The Elijah Message
Every story in the Bible has some significance for us today. “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11
It is during a mad search for Elijah that God tells the prophet to go and show himself to King Ahab, who is wishing to kill this prophet who dared to come before him uninvited and speak those words of doom and disaster to this country because of the king and the people’s rebelliousness. Elijah’s word to the king was, “Tell the prophets of Baal and the people of Israel to meet me on Mt. Carmel.” The king dared not disobey lest something worse come upon him and the nation of Israel. While everyone is gathered around the two altars, listening to the false prophets of Baal wail lamentations to their god and no fire is seen flashing down from the sky, Elijah stops the senseless ceremony.
It is Elijah’s turn to prove that the God of heaven is the only true God who deserves to be worshipped. He repairs the altar on which Abraham once sacrificed to show his faith in the coming Redeemer. He calls for water to be poured over the sacrifice, so much that it fills the ditch around the altar. The wood and the sacrifice are thoroughly soaked with no possible way of a trick being played by Elijah to ignite the wood on the altar. But before Elijah prays and asks God to show the people that He was the true God, the prophet says, “Come near unto me.”
“Those who are to prepare the way for the second coming of Christ are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ’s first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated, and the public mind is to be stirred. Temperance in all things is to be connected with the message, to turn the people of God from their idolatry, their gluttony, and their extravagance in dress and other things.” Maranatha, 118
God’s people who are to proclaim the three angels’ messages in these last days are represented as faithful Elijah. If we are going to win souls to Christ we are going to “come near” to those who we are working with. “My brethren and sisters, in your ministry come close to the people. Uplift those who are cast down. Treat of calamities as disguised blessings, of woes as mercies. Work in a way that will cause hope to spring up in the place of despair. . . .” Counsels on Health, 27
Are you making friends with those who you want to bring to Christ? I would like to share with you a method of evangelism that is the same as that of Elijah’s method of winning souls to Christ: “Come near unto me.” In fact this is the only way that you can win souls in this country that I visited and saw firsthand how they win people to Jesus.
Have you ever heard of or visited a country that restricts your religious freedom? A government that would require you to submit your sermon to them for review before you preach on Sabbath morning and anonymously visit the church service to make sure the sermon that you sent in for review is what is being preached? And could reject the sermon if it went against their ideas about what should be spoken from the pulpit or not spoken in that country? This is what the church in Vietnam faces every week: government agents coming to church and taking note to what is being preached and who is there and who is not in attendance. Nevertheless, the work of God is moving forward in this communistic country of our world.
Pastor Khoi has a vision to take the gospel to all those who do not know the Lord Jesus in this country of 87,000,000 people. Pastor Khoi is the stewardship director in the organization in Vietnam, and he wants to see this country of Buddhists and Hindus and the few remaining Protestants accept the truth of the three angels’ message. Vietnam has fifty cities and provinces; only twenty of these have an Adventist presence, mostly in the south and central regions. There are six Adventist church buildings in Vietnam and about 100 registered Adventist groups meeting in homes.
Despite the difficulties the workers have, there is a determination to keep pressing forward to reach those who do not know the
truth for these last days. Pastor Khoi has a very thought-out plan of how to reach the masses. Every other quarter during the year he has youth that want to go into the ministry doing Bible work. These young people and some older ones come for three months of training at his school of evangelism and learn the basics of Bible work. He will train them in understanding the doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist faith and how to answer objections to those truths that we hold. I had the privilege of teaching some of the youth at one of his training schools, and I found that these very bright students were the quickest to understand what I was teaching of all the young people that I have ever taught.
After they finish their three months of training, they will be sent into the field for a practical application of their training. They will spend the next nine months at a church learning how a church is to function and how it is organized. They take over all roles of the church, organizing the church services, teaching Sabbath school, preaching, visiting the members and working to find people with whom to study. They will be required to find thirty new friends per month. So at the end of the nine month training they will have made 270 friends. Out of all these contacts, Pastor Khoi wants to see three of these friends coming to church. The reason for making friends is because of the restrictions that the government has implemented on proselytizing. You are not allowed to hand out literature on the street ,nor are you allowed to approach a house with any religious material for distribution. Making friends and then introducing them to our truth at just the right time is the modus operandi of reaching souls in this country. This “come near” approach is very effective in bringing souls to the Lord.
“That which is needed now for the upbuilding of our churches is the nice work of wise laborers to discern and develop talent in the church that can be educated for the Master’s service. Those who shall labor in visiting the churches should give them instruction in the Bible reading and missionary work. Let there be a class for the training of the youth who are willing to work if they are taught how. Young men and women should be educated to become workers at home, in their own neighborhoods, and in the church.” Review and Herald, May 15, 1888.
When the nine months are completed, some will be handpicked to return to the training school for further instruction and deeper studies in the Word of God. But the most valuable training that they have is learning to make friends with those who they want to tell about Jesus. Often times, just telling the people the truth will not save them nor bring them to the Lord. We have to become acquainted them and enter into their personal lives as Jesus did during His earthly ministry. Study John 4.
“One great object of our schools is the training of youth to engage in service in our institutions and in different lines of gospel work. The people everywhere are to have the Bible opened to them. The time has come, the important time when through God’s messengers the scroll is being unrolled to the world. The truth comprised in the first, second, and third angels’ messages must go to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people; it must lighten the darkness of every continent and extend to the islands of the sea. Nothing of human invention must be allowed to retard this work. That this may be accomplished, there is need of cultivated and consecrated talent; there is need of persons who can do excellent work in the meekness of Christ because self is hid in Christ. Novices cannot acceptably do the work of unfolding the hidden treasure to enrich souls in spiritual things. ‘Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.’ ‘Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.’ 2 Timothy 2:7, 15. This charge to Timothy is to be an educating power in every family and in every school.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 133.
By Pastor Mike Bauler, Support for the work in Vietnam can be sent to Mission Projects International, PO Box 59656, Renton, WA 98058.