Acts 4:12 says, “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” This is a powerful, definitive statement about Jesus. It doesn’t allow much wiggle room. IDES works with partners who are presenting this to people, many of whom mistakenly think they are saved by some other name- Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna or any other name. And they believe this fervently. They are as strong in their beliefs as you or I are in ours.
Mark Twain said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so."
We’re not talking about differences between political parties, sports teams, automobiles, or pews vs chairs. It’s more serious than that. It’s Truth or lies; life or death.
But we HAVE Truth. IDES helps spread that Truth!
Milton Bates was the founder of IDES. One night, in 1972, the news was featuring Bangladesh. Bangladesh had just been devastated by civil war, hit by a typhoon, and slammed by a tidal wave. As the reporter pointed to an elderly gentleman lying on the ground, covered only by a thin sheet, he asked, “Won’t somebody help these people?” Milton began to cry, and said, “Where is the Christian Church? We have the TRUTH of the gospel, and claim to be the church of the New Testament pattern. Why aren’t we there sharing the love of Jesus with these suffering people?” A year later, IDES was started.
We live in a world where we are constantly being lied to. A world where human life has less and less value; a world where those living a moral life are looked down upon; where the wise man is the one who “got away with it”; where scholars try to disprove the Bible and when they cannot, they confuse and mislead. We live in a world where God’s wisdom is foolishness; where His miracles are explained away and His TRUTH is ignored. This is nothing new, all of this is in the Word of God. It has been happening since the beginning of time. The prince of this world is the father of all lies and, though beaten already, he is intent on bringing as many people with him as possible.
John 14:16 says, “I am the way and the TRUTH and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 8:32 says, “Then you will know the TRUTH and the TRUTH will set you free.” The TRUTH is Christ! We are not talking about mere physical freedom but an all-encompassing freedom. People’s very salvation! II John says that the TRUTH (speaking of Jesus) lives in us and will be with us forever.
I want to share the story of this cross. It was give to IDES by mission partners in Jordan who are working with Syrian refugees and it demonstrates the power of the TRUTH. They commissioned it to be created by 2 men who were finding scraps of wood, metal and other objects to create decorations with. This is how these men support their families. It is made of plywood covered in coffee grounds with nuts and bits of copper. After agreeing to create this, they asked, “what’s a cross?” After finally understanding the shape for this decoration, they wanted to know, “what is the significance of a cross?” Each time our mission partners went back to them, these men asked more questions about the cross. They had the opportunity to share the TRUTH of the Cross with these men and two weeks before IDES received the cross, they actually came to know Christ and be baptized. They were set free by the TRUTH.
It is so easy to get wrapped up in the lie that Satan puts before us- that our focus should be on the church down the street, or the new church plant, or the mega church in another town when the TRUTH is our focus should be on those who are lost to the gospel- those our partners work with who have no idea of the significance of the cross; those who worship animistic images, false gods, who are TRAPPED in LIES.
Being involved with IDES puts the focus on the lost.
A couple months back I had the privilege of being in a meeting with one of our partners from India. We heard what they had done with the funds they received from IDES; we heard the stories of lives being changed; and we heard what their plans were for the future. Toward the end of the meeting, Rick asked if they had seen any persecution in recent times. This partner responded that they certainly had and began to give examples and show video of preachers being pulled out of their churches. He talked about pamphlets being put up all over their town with the full knowledge of the government. These pamphlets said that those who were Christian had two choices: convert back to Hinduism, or leave India because by the year 2020 there would be no more Christians left in India. This partner gathered the preachers he had trained to discuss the situation and pray about it. When they were finished he was asked what they were going to do. He said, “We will preach harder. They say by the year 2020 there will be no more Christians in India. I say by the year 2020 there will twice as many Christians in India!”
In the U.S. we talk about transfer membership, you know, people moving to your church from the church down the street. This is transfer membership.
But transferring from living a lie to living the Way and the TRUTH and the Life -- if that doesn’t get us excited, we need to check our pulse. We are talking about transferring from death to life and it is because of the TRUTH of the gospel. John 17:17 says the Word is TRUTH.
You see, the Truth is Christ, our Savior. As Christians we have the Truth of the gospel and this Truth lives in us. IDES is constantly engaged with the enemy as we continue to empower our missionaries and our local churches to spread the Truth to the unreached, to those who don’t know the Truth.
I hope it makes us each consider our own role. Not our role in IDES, as far as what our contribution is to the organization, but I hope it makes us consider our role in the movement, the WAY, the Kingdom of Christ. We don’t have pamphlets going up telling us that Christianity will be removed from our country by 2020. We likely don’t have much direct access with people who have never heard the significance of the cross. But we do have access to people who are in the same situation. People whose membership needs to transfer from death to life! They have been lied to, mislead, misguided, confused and victimized! The Truth is here for THEM, our neighbors, coworkers, waiters, waitresses, clerks, cashiers. Our role in the Kingdom is THEM. We need that same urgency and intentionality… because we know the TRUTH, we are KNOWN by the TRUTH, and we HAVE the TRUTH that sets them free.
These disasters, whether big physical disasters like hurricanes, or the disasters each of us encounter in our lives at some point -- these disasters are opportunities. Opportunities for the TRUTH of Christ to shine bright.
My prayer is that we, organizationally, and we, individually, can have the urgency to always reach one more person with the saving TRUTH.
-written by David Stine, Director of Operations @ IDES