The Master's blueprint for His church is clear, and fraught with solemn import and weighty responsibility. As the small band of humble disciples listened to our Lord's command for world evangelism, well might the gigantic task have completely baffled them. But the record of their achievement within one generation was so remarkable that one is forced to admit that they were endowed with superhuman power.
As we examine the blueprint we notice several outstanding features: (a) The Master declared He was the recipient of all power "in heaven and in earth." (b) He promised His disciples that they would receive of this power, (c) It was after their reception of this heavenly power that they were to become His witnesses to the uttermost parts of the earth, (d) His laborers were assured of His presence with them to the end of the world, (e) They were urged forward by the conviction that the message of the cross would possess irresistible at traction. They went forth conquering and to conquer. The testimony of their enemies was; "Ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine." Acts 5:28. "These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also." Acts 17:6.
The triumph of the early church was written "for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." The ministry in Southern Asia faces a real stronghold of the enemy, but the working force here is larger than that humble band of disciples who received the command. The gospel .is the same, only now it is in the setting of the third angel's message, which clothes it with a solemn urgency in view of the shortness of the time in which the task must be completed. The power given was no exclusive possession of the early church. The messenger of the Lord says to the remnant church, "Christ has promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to His church, and the promise belongs to us as much as to the first disciples."— The Desire of Ages, p. 672.
A stupendous, unfinished task challenges the ministry of Southern Asia. But this is no time for pessimism. Although there is so much to do and so little time remains in which to do it, the possibilities of achievement are as bright as the unfailing promises of God. All the resources of the early church are ours, and more, too, if only we will avail ourselves of them. Every minister of the gospel should be an enthusiastic optimist. Let us ever remember that the Lord of hosts is still saying to us, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit." Zech. 4:6. Let us recognize that the challenge of the un finished task demands response to the call of Joel 2:15-17—the call to true repentance and godly intercession on the part of the ministry. This alone will bring the latter rain, without which the task cannot be finished.
The call to repentance and dedication is to the entire church. It envisages a training of the whole church for efficiency in labor. Efficiency requires a thorough knowledge of our message, tactfulness, fervor, and perseverance in its presentation. Spiritual power, coupled with efficiency in labor, will bring results similar to those witnessed in the early church.
The Day of Opportunity
Let us say, "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Ps. 118:24. The entire Southern Asia Division is awakened as never before. Legislation aimed at revolutionary changes in the social life of the people is being enacted with rapidity. Beliefs and practices that have hindered the spread of the gospel are being discarded. The principle of religious liberty has been incorporated in the constitution of the land. Plans for the education of the masses are under way.
Interests in the third angel's message are springing up everywhere. By the various evangelizing agencies thousands are being brought under the influence of the truth. The soil for aggressive evangelism is being prepared in hitherto unentered fields. People of every position everywhere are interested in knowing the meaning of the foreboding events of the present hour. Truly the harvest is ripe, but the laborers are few.
Wonderful opportunities are opening in every union of the Southern Asia Division. Throughout India, Pakistan, Burma, and Ceylon doors that have long been closed are beginning to swing open. Truly, it is nothing but the hand of God. These opening doors are bringing encouragement to our workers, and we are beginning to see that now is our day of opportunity. Just how long these doors will remain open we do not know. It cannot be for long, for the sands of time are running low. Dr. Clyde Taylor, executive secretary, Evangelical Foreign Mission Association, recently said:
"All about us are warnings that our opportunities for evangelizing the unreached areas of the earth are about over. Statesmen, missionary leaders, and students o£ international affairs tell us that either isms or war or both may end our missionary efforts within five years. At most we may have ten years. Our opportunity to occupy or press the occupation of all great strategic areas that are open to the gospel, such as Japan, the Philippines, French Indo-China, India, Latin America, and Africa, is now. More doors may close; 1951 may be too late!"
Dr. Marion Hull, president, Atlanta Bible Institute, in commenting on mission work, said, "Enter the wide-open doors before they are closed." Our workers in Southern Asia are alive to these facts. Yes, our day of opportunity may be short! Although our evangelistic efforts during 1949 do not sound spectacular as compared with the achievements of some other di visions, yet the record shows that even in this dark land souls are turning to the light and are seeking- to follow the Master.
During 1949, including Voice of Prophecy rallies, ninety-three evangelistic efforts were held throughout the division. These efforts were strategically located so as to achieve the maximum result. Almost nine hundred souls joined the remnant church. We thank God for these new church members.
Our workers are ever pressing forward. They know no retreat! Goals far in advance of anything yet made have been set for 1950. The Southern Asia Division plans to hold 136 evangelistic efforts and baptize 1,300 souls during 1950.