Perry Greene shared this story in one of his sermons. It was early in 1945. As United States forces pushed deep into Okinawa they came across a village unlike any they had ever seen. Here at Shimabuku they were met and welcomed by two old men who invited the troops in as “fellow Christians.”
Correspondent Clarence W. Hall described the hamlet like this: “We’d seen other Okinawan villages, uniformly down at the heels and despairing; by contrast this one shone like a diamond in a dung heap. Everywhere we were greeted by smiles and dignified bows. Proudly the old men showed us their spotless homes, their terraced fields, fertile and neat, their storehouses and granaries, and their prized sugar mill.”
Searching for an answer as to why this one village was so different from all the rest. Hall uncovered an incredible story. Some 30 years before, an American missionary on his way to Japan had paused at Ahimabuku and stayed only long enough to make two converts and leave a Japanese translated Bible. These new converts, with only instructions to read the Bible and live by it, began sharing their faith with neighbors. Before long the whole town had accepted Christ and for 30 years had been following the Bible completely.
They had adopted the Ten Commandments as their legal code, the Sermon on the Mount as their guide in social conduct. In their schools they taught the Bible, and in their courts made decisions on what God’s Word said.
Hall noted that they managed to create a Christian democracy at its purest. The result was that there were no jails, no bars, no drunkenness, no divorce, and a high level of happiness!
On leaving the town, his jeep driver had said, “So this is what comes out of only a Bible and a couple of old guys who wanted to live like Jesus.” Then with a glance at a shell hole, Hall recalled the driver murmuring, “Maybe we’re using the wrong weapons to make this world over!”
Whether this story is accurate or not, it underscores two Biblical Truths: The power of the Gospel. And the importance of using “spiritual weapons. The apostle Paul expressed it this way in two different passages.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2Cor 10:4-6).
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Rom. 1;16-17)
Consider 3 reasons why the Gospel is so great.
(1) The Gospel testifies to God’s great power.
His power is called glorious. Irresistible. Unsearchable. Mighty. Incomparable. Strong. Everlasting. Effectual. And sovereign.
The Gospel, God’s Word, is alive and powerful. The Hebrew writer said is it “sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
God’s power through the Gospel can convert our thinking. Touch our emotions. Prick our conscience. And affect our decisions. It is more powerful than human weapons of warfare.
(2) The Gospel is the only means of Salvation.
The book of Romans is about salvation. It is the gospel message of God’s plan for man’s salvation. Romans 1:16 is a simple prelude to the great themes of Righteousness. Justification. And sanctification.
The human race has sinned. All of us. None is righteous. Not one. (Rom. 3:10; 23). But we don’t have to be lost! God has provided the means and method of salvation through his grace and mercy. Coercion is not the way to convert people to Christ. Only the Gospel can do that.
(3) The Gospel is for everyone.
Who can be saved? Everyone! Jew and Gentile. Male and female. Bond-servant and free. There is no elite in God’s Family, only the elect saved by the Gospel of Christ.
The Gospel proclaims that its saving message is for all people! However, we must do our part. We must accept it. Believe it. And obey it. And that’s true for people of all races, nationalities, and ethic groups.
Thank God for the Gospel. For it’s powerful message. For it’s precious promise. And for it’s personal impact in our lives!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman