Whenever someone asks me if Heaven’s Family is “just a Christian humanitarian organization” that is not involved in preaching the gospel, I’m ready with an answer.
First, I like to point out that Jesus’ words to the sheep in Matthew 25:31-46 make no mention of them preaching the gospel. Rather, the sheep are characterized by their involvement in “humanitarian” ministry—as they live the gospel and meet pressing needs of the “least of these.” They feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the prisoners. Those are the things heaven-bound people do. And by so doing, they demonstrate to the world the power of the gospel that has transformed them from being selfish to being selfless.
Truly, the world has had all it needs of gospel preachers whose lives resemble the goats of whom Jesus spoke in Matthew 25, goats who by preaching their gospel produce nothing but goats like themselves. May I say without apology: A gospel that produces goats is not a biblical gospel.
The truth is, anyone who separates the results of the gospel from the gospel itself, as if the two are mutually exclusive, is a person who has yet to understand the gospel. True faith in Jesus always, without exception, results in a transformed life and a love for God’s family.
If I had to make a choice, I’d rather be one who cares for the “least of these” and doesn’t preach the gospel than one who preaches the gospel and doesn’t care for the “least of these.” The former demonstrates his faith by his works, the latter possesses a dead faith that Scripture warns is useless and will not save him. James wrote, “Show me your faith without works [an impossibility], and I will show you my faith by my works” (see James 2:14-26).
All of that being said, the simple fact is that Heaven’s Family is very much involved in spreading the gospel. All of the articles in this month’s magazine illustrate that. Two are about Heaven’s Family-sponsored national missionaries who are taking the gospel to India and Kenya. We are doing everything we can to serve national missionaries around the globe, and we have many who are waiting for sponsorship.
Another article in this month’s magazine mentions one of our sponsored orphans in Myanmar who, because she received $5 worth of new clothes last Christmas, was able to share the gospel with her classmates.
The fourth article is about how Heaven’s Family is assisting persecuted believers in Orissa, India, and how a “Friendship Well” we funded is being used as a bridge to win their persecutors to Christ.
Heaven’s Family is not indiscriminately helping impoverished people. We don’t assist anyone unless it is done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We serve believers and, to a lesser degree, we also serve unbelievers who are listening to the gospel. We’re not interested in making life a little easier for people who are determined to remain on the broad road that leads to destruction. On the other hand, we certainly don’t want to be guilty of preaching the gospel to starving people without giving them food. Dead bodies can’t hear the gospel. And if there is anything that softens hardened hearts it is love, manifested in deeds of kindness.
Not only does Heaven’s Family support national and expatriate missionaries, but we’re spreading the gospel in many other ways. We’ve printed and distributed more than 100,000 copies of a 500-page manual for ministers—in 22 different languages—that begins and ends with the gospel (The Disciple-Making Minister).
We’ve got teaching websites (ShepherdServe.org and HeavenWord.TV) that are chock full of the gospel, and were visited 360,000 times in the past twelve months. We print books that help professing Christians understand the gospel (The Great Gospel Deception) and that help believers share the gospel (Forgive Me for Waiting so Long to Tell You This). The full text of both those books is also posted on our websites.
We publish various printed, email, and video devotionals that are teeming with gospel truth and that regularly benefit thousands of people. Those gospel-filled devotionals are gaining more than 400 new subscribers every month (HeavenWord Daily, Family-Style Devotions, HeavenWord 7 and HeavenWord TV).
We’ve produced three video teaching series that repeatedly emphasize the gospel (Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, The Parables of Jesus, and one titled What is Wrong With the Gospel? that is still in post-production). We publish monthly e-teachings (HeavenWord) with gospel-centered themes that are read by thousands of people.
So is Heaven’s Family “just a Christian humanitarian organization” that is not doing much to spread the gospel? No, everything we do is centered around the gospel…for the sake of the gospel…because our lives have been transformed by the gospel!