Matthew 28: 18-19 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”
We were in a medical facility in Nashville not long ago. A habit I have in such a place is to find a Gideon Bible to occupy my time and increase my spiritual awareness and accumulated knowledge.
Usually, Gideon Bibles are everywhere. I looked on every table and under shelves and tables, but no Gideon Bible. Like a typical male, as last resort, I asked in an office where they might be. I was told, “Those are not allowed in here.” To say I was in shock is an understatement. Here we were in the home of country music and smack-dab in the center of the Bible belt; I was overcome with bewilderment.
Today, we are in a public building in another Bible belt city. The first thing I noticed when I walked into the waiting room, was, you guessed it, a Gideon bible.
Gideon’s is an International Evangelistic Christian Association founded in 1899 in Wisconsin. Their purpose is to distribute Bibles. This endeavor is now active in 201 countries. New Testaments are printed in 107 languages. Gideon’s distribute Bibles in hotels, hospitals, colleges, jails and prisons. There are 270,000 Gideons and auxiliary members.
The first Gideon Bibles were placed in in the Superior Hotel in Superior, Montana in 1908. They distribute over eighty million scriptures annually. In April 2015, Gideon’s placed their two billionth Bible.
Luke 24: 47 “Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” I have tremendous respect for any person or group that honors Jesus’ final mandate to His disciples. If you are a believer-follower of Lord Jesus, you will take this commandment seriously.
I met a Gideon on a flight from Auckland, N.Z. to LAX in 1996. He gave me a New Testament. I was totally impressed by his boldness in sharing the gospel of Christ Jesus. We talked for a couple of thousand miles over the Pacific. His enthusiasm for Christ and the Gideon organization was perpetual.
I still have that New Testament. It is well worn and partly falling apart. Time to get out the hot glue gun. The few blank pages are not blank anymore. It is now on the dash of my truck for quick reference. I’ve even preached “spur of the moment” sermons from it.
In April 2000, I was in Kathmandu, Nepal. We had been told, not to mention we were Christian in that part of the world. In that Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim area, being a Christian was not considered safe. That sure shot the props out from under my “Great Commission mind set.”
I thought I’d just play it by ear and see what happened. I had my Gideon New Testament with me. We stayed in the Malla Hotel a couple of nights before our flight to Lukla to start our trek to Mt. Everest. In the Malla, I opened a drawer in a night stand and low and behold, there it was, A Gideon Bible! All those warnings of dangers were false. However , there are several countries where being a Christian is dangerous. Nepal is not one of those countries.
Also, I turned on the TV in the room. On Kathmandu cable was an evangelistic preacher named Kenneth Copeland. Amazing! God sure seems to have His ways and one of those ways is through the Gideons.
I sincerely believe Israel is God’s chosen country. But I also believe the United States has been chosen to evangelize the world. Beginning in the 20th century and now into the 21st, we have the technology to tell the world about the saving power of Christ Jesus.
We have the technology. By utilizing existing communication systems we have the ability to reach the world. With transportation systems as they are, missionaries can be on the other side of the planet by tomorrow.
Matthew 24: 14 “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” There is some controversy as to what “all nations” actually means. My thinking is, at some point in time before Jesus returns, every person on Earth will have the opportunity to hear the Gospel. God Jesus did not come to Earth that only a select few would have the opportunity to have eternal life. Those believing that only a selected few will be in Heaven must not have seen the “Whosoever” in John 3: 16.
Of all the Christian organizations I’m aware of, the Gideon’s are focused on the fulfilment of Matthew 24: 14 as much as any, and more than most. The purpose of many Christian organizations and denominations has become so fragmented, the Great Commission Jesus stated just before the ascension has taken a back seat.
Keep up the good work Gideon’s. If we don’t do it, no one will.