Article: “God Has Called us to Preach the Gospel to them” (Acts 16:10) | Pr. Benson Abraham
“A preacher is not a Christian who decides to preach, It is God who commands preaching, it is God who sends out preachers.”—Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Christian believers have a duty to be keepers, protectors and proclaimers of the gospel; it is to be the same message that was given to the apostles nearly 2,000 years ago. What has saved us is to save others. The mission of Christ the Redeemer, which is entrusted to the Church, is still very far from completion. As the second millennium after Christ’s coming draws to an end, an overall view of the human race shows that this mission is still only beginning and that we must commit ourselves wholeheartedly to its service. It is the Spirit who impels us to proclaim the great works of God: “For if I preach the Gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Cor. 9: 16). So time has come to rejuvenate the vision of the church which is formed by the powerful intervention of the Holy Spirit.
Church is supposed to be a joyful community of believers completely unafraid of the modern world, completely unafraid of change and completely unafraid of challenges. However, the present day church is carried away by the mundane things all around it and the vision it had from the beginning with regard to its very purpose is diminished to a great extent. When Jesus said “make disciples” we cannot help but remember how he made disciples: three years of teaching twelve men on the dusty road. Disciple-making, then, is the Word of God shaping men and women within life-on-life relationships. It’s demonstrated in Paul’s relationship with the Thessalonian church: “being so affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thess 2:8). This is gospel-driven, Word-saturated, intentional one-anothering. It is men and women regularly teaching one another to obey what Jesus commanded.
At a minimum, verbally sharing the Gospel is essential to effective, biblically-faithful evangelism. If we call what do sharing the Gospel (or evangelism), then it must include a verbal proclamation. What Peter says is for the majority of us, but none the less very important – be ready to give an account – a reason of why you believe in Jesus. To be a witness requires us to understand some things. Good works like feeding the poor, engaging in social justice, and “living out the Gospel with our lives” are corollaries to sharing the Gospel, but they are not equal to it. These realities flow from the Gospel and should mark the lives of Christians who are seeking to be faithful to the Gospel. There is a tendency in some quarters today to promote a kind of evangelism without proclamation. Acts of service are done or people are invited to experience Christian worship. But without words of explanation these are like signposts pointing nowhere, or worse still, signposts pointing to our good works. The Gospel is good news- a message to be proclaimed, a truth to be taught, a word to be spoken.
We must understand that we ourselves have been saved. We know what it is to be reconciled to the living God – to experience his grace and mercy and to know that we loved by him and know we longer have any condemnation. And conversely, we must understand what we have been saved from. We must have an understanding of how serious sin is and the consequences of sin. This unique understanding about the saving experience need to be conveyed without discount into the hearts of the people, to whom we intend to share the Gospel message. Today church has greatly failed in doing so, as much of the world has entered into the church and the uniqueness of the community as a saved group is seldom communicated in their daily living to the world. At many areas we have crossed the borders of a holy separated entity and entered where the worldliness is lavishly practised. In this context we need to learn a lot of things from the Macedonian call that Paul received in the vision, in which God reminded him and concretized the call that he has placed in Paul’s life—to preach the Gospel to the lost.
Pr. Benson Abraham