Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog.
In Mark 16:15 the Lord Jesus gave this command:
“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to all the creation.”
Who is this command given to? In this post we’ll discuss who the proclaimers are and why they must proclaim the gospel.
Who are the proclaimers of the gospel?
At first, we may look at this verse and think the Lord’s command applies only to a specific group of believers, such as the eleven apostles who were with Him. But who were the apostles? The apostles were people who had seen and received the crucified and resurrected Christ as their Savior.
What does this mean? If we’ve received Christ as our Savior, then we’re qualified to proclaim the gospel. Attending a special school or completing a gospel-preaching program isn’t a requirement to proclaim the gospel. Our qualification is that we’re redeemed by Christ and regenerated with His life.
The story of the sinful Samaritan woman in John 4 is a good example. As soon as she believed in the Lord Jesus and received Him as living water, she left her water pot, went away into the city, and told the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I have done. Is this not the Christ?” She didn’t wait to go to a gospel preaching school. She simply told people about the wonderful Jesus she had met. Just like her, we all can tell someone about the precious Christ we accepted as our Savior.
So in reality, our crucified and resurrected Lord’s command was to all His believers. He wants each of His believers to tell people the good news of His salvation.
Why must we proclaim the gospel?
Now that we’ve seen who the proclaimers are—all believers–let’s see why we must proclaim the gospel.
First, we proclaim the gospel of Jesus because our Lord commanded us to. We’re blessed when we don’t resist or argue with the Lord’s command to us, but in faith respond, “Yes, Lord, I would take this command to heart and obey You. Make me a proclaimer of Your gospel to people.”
Now let’s look at two other important reasons why we must proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.
1. People need to hear the gospel
Romans 10:14 shows us how people can be saved:
“How then shall they call upon Him into whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe into Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without one who proclaims Him?”
None of us was born a believer. Every one of us is a believer in Christ and enjoying God’s salvation only because someone proclaimed Him to us. We in turn owe it to our friends, relatives, and others God puts in our lives to tell them about the Savior.
The apostle Paul expressed this sense in Romans 1:14-15,
“I am debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to foolish; so, for my part, I am ready to announce the gospel to you also who are in Rome.”
We all know someone who needs salvation. Maybe it’s someone we work with, our neighbor, or a friend. People are hurting inside; they feel lost or empty. They long to know the purpose of their existence. We owe them the gospel. They need to hear about the loving Savior so they can believe in Him. This is why we must obey the Lord’s solemn command to us to proclaim the gospel to them.
2. We need to flow out
To be spiritually healthy, spending daily time with the Lord Jesus in the morning to feed on His Word is necessary. But sharing Christ with others is also just as necessary. When we don’t, we feel something’s amiss. This is because the Lord who lives in us wants us not only to receive and enjoy Him ourselves, but also to flow Him out to others.
We can use a water hose to illustrate. A water hose gets filled at the spigot, and when it’s working properly, it flows water out the other end. But if there’s a cap on the end, the hose has a big problem: nothing can flow out, which also means more can’t flow in.
We certainly need to be at the “spigot” of Christ to receive more of Him though prayer and the Word of God so we can grow in Him. That’s our intake. But like the hose, we also need to have an outflow; sharing the Lord Jesus with others is that outflow. The Lord who lives in our spirit wants to flow out. He loves people and wants them to be saved. When we don’t tell others about Him, our outflow is blocked, which both deprives others of the gospel and affects our enjoyment of Christ.
The more we receive and enjoy the Lord, the more we spontaneously want to speak to people and tell them about the Christ we appreciate and enjoy. And on the other hand, as we tell people about Christ, we experience being filled with Him as the living water again.
Trusting in prayer and the gospel
Of course, prayer should accompany our proclaiming; we must pray for the salvation of specific persons the Lord puts on our hearts. By prayer we can also be washed of our sins to be a clear channel for the Lord to flow through us to others.
The word of the gospel is powerful. Paul said in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believes, both to Jew first and to Greek.”
What is this “power of God?” Note 1 on this verse in the New Testament Recovery Version explains:
“Denoting a powerful force that can break through any obstacle. This power is the resurrected Christ Himself, who is the life-giving Spirit, and it is unto salvation to everyone who believes.”
The gospel of God can bring a sinner to salvation! And what a rich salvation, as note 2 shows us:
“To save the believing ones not only from God’s condemnation and from eternal perdition but also from their natural life and their self, that they may be sanctified, transformed, and built up with others as the one Body of Christ to be His fullness and expression (Eph. 1:23).”
Proclaim to rescue the perishing
If we consider the situation of the world today, we’ll realize how urgently both our prayer and the preaching of the gospel are needed.
Fanny J. Crosby, author of many well-loved hymns, wrote the hymn below. It eloquently expresses humanity’s need for the Savior, as well as our responsibility to share the good news of Jesus Christ. May the Lord speak to our hearts to love people and to proclaim the gospel to them. And may we respond to Him by praying for and telling people of His great love and salvation for them.
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.
Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
Waiting the penitent child to receive;
Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
He will forgive if they only believe.
Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness
Chords that are broken will vibrate once more.
Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
Back to the narrow way, patiently win them;
Tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.
(You can hear the tune to this hymn here.)
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