Soul-Saving Jailbirds

I just got an update Joseph Ghorpade in India. As a preacher in a land were New Testament Christianity is often disrespected, misunderstood, and persecuted, these government Covid-19 regulations pose increased difficulty for him. India has announced a strict lock down until the 30th of June. The police have already photographed Joseph on the road to share the Gospel with the lost. He is expecting a ticket of Rs. 1500 which is about $15 for his violation.

This does bring up an important concern for Americans sharing the Gospel. Let us say that you were blessed with the opportunity to teach the Gospel to someone. You could have a Bible Study online using something like Zoom. But, what if that was not possible? What if they wanted to be baptized? Modern technology has advanced a great deal just in the past couple of years, however immersing someone in water is a ways off. After all the sinner is commanded to be baptized. This requires a baptizer and a baptizee. Would you risk being fined or going to jail in order to teach someone the Gospel and/or baptize them in water?

The apostles and the first century Christians would. In fact the Sanhedrin or Jewish Supreme Court ordered them not to preach in Jesus “So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard’” (Acts 4:18-20). So they went back out and started preaching and were arrested and divinely released from jail and arrested again. “And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, saying, ‘Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!’ But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’” (Acts 5:27-29).

In fact the apostles and early Christians were a bunch of soul-saving jailbirds. Obviously, God approved of their behavior. What would the Lord think of the Christian like Joseph who has defied the government orders? What would God say on Judgment Day to the Christian who refuses to share the Gospel at a time when people need it just as much as at any other time?

You might say that going out and teaching the lost and baptizing people would put their lives, the lives of those they taught, and other people at risk for Covid-19. True. However, what value do we place on the human soul in contrasts to their physical life? Jesus said, “for whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:25-26).

Isn’t soul-saving an essential service? If a house was on fire would firemen go out and risk saving other people, even if there was a chance of them or those they were trying to rescue of contracting Covid-19? What about police officers, paramedics, etc.? Should they go out and risk their lives and the health of others? Obviously, if any job in the world is essential, the saints know that it is the job of carrying the Gospel to a lost and dying world. What if we do not share the Gospel and someone dies of Covid-19 in their sins? The greatest malady facing mankind is sin. The greatest danger to the sinner is dying in his sins. The greatest tragedy for the saints is to have the remedy for sin and stand by and let souls be lost.

– Daniel R. Vess

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