October 5, 2016
Dcn. Ruben Sevial
rust that when we come here, we never bring our encumbrances to the Lord. Our tests and trials, even the problems that we are facing right now, are to be set aside so that we could focus our minds and hearts to God and God alone.
This is the generation of electronics - cellphone, laptop, computers, iPad, iPod, etc. We engage ourselves in these electronic devices. We spend much time on FB, Twitter, Google and YouTube rather than giving more time to God. I am not saying that this is wrong, but if all of our time is taken up with the use of these devices, then something is wrong. How much time do you spend with God? The world has its best; however, we should surpass the world more because we are Christians. The world is at its best in singing, dancing and in sports, even in education. They spend hours, days, and months rehearsing. How about us who have Jesus in us?
Before, men used pomade in their hair; some even used egg yolk. Now, there is gel and other hairdressing tools. Before, people walked, but now, there are tricycles, sidecars and the habal-habal. Before, people cooked their food; now, we have instant food. What is the result of all of what we have now? We have become lazy, sick, and with no drive at all. Do you not get sick with this kind of life we live right now? We should be shouting, “Ayoko na! Tama na! Tigilan ninyo na ako!”
During the flash flood in Infanta, Quezon, a team from our Church reached out to those who lost their properties and even lives. Being part of this, I was assigned to give out tickets to claim their groceries and I experienced walking fourteen kilometers during this time. The ministry continued until we built a Church in Infanta. This is the Body of Christ working together. We also ministered to people in Alang-alang, Leyte and in Laong, Northern Samar. This is evangelism.
What are we producing? Are we bearing fruit? If we are bearing fruit, what kind of fruit is it? Some of us have gained weight physically, but what about with our spiritual life? There has to be a good result in what we are doing. I remember my nephew who was a born-again Christian and he had a Bible study in his house every Wednesday. One time, he invited me to share the Word. As I was sharing, I saw many people crying because they were so hungry and thirsty for the Word of God. We have received a lot of teaching and attended many seminars, but our spiritual life is still so shallow. We don’t have anything to share to the world. We are overcome by the world. This should not be the case. Rather, we should be on the forefront and ahead of the world. We succumb to the lifestyle that the world presents. As Christians, we should be rising up and confronting the world. We can’t confront the world because we are also like the world, imitating the world.
Are we bold enough to confront this crooked and perverse generation which is against the Word of God? Will we remain silent? Will we not do something? We are Christians and yet we are not declaring and proclaiming who God is in our lives.
One time, a rich person kept on prodding me that she wanted to go to my house. I refused her many times, but because she was so persistent, I agreed to have her visit my place. When she entered my house, she said, “Deacon, ito ba ang bahay mo? Ang liit-liit?” She shed tears when she saw where I was living and I asked her why. She said, “Pambihira ka, kung magbigay ka sa simbahan, ganoon na lang. Pero itong bahay mo pala, pagkaliit-liit.” God used her and she blessed me with furniture which I am using up to now.
At another time, I was eating in a small carinderia and there was a vagrant at the door. The owner kept on telling him to get out of the premises because it can shun people away to eat there. I told the owner, “Huwag mong ipagtabuyan.” I told the vagrant, “Halika, pumasok ka. Ano ba ang gusto mong kainin? Mag-order ka kung anong gusto mo at babayaran ko.” The owner said, “Father, hindi po. Sige, papakainin po namin siya ng walang bayad.” I told the owner to just give the vagrant all that he wanted to consume, and then, I paid for it and left.
Sometimes, when we encounter such people, more often than not, we avoid them. I am teaching evangelism and when we see people like this, we should not ignore them. Kung meron mang marumi at mabaho, ang kauna-unahang mabaho sa mundo ay tayo. The reason we accepted Christ is for us to be cleansed and yet, we shun away from people like this.
God has given us power! I had a friend who was healed from his aneurism when I shared the Word of God with him. He is currently working in Singapore. His wife had a friend whose husband suffered a heart attack. That person got blind and had one part of his body amputated because of diabetes. His wife called me and shared with me the situation and I said, “Can we pray for your husband?” Instant healing took place when we prayed. There is power in the words that we say. Wherever we are, when we speak the Word of God, there is always power and there is always a result. Why then are we not sharing the Word of God?
