By Randy Hurst
Oct. 7, 2012
Why did our early Assemblies of God leaders choose to describe unreached regions as “neglected”? Because they knew that reaching the lost is intentional. Neglect, in itself, is a choice.
The Spirit prepares hearts everywhere for the gospel. But they need a messenger to bring it to them.
In Acts 8, an angel appeared to Philip and directed him to the road from Jerusalem to Gaza, where he met an Ethiopian traveling in a chariot. When Philip shared the truth, the Ethiopian came to faith in Jesus.
Acts 10 tells us that when Cornelius prayed, an angel told him to send for Simon Peter. In response, Peter came and shared the message of Christ with Cornelius and his household.
Do angels know the gospel? If so, why didn’t they share Christ with the Ethiopian and Cornelius? The answer is simple. Angels are not responsible to proclaim the gospel. We are. God determined that we who have experienced salvation are to take the message to those who haven’t heard.
With a seeking heart, the Ethiopian held the Scriptures, written in a language he understood. But he didn’t come to faith until God put Philip beside him. God sends messengers to spiritually hungry hearts, but someone must be like Philip and obey the call.
Reasons aren’t excuses. Those untouched by the gospel wait for its message because, for whatever reason, someone has not obeyed our Lord’s command to take His message to them.
More than 4 billion people have not yet received an adequate witness of Jesus Christ. The unreached are not unreachable. God’s Word commands, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.”1
Most of those who have little or no access to the saving hope of the gospel live in what are often called “the hard places.” Having travelled to more than 80 countries, I have met many missionaries who serve in those hard places. Excuses would be easy for them, but they’re there — and with no excuses. They have obeyed the commands of the Lord and the call of the Spirit — knowing that even in hard soil there is good ground.
If we share the heart of our Master, we will continually lift our eyes toward what the apostle Paul called the “regions beyond.”
The Spirit is fueling a renewed flame of passion in our mission for the neglected regions our founders committed us to seek.
Beyond the horizons the lost are waiting to hear of the Savior.
1) Proverbs 3:27, NASB
RANDY HURST is director of communications for Assemblies of God World Missions.
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