At the National Assembly of the Baptist Union of Ukraine, President of the Baptist World Alliance, Billy Kim, spoke for the first time to the Congress of Ukrainian Baptists.
Meeting in Kiev, Ukraine May 27-29 , the Baptist congregation exceeded 7,500, and is now the fastest growing Baptist Union throughout all of Europe.
Throughout the speech of Billy Kim, he emphasized the command of Jesus in Matthew 28: 18- 20 to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth. He described this power as “an all supplying power, all sustaining, all saving, and all strengthening power”.
By citing practical examples, he guided Ukrainian Baptists to open their eyes to see the urgency of evangelizing the whole world. Ukraine, being a communist country, Kim reminded listeners what Communist leader Karl Marx said, “my objective in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism.” Kim said all enemies of the Gospel are still working vigorously to resist the propagation of Gospel.
Kim explained that because of the lawlessness of the world, the need for the Gospel in this world today is even greater than before. In Korea, over 70% of Korean teenagers consider suicide and the crime rate in the country has increased 72% since 1980. In an international sense, the world is in chaos. He said more than 42 millions people now live with HIV/ AIDS, and religious and racist conflicts cause the death of countless innocents.
“Unless we evangelize with the good news of Jesus Christ the world is going to perish,” Kim said.
Kim called for a revival of the Gospel in the world; it is not just for the Western world, but for all nations. He gave various reasons why Christians have failed to evangelize the world in the time for Christ, including a lack of vision, a greater concentration on ourselves, no vision of a lost world and a lack of penetration in taking the Gospel to the whole world.
Yet, with more than 40 years of pastoral experience, Kim is optimistic about the future of the world. Kim assured the Ukrainian Baptists that God has given the fullness of His faith to assure them in every circumstance, and His own personal presence Himself to satisfy them as they live for Christ.
Also, Kim testified to the congregation the power of the love and forgiveness of God can overturn all situations. Kim illustrated his point with the story of a mass murderer in Korea who, while waiting on death row, heard the Gospel from a Christian woman who visited the prison and opened his heart to accept Jesus Christ as his personal savior. He was able to confess faith in Jesus Christ and urged others to do so. Kim said, “Even the worst sinner can be reached by love.”
In addition, Kim taught that prayer is vital in mission. “In this world we encounter many difficult obstacles. I believe that if we have a life of prayer we will overcome whatever trouble we face,” he said.
“Prayer does not need proof, it needs practice,” Kim preached. “Today, we organize instead of agonize on our knees before God.”
By telling the story of the early apostles who suffered and sacrificed for the Christian faith, Kim advised Ukrainian Christians to make a wise choice to live a sacrificial life for the sake of the Gospel. In this way, the amazing love of Christ can truly penetrate the world beyond space and time.
“These disciples made an impact in their generation,” Kim said, “not only their generation but to our generation as well because they were able to learn to live sacrificially.”
“Let us evangelize, evangelize, evangelize our world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Kim encouraged Ukrainian Christians.
Kim concluded his series of challenges to the Ukrainian Congress with the need for revival. “We need a revival today,” Kim said, “it matters not whether it is a small church, big church, poor nation, rich nation, first world or third world we need revival.”
He commented that praying, propagating, purifying, praising and persecuting are the factors that has lead to the current revival among churches in Korea. “Unless we are willing to pray, God will not send us a revival during our life time,” Kim especially underlined the need of prayer.
On the topic of holiness the BWA President said, “We must be pure from idolatry and immorality. We must be pure from worldliness.” During communist years, Ukrainian Baptists often used their holy life as the way of evangelism.
Kim encouraged Ukrainian Baptists that persecution, which is common in Ukraine, will bring revival. It acts like a counter-force.
He told a story of the church in Korea that was set on fire by Japanese occupiers during the war from 1910-1945 when Korea was occupied by the Japanese government. People inside the church were unable to escape and before they died the pastor led the people in singing a great hymn of faith “At The Cross.”
In 1971 a group of Japanese pastors came to Korea. When they visited that monument where all the names of the people who were burned in the fire are engraved, they were broken hearted and went back to Japan to raise some money to rebuild the church. During the dedication ceremony they sang that same song, “Alas and Did My Savior Bleed.” According to Kim, this is the power of Jesus Christ, and only this power can make that change.