October 19, 2016
“Being An Evangelist”
Bro. Somerset Abarquez
One of the things we learned last week was from John 6:63 which says, “What gives life is God’s spirit; human power is of no use at all. The words I have spoken to you bring God’s life-giving spirit.” We also talked about prayer, which is the backbone of the ministry, that without it our ministry would just collapse and that our prayers will make us steadfast. We also learned that our spiritual growth must be consistent.
Last Sunday, I received an open rebuke from Fr. Gary. I told him, “Fr. Gary, when I go home, I will search in the internet for what I will be teaching.” Fr. Gary said, “Bro. Somer, there are so many things happening on the internet. Sometime, the internet is not good. Why not seek the assistance of the Holy Spirit?” My spirit was awakened to this even when I was tempted to open the internet when I arrived home.
What I am teaching tonight is all about a spiritual gift, the gift of being an evangelist. The joy of the Lord is my strength, and since I grew in this Church spiritually, the Church has always been the source of my strength.
As a baby Christian, I was part of the Street Ministry of the Youth Ministry. My companions then are Deacons now in our Church. One time, we rode the jeepney and Dcn. Junior started evangelizing. One of the passengers was drunk and he shouted and cursed Dcn. Junior. This was my first time, and I witnessed what happens when you do evangelism. What struck me was the answer of Dcn. Junior, “Mahal po kayo ng Panginoon Hesus.” That simple statement was written in my heart and I imagined already that when confronted with such people, I would know what to say to them.
The source of my strength is this Church. As a seaman, I tried to share the Word of God. There was one instance when the whole crew, who were Taiwanese-Chinese, was to be replaced. They left their small Buddha that they worshipped. Every time we would journey, we would encounter rough seas. As a baby Christian, I thought, “This idol is the one causing these waves,” so I threw the Buddha into the sea, saying, “In the Name of Jesus…” One time, one of our Officers was looking for the Buddha and I told him that I threw it. He said, “Didn’t you know that it contained pure gold?” I said, “I don’t care if it had pure gold.” From this time on, this
Officer treated me differently.
In the ship, we had a Bible Study, but I was not the one leading it. The Officer called me, “Ano ba yung Bible Study ninyo? Hindi ka humingi ng permiso. Baka ang pinaguusapan ninyo diyan ay Communism.” I thought to myself, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake. Rejoice and be glad for there is great reward in heaven.” I said to myself that this word of God is true. These incidents showed me that the more they persecuted the Bible Study group, the more we were strengthened. I learned to pray, asking the Holy Spirit to teach me how to pray, and I attended CTC when I went home.
In 1Corinthians 2:14, the GNT says, “Whoever does not have the spirit of God, cannot receive the gift that comes from God’s spirit for such person does not understand them, and they seem to be nonsense to him because their value can only be judged on a spiritual basis.” In the NASB translation, it says, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” Appraised is widely used in our training as a seafarer because in our voyage plan, we have the APEM – A for appraisal; P for plan; E for execute and M for monitor. Appraised means to evaluate the value of something.
Fishermen appraise their work. Jesus said, “Then, you will be fishers of men.” Fishermen appraise what kind of boat they are going to ride that is strong enough to withstand present weather condition. Is the weather good until they come back to shore? Is the fishing equipment all in good condition? What kind of fishing equipment are they going to use depending on the fish they are going to catch? What fish are in season that is available? In case of injury, they also had their first aid.
Jesus showed to His disciples that He was the first fisher of men. Being a fisher of men is equivalent to an evangelist. Jesus was the first to evangelize His disciples. Jesus had a plan – to build, to restore and to repair the Church, His Body, where He is the Head. Colossians 1 says that Christ is the Head of the Church. The Church is the group of people working together and operating in their spiritual gifts wherein their motive was to give glory to God and to serve the people.
When I was seeking what to share tonight, I looked into the books in my home. In one book by Charles Swindoll entitled, “Unmasking Satan,” he said, “A vaccinating machine that I once saw at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Many a Church is like an impressive machine I once read about. It had hundred wheels, cogs, gears, pulleys, bells, and lights, which all moved or lit up at the touch of a button. When someone asked, ‘What does it do?’ the inventor replied, ‘Oh, it doesn't do anything, but doesn't it run nicely? It is beautiful to behold, design with precision engineering and efficient beyond imagination.’ What does it do? Nothing productive? This is the kind of Church that Satan wants to build.”
