Jesus Christ is now in heaven at the right hand of God, doing the same work He did on earth, but doing so through His Body, the Church… which is us. The degree to which we are participating wholeheartedly in Christ’s Work on earth reflects how much we are behind Him and are fulfilling the very purpose for which He has called us out of this world.
We have been called to be a part of a great mission—something much bigger than each of us, individually! Jesus Christ expects more from us than just being “nice Christians” focused on our own little world. He gave His Church a job: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Scripture makes it clear that His followers in the first century took His commission and command very seriously. Further, Jesus tells us that this effort will take place in the end times, as well: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
But, What Can I Do?
At the same time, we can’t all be on the telecast! We are not all supposed to be “mouthpieces” preaching the Gospel to the broader public. We are not all supposed to be running a department at Headquarters. We are not all supposed to be ministers. Instead, just like each part of the human body, every one of us plays a different but crucial role in the Work. We are each “members individually,” and all of us, together, make up the entire body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).
So, what are some ways we personally can help fulfill this commission? In addition to our regular tithes and offerings, what are some specific things anyone in God’s Church can do to “pitch in” and help the effort to spread the Gospel to the world?
While there may be many different ways we can help in the Work, in this article we are only going to focus on three. These three particular areas involve actions that all of us can and should take. While they may seem simple, not only will they make a real difference for the Work, but they will also have an impact on our spiritual lives.
Set the Right Personal Example
Truly, one of the most powerful tools we possess to do our part in preaching the Gospel is our personal example. Our example “speaks” more loudly and powerfully than anything we can say! Jesus told us that we are the “lights of the world” (Matthew 5:14–16). And while “lights” do not speak, they are certainly expected to shine!
If we tell everyone we know about God’s way of life, and yet our example is, let’s just say, less than blameless, we are not helping the mission. If we are proclaiming the truth to all we know at every turn, but we are a terrible employee, or cannot be trusted, or drink too much, or work on the Sabbath, then we’re actually hurting and tainting the message of the Gospel. “A righteous man who falters before the wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well” (Proverbs 25:26).
Daniel’s example of trustworthiness and faithfulness to the Eternal was one reason that God’s name was respected in the highest places in the kingdoms of Nebuchadnezzar and Darius. We’re told that “Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him” (Daniel 6:3). It was God’s Spirit working in him that made the impact on the rulers with whom he worked. Daniel lived his life according to God’s ways, and didn’t seem to try to “convert” the kings or their magistrates. He pointed them to God verbally when the opportunity presented itself, but other than that, his humble surrender to His God made a powerful impact.
If we humble ourselves and surrender to God and His laws, then we will be powerfully preaching the truth with our lives. Our actions speak so much louder than our words. If we are trustworthy, humble, hardworking, balanced, honest and faithful to our commitments, then anything with which we’re associated—including God’s Church and our beliefs—will be considered in the light cast by that example. People who interact with us will be left with a good impression, and that impression will be attached to the things we stand for.
Then, when God opens their minds one day, they can know that this special thing we’re involved in is the true Work of God and the true Church of God. Whether that happens in this life or in the Great White Throne Judgment, our actions will affect what others think of God, His Church, and His Truth.
At the same time, while we should not be shoving God’s Truth down people’s throats, we must be ready to give an answer when the opportunity presents itself! This is a major element of our part to get the message out. Each of us must “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). If we are faithfully living God’s way, it is not unusual for people to ask questions. At such times, they may be more receptive to hear what we have to say. We can take the time to explain what we believe and why. We can even mention the Tomorrow’s World television program or website—perhaps even give them a booklet on the subject in which they are interested.
But we should also try to discern whether they are truly interested or whether their eyes “glaze over” as we speak, as if they are not really listening. If they are interested, keep it going; if they are not interested, wrap up politely. If we do this wisely, we can play a powerful part in the Work of God.
The last part of 1 Peter 3:15, however, is vital. We need to explain our beliefs to them, “with meekness and fear.” We should understand we are explaining something that is completely different than what they may have ever heard before. It is something that is contrary to their way of life, and it must be God who “pricks” their hearts and convicts them, not us. We should ask God to use us and put His words in our mouth as we speak with them, and we need to recognize that we would be in the same place they are if God had not mercifully called us or our family out of this world. If someone is seriously interested in the Truth, take action by talking to your minister about inviting them to services.
Watch the Telecast and Read the Literature
A second key action that all of us can take to help accomplish the Work is to ensure that we are diligently watching the Tomorrow’s World telecast, ourselves, and making sure to read each article in the Tomorrow’s World magazine and the Living Church News. By doing so, we are staying current and “in sync” with what Christ is doing in the world. Mr. Richard Ames has called the telecast the “spearhead of the Work.” By watching the telecast every week, we are doing our part to stay current on the effort to preach the Gospel.
Spending time each day studying God’s word is of the highest importance. Connection with God’s word helps to empower all of the actions we are discussing! However, while reading the Church’s publications is of less importance than reading the Bible itself, it is still a crucial part of helping us to know how the truths and doctrines of the Bible are articulated by the very Church that Jesus Himself founded. Many people all over the world have read the Bible over the centuries, yet without God’s Spirit and without being taught (Romans 10:14–17), they never truly understood the scriptures. After all, the Church of God is “pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).
If you work for a company, you want to be the most effective employee you can be. One of the greatest ways you can be most helpful is by being very familiar with what the company teaches and publishes. The most effective employee will be on top of what the company’s goals and missions are and will know and support the company’s message and publications.
