Tell Everyone

When we tell the good news we are not to prefer a certain social class or race. We are not to gravitate to those that we think will be especially useful to the kingdom and away from those we think may burden it. We are to have God’s heart, we are to love the unlovely, “the least of these.” We are to go to the highways and byways and compel them to come, the vagabonds, the businessmen, the crack whores, the rich, the gangbangers, the skateboarders, the poor, and whosoever will believe.

Jesus loved the unlovely. He died for the unlovely, he died for you, and he died for me. Jesus cleansed the lepers who were the social outcasts because they were unclean. He ate with tax collectors, and prostitutes. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day, the Pharisees and scribes, grumbled because Jesus received sinners and ate with them (Luke 15:2).

The religious leaders’ grumbled and even sinners were surprised. When Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman she said, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans) (Jn. 4:9). In fact, Jesus’ own disciples were surprised that He was talking with her: “They marveled that he was talking with a woman” (v. 27).[1]

The Samaritan woman likely met all the qualifications for the “least of these” and she also met all the qualifications for the love and grace of God. She was desperately sick and Jesus, the Great Physician, offered her living water. He offered the sinful Samaritan woman Himself. We too need Jesus and we too need to point everyone to Jesus the Great Savior.

We must follow Jesus’s example. We must tell the good news to everyone, even if the religious grumble and the sinner is surprised. We must tell this message to whosoever. We must not be choosy. What if the person that led us to Christ was choosy and thought of us as beyond grace?

Tell the good news even to Nineveh; even to those who will likely kill you let alone not receive the message well. We must share the gospel even with the Sauls, and who knows they may turn into Pauls.

Saul approved of the execution of Stephen (Acts 8:1) and he “was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison” (v. 3). Saul was the least likely candidate of salvation, yet with God all things are possible. Jesus revealed Himself to Paul. We must pray that Jesus would show Himself to even the least likely and use them as His “chosen instruments” to carry His Name to all people (9:15). We must be faithful to share the message even with the Saul type of People because as Romans 10:14 says “how are they to hear without someone preaching?”[2]

God called Ananias to go and minister to Saul. Ananias was nervous because he had heard about all Saul had done in persecuting the church yet God said, “go.” So he was faithful to go. When he came in to Saul he laid his hands on his head and said, “brother Saul.”

Imagine you are in Nazi Germany during the Second World War and a former Gestapo agent gets saved after persecuting your church. You go in to see him and lay your hands not around his throat but on his head and say “brother.” Only the gospel can do this but the gospel can do this and in fact, it has done this very thing thousands of times over.

In an article I read in The Voice of the Martyrs, it shared a very powerful example of the gospel changing one of the least likely Sauls into a passionate Paul.[i] Abdulmasi, as a faithful Muslim, “specialized in bombing churches and killing Christians.”

“’I was called, Mr. Insecticide,’ he says. ‘I was the only one who could organize the killing of insects, the killing of Christians. When you are looking for someone to get rid of insects, then you call me, then I arrange and plan an attack Christians. This was my way of life.’” Abdulmasi sadly even oversaw a seven-year old boy slaughter a man with a knife.

After bombing a church Abdulmasi “liked to go back to the church and see the effect of his handiwork. On one visit, he found the church members worshiping in the ashes of the destroyed building.” Abdulmasi was sick of Christians and he decided the only way to exterminate them was to go under cover as a spy.

He went to a church, flattered the pastor, and told him “the magic words: ‘I’m a Muslim but I want to be a Christian… ‘Wow! They loved me,’ Abdulmasi says. ‘Everybody gave me gifts. Some called me for lunch. They really embraced me so much. The love I was shown surprised me.’”

Abdulmasi eventually got saved after six years of pretending to be a Christian. Directly after his conversion he was treated the way he had treated so many Christians. Those he persecuted the Christians with were ready to kill him. “On May Feb. 9, 2004, a mob of 2,000 Muslims surrounded his home.” They wanted to kill him and his family but by God’s grace he and his family were delivered.[3]

Abdulmasi has been radically changed by the gospel. He said, “I was a persecutor; now through his grace he has forgiven me. This is God’s love. And though we have been persecuted, we are not crushed. … We die so that others will live.”

Abdulmasi, though an unlikely candidate for salvation, has been saved and is now sharing with other unlikely candidates.

What would have happened if the church he attended was not accepting of him? He likely would have never received faith and may have even bombed that church. However, since the church was faithful to welcome Abdulmasi in it has served to highlight the transforming power of the gospel.

________________

[1] What the disciples did not know was that this woman had already had five husbands and was presently living with a man that was not her husband (v. 18).

[2] People might say here that this is not true because Paul himself was saved without someone preaching. However, Jesus Himself “preached” to Paul and said “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4). Also, Paul was a Pharisee and he was schooled in the scriptures. In any case this “supernatural” way that Saul was bought to faith in Jesus is not typical. Though, I am not ruling out that similar “supernatural” conversions can take place. No one is saved without someone preaching but God can use “supernatural” means to ensure there is a preacher. John Piper in his book Let the Nations be Glad (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1993) has an interesting insight on this subject (See A Modern Cornelius p. 146-147).

[3] Abdulmasi’s oldest son, however, was killed in 2007. He was going to classes at a university when three men with machetes came up to him. They said, “We have come to kill you because you are your father’s son.” Abdulmasi said, “It was very difficult… But there is no sacrifice that is too big for God.”

[4] See: God Will Use You Mightily, The Voice of the Martyrs June 2010, by Patrice Johnson, 3-7.

About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 9 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

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