Not Fail Nor Be Discouraged
Pressing God’s work forward in Oregon, U.S.A.
There is an amazing prophecy about Jesus in the Old Testament to which we need to take heed as laborers in the Lord’s vineyard. “He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for His law.” Isaiah 42:4. Jesus did not fail in the work that He came here to do. We are told in John 17:4, “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” Jesus never once gave up on the work of saving souls for His kingdom. He pressed through every difficulty and trial with a perseverance that had not been seen in anyone in the history of the world. In Christ’s ministry, He labored for souls from the first light until the evening shadows fell upon the earth. Yet, we are told that he saw little fruit from His labors. “When Jesus sat down to rest at Jacob’s well, He had come from Judea, where His ministry had produced little fruit. He had been rejected by the priests and rabbis, and even the people who professed to be His disciples had failed of perceiving His divine character. He was faint and weary; yet He did not neglect the opportunity of speaking to one woman, though she was a stranger, an alien from Israel, and living in open sin.” Desire of Ages, 194.
“Christ had been committing to chosen servants the seed of His word, to be sown in human hearts. During His life on this earth He had sown the seed of truth and had watered it with His blood. The conversions that took place on the Day of Pentecost were the result of this sowing, the harvest of Christ’s work, revealing the power of His teaching.” Acts of the Apostles, 44. The real results of Jesus’ labors were seen on the day of Pentecost, when thousands gave their hearts to Christ for the first time.
Like Noah of old, who had just a handful of converts in 120 years of preaching, did not give up in despair but waxed more bold and determined each day that passed, Jesus saw few souls accept His offers of mercy and salvation. He did not give up although the masses rejected Him and His words of hope. We must follow in the footsteps of our Master and Pattern. We may go through times when our message will be despised and ridiculed, yet that is the time to pray more valiantly, study more thoroughly, and preach more boldly.
In 2009, the Historic Message Church in Portland, Oregon held an evangelistic series in the Gresham area. We had prayed and fasted for the Lord’s blessing to be poured out upon the people who would be receiving invitations to come to these very important meetings. We were praying for ourselves and for one another that we could receive the Holy Spirit that we might witness and preach in a powerful way to those who would be attending the nightly seminar. The first weekend of the seminar we had an overwhelming response. Every chair was filled until there was standing room only, and each night brought new attendees. Almost every chair was filled the remaining nights of the seminar.
When I started visiting the people I saw the hand of God at work like I had never seen before. He had prepared people’s hearts ahead of time to accept the message of truth for these last days. During the meetings there was an intense interest in the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. It was exciting to see the Master of the vineyard at work in the hearts and minds of the people.
Exciting as it was to see the hand of God at work, evangelism is not always a bed of roses. Our next seminar this spring was held in the same area as the 2009 Unsealing Revelation seminar, and yet the results were quite the opposite. We had mailed out basically the same number of fliers. We had set times that the whole church came together to fast and pray for the meetings. As a church, we were specifically praying for the Holy Spirit to be poured out on us so that we could be a powerful witness to those who came, but the results were very different.
We had a good number of people that came the first and second nights of the meetings, but the attendance began to drop off very rapidly after the opening weekend. The numbers gradually dwindled down to about 10-15 attendees. Those who we thought to be very strong interests became the ones to turn against us, and the people who we thought to be the poorest interests became the ones to embrace the message that they were hearing.
During the lectures on the Sabbath and the change of the Sabbath, there was anger toward me that I had not witnessed before in a prophecy seminar. Verbal assaults upon my character became a nightly occurrence thereafter, until those assaulting decided not to return.
I was being tempted to water down the message and not to make it so pointed. I was tempted to look at the small number of people that were left. Satan was on hand to bring discouragement upon me, but the promise “He shall not fail nor be discouraged” continued to come to my mind. Do I give into my feelings or do I rise above circumstances by accepting the promises and provisions of the Word of God? The greatest enemy of one’s will is dependence upon feeling. It is possible for one’s emotions to be so affected, so deeply stirred, that they will completely overrule the will. As long as the kingly powers of sanctified conscience, will and reason are ruling over the emotions, they are very wonderful. The greatest danger we face today is the snare of Satan to weaken the will through unsanctified, uncontrolled emotions.
What is one soul worth? It cannot be estimated by some currency. It can only be determined by the death of Jesus on the cross. “One soul is of such value that, in comparison with it, worlds sink into insignificance….” Desire of Ages, 577.
I began to wonder if any of the people who were attending the meetings would accept the peculiar and holy messages of the Sabbath and Second Coming that are distinctive to only one group of people on the earth. Would anyone take a stand? I had to leave that up to the Lord and pray that He would lead them.
Near the end of the seminar, there were only about five people still coming faithfully each evening. Conscientiously, I could not water down the Three Angels’ Messages even if there was not going to be a soul there. I knew this was a possibility because of what I would be presenting in the last few meetings. The remaining messages could “blow away” the few precious souls that were coming. By God’s grace, He gave me the courage to preach a straight message through the remaining nights of the seminar.
We held the first Sabbath at the venue we had rented. Again, I wondered if anyone would come to worship the Lord on His holy Sabbath day. Those who I thought to be weak interests were the very ones who attended that first Sabbath to worship the Lord.
“Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days. Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth. If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies. He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap. Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things. Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.” Ecclesiastes 11:1-6
Are we to give up in discouragement when circumstances are unfavorable? When the numbers are not on our side? We must continue to work under the most unfavorable situations and not be discouraged about the outcome. Our duty is to preach the gospel and leave the work of converting souls to the Lord.
By Mike Bauler. Mike Bauler pastors the Historic Message church in Portland, Oregon, as well as coordinates mission projects for Mission Projects International. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.