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May 13
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The Work We Are Facing posted by jwatson on May 13, 2016

1907 was a long time ago.  But, since truth does not have a past, present and future tense, truth stated in 1907 is still true today.  Also, truth stated in 1907 was also true in 1607.  1907 is the copyright date of the book, Taking Men Alive, by Charles Trumbull.  Mr. Trumbull was very active and influential in the YMCA.  In those days the C – Christian – really meant Christian.

Yesterday I took this book home with me to read again.  This time the very first page, which I have read at least twice before, arrested my attention.  I read and reread it a few times and have found my thoughts returning to it throughout today.  So, unedited, here is what he writes.

“If Jesus of Nazareth had not been a Master Fisherman, the work of extending His Kingdom among men would have ended with His death.  If we do not learn and practice His art of fishing, or “taking men alive,” we shall be failures in the chief work of His kingdom on earth.

And the fishing unto eternal life must be done individually.  Let us therefore consider at the outset these three truths:

  • The work of individual soul-winning is the greatest work that God permits men to do.
  • It was Christ’s own preferred method of work, as it is His preferred method for us today. For it is always the most effective way of working.
  • It is the hardest work in the world to do, and it always will be the hardest.

If we are not prepared to accept these statements as true, we shall have the opportunity to investigate and test them as we go on with our studies.  But, let us remember, every man in the world is going to be “taken alive” – by some one.  The Greek zogreo, meaning, “to take alive,” occurs only twice in the entire New Testament:  in Luke 5:10 and 2 Timothy 2:26.

  • Luke 5:10 – And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching (zogron = catching alive) men.”
  • 2 Timothy 2:26 – …and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive (ezogremenoi = having been caught alive) to do his will.

In the one case, Jesus promises to enable His disciple to take men alive for the Kingdom.  In the other case, Paul speaks of those who have been taken alive by the Devil.  It is the same word in both cases, but with a different outcome!  By one or the other, every soul will eventually be taken – taken alive unto death, or taken alive unto eternal life.”

How important is this “catching alive?”  Eternally important!  It is this truth that is at the very core of Evangelism Explosion.



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