GO INTO THE WORLD
"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all nations" (Mk. 16:16).
So Jesus commissioned His disciples following His resurrection. He sent His men into the world to preach good news to everyone. By application, we are to take the good news of our Savior into the world. If we don't, who will? God is counting on us in both public and private settings to look for them who are looking for Him.
We can thank God for many efforts around the world to lead people to Christ. In recent months, we have reported some of those efforts on the pages of Focus. These words constitute more encouragement to remember our responsibility with enthusiasm and determination. We must open our eyes, hearts, hands, and mouths to go into the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We Must Go Into The World With Our Eyes Opened: When Jesus sent out His hand-picked representatives, He wanted them to go with opened eyes (Matt. 10;16). He knew they would be as sheep in the midst of wolves and would need to be both shrewd and innocent. We must take the gospel to a world that does not know Jesus (Jno. 1:10) and does not want light (Jno. 3:19,20). We work in enemy territory and must have our eyes opened.
The god of this world is hard at work among millions who have yielded to Him (Eph. 2:2). Who wants to hear that we are not at liberty to choose our own way in life, much less our own way to heaven? Who wants to hear about personal responsibility and accountability? What wants their morals challenged or their style cramped?
As we go into the world, we must pray earnestly for the Lord to protect us (Matt. 6:13; Jno. 17:14,15). We are to be the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13-16). We must penetrate society with the gospel of Christ and form a counter-culture of spiritual values and standards. And in the process, we must have our eyes open and our heads on straight. "Be careful how you walk" (Eph. 5:15- 17).
We Must Go Into The World With Our Hearts Opened: It is easy in a society permeated by sin either to acquiesce to its pressures or to grow cynical and skeptical about it. We may need to take a step back to see the larger picture. Our world is subjected to futility. Creation is suffering and groaning (Rom. 8:18-23) People live fragmented lives, scattered and shattered by sin, whether they know it or not. Sin is taking its awful toll and sinners are its victims. This is not in any way to excuse sin, but it is to explain the debt it racks up and the penalty it demands.
The world is violent and vulgar. And there is more at work than we can see. Paul said "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph. 6:10). But God so loved the world (Jno. 3:16), and we must, too. Jesus sighed over the effects of sin (Mk. 7:34) and mourned over the sight of Jerusalem (Matt. 23:37-39).
People in the world are made in the image of God, and the gospel is for them. We must at times get involved in the world's hurt and dirt so we may save some (1 Cor. 9:19-22). When we go into the world with the gospel, we must open our eyes and be on guard and open our hearts with love and compassion.
We Must Go Into The World With Our Hands Opened: Many of us have the opportunity and obligation to open our hands generously that more and more people might hear the gospel of Christ. Both individually and collectively, we must financially support the preaching. "The Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel" (1 Cor. 9:9).
Taking the gospel into the world requires manpower and money. All Christians cannot go to distant places to preach. But some can, and we should send them, support them, and encourage them. In Corinth, Paul joined with Aquila and Priscilla in tent-making to support himself while preaching. given the circumstances, Paul was careful and judicious in receiving support from the Corinthians themselves (see 1 Cor. 9:3-14). But then Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, and "Paul began devoting himself completely to the word" (Acts 18:1-5). The implication is that Silas and Timothy brought resources to Paul, enabling him to focus entirely on preaching the gospel.
Doors stand open with opportunities on many fronts for people to take the gospel to the world. We must trust God's giving principle: "Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return" (Lk. 6:38).
We Must Go Into The World With Our Mouths Opened: Finally, this is what it takes -- you and I telling people about Jesus. It may be an invitation to our services. It may be a suggestion to have a Bible study or to set up a Bible study with someone else teaching. It may be inviting children to Vacation Bible School or bring children to the classes. Who knows what God may do through your invitation or words of encouragement.
Paul's "I am" statements tell it all -- Rom. 1:14-16. I am under obligation -- a debt to people who are lost to tell them about being saved. I am eager -- an enthusiasm about salvation in Jesus Christ. I am not ashamed --faith and boldness about the power of God unto salvation. We are won to win, taught to teach, saved to save. Everyone will not listen. Some will reject the gospel. But Jesus calls us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and the only way we'll ever do this is to open our mouths to tell someone about the Savior.
By David Holder in Focus Magazine, Issue No. 73.
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