Sometimes I get so focused on the here and now within ministry and our culture, that I forget many have gone before us in terms of spreading the Gospel and loving others. Am I alone in this? We are to share the same message that’s been shared for hundreds of years, and to be persistent day by day just like how the Church did it in the past.
Here are some names you might know from the past. This isn’t to get us to think “who will be the great names of our time,” but more to broaden our horizons and realize the Church is much bigger than what we see in our areas…or even within our country. Be encouraged that God is at work everywhere and we get to be a part of His eternal family. Let that motivate you to be even more bold in sharing the Gospel and building up His Church!
- St. Augustine (354-430) sought the truth in cults and philosophies but was aimless until he converted to Christianity and his mom prayed for him diligently until he became a believer.
- John Wycliffe (1324-1384) is called the Morning Star of the Reformation because of his work speaking out against church abuses and translating the Bible, 200 years before Martin Luther.
- Martin Luther (1483-1546) was one of the most notable and radical church reformers in Christian history.
- Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) is not as famous as Martin Luther or John Calvin, yet he was a major figure in early church reform. He taught that the Bible is the authority in what Christians should believe and practice, not the theology of men.
- William Tyndale (1494-1536) was a brave English reformer fluent in eight languages. Without a doubt, God had equipped him for the mission he would fulfill in his short but laser-focused life.
- John Calvin (1509-1564) was one of the major figures in Reformed Christianity, establishing doctrines that are practiced by millions today. His beliefs about salvation and eternal security revolutionized the church.
The Gospel is Timeless
The great news about this is that over this huge span of time, the same Gospel is just as effective today as it was yesterday. Sure we talk about different practical approaches to it because our cultures change, but the content of the message is still the same. We are sinful, Jesus is perfect, He lived a perfect life, died a death paying the penalty for our sins, then rose again defeating death and sin in victory.
We don’t know when Jesus will return and my prayer is that we all continue to press on to make Him known to all people (Philippians 3:12-14). God does not will for people to perish, but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
Be encouraged. We’ve had so many people go before us to do the same thing we are doing today. They faced the same struggles, shared similar celebrations, and all knew that Jesus was the only way and that He was better than anything they could even imagine. Let’s be grateful for those who have gone before us because looking back, we’ll know too it was well worth it.