“God designed the Church to be fruitful. He set down realistic, measurable goals and a great commission in Matthew 28:18-20. Satan’s major mind game objective of believers calls for Christians being extremely active, spending lots of energy, building magnificent buildings and programs, spending huge sums of money, talking a lot about God and setting new records. Yet, when the dust has settled and the question is asked, ‘What did you accomplish?’ the answer comes back, ‘Not much in regard to the Great Commission.’ That is Satan’s plan to dilute God’s church.”
“In the beginning, Satan had tried to sidetrack God’s plan of salvation. By Herod’s hand, he tried to murder Christ in the city of His birth (Matthew 2:16.) The devil himself tempted to solicit Christ’s allegiance by worship in return for an instant kingdom (Matthew 4: 8-9). Through Peter, Satan tried to talk Christ out of going to the cross (Matthew 16:21-23). In Judas, Satan sold out Christ cost for a mere thirty shekels of silver.”
When our Church was in Sheridan, I remembered that evangelism was temporarily stopped to restore the Body. When I boarded the vessel, the truth was I couldn’t stop this gift in me. I have seen seafarers who were hungry for the word of God. Being alone and when I learned that I had the name of the ship with me, I had to pray for it before I leave the Philippines. Whatever strongholds of the enemy that is trying to block this ministry, I would like to ask the assistance of the true prayers, asking the blood of Jesus for the covering. I was alone; and nobody backs me up except the Spirit of God.
When I am in the vessel, I had to carry out the Jericho march. I had to walk seven times around the ship, undisturbed, praying, and at the same time fasting. I would also cast out all demonic spirits and all kinds of spirits that I discern that is not pleasing to God while walking seven times around the ship. After the seventh round, I would go praise and worship God. In one of the rounds that I made, I have seen a black thing that went to the waters.
I also checked the shelves if there are Bibles available. The ship I was in was two years old and there was no Bible except for my Bible and one of the crew’s. I prayed for Bibles. I was so blessed that when we reached our destination, a missionary boarded the ship and asked me if I needed anything. I told him that I needed Bibles. The missionary did not ask any payment for the dozen Bibles that I got. He only asked for a donation. I was able to provide Bibles good enough for the twelve attendees.
I had a list of the crew and every morning, I prayed for them individually so that God can work on their hearts. The evangelist is the front-liner. He is penetrating the enemy. From the crew, I had to look for a person who knew how to play the guitar. I believe that praise and worship is one of the powerful tools in the ministry that will cast out evil spirits. King David played the harp and the evil spirit just left King Saul. Having a Bible Study takes a lot of prayer, discernment, and a need to gather all the materials needed. God is the Provider and He provides us with everything. When we started our Bible Study, I individually asked them for their testimonies because it is through their testimonies that we started praying for the needs of each member.
We studied the Word of God. One time, a member said, “Sir, I was duped in my business.” I told him, “Just hang on. The Lord will show you everything, the purpose of why things happen. Remember, this war is not our war. We are only here to obey God.” I shared with him about Gideon, who had only 300 armies with unsophisticated weapons and because of their strength, their faith and confidence in God, they won the battle. It was God’s war, not theirs.
Every time I was in the Bible Study in the ship, I am so thankful and grateful. One time when we went home, our guitarist guy said, “Sir, sa lahat ng pagbabarko ko, ngayon lang na walang gulo.” I asked, “Anong klaseng barko ang sinakyan mo at bakit may gulo siya?” The guy said, “May nagsusuntukan, may naghahabulan, pero dito, wala akong naexperience na ganito.” I told him, “Well, God is with us.” I learned that this man is one who causes trouble and looks for troubles in other ships.
There were also missionaries who boarded the vessel when we were in the United States, and they were blessed because it was rare that there are Bible studies in the ship. I shared with them that God has a plan and a purpose. In Acts 26:18, several times the Lord showed to me this verse in Acts 26:18 where Jesus told Paul, “To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” I asked the Lord, “Lord, is this what I am going to do?” I closed the Bible because I was overwhelmed, but when I opened it, it was again the same verse that was shown to me. I said to myself, “Now, I have the direction that God wants me to do.”
