Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Evangelism (11/01/07)
TITLE: Thomas Christians
By Kenneth Heath
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Remember “Doubting Thomas?” The disciple, who had to see, had to touch the wounds in Christ’s hands before he believed. Yet, once he had seen and touched, he departed with such fervor to evangelize the world. He travelled the farthest of all the disciples, ending up in Calamina India. Here he encountered a people who worshiped an image of the sun. They went out to the streams and rivers, where they would take a hand full of water and throw it into the air before the sun and worship as the glistening drops fell back to the ground.
Thomas told them that their god was a false one and that he worshiped the true God. They challenged him to prove it, so he took a handful of water and threw it into the air. There the drops hung, suspended in time and space. This amazed the multitude and many began to enquire as to the true God of Thomas.
Thomas preached the good news and so great were the number of converts, that the sun gods priests became furious. They were losing power, position and most of all money. They brought Thomas before the local ruler, where he was sentenced to branding by hot metal and then to be thrown into a heated furnace. To the amazement of the crowd, the fire did not harm him. Enraged, the priests then threw spears at him in the furnace and one hit him in the side, killing him.
There is a saying that goes “don’t shoot the messenger”. They may have killed the messenger but they never killed the message. Today, as you travel through India, you will still meet Christians who call them selves, “Thomas Christians.”
Dearly beloved, in your Christian walk you too will experience highs and lows on your journey as you seek to evangelize the lost. Never become discouraged as you discover that it is not an easy journey. From your “baby Christian” days where you tripped over your own feet, with such enthusiasm and “Bible bashed” all and sundry and probably did more harm than good.
Through the maturation phase where you studied “Person to person” or one of the many evangelical courses on offer, and as a congregation put it into practice. Helped home fellowships grow and participated in the various outreaches that your church supported.
However you will also notice that through the years, you would have upset various individuals. They too like the priests of old will burn you with their tongues and their pointed spears will be aimed at your heart. They will seek to “kill” you, discredit you, destroy you and through it all you are going to have to love them. Truth hurts and it is the spirit with in them that hates your witness and so they manifest in all those unkind ways.
If I have learned anything through the years, it is that the best way to evangelize people is to live and walk the talk. People who don’t know the Lord are watching you. They are looking for answers, for reality, deep down inside they are aware of their condition and are looking for a way to escape.
Jesus came to set the captives free; live your life as an example to others. Think before you speak, go the extra mile, wear a smile always, humble your self and never think you are better than another, we are all sinners saved by grace and yes we will make mistakes, but it is how we pick ourselves up that will count in the eyes of others. Walk with integrity, love your wife and children, make peace with all men and realize that we cannot do any of these if we do not have love. Loving your God, and your neighbor as your self are the keys to evangelism. If we apply them we will have great success. Remember they may kill the messenger but they can never kill the Word.
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