Of Instruction Regarding Evangelism
Jesus said: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations...Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you..." (Matthew 28:19, 20).
By these words Jesus commissioned His apostles, and in them, the church, to preach and to teach His Word. Likewise Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). With this command, Jesus commissioned His church with a specific calling to preach the gospel.
Fundamentally, it is by the preaching of the gospel that the church becomes Christ's witnesses in the world. To that preaching of the Word, Jesus joined the promise of His Holy Spirit to equip them to preach and teach, assuring His disciples, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
Jesus declares the power and purpose of that preaching. By preaching men will believe and be saved. Thus Jesus prays, "...for them also which shall believe on me through their word" (John 17:20). Essentially, it is Jesus Himself Who gathers and builds His church through the working of His Spirit and Word. Although the personal testimony and witness of individual believers is of considerable importance to lead men to the preaching of the gospel, it is through the corporate witness of the church, through the preaching which He has ordained in the church, that Jesus is pleased to work faith unto salvation.
In harmony with Jesus' doctrine, the Apostle Paul says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14). While all believers may confess Christ, Jesus appointed certain men to be preachers. Thus Paul says concerning Christ, "And he (Christ) gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." (Ephesians 4:11, 12)
Notice that this is the only way the Word of God ever speaks of saving His people: by the preaching and hearing of Christ's Word, through men sent by Him and set in the church to preach His Word. "How shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14) While in the Old Testament God used visual symbols, vestments, and other means to represent His Word, while both Israel and the heathen nations had choirs and special music, while the pagan peoples used dramatic presentations and athletic events in the service of their idols, Jesus' commission to His church is one thing only: preaching--by one sent to declare the Word of the gospel. The only promise of God in this regard is that He will save His people by "the foolishness of preaching." (I Corinthians 1:21)
For men to introduce into the church anything else is to presume to be wiser than Christ and to trample underfoot His express word, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel," (Mark 16:15). Is your evangelism in obedience to Christ? Do you believe the gospel of Christ is "the power of God unto salvation" (Romans 1:16)? Or do you turn from "the foolishness of preaching" to the inventions of men? Do you believe in this Christ Who will save His people through preaching, as He has ordained? Or do you believe a false christ who needs man's inventions to make his gospel palatable to men?
By Rev. Thomas Miersma, Missionary Pastor
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