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Vol.  9  No. 6 June 2007  Page 5
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Raymond Elliott20/20 Vision

By Raymond Elliott

    It is suggested that we have our eyesight checked at least every two years. The ideal vision is 20/20. Most of us, as we grow older, need some assistance to enable us to see. Thus, we are fitted with glasses from time to time.

    In the matter of evangelism, we often suffer because of the lack of spiritual vision. That infirmity is called “myopia,” which has to do with nearsightedness. So many Christians can only see that which is near. We are not looking far enough. We are confined within the walls of our church buildings. We are in need of having our eyesight improved by the Great Physician who can heal our partial blindness. We desperately need some “eye salve” to anoint our eyes that we may see the fields “that are white already unto harvest (Revelation 3:18; John 4:35). He whose eyes are as “a flame of fire” (Revelation 1:14) has written us a prescription that will give us 20/20 vision. It is recorded in Acts 20:20: “how I shrank not from declaring unto you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly, and from house to house.”

    First of all, it is needful that we teach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). Second, note the methods used by Paul in the proclamation of that which was profitable. He said that he taught the Gospel of Christ both publicly and privately. The persecuted prisoners of the Lord had earlier utilized these avenues in preaching Jesus as the Christ every day “in the temple and at home” (Acts 5:42). Personal evangelism and the public proclamation of the Gospel go hand in hand. This formula was very effective in the first century. The church grew rapidly in the city of Jerusalem (Acts 4:4; 5:14; 6:1). The church today relies greatly on the public teaching of the Gospel, generally ignoring the second half of the formula used by our brethren during the infancy of the church.

    The truth is the church is not growing in many locales simply because the members do not have proper 20/20 vision. The Word of God is not increasing and the number of disciples is not multiplying (Acts 6:7) in our society today. Oh, we do ‘swell’ our numbers periodically due to the moving of members from one place to another, but true numerical growth comes about when souls are being added to the church when they obey the Gospel of Christ (Acts 2:38, 47). The fact is non-Christians seldom frequent our assemblies, even during special efforts such as Gospel meetings. There are individuals who hesitate to come to our church buildings. We must go to them. (Isn’t that what the Lord told us to do in the Great Commission, recorded in Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15?)

    The congregations that are experiencing the numerical growth of disciples are those churches that are complimenting the public proclamation of the Gospel with the individual/private teaching of the Word. It may be the showing of filmstrips, an open Bible study or it may be conducting a Bible class in one’s home. The method is a matter of indifference as long as it is in harmony with the principles of the New Testament. What we need is a genuine commitment from Christians to become more involved in instructing sinners to come to Jesus Christ where there is salvation from sin and where there is the hope of eternal life (2 Timothy 2:10).
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