January 19, 2018

A Light Shining in the Darkness

Mike Redick

On Wednesday night we decided to take the old gospel to the streets of Singapore to reach a new generation of young people. Like every major city in the world, Singapore is filled with people of all shapes and sizes from different races and religions. On this particular night one of our witnessing teams approached two men. After passing them a gospel tract, they engaged the men in spiritual conversation.

The two men were Malay by birth and Islamic by religion. They did not speak English well but spoke perfect Malay. The two team members, Singaporeans by birth, spoke perfect English but terrible Malay. But trusting God to do His work of speaking to the hearts of these two men from His own Word, with difficulty they began sharing the Good News. Due to the language barrier they had to present the gospel message in English and broken Malay and with lots of hand and body gestures. After a strenuous two hours these two men placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

On the following Sunday morning the two men came to church and brought with them nine of their Islamic friends. That Sunday seven of the nine men were saved, which began for us our Bahasa language service that reaches out to Islamic Indonesians and Malays in Singapore. Rarely a week goes by that we do not see someone saved in this ministry simply due to the preaching and the power of the gospel.

Paul reminded us of the power of the gospel when he said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Rom. 1:16). For the last six years I have been doing the work of the evangelist in Southeast Asia. I have had the privilege of preaching to Roman Catholics in the marketplaces, small towns, and cities of the Philippines. I have preached to Buddhists in nearly every major city in Myanmar and to Hindus throughout India. I have declared the gospel to Muslims in Dubai, to atheists in university classrooms, and to the yuppies of sophisticated Singapore. One thing I have learned: the gospel that saved me twenty-five years ago is the same gospel that can save any man at any time anywhere—regardless of race or religion.

I must say that never once have I had to disprove another man’s religion or tear down his belief system before he was saved. I have never attempted to discredit Buddhism to a Buddhist or atheism to an atheist before he received the gospel. All we need to do is trust God to do His work of speaking to the hearts of men with His own Word. When we simply present the truth of Jesus Christ we can trust the gospel of Christ to expose man’s error and reveal his need of salvation. Just as a straight line exposes a crooked line, so the truth of Christ exposes the error of man.

It was Jesus who said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). As we honestly, accurately, and dependently lift up the truth of Christ we can trust the Holy Spirit to take that truth and reveal to that man the error of his religious system, eventually drawing him to the Savior.

Some time ago I was helping a fellow missionary plant a church in Singapore. A young professional man, a brother of one of the members, came to church. I had not met the man before. When he entered the church he came straight up to me, introduced himself, and said, “I am an atheist; I do not believe any of this Christianity business. You will never convince me that it is true.”

He came for about four Sunday services, and after each service he would quickly rush off. I asked the Lord to give me an opportunity to talk to this man about his salvation. The next Sunday he came again. I caught him before he left and asked him if I could show him from the Bible what it means to be a Christian. He agreed. For the next hour we looked into God’s Word, and God’s Word did its work. Before he left the building he was saved. Today he is growing in the Lord. When I asked him what brought about the change, he replied, “It was simply God’s Word. I just knew when I heard it that it was true.”

One of my favorite verses is Matthew 9:37: “The harvest truly is plenteous.” This verse is one of those timeless truths—a glorious promise! Right now, all around us wherever we are, in every city, every state, and in every country of the world there are people ripe and ready to be saved.

Sadly, these people will not be reached until we, by faith, believe the gospel is the power of God able to reach all men regardless of race or religion, whether they are rich or poor, educated or uneducated. It was to both the religious and immoral Corinthians that Paul said, “I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein you stand; By which also ye are saved” (1 Cor. 15:1, 2). Once we believe in the power of the gospel, we must preach it. It is through the preaching of the gospel that God speaks to the hearts of men and through it alone can we reap the harvest.

Last year I was invited to hold a one-day gospel service in Dubai. Dubai is the playground for Arabs in the Middle East. A Filipino missionary started a church there, and in less than a year it had grown to about twenty-five people. I had never preached in the Arab world and did not know what to expect. I thought we would have to be very clandestine in our ministry. But when I arrived they had placed banners all around and had invited many people. We held our service on Friday morning, which is the Muslim day off. To my surprise or unbelief over 225 people showed up for the service.

Nearly two hundred of them were unbelievers from various religious backgrounds (Roman Catholic, Muslim, and Hindu). I preached a very simple gospel message on “the cross.” When I gave the invitation, over thirty-five people stood up and walked the aisle, and for the next hour we had the joy of leading those men and women to the Lord. Many of those who were saved came back, joined the church, and brought friends. Literally overnight that little church grew from twenty-five to one hundred people. That is the power of the gospel.

The missionary-evangelist Jonathan Goforth was a man God used to reach and win thousands in Northern China, and although he passed away nearly eighty years ago, his work and influence remain in China today. My wife Lisa just visited his church in China. As she walked up to the church building that afternoon, a midweek Bible study was just ending. As the doors opened, over one thousand people spilled out into the narrow street. She stepped back and watched. The people were singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, obviously unconcerned that they were in an anti-Christian country. She was moved to think that many, if not most, of those dear people were products in some way of Dr. Goforth’s ministry.

Lisa’s visit to Dr. Goforth’s church reminded me of a story from his life. When Mr. Goforth first went to China as a missionary, an old experienced missionary came to him with this advice: “Do not attempt to speak of Jesus the first time when you are preaching to the unsaved. The Chinese have a prejudice against the name of Jesus. You must first confine all your efforts to demolishing their false gods. If you are given a second opportunity, you may then bring in the name of Jesus.”

At this Mr. Goforth replied rather excitedly, “Never, never, never! The gospel that saved the down and out in the slums of Toronto, Canada, is the same gospel that can save these Chinese sinners.” From the very first, although speaking in broken Chinese, Mr. Goforth preached Christ crucified, buried, and resurrected. And from the very first he saw souls saved.

Late in his life, a young missionary upstart asked Mr. Goforth the secret to his soul-winning power. Mr. Goforth’s response was a clear testimony of his trust in God to do His work of speaking to the souls of men through His own Word.

Today it is the same! If our world is going to be reached, we must trust God to do His work of speaking to the souls of men through His own Word. We must truly believe that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation and able to reach any man, at any time, anywhere regardless of race, religion, wealth or fame, poverty or anonymity.

Won’t you trust God to do His work? The gospel is the power of God unto salvation.

Mike Redick is a missionary evangelist to Southeast Asia.

(Originally published in FrontLine • May/June 2006. Click here to subscribe to the magazine.)

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