OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew


            Just prior to His ascension to the right hand of the Father, Jesus met with His apostles on the Mount of Olives.  His final words to them took the form of a commission.  “And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:  and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:18-20).  Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10).  He died on the cross of Calvary as the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29).  In order for Jesus’ blood to remove these sins, those in the world would need to trust and obey the Word of God.  Thus, Jesus commissioned His ambassadors to go into the world both teaching and baptizing all who would come to Him.

            The action-packed book of Acts reveals the obedience of the early church to this Great Commission.  On Pentecost Day, Peter and the other eleven apostles preached the gospel to the masses for the first time in Jerusalem (Acts 2:5, 14).  When persecution broke out in Jerusalem, the church was “scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria” (Acts 8:1) and went everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8:4).  In Acts 10, another line was crossed when the gospel was preached to the household of Cornelius.  He became the first Gentile convert to Christianity.  After Saul’s conversion (Acts 9), the gospel quickly spread throughout the Roman Empire.  According to Philippians 1:13, the gospel made its way into the palace of Caesar himself.  The apostles and the early church were serious about their mission.  They were so successful that Paul could write that the gospel “was preached to every creature under heaven, whereof I Paul am made a minister” (Col. 1:23).

            With the birth of each new generation, there is the need for the gospel to be preached.  Men are lost in sin (Rom. 3:19, 23).  Only the gospel can bring them salvation (Rom. 1:16).  Thus, it behooves the church as the pillar and ground of the truth (I Tim. 3:15) to spread the gospel to the four corners of the earth.  If we do not take it to the world, who will?

            This past year, the OceanSide church of Christ has made great strides in evangelism.  Presently, we are supporting two men in the Memphis School of Preaching, Andrey Kostine and Scott Cain.  These men will graduate and go into various parts of the world to preach the gospel.  As they labor in the kingdom, we will be having fellowship with them in their fruits.  OceanSide has continued its support of the Prison Ministry in Florida.  This is a worthy effort.  Oftentimes, the only thing that will change the behaviors of a criminal is the gospel of Christ.  The Latin American Missions is a new effort that we started supporting in March.  This work is overseen by the Forest Park church of Christ in Valdosta, Georgia.  This work has branched out into eight different countries.  They (we) have planted churches.  They (we) have founded three preacher training schools.  They (we) have built a home for needy children.  Too, they (we) are converting many souls in those Spanish-speaking countries every day.  Another new mission work that we took on this year is found in Darien, Georgia.  This church was close for two years.  In August, the doors were opened again.  A group of about 25 Christians are now meeting in Darien.  Marty Broom is the preacher.  He is presently studying the Bible with two non-Christians. 

            Our involvement in all of these works shows that OceanSide is mission-minded.  However, it is very easy to write a check to support these efforts.  It is another thing to get personally involved in these good works.  One of the reasons we wanted to support the Darien work is to provide our members with an opportunity to get “hands-on” training in the mission field.  Yesterday was our first move to be physically involved in the work.  Several from this congregation went to Darien to knock doors.  The main thrust of the campaign was to advertise their gospel meeting to the community.  We want the community to know that the church is alive in their town again.  Tuesday night, we have another opportunity to assist our brothers and sisters in Darien.  We will be taking a van-load of people to attend the gospel meeting there.  We want as many as possible to go.  It would really be a “shot-in-the-arm” to that church if we could bring 25 to 30 people that night.  We encourage each of you to go, even if you must make some sacrifices to do so.  The last Sunday of this month will see another group traveling to Darien.  Several of our young men will go and lead the worship services that day.

            There is no doubt that our efforts will help the church in Darien.  We will help them to grow the church in that area.  We will encourage and exhort them to continue in the good work of the Lord.  We will support them financially until they can become self-supporting.  Our labors, however, not only help Darien, but they help us as well.  Supporting mission works in other places teaches us marvelous things and instills within us many Christian virtues.  Our involvement makes us grateful for our congregation.  We are larger.  We are established.  We have a solid eldership that leads us.  These are some of the things that mission works do not have.  Our involvement makes us less selfish.  When we go to a distant church, we must make sacrifices.  Time and money are usually the biggest expenditures.  At the outset, we may have some reluctance and dread about going, but after the trip is over we rejoice for having made the sacrifices.  Our involvement also causes us to pray and study more.  We pray for our new brothers and sisters in Christ.  We study so we can make a difference in the lives of others when we go out to teach them about Jesus Christ.  Being personally involved in a mission work causes our Christianity to be real and practical.  It is no longer just some words from the preacher’s mouth; it involves real actions that can literally change the lives of other people.

            In Acts 16:9, Paul received the Macedonian call.  “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; there stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, come over into Macedonia, and help us.”  Once the call was made, a choice was set before Paul and his associates.  They chose to respond positively.  “And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them” (Acts 16:10).  We have received the call to assist in Darien, Georgia.  Now the choice is ours.  Let’s do as Paul and his companions and “endeavor to go…for to preach the gospel unto them.”