Monday, November 5, 2018

Revelation 3:8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.


The greatest of the early Lutheran missionaries to India was Christian Frederick Schwartz. Let one example be cited from his 48 year service in India to see that the door though seemingly closed at times may not necessarily be. The faithful Christian was once robbed by merciless mountain brigands. Instead of going to the authorities to give him an armed escort up to their mountain fastness to gain retribution or at least his money pouch back, he set out alone. When finally a detachment of soldiers was sent to find out what had happened to the much loved Christian, the bayonet and musket were found to be unnecessary. Christian had preached to his enemies and the Spirit had brought them to faith and they now sought to do honest work, leaving off their stealing (Ephesians 4:28). What would have been our reaction to the same depredation?

Reginald Heber, who died in service as Anglican Bishop of Calcutta in 1826, reminds us in the hymn "The Son of God Goes Forth to War," who it is that is leading us. He leads us Who has already won. He arms us with the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and all the other parts of the armor of God.

The need of modern India for the Gospel is truly staggering. At the very most only 4% of the population of India own the Christ as the Lord. There are over 3200 large cities with Bombay and Calcutta as examples of the megalopolis with its teeming, dying populace. Of over 700,000 villages there are only about 65,000 that have any Christian witness whatsoever. That Christian witness may consist of only a handful of believers among tens and tens of thousands of rank unbelievers. There are over three million lepers. Who of us could even imagine how in a small part they could be reached on that sprawling sub-continent. Precious few would don the rags back then and wash their sores. Have times changed? The problem is not a closed door.