It is striking, though not surprising, that the days of the Church’s missionary activity have been the days of its greatest purity and vigor. When the vision of the Master’s face on Olivet, and the ringing sound of His “Go ye” have been lost, the Church has written pages that would gladly be blotted out.
The Church has been a winning force beyond any power of calculation or words of description. All that has been done has been done through its activity and leadership. It is to-day a tremendous winning force, reaching its warm hands out to the very ends of the earth, and drawing men to Jesus. With our earnest prayer it will exert a yet mightier influence in taking Jesus to all men and in winning men everywhere to Jesus.
The Church is organized Christendom. It stands for the power of organization in God’s service. All the vast power of the men and women whose hearts have been renewed by the Holy Spirit can be brought to bear at a given point with tremendous force through the Church. That was and is the Master’s plan.
Organization is rhythmic action, a crowd of men working by agreement as one man. Never was the world so impressed with the almost magical power of organization as to-day. Never has organization been brought up to so high a pitch of efficiency. The unparalleled progress of the world in our day is due to the marvellous skill that has been developed in organized action.
Now, this almost omnipotent power of organization was meant to be used in winning the world back home. That is the meaning of the birth of the Church on that great Pentecost day. It is remarkable that the most perfectly matured bit of organization, in this day of matured and perfected organizations, is a church. For by common consent of thoughtful students the most finely adjusted and thoroughly matured bit of human machinery is the Roman Catholic Church.
If such a masterpiece of organization were controlled by the Spirit that controls in these early chapters of Acts, what tremendous and thorough and rapid work would be done in world-winning! And that is the goal toward which we should be driving. The evangelization of the whole world is an easy task for the whole Church. It would be a stupendous, if not an impossible task for the few. It has been a gigantic task for the leaders, who by dint of great planning and persuasion and earnest pleading have done as much as has been done. But if the whole Church or half of it were to go at it as earnestly as men go at other things, it would be an easy task.
I remember one October morning walking across an old smoke-begrimed bridge that spans the Ohio at Cincinnati. My eye was caught by a dingy sign in large plain letters nailed up in a prominent place. It simply, said, “Processions in crossing this bridge must break step.” That was all. But it was imperative. It was a law. The processions must break step. The same men might cross the bridge, in as large numbers, at the same time, but they must not keep step.