The late Mr. Sam Hamilton said, “If the assemblies do not get ‘new blood,’ they will die.”
Thank God that this and similar statements or personal exercise have stirred God’s servants and local assemblies gathered to His name to press forward with the gospel into new territories in Ontario.
There are approximately seventy-six assemblies meeting in gospel halls in Ontario and many of these possess considerable local evangelistic gift.
When Paul, Silas, and Timothy went to Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-9), a large number were saved. However, it was not long until unbelieving Jews caused an uproar (v 5). The result was that Paul and Silas had to be sent away immediately by night (v 10). Timothy likely was able to stay for a while. The servants of the Lord had a comparatively short stay, but that did not stop the evangelization of Thessalonica or the surrounding areas.
Paul (with Silas and Timothy) wrote the first letter to them a short time later saying that they were ensamples to all that believed in Macedonia and Achaia. I Thessalonians 1:7, “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything.” These believers had “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for His Son from Heaven (vs 8, 9b, 10a).
It would seem that the Holy Spirit has left these details in the Holy Scriptures to stir those of us who are in local assemblies to carry the gospel in our areas so that the servants of the Lord with a pioneer spirit can go further afield to see souls saved and new assemblies gathered to Him.
If we look at the maps in our Bibles, we will see that the Thessalonian believers carried the gospel many miles, traveling by foot, ship, or other comparatively primitive means of transportation. Would it seem unreasonable in our day to suggest than any sizeable assembly should be able to reach within 50 miles with the gospel and suitable follow-up? The exception would be, of course, the larger cities where there is a large field within those cities.
Ontario can be divided, speaking in very general terms, north to south by Highway 11, and east to west by Highways 401 and 17. We thank God for the approximately 38 servants of the Lord who are doing what they can, some with marginal health, some very aged. But these cannot possibly cover thoroughly this large province. We should remember we are all “full-time” servants of the Lord, perhaps earning our living by a different means.
The methods of evangelizing differ, but God has used and is using all for his glory: Seedsowers, giving of Bibles, and tract distribution. No doubt the most difficult for many of us is knocking on doors. As one servant of the Lord said, “You knock on doors hoping no one is home!” This method, however, seems to be the most fruitful, although many times the rebuffs sting. Nevertheless, there is great joy when a conversation develops which leads to souls being saved.
May we as local brethren and sisters in the assemblies in this large province of Ontario be encouraged by these verses from the Old and New Testaments
Psalm 126:5 – “They that sow in tears, shall reap in joy.”
v. 6 – “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Galatians 6:9 – “And let us not be weary in well doing: For in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Perhaps another few comments would be in order; comments that the Lord’s servants may not want to make:
1) It is likely many do not know the cost of pioneering in the gospel.
2) In order for one of the Lord’s servants to do this work in a tent, it will cost thousands of dollars to purchase a tent and properly furnish it with chairs, platform, lighting, and podium, plus a vehicle to transport it.
3) There will be the expense of accommodation for the family.
May God encourage each of us to do what we can for Him!