives us. If a watchman sees enemies come, he will warn people. What if the watchman does not carry out his mission of warning the people? They will all perish and God will hold him responsible for their blood, just as He said. How stern His command is!

We should understand that for our salvation God has appointed us watchmen and given us such a stern command. When we preach the gospel, we actually experience God's love we've recognized just superficially. While trying to plant God's love in someone's heart, we come to realize the importance of His commandments and our faith in the Spirit and the Bride grows deeper, and we can feel God's love more deeply planted into our hearts.

However, if we do not preach, we cannot experience God's love and grace and finally we will forget His love. As the Israelites forgot God's mercy and grumbled against Him and they were ultimately destroyed, so will we perish if we do not carry out the mission of the watchmen. God said, "I will hold you accountable for his blood." Through these words, we can understand God's will for us; God wants us to always depend upon Him. Giving thanks to God, we should carry out the mission of the watchmen faithfully.

Ask for the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to carry out our mission of preaching

God is powerful enough to enlighten all mankind by Himself alone. He has entrusted us with the great mission of preaching to bless us with salvation.

Eze 3:27 " ...when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you shall say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says.' Whoever will listen let him listen, and whoever will refuse let him refuse ..."

God told us to preach His word. We should preach God's commandments to those who do not know His commands, preach heaven and hell to those who do not know they exist, and preach Biblical prophecy to those who cannot interpret the signs of the times.

People take an interest in the things they are doing. For example, a football player is interested in scoring many goals, and a fisherman in catching lots of fish. Likewise, evangelists always think about how to lead many souls to God. There is a great difference in faith between those who preach and those who do not preach. Among the two, who do you think long for heaven more eagerly, who are more likely to think of God, who are nearer the truth?

The Bible tells us that preaching is the essential work of the person who longs for heaven.

1 Co 9:16 "Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!"

Considering the above verse, preaching is the whole duty of us all, isn't it? Unless a watchman performs his duty, he will be killed by the enemy or punished by death according to martial law. Likewise, unless we carry out our mission of preaching, we may lose our salvation.

So, the Apostle Paul diligently preached the gospel to fulfill his mission as a watchman.

2 Co 11:21-27 "I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, ... I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked."

There were always persecution, suffering, pains and affliction in the path the Apostle Paul walked. Despite all that, he did not slack off in preaching the gospel; rather he boldly told people the gospel anywhere and anytime. He started each day with preaching and ended it with preaching, too. He was such a faithful watchman, and God was always with him.

Now we, living in the age of the Feast of Tabernacles, are thirsty for the Holy Spirit of the latter rain. If we ask for the Holy Spirit without a purpose, it is useless; it is like a child asks his parents for money without knowing where it is needed. If we do not preach after receiving the Holy Spirit, of what use is it to us?

In the times of the Early Church, the disciples received the Holy Spirit of the former rain at Pentecost and earnestly preached the gospel. As a result, more than 3,000 people repented in a day. In this age, we should ask for the Holy Spirit of the latter rain and diligently preach the gospel. Then God will pour down the power of the Holy Spirit upon us even more.

Now is the time to preach; we are to save others since we've been saved. The more we sacrifice ourselves, the more souls we can save, just as Christ saved many people by sacrificing Himself.

Brothers and sisters in Zion! As Christ's workers, let's faithfully fulfill our duty as a watchman and try to save many souls by using the talents God has given us, like the Apostle Paul did, so that we can all bear much beautiful fruit and attain salvation. God bless you all abundantly!