The general deterioration of the World situation, the population explosion without a corresponding acceleration in the world’s spiritual birthrate, and the seeming loss of spiritual power to he noted among Christians and in the corporate church is causing deep searching of heart by thoughtful Christians. There is a feeling that something must happen to bring a change in the situation.

Some would have the Church become “involved” in the world to such an extent that no distinction would be made between a believer and a non-believer. These feel that Christianity is no longer a force to be reckoned with because it is not relevant to the contemporary world scene. Because the gospel message had its origin in the first century and this is the twentieth, and because the Bible stresses an other-worldly orientation for the Christian that seems unrealistic for our times, there are those who feel the historic, biblically based Christianity of our forefathers is no longer applicable.

On the other hand, many sincere Christians are deeply troubled because the phrase, “the post-Christian era,” has a ring of reality that disturbs the soul and shakes confidence in present methods to reach an unbelieving world that is in desperate need.

In considering the theories of those who would reject the present validity of historic Christianity, let us ask a few questions: Are the basic needs of men different now from what they were 2,000 years ago? Or has God’s provision for those needs changed? Despite the sophistication of our age and the almost unbelievable advances in science, is man basically different from what he was in the time of Christ?

The human heart was deceitful then and is deceitful today. The lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life continue to grip each new generation. Sophisticated, scientifically advanced, modern in outlook, man is still a sinful creature estranged from God and desperately in need of forgiveness, cleansing, and a new heart.

It was to meet this need that the Son of God came into this world, died, and arose again from the dead. The world has not outgrown its need, nor has the Gospel of God’s redemption in Jesus Christ lost its power.

Why then this lapse in effectiveness by the Church and by many Christians? It is unfortunately true that in an age of sophistication, affluence, and a growing understanding and use of scientific discoveries, many now try to convince themselves that they are self-sufficient and do not need God or his Christ.

But men’s hearts still yearn for something higher than material things. Strip off the veneer of our civilization and there remains a desperate loneliness, a sense of frustration, a void that remains empty unless it is filled with the living Christ.

We must keep clearly in mind the message of the Church and also the tools of missions and evangelism that God has given us for spreading that message.

To the Church has been given the message of a higher destiny, of a renewed fellowship with God through faith in his Son, of a new life where companionship replaces loneliness and purpose replaces frustration.

One look at this chaotic world and we are ready to throw up our hands in hopelessness. How, we ask ourselves, can the Gospel become a living force in a world so obviously alienated from God? What is needed to recapture the power and the glory of the Gospel for this generation?

Here is where we need to take a new look at the tools God has provided. (We use the term “tools” reverently to refer to certain things that God has placed at our disposal, to be used for his glory.)

If we think our world is chaotic and hopeless, what kind of a world did the disciples face in the first century? On every hand there was the entrenched evil of paganism. But apparently the disciples ignored the obstacles because of the tremendous message and the marvelous tools they had. By God’s work through them, the message became effective in the lives of men and women in every walk of life, so that in a few short years the then-known world had heard of Jesus Christ, his death, and his resurrection, and enough had believed to change the whole course of history.

This handful of uneducated, ordinary men had irresistible tools, and God worked a miracle. The same tools are available today, but they are too often neglected. In their place men use man-made devices that perish with their makers and those on whom they are used.

The early disciples had been with Jesus, and this personal experience with the risen Lord had transformed them into fervent evangelists. But God never intended that they alone should know Christ as Saviour and Lord. To all of us is given the same privilege, and without it we are useless. It is hardly possible for someone to win men to Jesus Christ who does not know him through personal experience. We all need to have a deep, personal experience of the saving power of Jesus Christ in our hearts and lives.

The early disciples also were imbued with the power of the Holy Spirit. They had been emptied of self, and the Holy Spirit possessed them to the point where God was doing the work and they were simply instruments. Today similar power is waiting for those who give the Holy Spirit his rightful place in their lives and in their work.

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The early disciples were also men of prayer. They believed in divine intervention in their problems. They believed that prayer released God’s almighty power on behalf of his own and their work for him. When confronted with danger, opposition, and humanly insoluble situations, they turned to God in prayer and he heard and answered.

The early disciples used the Old Testament Scriptures to confirm their preaching. In every case they recognized the Scriptures as finally authoritative. Today we have not only the Old but also the New Testament to use as the invincible Sword of the Spirit.

The early disciples had a message—repentance, forgiveness of sins, and salvation through faith in the risen Lord. This simple and direct message penetrated to the heart of man’s need, the same need men have today.

Finally, the early disciples had no money. Can it be that part of their success stemmed from their utter dependence on God, rather than on material assets?

Through these men the early Church came into being. Although they lacked much of what we prize most highly, such as education and financial security, they succeeded.

We have the same tools. If we use them faithfully, the world can again be turned upside down for Jesus Christ.

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