The Gospel, the Church, and the World

Mat 28:18  And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Mat 28:19  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Mat 28:20  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

This portion of scripture is definitely one that contends as a favorite in Christian circles today. We all know it, the great commission. They are the last words spoken by Jesus in the gospel of Matthew. The book of Acts records something very similar. In both portions of scripture, Jesus sends out the apostles with the responsibility of telling their world about the resurrection and making disciples of the Christian faith.

It is said that the last words of a person reveal a lot about His life’s priorities and purposes. It also holds true in this scenario. Here we see that the most important charge given to believers on the earth was to spread the gospel to all.

2000 years later and a lot of progress has been made as regards to this ‘final’ instruction, a relatively large portion of the world has been reached with the gospel. However, Jesus did not send us to most, He sent us to ALL! And as such, our work is far from over. Even today, there is a need for the church to realize that we have unfinished business in this world.

In this article, we explore a few thoughts along this line.

The ‘What’ of the Gospel:

  • To be effective ministers of the gospel, we need to know what exactly we have been called to preach. A good starting point is always 1 Cor 5:14 – 21. Here, our evangelical ministry is described beautifully:

    2Co 5:14  For the love of Christ compels us because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;

    2Co 5:15  and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

    2Co 5:18  Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,

    2Co 5:19  that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

    2Co 5:20  Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

    First, we are told immediately what the gospel isn’t. It isn’t a group of religious devotees going around condemning the sins of others and the world around them. It isn’t a set of life rules and practices aimed at earning God’s approval. It isn’t even an invitation to church on Sundays!

    Right off the bat, we are told, the gospel is good news. It’s a message of forgiveness and reconciliation. It’s letting people know that the price of forgiveness has already been paid even before the need was acknowledged. It’s showing people the love of their creator, a love willing to step into a mess we created and provide a solution that can be received by simply believing! That is the message we have been sent to preach!

    Not works but grace!
    Not condemnation but forgiveness!
    Not moral change but inward change!
    Not mere religion but life!

    That’s what Jesus sent us to tell the world. That’s why it’s good news! And the sooner we as the church go back to presenting it as good news, presenting God as a good and loving God, the better and more glorious our evangelic efforts would be.

The ‘WHY’ of the Gospel:

Now that we’ve covered the what, it’s important we know why we as the church are obligated to tell the world.

  1. We love Jesus

    Like we established already, the charge to go disciple the world was the last instruction we received from our Lord and Savior. Let me paint a scenario; imagine you have a brother who decides to give you his heart, dying in the process. Before he dies, all he asks is that you publish his journals as he always loved to write but never got around to publishing his work. You would be ungrateful, and we could even doubt your professed love for your brother if you fail to do this one thing. If he ever miraculously came back to life, you definitely won’t be brave enough to face him.

    It’s a similar thing with this charge we have received. If we claim to love Jesus, then His parting desire must become one we take up with utmost importance. Little wonder Paul said in 2 Cor 5:14, the love of Christ does indeed compel us.

    Our first motivation for preaching the gospel is that the one we love died for it.

    More so, as our Lord, he left it as an instruction. We have indeed been commanded to, out of love and out of command.
  2. We love men

    Our second reason follows from the first. When we received the gospel, we were exposed to such amazing love. Paul says it beautifully here:

    Rom 5:5  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

    In the gospel, we see how much God loves not just us but everyone, everywhere. It is this love for mankind that also spurs us to evangelism. When we understand that everyone is broken and ultimately disconnected from the source of all life and goodness, more so when we realize that the only solution lies in Jesus’ sacrifice, we realize that preaching the gospel becomes a matter of life and death, literally!

    Act 4:12  Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

    The same way no one should watch a person get killed by a speeding train when there’s something they can do about it, we also cannot choose to stand idly by watching our friends and family head into spiritual damnation. If Jesus is truly the only way to eternal life, it’s our responsibility to ensure that everyone around us at least receives the opportunity to hear about this gift.
  3. No one else would

    The final reason the church should take evangelism seriously is because no one else would do it. If there was some way for angels to take up human flesh and evangelize the world, it would have been done thousands of years ago.

    In Acts 10, we see an angel appear to Cornelius instructing him to summon Peter so he could hear the gospel. One may wonder, why didn’t the angel just preach to Cornelius! It would have saved countless hours of convincing Peter, not to talk about travel time.

    The reason is simple, God gave man the responsibility of preaching the gospel, not angels. God saved all mankind through His man, Jesus. So also, He has decided that this message would be propagated through men as well.

    In Ephesians 1:22-23, Paul lets us know that we are literally the body of Christ, we are His fullness. If Jesus is to demonstrate His love today, He does so through you and I. If Jesus wants to visit a people group, He does so through His body, you and I.

    The sooner we realize that this work we have received is one that has been given to only us, the sooner we realize that every one of us has been made a minister of reconciliation, every one of us has a personal responsibility for the spread of the gospel, the sooner we realize that there’s no one to wait for to evangelize the world if we don’t step up to it, the better for us all.

The ‘HOW’ of the Gospel

As we round up this article, let us consider HOW the gospel should be preached. We’ve explored what the message is, we’ve seen why necessity has been placed on us to preach, let’s explore ways we can do this more effectively.

  1. Pray

    No surprises there. When we pray, we align our hearts with God’s, and also, we make much-needed power available to get the job done. As far as the work is concerned, the scriptures are littered with verses encouraging us to pray. To pray for ministers and believers of the gospel, to pray for the spread of the gospel in unbelieving hearts etc.

    Eph 6:18  praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–

    Eph 6:19  and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,

    2Th 3:1  Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you,

    2Th 3:2  and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.

    To pray for the salvation of unbelievers;

    Rom 10:1  Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel* is that they may be saved.
  2. Don’t be afraid to raise discussions around faith

    If the gospel is true, then it becomes not just good news but the most important message a person needs to hear. In a world where topics of religion and faith have been classified ‘controversial’ and have been tabooed, we as Christians shouldn’t follow suit.

    One thing that marked the early church was a radical readiness to always preach Christ. At every opportunity they got, Jesus was preached. Don’t be afraid to engage people around you in discussions of faith. Be ready to listen to their questions, be ready to give thoughtful responses, grow in conviction, and show the world that Jesus is indeed alive!

    Act 6:9  Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen.

    Act 6:10  And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.

    Act 8:4  Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.
  3. Walk in the charismatic

    Mar 16:16  He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.

    Mar 16:17  And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name, they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;

    Act 1:8  But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

    Heb 2:4  God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

    Need I say anymore? Jesus commanded us to go out to preach the gospel, but more so, he told us to do with the power of God. Dear believer, as you preach a living Jesus, don’t hesitate to show with signs following that this Jesus is indeed alive.
  4. Let your care and love be evident

    In preaching the gospel, we must always remember that we are on a mission of love. We aren’t out to just win arguments; we are out to save lives. It then becomes very important that everyone we get the privilege of reaching out to must see the same love that God has for them in us.

    Learn to care as a friend, be genuinely interested in their lives, and let them know that God does love them. Be intentional about starting conversations with those you meet. Befriend unbelievers with one goal in mind, their salvation. Let love direct all that you do.

I hope this article has served as a good kick-off point for you. Understand that if the resurrection is true, then it becomes the single most important point of human history and we as the church have received the greatest earthly privilege anyone could ever dream of: ushering men into eternal bliss with God. Let’s take it seriously.

God bless you.

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