The Simple Gospel
Dear friends, once again, we greet you in Jesus' Precious Name.
I have been reading in The Word of God through 1 Corinthians 1 and the Lord has been reminding me very clearly about the simplicity of the gospel. Paul says:
This Scripture was given to me many years ago by my young son when he was still at school and I have never forgotten it. I have no problem with education, as all five of my children are well educated. Some have university degrees and others more practical qualifications. But the Lord is very clear where He says He uses the base things of the world:
The Lord specifically chooses 'nobodies' to do His bidding, because He will not share His glory with any man.
I remember as a young believer wondering why God did not use some of the celebrities in the world to preach for Him. Only later on did I realise that until a man has laid down all his worldly qualifications, power and ability, God will not use him. He only uses those who have died to self. Paul says in Galatians:
"JESUS CHRIST IS NOT INTERESTED IN CLASS DISTINCTION OR OUR ABILITIES. ONLY IN OUR AVAILABILITY."
So, we can be confident that the Lord Jesus Christ is not interested in class distinction or in our abilities, but only in our availability. No one is disqualified from being used in God's service. You might be reading this saying, “But I am an old age pensioner, what can I do?” Well, there is no such word as retirement in The Bible, only promotion. If ever this world needed senior citizens for wisdom, counseling and directing younger people, it is now. Please do not see yourself as disqualified.
You might have served a prison sentence and feel that you have been disqualified from being used by God. Not at all! In fact you have served your sentence and therefore you are free. Those of us who have not served a sentence in jail have simply not been caught, as all of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. (Romans 3:23).
Perhaps you've been through a terrible divorce or separation from your spouse and feel totally unqualified. We need to understand is that there is no degree of sin in The Bible. Sin is sin, whether it be adultery, murder, fornication or theft. What we need to do is repent (Never go there again) and seek the forgiveness of God, then continue on in His work. For many of us it is only when we have really fallen that God can lift us up and use us again. He has a habit of using the base things to build His Kingdom.
A synonym for the word base, is foundation and God needs strong foundations for His Kingdom in these last days. We praise God that, unlike any other organisation, institution or movement where its founders seek out the best, strongest, most intelligent, best looking or most successful, God looks for those who have a heart for Him - usually among the weak, youngest, poor, needy, downtrodden and the uneducated!
Let’s look at the life of our precious Master and Lord Jesus. He was born in the most humble of all abodes, He had no formal education. He was not in any way a professional man but trained as a carpenter, and He never travelled overseas. In fact, for the first 30 years of His life, He never did much at all and then God used Him to change the world. In three years, His ministry impacted this world like no other has ever done.
WHAT DOES GOD REQUIRE OF US?
He requires obedience, faith, and love. With those He can use us to move mountains. John the Baptist was also born to a very lowly family and yet Jesus said of him, “There's never been a man born from the womb of a woman that is greater than John the Baptist.” And John said, “I must decrease (become base) so that He can increase.” Let us not underestimate the gifting God has given to us. While there is still time left let's start to use our gifts profitably, to win many souls for the Kingdom.
I have just returned from Northern Ireland (Belfast) where we had an ‘It's Time’ gathering to pray for the land of the Emerald Isle. It was a miraculous event, on the Saturday afternoon just before 1PM when the meeting was due to start, it was pelting with rain like I have not seen before. The sky was black and there was no sign of it stopping. But at 1PM the rain stopped, the clouds parted, the sun came out and the meeting commenced.
It was a wonderful meeting. The praise and worship was outstanding, led by Robin Mark, one of Ireland's greatest Celtic singers. I had the privilege of bringing The Word of God and then a combined corporate prayer was prayed by the people of Ireland; asking God to forgive them for past sins, for bloodshed, for the pain and for the disregard for Jesus Christ. Then the Irish anthem was sung with much gusto and those brave Irish people returned home with their umbrellas and gumboots singing praises to God.
We thank God for Andy Campbell and his team who did an outstanding job. I believe that there will be a change in the heavenlies, I don't think Ireland will ever be the same again. The next day as we boarded the plane to return to sunny South Africa, it was still pouring with rain. When we arrived in Ireland it was raining and when we left it was raining. God had opened a window from 1PM to about 4PM that Saturday, so that The Word of God could be preached and that the people could pray and repent. While we worshipped Him the sun shone and there was no rain in sight. When we were done the rain came down again. God is faithful.
Just a few days ago I had the privilege of preaching at a large church in Pietermaritzburg that connected to 17 other churches by live streaming. We spoke to over 10,000 people at one time, isn't technology amazing? It was one of the most precious meetings I've ever attended. During that meeting we saw many first time commitments and people's faith levels rose when we said, “Anything is possible if we will only believe.” We spoke about putting two words behind everything we say that seems doubtful: “… But God” So, this country and its future, irrespective of what people say about it will succeed, because we believe that God can change things for the better.
Maybe you are reading this and doctors have said that there is no hope for you. We say, “But God!” Perhaps you are in financial crisis and there is no way out? We say, “But God!”
At the end of that service we made the altar call and had the privilege of seeing many souls coming to Christ for the first time. Among them was a young couple and the young girl was about 7 months pregnant. They weren’t married and I asked them to come onto the platform. I asked the young man if he intended to marry her? “Yes,” he answered. I asked “When?” and he said “Soon!”. I said, “What about now?” and he approved. We had an instant marriage service on the platform in front of 10,000 people. Isn't God amazing! Another young lady came up and offered her wedding ring to the young girl which fitted perfectly. She was dressed in white looking beautiful - she looked like she was wearing a wedding dress. We thank God for His miracle working power.
A young boy put his hand up, and said to me that he wants to work for Jesus Christ. He must have only been 12 or 13 years old. Another man came up in his farming gear and he said he wanted to be saved. We thank God for Pastor Ray Oliver, Pastor Grant Crawford and their team for an incredible work that took place in Pietermaritzburg. It was a God moment and I will never forget it as long as I live.
Dear friends don't stop preaching the Gospel. Like never before, in almost 40 years that I have known the Lord, have I seen the harvest so ripe. Remember God uses the base things of this world to do His bidding.
Angus and Jill Buchan