There were 83 different subjects that Jesus taught on. In the book ‘What on Earth have we Done with the Teachings of Jesus?’ (available as a free download here). I listed the top ten according to the frequency that Jesus spoke on them. In covering the top ten, I am now looking at the fifth most common topic which was joint equal to yesterday’s subject which is ‘Preach the gospel’.
Preach the Gospel means to spread the ‘good news’
What is the ‘gospel’ – the word gospel means ‘good news’. It is indeed good news to hear that one does not need to die in their sin, unsure of whether they will be accepted in at the pearly gates or not. It is good news to hear that there is a God who is working out a sovereign plan in this world of chaos. It’s good news to hear that there is a God who loves us so much that He sent His very own Son to be a substitute for our death. Though we all may face death physically, we can know with certainty that we won’t face death for eternity. Not only can we have this hope for the future. But we can live a life of peaceful assurance now, for He delights to reward us for our faithfulness toward Him. Lives can be changed, the addict can be free of his slavery, the sick can be healed, the debts cleared, the worried heart can be in peace. This is all good news. Why would anyone in their right minds not want to receive it?
I have heard many say that it’s not their gift. That to be an evangelist is for the evangelists. It is true that there are some who are so gifted and for them it comes naturally. But we are all called to ‘do the work of an evangelist’ (2 Tim 4:5).
Beginning at Jerusalem
Just following the death of Jesus some of their women had gone to the tomb but hadn’t been able to find his body. As His followers were gathered discussing this, Jesus Himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” He went on to open their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high,” Luke 24:36.
Go, tell the world
Henry says – The great gospel truth concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ must be published to the children of men. It has been written in the sealed book of the divine counsels from eternity… “Go, and tell the world,” First, “That Christ suffered, as it was written of Him. Go, preach Christ crucified; be not ashamed of His cross, not ashamed of a suffering Jesus. Tell them what He suffered, and why He suffered, and how all the scriptures of the Old Testament were fulfilled in His sufferings. Tell them that it was necessary to the taking away of the sin of the world, and the deliverance of mankind from death and ruin… Secondly, “That He rose from the dead on the third day, and so declared to be the Son of God with power, and in this also the scriptures were fulfilled (see 1 Cor. 15:3, 4). Go, tell the world … that He that was dead is alive, and lives forevermore, and has the keys of death and the grave.”
The great gospel of repentance must be pressed upon the children of men. Repentance for sin must be preached in Christ’s name, and by His authority. All men everywhere must be called and commanded to repent, Acts 17:30. “Go, and tell all people that the God that made them, and the Lord that bought them, expects and requires that they turn from the worship of the gods that they have made, to the worship of the God that made them. They must turn from serving the interests of the world and the flesh, and turn to the service of God in Christ. They must forsake all sinful practices. Their hearts and lives must be changed, and they must be universally renewed and reformed.
The Spirit will be poured out
Jesus said that they would receive the promise of His Father, and that they would be given power from on high. He assures them that, in a little time the Spirit would be poured out upon them in greater measures than ever. They would then be furnished with all those gifts and graces which were necessary.
Those who receive the Holy Ghost are empowered with a supernatural power that draws the soul upward, and makes it to aim high.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
We must search our hearts to determine what it is that keeps us from this work. Do we lack confidence? I have heard it said that the key evidence of a person filled with the Spirit is boldness. Do we need to ask for this baptism that we might be more compelled to do the work we are called to do and preach the gospel?
The Crown of life be sure to you
At the end of the Apostle Paul’s life he commissioned Timothy. His words ring out to us “I have done the work of my day and generation; you do in like manner do the work of your day and generation.” “Come,” says Paul, “I have found our Master kind and the cause good. I can look back upon my warfare with a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction. Do not be afraid of the difficulties you meet. The crown of life is as sure to you as if it were already upon your head”.
By the grace of God, may we finish our course with joy. I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace, Acts 20:24.
Your Good News How lovely on the mountain Are the feet of those, Who bring the good news of Peace and salvation. When you are weary think that Yours are the feet of those Who bring glad tidings to the Nation. Your weariness will go then To bring new and happy talk. You will receive a joy And a spring to your walk. Brining glad tidings, publishing peace, Can you believe that this is true? That such a joyful mission Is entrusted to you. Never forget this, May your heart be ever warming. So the joy of your message and mission, Will radiate from you, gladdening And transforming. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Prayer: Father – I thank You for Your good news. Where else can we go? ‘You have the Words of eternal life!’ Compel me to bring this good news wherever my feet will tread that others may know of Your life-saving grace and power. Fill all who read this with Your Spirit, Your power from on high, that we may go out in boldness to set the captives free. In Jesus Name. AMEN