Multitudes in Matthew and Malaysia

Matthew 5:1, The Challenge of The Multitude

Wherever in the Far East one may travel, the preponderance of the crowd impresses both the casual spectator or the observant visitor. Malaysia is no exception, though in comparison with China or India its population is small. Taking in both territories of West and East Malaysia, the total is around 15 million people, a multiracial nation composed of Malays, Chinese and Indians. Any city, town or village will have this composition. Creditable harmony prevails, in spite of evident ethnic difference and this has served to Promote the financial stability and commercial acumen of the nation.

A vast variety is easily discerned in colour, creed, conversation and also in cuisine. This contributes to the peculiar attractiveness as each ethnic group, while contributing to the oneness of the nation politically, maintains its distinctive identity.

The gospel has been in the country for well over 120 years, but from the very beginning a section of the community has been untouched. This affords no small amount of exercise and concern. It is against the Constitution of Malaysia to engage in any form of evangelization amongst the Malay population. However, with slightly less than half of the population open to the Gospel, there has been a rich ingathering of souls over these long years of testimony for which we praise God. We miss the liberty to meet “head on” the challenge of the multitudes by bringing the gospel to them in the open air; this approach is forbidden by the laws of Malaysia.

Matthew 15:30, The Condition of the Multitudes

The greater percentage of the saints in fellowship are first generation Christians. Most have had an idolatrous background, whether Chinese, of Buddhism and Taoism, or Indian of Hinduism. Not only are they fallen in Adam, and hence sinners as are all men, but also with deeply embedded religious customs and rites, the darkness is greatly enforced by the power and presence of spirits that exert tremendous influence upon almost every aspect of life. To say that they are in spiritual night is only touching the surface of the prevailing condition of the multitudes around us in Malaysia. Does it require to be stressed in these days, that nothing but the Gospel can meet that need? Those assemblies with which we are happily associated in Malaysia believe this to the utmost and maintain a regular Gospel activity in which and through which, many souls have been gloriously saved.

Matthew 9:36, The Compassion of the Multitude

In Paramount, an assembly was formed in May 1969, and since then there has been a virile work in the gospel reaching out to the immediate locality and beyond. This is composed of a growing Sunday School work in which the saints have devoted themselves commendably and have seen the hand of God in rich blessing. The same can be said of the saints that meet in Eng Ang, Klang, some 14 miles from where we are situated in Petaling Jaya. Similar commitments characterize the much longer established testimony in Malacca which dates from before the Second World War and with which the late Mr. O.B. Wylie (NZ) was associated. In each of these, because of our deep seated compassion for the lost, regular efforts of a special nature in the gospel are conducted.

God has been pleased to raise up excellent brethren, fully capable of taking the lead in spiritual life and testimony. Our weekly Bible Readings offer evidence of a spiritually equipped company, as also do the frequent gatherings for ministry.

Malaysia has, because of its multiracial composition, many one-day holidays. Often these are used for conferences when there would be a morning Bible Reading and then ministry in the afternoon. Annually, we have a conference that is now into its 23rd year, through the goodness of God, which betokens the interest that prevails for the teaching of the Word of God.

One feature is manifestly absent, we do not have enough full-time workers. Two Indian brethren move in fellowship with the above assemblies and we greatly value their devotion and self-sacrificing labors. But the crying need is for young men to assume their much-needed role in serving the Lord in their own land. Fortunately I still have permanent residence and am not hindered in any way in living in Malaysia. Our other full time worker, Miss Daphne King has recently been obliged to return to Australia due to illness. From time to time we enjoy the valued help of visitors, the most notable being our brother Mr. Jim Allen who recently lost his wife. We will miss her for she was a succourer of many and served selflessly.

Matthew 11:7, The Contrariety of the Multitude

Like as in the days of the Saviour’s ministry, the multitudes lay an impenitence and an indifference, comparable to those likened by the Saviour, to unresponsive children whatever the approach. However, that does not mean we should abandon the effort. Thank God our brethren with whom we labour are of one mind in the spread of the gospel. Often we can see a large company gathered into a home to hear the gospel. Then, in the assembly at Paramount, bimonthly, on the fourth weekend, there is a special series, in which our local brethren exercise their gift in the preaching of the gospel. On the other months they minister the good Word of God. There is ample room for the rich development of spiritual ability and exercise for the building up of the testimony. This is quite apart from extended periods of sound gospel preaching. With an assembly of almost 90 in fellowship there is now a move to extend the testimony in another locality, and for this we invite much prayer.

Matthew 26:55, The Changeableness of the Multitude

There is nothing more fickle than a crowd. There is much to divert the attention of the people, so while we have the liberty; albeit, limited as it is, we will endeavor to use up every opportunity to work while it is day. Just to have the fervent prayers of such a reading audience as this honored magazine reaches, will, as always, prove comforting.