Who among us are cowards? In fear? In doubt? With unbelief? Christians are bold! Proverbs says that the wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion. The lion fears nothing and no one. When we are bold, we don’t have any fear. To be bold means not being afraid of danger or difficult situations; fearless; brave. As people of God, we are declaring that we are bold! Sometimes, we are brave when we are many in number. Subukan ninyo mag-isa. Kaya ba ninyo ibahagi ang kadakilaan ng Diyos kung nasaan man kayo? How can we imitate someone whom we don’t know? No wonder we can’t imitate Christ because we don’t know Him. Young people today imitate anime or their favourite basketball players or singers and actors. We are proclaiming that we are Christians. Christ is in us and if Christ is in us, then we are new! Without Christ, we are nothing.
There is a story of a father and son. One time, the father was in the office and the son was left at home. The house caught fire and the firemen came to put off the fire and to rescue the son. The son went to the veranda and the people outside shouted, “Jump! Jump!” The son did not move. The firemen called out to him to jump, and he still did not move. Someone called the father in his office, and the father rushed to the burning house and he saw his son. The father shouted, “Son, jump!” And the son jumped immediately. In the middle of a chaotic situation, he heard the voice of his father.
What about us? Are we hearing the voice of God in the middle of a chaotic situation? When there is no peace at all, do we hear the word of God? When we succumbed to our problems, do we hear the word of God? Can we hear His voice?
Before, when we got involved in a ministry, everybody was on fire that when there was an activity, everybody would participate even if they did not have any transportation fare. Today, if one is needed in the Church, he would ask, “May pamasahe ba? May pagkain ba? May masasakyan ba tayo? Kung meron man, may aircon ba?” When we evangelize, we do not ask questions. Evangelism is using your own money for the sake of the needy, not for our sake.
Many of our young people are not involved in a ministry. Where is their heart? In the world or in the Church? They have lost their appetite and their zealousness in serving the Lord. They would be absent in their ministries for one reason or another. Marami tayong dahilan kung ayaw natin; kapag gusto natin, laging may paraan. Sana, we can count on the young people. Kapag kailangan sa simbahan, tayo ang nagkukumahog especially when we are in the ministry. We need to do this to evangelize those who are in the congregation who are not involved in a ministry. They need to be a part of the work of the Church.
Evangelism is not just accepting Christ and praying the “Sinner’s Prayer,” but it is reaching out to the needy. Evangelism is the attitude of the heart. A Senator said, “It is not change of men, but change in men.” Lagi tayong nagpapalit ng tao, subalit ang gusto ng Diyos ay baguhin ang puso ng tao. Hanggang porma na lang ba tayo? Walang binatbat pagdating sa mundo? Should our attitude be based on what we receive or on how much we give? We should not be takers, but givers. Is our attitude always on the side of receiving rather than giving? This is not just about finances, but this is about your service to the needy – the poor; the neglected; the sick. We need to evangelize them.
We need to show to the world that we are different from them. We are peculiar, energetic, strong, active and brave. Kung ang mundo ay may kulay ang buhok, dapat tayo ay walang kulay. Kung ang mga lalaki sa mundo ay may mga hikaw, dapat tayong mga lalaki ay wala. Kung sila ay nagmumura, tayo ay hindi dapat. Tayo dapat ang nagco-confront sa mga nagmumura. How can we evangelize people if we are easily angered or pestered by little things? Christians are always smiling, and it makes one look younger. We should be peculiar. Hindi tayo katulad ng mundo. Jesus said, “I am in the world, but I am not of the world,” and we should be like this.
How do we evangelize? One, it is by intercession. We need to intercede for the people that we are going to minister to. We need to have a companion when we evangelize so that in what we cannot do, our companion can help us. Two, we need to pray in tongues. We need to be Spirit-filled because when we minister to those who may be demon-possessed, what may happen may be the other way around.
What are the steps in evangelizing? When we go out to evangelize, the very first thing that we do is to introduce ourselves. Second, we shake the hands of those whom we will minister because the anointing of God in us will transfer to the person. Third, we start a conversation like saying, “How are you?” Fourth, start sharing Christ through a personal testimony. Share how Christ changed your life. We need to understand that it is not a ‘shotgun’ approach. The ‘shotgun’ approach is, “If you will not accept Christ, you will go to hell.” Of course, the person we are evangelizing would say, “Ay, sige, maga-accept na ako. Ayaw ko sa impiyerno.” When a question arises, be in-tune with God and ask for God’s help, and the Holy Spirit will be the One to speak.
