“There are 800 million people in Europe and only one percent claim to be evangelical Christians. Even among that ‘one percent’ are people who preach prosperity and not the true Gospel.”
This quote rang in my ears the entire time I was in London with TMU. Even more so, it was heartbreaking to get a glimpse of such a statistic while engaging in conversations with the people there.
I had always wanted to go to Europe because it stood out to me as being a “must-see” part of the world that consisted of grand, historic buildings, and unforgettable sights. But before this trip, it had never occurred to me how those in Europe (London, in particular) are in dire need of the gospel.
A place that was once a catalyst for the Christian faith and the home of notable influencers like Charles Spurgeon, C.S. Lewis, George Whitefield, Lloyd Jones, Isaac Newton, and many others, is now a historic minefield of beautiful churches and empty pews. Within just 150 years, the place that was known for revival became desolate and drowned in apostasy.
What does this mean for us?
While considering this heart-wrenching reality, it is easy for one to feel a sense of hopelessness. However, during the trip, the Lord illuminated three specific truths for me and my team while we were there:
- God is at Work in the Dark Places
“And he said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.’” (Mark 6:26-27).
Just like a seed grows in the dark places before we see the sprouting flower from above the ground, the same is true about the Kingdom of God. Although we may not see it, we can rest in His promise to give growth to any seeds we have planted (1 Cor. 3:6). We do not serve a passive God. We serve a God who desires to make His name known among all nations, peoples, and tongues, and He has given us the honor and ability to be a part of spreading His fame.
Have you ever wondered how easy it would be for God to just write the gospel in the clouds?
Yet He gives the privilege of “declaring His excellencies” (1 Peter 2:9) to His image-bearing children. How undeserving we are to be the bearers of such good news!
- “Such Were Some of You”
While in London, we engaged in gospel conversations with students at different universities, people at coffee shops or parks, as well as Muslims who had just finished praying at the mosque. Although we did speak with some people who were more willing and open to having a conversation with us about spiritual matters, there were many times in which we were openly ridiculed or ignored for Who we represented (namely, Jesus Christ).
I recall a conversation I had with a Muslim woman on a street corner as I was handing out Arabic translations of “The Gospel of John”. Without being given the chance to speak, she saw what I was holding and started cursing what I was doing, exclaiming that I was naive and foolish, while simultaneously blaspheming Christ and His claim to be God. Finding a moment to interject in her hateful monologue, I politely asked her if she had any assurance of where she was going to go when she died. Without hesitation, she looked at me starkly in the eyes and remarked, “No I don’t and if I serve God my entire life and he sends me to hell I don’t care!” as she stormed off.
It is in these moments when God reminds me where I would be if He had not saved me; if I did not have the hope of the gospel. A verse that specifically came to mind is found in 1 Corinthians 6. Verses 9-10 describe those who will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, that is, the unrighteous. Paul goes on in verse 11 to speak to those who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ saying, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
We should not take these potentially hurtful interactions with the lost personally. Rather, these conversations should sober our hearts and minds in knowing that if it were not for the grace of God in our own lives, those would be the words leaving our mouths. It should cause us to have compassion for the lost, seeing them as “sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36) thus motivating us to share the good news with them even more. In the meantime, we can rejoice in knowing that any hate we receive in the name of Christ is an assurance for us that we are indeed following in His footsteps (John 15:18).
- Time is Fleeting- We Must Act
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” -Matthew 28:18-20
What are you doing in your life to fulfill the Great Commission?
Are you praying for revival to come to those places that are being suffocated by apostasy?
Do those around you know that you are a follower of Christ?
These are questions that should constantly be at the forefront of our minds to dwell on and thoughtfully consider throughout our day. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, greater than living your life in complete surrender to God, seeking to give Him all glory. It is what we were created to do! We must invest in the things that last for eternity—that is, the Word of God gripping and transforming lost souls. Europe isn’t the only place that needs Jesus. Over 70,000 people die every day in the unreached world without having heard the gospel. In the last 40 years, over 1 billion people have died who have never heard of Jesus, and around 30 million people this year will perish without hearing the message of salvation (Baxter 2007, 12). These statistics are not numbers we can soundly sleep on. This should urge us to fervently pray to the Lord to send out laborers, spark revivals, and embolden us to embrace our faith everywhere we go.
Time is fleeting; invest in what matters.
Praise God His “hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear” (Isaiah 59:1), and that He gives the growth to any seeds planted (1 Corinthians 3:6). I left London with a broken heart for those who do not know Him, an urgency to pray for revival, and an overwhelmed reminder of God’s mercy for me in my own life.
The Lord is at work—let us join Him.
Alexa Miller is a senior psychology major at TMU.Return to Blog Archive