Why so few born-again Christians in Japan …part two

(Matthew 28:18-20)

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Whenever the subject of Gospel outreach to the nations is mentioned, Japan has a long standing position of being “hard to reach”, “hard ground”. But history has it; there was a time Christian populations were thriving.

In Asia, there is another people group that shared a similar spiritual history with Japan with regards to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Both nations went through the same pattern of Christian popularity, and later subjected to state persecution and blood-shed.

Between Tibet and Japan, Christianity among the Tibetans faced near extinction which was devastating for the Gospel, whereas Japan stood at less than 1% for a long time.

I have reason to believe why God brought me from Tibet to Japan.

I have learned the Gospel message to the Tibetans will not be complete apart from the Japanese. Means to say Gospel messengers to Japan need to understand what is happening in Tibet and like-wise Gospel messengers to Tibet need to understand what is happening in Japan.

What is the basis of my point?

 

Between Tibet and Japan, they share a common spiritual root

 

Missionaries involved in church-planting, in particular within the 10-40 windows should understand that there are very real “spiritual entities” holding back the locals in their own beliefs. These are the very reasons why certain places are highly resistant against the Gospel message.

 

(2 Corinthians 4:3-4) – And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

 

Church-planting is spiritual, and therefore we need to engage “spiritual entities” first and foremost through prayers and fasting.

Outside Japan, a lot of foreigners are praying for Japan, but inside Japan most of Japanese churches are not praying!

In my previous immediate post “Why so few born-again Christians in Japan”, I already point out a factual situation on the ground where most of local churches isolated themselves from engaging in the fulfillment of the Great Commission, therefore there have been very limited prayers among the locals themselves for revival in the land!

Every revival and every church-planting need to be started through prayers and God answering specific prayers –

 

(Acts 4:23-31)

23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

“‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain?

26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

 

This is how we need to pray for revival, Gospel outreach and church-plating.

I first visited Lhasa, Central Tibet back in 2004. And in those days every foreign teams I was in contact with had the same concern and question “are there any known Christian up there on the root top of the world? Any known established fellowship and church there?”

We already know the answer.

Today the situation on the ground is very different and we know God is moving and hearts and minds are open, disciples are made and leaders are raised among the Tibetans.

Why such breakthrough in Tibet but not yet in Japan?

 

Prayers, more prayers, non-stop prayers, persistent prayers …

 

Prayers are acts of faith …

The Japanese Christians themselves need to get involves in this.

I mentioned earlier

 

Between Tibet and Japan, they share a common spiritual root

 

Local Japanese know that but most of foreign missionaries missed it or are not informed.

The current 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso has long standing close relationship with key spiritual leaders of Japan.

Both sides of the spiritual orders have access to the same Sanskrit among other texts.

Both nations are in the same season of passing their spiritual leadership to the next.

But we know who is the best and ultimate spiritual leader –

 

(John 14:6) –  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

We need the Japanese churches to carry this message to their own Japanese people.

 

(2 Corinthians 4:5-6)

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

 

(コリント人への手紙Ⅱ 4:5-6)

5 私たちは、自分のことを宣伝しているのではありません。主であるキリストイエスを宣べ伝えているのです。私たちはただ、イエスが私たちのために成し遂げてくださったことを知ったので、あなたがたに仕える者となっただけです。 6 闇の中に光が輝け」と言われた神様が、私たちに、イエスキリストの御顔に輝いている、神の栄光の輝きを理解させてくださったからです。

 

We want revival and we went the people to open their hearts and minds to Jesus, but we need to pray. Because if we don’t, God cannot answer what we don’t ask for!

Foreigners praying are not enough; the Japanese Christians need to do it!

Do not be surprise if God brings about a duo revival between these two nations.

 

In-His-Service

David Z

Why so few born-again Christians in Japan

(Matthew 28:18-20)

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

That is Jesus mandate to His church, His people, and His followers.

The engine for fulfilling the Great Commission is in communication and interaction of the Gospel and in active discipleship from one generation to the next till Jesus returns in person.

But communication and interaction of the Gospel have met with great obstacles inside Japan.