The fifth step is to pray for the person. We say, “Can I pray for you?” The prayer is receiving Christ. There is an ABC in our prayer. A is accept that you are a sinner. B is to believe in Jesus Christ. C is to confess that Jesus is your Lord. The prayer in Tagalog says , “Panginoon Hesus, inaamin ko na ako ay nagkasala sa Iyo sa isip, salita at gawa. Ngayon, binubuksan ko ang aking puso. Pumasok Ka sa aking puso at manirahan Ka at Ikaw na ang Panginoon ng aking buhay. Pangunahan Mo na aking buhay. Salamat sa Pangalan ni Hesus.” In this prayer, there is first the confession. Inaamin mo na nagkulang ka at nagkamali ka. Second, you believe in Christ. Third, you are confessing that He is Lord of your life.
The sixth step in evangelizing is to explain to the person that received Christ what he received. Seven, get the address, the contact number. If one receives Christ, we do not leave them alone. We need the eighth step, which is to follow up the person. Kinukumusta natin sila. Ninth step is to invite the person to attend Church. If we cannot bring them to our Church, we need to restore them and give them back to their respective churches. Tenth step is to set a date or time. The eleventh step is that we are to make sure that we wait for the person.
As evangelists and in sharing the Word of God, always be prepared in season and out of season. The most powerful tool in evangelism is by the life you live in Christ and what you speak in your heart not in your mind. Our targets for evangelism are the sinners, problematic persons, sick people, those who do not know Christ, and the needy. These are people that we can easily bring to Christ. For those who are sick, when we say, “Sumunod po kayo sa akin,” susunod po sila; then, we do the healing.
All of us are called to evangelize. No one is exempted. There is a hindrance in evangelism, that is, if you are in fear and in doubt, if you have unbelief, if you are afraid, and if you are ashamed. This is why it is necessary that you have a companion. If you do not know what to share, your companion can do it for you. However, the Holy Spirit can lead you and you will be able to speak and your fear will be gone. This is the beginning of being an evangelist, and this will stir you to share the life of Christ every day of your life because you have already shared Christ to someone. Not until you have shared the Word of God and not until you have the zealousness and fire to share the Word of God can you be an evangelist.
Evangelism is not the work of the Bishop, the Priests and the Deacons alone. It is the work of every Christian. Church, it is not too late. Now is the time! We are called to be Christ’s witnesses. The world is looking for a true witness of Christ. The world is looking for changes. Change is coming by the life you and I live in Christ. In this crooked and perverse generation, let us all be a witness of God’s love and power. Remember, Christianity is life; therefore, we must involve ourselves in life.
As I have shared, evangelism before is just saying the Sinner’s Prayer and accepting Christ. Now, I am telling you that evangelism is having an ear to listen. You help the needy, the orphan, the widow and the elderly. Pray for the sick; heal the sick. Be a father to the fatherless; be a mother to the motherless. We have grown from the Sinner’s Prayer and in accepting Christ. Let us live this out. When somebody has a problem, even at the expense of your leisure, go and listen! You need to listen to people who are in need so that they can be relieved and be alleviated from what they are experiencing. If we are not available, what will happen to a person that needs evangelizing? It would be sad that somebody might die not knowing Christ in their lives. It may happen to us that if we have our own problems, nobody will listen to us because we did not do so in the first place.
My exhortation to you: if I can do it, then, you can do it because Christ is in you and me. We should be doing evangelism 24/7. In Joshua 1:8, it says, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” In Jeremiah 1:4-10, “Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.’ Then I said, ‘Alas, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth.’ But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am a youth,” because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak. ‘Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you,’ declares the Lord. Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me, ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have appointed you this day over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.’”
Reading from Jeremiah, what then are we afraid of? Why can’t we share Christ? I said last Wednesday na lahat ng kayabangan, kaya natin ibahagi, pero pagdating sa binago tayo ni Kristo, wala tayong masabi. Sasabihin natin, “Wala, eh. Meron ba?” Nakakahiya tayo, di ba? We are Christians and yet we don’t know Christ.
Remember that late obedience is disobedience. Obedience brings blessing. If Bishop Ariel says, “This is the way it is in the kingdom of God,” Dcn. Ben says, “Kung hindi tayo kikilos, sino? Kung hindi ngayon, kalian? Kung hindi para sa Diyos, bakit pa? Mahal kayo ng Diyos, siyempre, ako rin!”