It is said that the Book of Life has names in it. How can names be added to it if people are not used to evangelize the word of God and if people are not asked to turn themselves to the Lord? When I started in the Street Ministry, the names of everyone who received Jesus Christ were written in our prayer notebook. Every time, every day, we would pray for them even if we don’t see them anymore. We pray for their salvation and that they continue to live in their Christian walk. We pray for our friends, relatives and even our enemies and those who persecute us.
In the parable of the Prodigal Son, it shared that every time a sinner would turn to the Lord, the angels will sing before God. If we stop preaching and sharing the Word and turning people from darkness into light, then, the angels will also stop singing before God.
Yesterday, in my work place, there was a woman whom I gave a Bible study leaflet where she can fill in the blanks with her answers. I tried to follow up on her and she threw the question to me, “Sir, what is really your religion?” I told her, “Religion is not very important. The most important thing is our relationship with God through Christ.” Then, I started sharing my testimony and then I shared about prayer and she was freely conversing with me. I told her to continue studying the Scriptures, but I did not yet invite her to receive the Lord.
In counseling a person, it is best that we counsel a person that is of the same gender with us. As a testimony, one time in the ship, a Thai woman chandler approached me and shared to me that she has problems with her business. I shared to her about God and Jesus Christ and told her that God will bless her. After a few months, she came back to me thanking me that was able to recover her business. When I make business transactions, I would not do it in my cabin, but down stairs because I do not like to be tempted. I always made sure that there was one guy who was with me. But at one time, my companion left and I was finishing a transaction with the woman chandler. When I stood up, she also stood up; she acted like she wanted to get kissed by me. I did kiss her, but I was convicted that it was a sin. My wife may not see it, but I know that the Lord sees everything.
I asked forgiveness from God. I could remember the words of my wife telling me, “You get into a Bible Study, but it is not only through words, but witnessing your life.” I knew that what I did was not pleasing to God, so I tried to look for enlightenment. I looked into persecution in the Bible, but I did not see it even in 1Corinthians 10:13 which says, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” I couldn’t accept this. I thought of the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sinned against us.” I asked, “Who sinned? To whom did I sin against? God and my wife!”
I called my wife and told her, “I will tell you something. I sinned.” Being a counselor, I was calm in telling her that I kissed a woman and that I knew it was wrong because I sinned against her and God. My wife told me, “Why do you preach to a woman? Isn’t it that in our Counseling Ministry, counseling should not be done to an opposite sex? Now, that woman thought that you are a god because you helped her recover her business.” This is a reminder that when you share the word of God, do it to a person that has the same gender as you.
An evangelist shares about salvation. Why is the helmet of salvation being given importance? Soldiers and motorcycle riders wear helmets. The salvation of a person comes into the evangelist’s mind that says Christ is always with him and he will share the Word of God to another person. Our head contains the brain that helps us to make decisions and this is what we should take care of when we share the Word of God.
I would like to share with you a song written in my old notebook entitled “Dati Rati” and be encouraged by it:
Laman ng puso mo ay ang pangalan Ko
Lagi Ako sa isip mo
Inaawitan pa labi ay may ngiti
Mga matay nagniningning
Ngunit ngayon nagbago ka
Nasan na ang init ng pagsinta
Pangako mo’y hindi magwawakas
Di bat noon
Samyo ng bulaklak at ihip ng hangin ay kapansin-pansin
Di bat noon takbo ng oras ay di mo napapansin
Ngunit ngayon naglaho na
Siglat tamis ng iyong pagsinta
Pagmamahal Ko bay kailangan pa
Mga pangako Ko’y kandungan mo’t lakas
Sa pagsubok ay kay tatag
Di ba’t noon
Sa kaibigan mo’y Akong bukambibig
Bakit ngayoy anong lamig
Di mo alam Ako’y nasasaktan
Sa di pagpansin sa Aking pagmamahal
Lumapit kat Ako’y naghihintay
Sa di pagpansin sa aking pagmamahal
Lumapit ka’t Ako’y naghihintay
Di mo alam Ako’y nasasaktan
Sa di pagpansin sa Aking pagmamahal
Lumapit kat Ako’y naghihintay
Ako’y nabulag ng mandarayang mundo
Ako ay patawarin Mo
Mula ngayon ang buhay kong itoy
Iaalay sa Iyo gamitin mo ako
Gaya ng dati
Gaya ng dati
Gaya ng dati