Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (KJV)
When I was a boy, most churches still had two services on Sunday. An hour before the evening service, which was usually of an evangelistic nature, the members of the Open Air Band would gather in one of their designated spots to conduct a service for shut-ins and to invite others to the service.
We had a loud-speaker set, which consisted of an amplifier and a microphone run off a large car battery. Besides that, we had a fold-up foot-pump organ, which my father usually played. After a few rousing hymns and one or two testimonies, the younger ones got to say a text into the microphone. The thrill of hearing one's voice resounding over walls and balconies was one that lasted the entire week. This apparatus was in a homemade box with handles at each end. It was as heavy as lead to lug to the boot of the leader's car. The Open Air Band drew many converts by their efforts.
Psalm 19:4a – Their sound has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. (NLV)
What did the prophets and the evangelists of old do? They had no means of projecting their voices over entire suburbs. When Jonah finally got to preach to Nineveh, the people repented, but he must have had a stentorian voice. Certainly there were acoustic valleys and special amphitheatres, but not very many of them. Speaking to five thousand people must have required much shouting on Jesus' part. One can well imagine the bouts of laryngitis the apostles and disciples must have suffered, but the gospel was heard and heeded. Much later, John Wesley once had to preach standing on his father's gravestone in order to be heard. Some evangelists gave out the Word from the saddles of their horses. Blessed were those who had natural, strong vocal chords.
All the actual methods of amplification used before the advent of electronics have not been explored extensively yet, but God had other ways and the Word was spread.
Isaiah 55:11 – So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (KJV)
The Word of God will be heard, be it through secreted radios or television sets, travelling evangelists, or the distribution of tracts and Bibles. Many people cannot or will not attend church services, but they cannot escape the sound of the gospel of salvation. Nor will we ever know the extent to which God's Holy Spirit works in the hearts of men and women, be they ever so hard-hearted. People say that the devil is always busy but so is the Spirit of God.
2 Timothy 4:2 – Be ready to spread the word whether or not the time is right. Point out errors, warn people, and encourage them. Be very patient when you teach. (GWT)
What does the spreading of the word, the gospel message of salvation, require of today's Christian? To be sure, the odds are stacked against us with sports arenas crowded with fans and Sundays becoming run days for dozens of causes. But God deliberately places each one of us within a sphere of influence where we can reach people for Him. Let us pray for boldness to take advantage of all opportunities presented to us. Let's ask God to speak for us where we cannot get through.
Prayer: Gracious Father, we praise You for the ways that You have provided for the glorious gospel of salvation to reach far and wide. Grant us the grace to do our part in letting Your Word go forth. Amen.