The urgent need to proclaim the Gospel to all people everywhere is at the center of the Baptist vision. A variety of legitimate means are employed in the proclamation; however, there is no dispute over the end in view. It is the realization of God’s will for the salvation of the world.
Followers of Christ know that they, and the ecclesial bodies in which they participate, have an unquestioned responsibility to spread the Good News concerning what God has accomplished in Jesus Christ. Constancy in discharging this duty is a sign of the way we live out the baptized life. Whenever believers in Christ exercise the privilege of sharing the Gospel, we discover it to be a wonderful source of joy. In fact, we are told that heaven reverberates in joy over each person who, receiving the Good News, turns to Christ in repentance (cf. Luke 15: 7, 10).
Let us never underestimate the relationship between the operation of the Holy Spirit and the human endeavor to bear witness to Christ. Because the Spirit by nature points to Christ and because the church is the community in which the Holy Spirit is present – as the events on the Day of Pentecost remind us – the entire church community is given the vocation to evangelize the world (Mark 16:15; 1 Peter 2:9). Besides, the Holy Spirit also gives special gifts that enable disciples of Christ to carry out their vocation as evangelists (Ephesians 4:11).
When the church and its members fulfill their responsibility as witnesses to Christ, the Holy Spirit blesses their work, enabling it to bear fruit. When we preach the Gospel before a congregation, when we share with our friends and acquaintances the story of our life-transforming encounters with Christ, and when we help people see the face of Christ through our deeds of mercy and love that lead to their empowerment, the Holy Spirit is at work in us. And when people receive the word of the Gospel and come into the experience of new life in Christ, the Holy Spirit is at work (John 3:5-8; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-6). Not surprisingly, then, as we recall the events of the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), our hearts overflow with joy.
How indebted we are to the Holy Spirit through whose operation many have found their way to the home where they experience the love of the one they acknowledge as their Lord! How grateful we are to the Holy Spirit for giving us the gift of hope so that we can approach the future with confidence that is strong enough to silence the dreadful clangor of a hopeless age!
Come Holy Spirit! We need you.
Baptist world Alliance