Jeremy Thornton

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15 KJV)

  After Jesus had been crucified, laid in the tomb, and rose from the dead on the third day, before He ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of God, He commissioned His apostles to take the Gospel into the entire world. What a monumental task these men had just been given! In a time when instant messaging, high speed internet, social media platforms, television, radio, and such like were available these men were just given the task, from Jesus, to go everywhere preaching the Gospel. The apostles were not able to drive vehicles with heat and air conditioning on interstates and highways, or fly on airplanes with first class accommodations, but had to travel by foot, by animals, or by ship. It is interesting to me that these men were given this charge and yet we never hear of any rebuttal from the apostles about the task being too difficult, nor do we read of any failed attempt to do as was instructed. What we do read, however, is that these men were successful in preaching the Gospel (Col. 1:23). 

   The book of Acts records the works of the apostles as they went everywhere preaching the Word, and as one reads Acts, the growth of the church and the spreading of the Gospel message can be seen on every page. The apostles and the church met persecution, but the fans of persecution only made way for more proclamation of the Gospel. When we consider the limited resources of the first century in comparison to the vast array of resources in this century, can we say that we are as dedicated and/or successful at evangelizing, carrying the Gospel as far as we can? If not, why not? Have we considered the responsibility we have to evangelize in our communities? In a time of mass communication, high speed internet, television, radio, and such like, what hinders us from sharing the Good News of the Gospel with as many as we possibly can? Let’s notice the commission given to the apostles, compare the evangelism that takes place today, and list a few reasons why we must evangelize.

   Jesus commanded His apostles to preach the Gospel (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46ff.; John 20:21ff.). In this charge, Jesus commanded the apostles to preach to all nations, to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for the remission of sins, teaching to observe all things He had commanded, to begin in Jerusalem, and to go to the uttermost parts of the world. The fulfillment of this charge began on the Day of Pentecost in the city of Jerusalem, and on that day, there were about three thousand added to the church (Acts 2:41). After the Day of Pentecost, the apostles continued in this great work of teaching/preaching publicly and from house to house (Acts 5:42; Acts 20:20). The preaching of the Gospel did meet opposition, but the Word was continually preached regardless ((Acts 4:18-20; Acts 7:57-59; Acts 16:21-24). Although there was opposition the book of Acts records the continual preaching of the Gospel, so much so that those that opposed the preaching of the Gospel claimed that the world was being “turned upside down” by the Gospel (Acts 17:6). 

   Is the Gospel being spread with the same sense of fervency today as it was in the first century? Many will claim that the first century church had access to the spiritual gifts and the apostles were being guided by the Holy Spirit to preach the truth, yet we have the completed perfect Word of God and are able to search the Scriptures and preach/teach it. When we look around the communities in which we live, do we see souls that need the Gospel and feel a desire that their souls be saved? It is obvious, and undeniable, that the souls that are living in this world need the Gospel, but who is going to take the soul saving message of the Gospel to them if we do nothing? The apostles did not have the modern conveniences we have today, and yet we do not use our resources for the glory of God. Our adversary, the devil, is taking every advantage of the resources available and souls are conveniently being lost from the comforts of their homes, therefore the need of the Gospel is still as high as it has always been. 

   We must evangelize because there are souls that are lost that will face the Judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). We must evangelize because a failure to do so could cost us our souls (Matt.7:21-23). We must evangelize because we know the truth about sin (Rom. 3:23; 6:23), we know the truth about God’s love (John 3:16), we know the truth about God’s grace (Eph. 2:8-9), we know the truth about the church (Eph. 4:4; Eph. 5:23; Acts 20:28), we know the truth about salvation in Jesus Christ (Col. 1:13-14), we know the truth about obeying the Gospel (Mark 16:16; 2 Thess. 1:7-8), we know the truth about the upcoming Judgment (2 Cor. 5:10; John 5:28-29), we know the truth about heaven (John 14:1-3), and we know that through the truth we are able to be sanctified (John 17:17). Knowing all this what would stop us from taking the soul saving message to as many as we possibly can? May we never forget the importance of the Gospel and do all we can to reach as many as possible.

 

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