On the other hand, if an employee is not in the habit of reading what the company publishes, he or she quickly becomes ineffective. The boss notices and remembers when he sees an employee not current in the company’s policies and materials and will question his ability to trust that employee to carry on his business in even little things. Yet, if he or she does regularly keep up with the latest information and updates, the boss can begin to rely on that employee to help fulfill the company mission. In our case, we are “working” for Jesus Christ, and He is the “Boss.” He is the one directing and inspiring His ministry to write and publish in our various channels.
Imagine, for a moment, if none of us read the literature. The reality is that without instruction every one of us would find it that much easier to drift into a slightly different understanding of Scripture here and there based on our life’s circumstances, experience, education, personal biases and general knowledge base—and we would all be right in our own eyes. The Church has, indeed, experienced such among some over the decades. Yet it is through exposure to the telecast and to the publications of the Church of God that He brought many of us to an understanding of the Truth in the first place. It is the God-ordained job of Jesus Christ’s organized ministry to protect His people from being “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14), and we need to be willing to embrace God’s design for the Church by reading what the ministry publishes. Reading and watching what is produced by the Church also allows us to “all speak the same thing” (1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 13:11). It gives us the opportunity to all be on the same page and have unity in the Body of Christ.
In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul established the authority of the leadership, saying, “We have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). Then he commends them, “…when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus” (vv. 13–14). He then went on to make sure his letter was read aloud so that everyone would hear: “I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren” (1 Thessalonians 5:27).
Mr. Ames regularly admonishes us to do our part by watching the telecast and reading the magazines. In an article in the March/April 2009 Living Church News—“Self Examination: A Vital Key to Growth”—he writes,
How do we support God’s Work? In an important sense, we are all ‘ambassadors for Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5:20), in that the people around us see us as representing the Church. As a supporter of the Work, are you aware of the times and stations on which the Tomorrow’s World telecast is shown in your area? Do you watch the telecast, and if people ask you about the Church, do you encourage them to watch the telecast? If not, you should. If you are reading this, we thank you for your example of diligently staying in touch with what the Church is teaching its members and proclaiming to the world. Is every member of your family diligently reading each article in Tomorrow’s World magazine and the Living Church News? Reading Church literature should help you be ready to give an answer when those around you ask about your faith (1 Peter 3:15).
An interesting point of prophecy is that the portion of the Church of God that is actively and intentionally going through the “open doors” provided to preach the Gospel is the one which is holding on to God’s Truth, according to Christ, who praises them, saying they “have kept My word, and have not denied My name” (Revelation 3:8). In other words, the Church of God with the Philadelphian spirit and attitude is going through the open doors and teaching the scriptures in a way that is pleasing to God and is commended by Christ for it!
When we fail to watch the telecast when it is available to us or fail to read the Church’s literature, we risk becoming less effective than we otherwise would be in supporting the Work.
Pray for the Work and the Leaders
It may seem small, but it is not: praying for God to guide and bless His Work and its leaders is vital and is a key means by which we support the preaching of the Gospel. As we’ll see below, it is something we are specifically instructed to do, and it is another powerful way we can participate in the Work of God and grow in fulfilling our calling.
Jesus indicated that the time is now. The harvest is ready now. “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest” (John 4:35)! Christ explained the urgency and instructed us to pray for more laborers because there is still a lot to do: “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37–38).
Paul also exhorted the brethren to pray for the leadership. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit... for all the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel... that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:18–20). Again, in another place he tells us to pray for the spread of the Gospel and for the leadership: “Continue earnestly in prayer... praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak” (Colossians 4:2–4). We should all individually be praying for open doors to preach the Gospel—that is, if we want to fulfill our calling with a Philadelphian attitude (Revelation 3:8).
Praying for the Work and the leadership makes a difference. Just like God has intervened for us personally when people have prayed for us and our situations, the same is true when we pray for the ministry and their efforts to preach the Gospel. By taking these things to our Father in prayer, we each take part in God’s Work in a special and intimate way. As James reminds us, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16)!
When We Help the Work, We Help Ourselves
We certainly support the Work with our faithful tithes and generous offerings—and we should! And as individual members of the Body of Christ—placed in it exactly where He wishes to have us (1 Corinthians 12:18)—we may bring individual gifts and talents we can use to support our local congregation and the Work. But these three additional things—dedicating ourselves to being good ambassadors, watching the telecast and reading the literature, and praying for the Work and its leaders—are actions we can all take that can have a powerful impact.
The more we do these things, the more our hearts will be involved in the Work and the mission of the Church. In this way, these things help us fulfill our calling and help us grow spiritually in the direction Christ wants us to go.
Much more is expected of us than just living as “nice” Christians, focused solely on our own daily routines. In his January/February 2013 Living Church News article, “Do Not Be Laodicean,”Dr. Roderick Meredith exhorted us:
Focusing on the “cares of this world” can easily distract any of us if we are not careful. That is one reason why Philadelphian Christians should spend much of their time, energy and resources in the crusade to proclaim Christ’s message to the entire world… The Philadelphians zealously desire to have a very active part in proclaiming Christ’s message. They personally work, pray and sacrifice so the magnificent message of Christ’s soon-coming Kingdom may be powerfully proclaimed to all the nations.
Let’s all go forward, growing in our active roles in the greatest mission in the universe. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).