Preach the Word

April 14, 2019
Before Jesus was taken up to heaven, he said to his disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). This command is being referred to as the Great Commission. Every believer is mandated to go and share the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. To reiterate this command, the apostle Paul said, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Tim. 4:2).
 
The preaching of the gospel should be the preoccupation of believers. It is so important that Jesus had to set it as a condition before his coming. He said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14). Jesus wants everybody to be given the opportunity to hear the gospel and to make a decision whether to believe in him as Lord and Saviour or not. Certainly, God does not want that anybody should perish but that all should come to repentance.
 
But while there is urgency in the command to preach the gospel, it is not being done as the Lord expected. The number of believers is not exploding as in the days of the apostles. What could be the hindrances in the preaching of the gospel? Below are some of the reasons why believers FAIL in their mission.
 
Fear of rejection. We have the tendency to seek the favour of men more than the favour of God. But in his proverbs, King Solomon warned: “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (Prov. 29:25). We must always remember that we are not the message. We are merely the messenger, and for as long as we are able to deliver the message properly, we should not fear being rejected by men. Always consider what Jesus said, “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16).
 
Ashamed of the gospel. There are those who are ashamed to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. They would rather be known as “secret” followers of Christ rather than boldly declare their faith in Jesus Christ. As believers, we need to emulate the apostle Paul, who said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (Rom. 1:16). If it is through the gospel that people are saved, then it has to be preached with boldness. If we persist in being ashamed in preaching the Word, we are actually saying that we are ashamed of Jesus Christ, the message. Jesus warned: “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26).
 
Indifference. Many just do not have concern for people who are lost. They only care about themselves. They are like the prophet Jonah, who refused to preach to the people of Nineveh. God rebuked him, saying, “But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” (Jonah 4:11). We need to be as compassionate as Jesus concerning the lost. “When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36).
 
Lack of knowledge. Others are hesitant to preach the gospel for lack of knowledge or skills. We all have access to the Bible and the apostle Paul said, “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Formal education helps but is not necessary in the preaching of the Word. The apostles themselves were known to be uneducated, but boldly preached the Word. We are told that “when they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
 
We need to pray for boldness as we respond to the Lord`s Great Commission. Even the apostle Paul requested, “Pray also for me that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Eph. 6:19-20). Hallelujah!