The Japanese population being about 127 million, that’s a lot of people for mass communication. But Japanese society and education system have maintained a long history of mono-lingualism and that have inevitably isolated themselves to themselves.

Furthermore the level of interactions and communications within Japanese society has been “reserved” and “restricted” through expectations of mannerism unique to their way of life.

There are situation unique to Japan that will show us a thing or two about “human to human communications and interactions” in this land.

Ramen shop that serve your bowl of noodle through a drawn curtain, and you eat in your own confined enclosed space.

Café where people don’t sit with people and have their coffee but instead sit with stuffed toy characters.

Japan started the first hotel serviced by robots. From check-in to check-out no human-to-human interactions unless guest make specific request and demand for it! And Japanese language structures (spoken) are carefully “grammartized” to be non-assertive, non-engaging in a direct manner.

What do all these show us about human-to-human interaction and communication within the land?

 

Isolation and seclusion have become a social norm.

 

Cases of people living alone and die alone are on the increase and this not just about elderly and aged.

On the extreme end of it – hikikomori (ひきこもり)

“Pokémon Go” which have been a major cause of annoyance for quiet neighborhood, on the other hand been praised for the “ability” to bring out to the parks and public place those who used to locked themselves in back at home.

 

Is the local churches affected?

The church is about people and what happens in society can happen in the church as well unless we stand firm in seeking first the kingdom of God and the righteousness of Jesus, and do things as according to the ways and teachings of Jesus.

There are facts and evident on the ground that shows a server lack of interactions and communications of the Gospel, and limited engagement in the Great Commission, among local churches.

Very few local churches raise their own next generation leaders.

Very few local churches are involved in active discipleship.

It is a common thing for congregation to “come and go” … no discipleship, no Bible studies, no nothing ….

Of course there are churches that do something, but it’s very rare.

 

There is a spiritual atmosphere of “isolation and seclusion” in the air

 

People are already so saturated in it that it becomes a normality of life.

Congregations even failed to notice they have isolated and secluded themselves from the Great Commission. Ideas of “church-planting”, “discipleship” and “Great Commission” are greeted with both amazement and ignorance.

 

What can we do about it?

Do the people themselves even want to do anything about it?

 

Like the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea with Moses, leaving Egypt for the Promised Land, the Japanese people themselves need to be assertive and be decisive to want to enter the kingdom of God and be part of the Great Commission.

Like Peter stepping out of the boat and walk on water, the Japanese people themselves need to take their own step of faith and walk with Jesus and be involved in active discipleship.

 

Nothing will change until the people themselves act on their faith.

 

That atmosphere of isolation and seclusion need to be reversed from the grassroots level up. Not the other way round!

There will be resistance and persecution.

But people need to be informed, that spiritual atmosphere of isolation, not only is it bad for the Gospel of Salvation, it’s already hindering the economy on a national level and disintegrating families units on the social front.

 

Why so serious?

 

Jesus did not start a new religion.

Jesus established a new covenant relationship between God and Man (inclusive of both men and women).

Jesus is the source of life here on Earth and eternal life for our future –

 

(John 14:6) – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

Jesus is our source of life.

In Him is eternal life.

We don’t live alone, we don’t live by our-self and we don’t live for ourselves.

In Christ we live and have our being.

 

We are followers of Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus is the head and founder of His church.

And if Jesus is the founder we are to be His followers and this is what we need to do to follow Jesus –

 

(2 Corinthians 4:5-6)

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

 

(コリント人への手紙Ⅱ 4:5-6)

5 私たちは、自分のことを宣伝しているのではありません。主であるキリストイエスを宣べ伝えているのです。私たちはただ、イエスが私たちのために成し遂げてくださったことを知ったので、あなたがたに仕える者となっただけです。 6 「闇の中に光が輝け」と言われた神様が、私たちに、イエスキリストの御顔に輝いている、神の栄光の輝きを理解させてくださったからです。

 

This nation and her people need not carry on that spiritual atmosphere of isolation and seclusion anymore and any longer.

It is time to embrace the light and truth of Jesus.

 

In-His-Service

David Z