I just recently arrived back in Canada, having spent the last two weeks with two others in India. Back to the Bible India is now on the air, and it has been a joy to celebrate the return of this ministry to India.
Although it was to celebrate the rebirth of this ministry in India, our stay was also an opportunity to meet with pastors. I had the joy of leading two pastors conferences, dedicated to teaching pastors how to preach expositionally. I also had the joy of preaching in two different churches, further acquainting myself with Indian Christians and the Indian church.
After coming home, I had opportunity to reflect on memories and experiences, and one stands out above the others. I was approached by three young men during a break at the pastors conference. All three wanted to enter pastoral ministry. All three showed evidence of a vibrant Christian faith. And all three made an impression on me because of their unique testimonies.
The first was raised in a Christian home. His was the story of an enduring Christian faith in that country, a faith that has spanned many generations. As many are aware, the apostle Thomas first brought the Christian faith to India, and since then, there has been a continuous Christian community. More recently in 1793, the English Baptist missionary William Carey came to India with a burning desire to establish an effective outreach. He astonishingly translated the Bible into an six different Indian languages, along with portions of the Bible into 209 other languages and dialects. He also laid a foundation education and social reform, bringing an end to the practice of Sati, or the burning widows along with their dead husbands.
And so for me at the Christian conference, that first young man represented the enduring nature of the Christian faith in a land, and the assurance that Christianity can and does survive and thrive where it is not easily accepted as part of the culture. I thanked God for that wonderful young man and his pure passion for our Lord and Saviour.
The second young man was a convert out of Hinduism. In his joy at finding the Saviour, he has shared the gospel with his family, resulting in the entire family coming to Christ. I saw in him the promise of Christ that those who are far off will be brought near.
The third young man was also a convert out of Hinduism, but had suffered the full rejection from his family. His testimony reminded me of Jesus’ words that no one who had left father and mother for the sake of the gospel would fail to find more in this life and in the next.
As I contemplated the unique nature of those three young men, who were both friends of one another and colleagues in the cause of Christ, I reflected that their story is indeed the story of the entire gospel. For whether the gospel finds us after a mother and father have prayed with and for us throughout our formative years, or whether the gospel finds us and demands we forsake all, I am overwhelmed by the power of the cross. And I am reminded that heaven will surely be the most overwhelming of scenes as men and women from every tribe, tongue, nation and race stand before the Lamb and thank Him for His grace.
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