There is a song we often hear at Christmas time. A part of the song goes, “Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere, go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is Lord.”
In the song we are encouraged to tell the world about Jesus. We are to go and tell that the eternal God the Son was born as one of us so that in living and dying for us He could provide the way of salvation and eternal life to any and all who are willing to repent of sin, and put their faith in Jesus alone for that gift of eternal life.
One of the things I envision when I hear or sing this song is someone up on the side of a mountain, shouting the good news for the people down below to hear. In other words, he is not right there with them, but he is able to tell them the wonderful news about what Jesus did nonetheless.
The reason that has come to my mind is because that is how I feel lately in our time of worship and preaching during this pandemic. Since we are not allowed to get together in the same ways we have heretofore, I feel almost like I am shouting from a mountaintop as I do live-stream on Facebook, hoping the people down below can and do hear me.
I must be honest with you; I am using the technology available at this time, but i don’t much like having to do it this way!
Don’t misunderstand me; I am grateful for the technology we have available to us, and I’m using it. In fact I’m getting a little better at it, and I plan on continuing to use it in one way or another even after this current forced separation has passed, but I will still feel like I am up on a mountain shouting to those far away.
The truth is, there are people who have been way ahead of us in reaching people for Christ by way of “not-in-person” technology. They have long been working through radio and video. Many have used radio, and some have used television, and others in more recent decades, have used the Internet.
Without question for many decades untold millions have come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior through listening to radio in countries where Christianity is not permitted. They hear the gospel, and as it says in Ephesians 1:13, after having heard the gospel, and believing in Christ, they were born again and sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.
What an amazing act of grace, that God would work through that technology to save those who were willing to seek Him. They weren’t face-to-face with those who spoke the gospel, but they will be face-to-face with God throughout eternity because they came to put their faith in Jesus alone for salvation and eternal life. Praise God!
But I am somewhat old school. My grandchildren say I am as old as dirt, and I sometimes refer to myself as a Neanderthal. But the truth is I love the privilege of sharing the truth of the gospel when I am looking into someone’s eyes. I am able to see them glaze over, which tells me they aren’t really ready to listen to God call them to believe, or I see a light begin to shine as they begin to understand what the Bible is really saying about eternal life.
It is at that time that you are privileged to watch as God is speaking to their hearts and minds. You see, it is God who calls people to believe, not us. God uses us, but it is completely Him. That’s why it says in Ephesians 4:21, “…if you have heard Him…” God is the One who calls us to believe. God tells us to go and tell, but He is the One who calls and saves.
Knowing that is actually part of what encourages me during this time that we can’t be together in person for studies and worship. I can boldly proclaim God’s Word, even when I can’t see the audience, because I know it is God who does the work of the heart, not me.
Understanding and knowing in faith that whether it is in a live stream, a recorded video, a written letter, a text, in person, or a person reading the Bible all by themselves, it is God alone who can touch the person’s heart and mind. We can entrust that form of communication, whatever it might be, to our God Most High, who loves the person who is hearing or reading about Christ more than we love them.
Nonetheless, I truly look forward to the day when we can be together again in the same building, whether it is a classroom, sanctuary, or a fellowship hall for a meal. God intends His people to be together in friendship and fellowship. That is why He says in Hebrews 10:25 not to forsake our gathering together in fellowship, but to encourage each other.
God saves us to enjoy eternal life with Him and all other believers, and praise God that fellowship of eternal life begins in this life; we do not have to wait to enjoy that precious gift.
Jon McCartney is pastor of First Baptist Church of Tooele.