South Shore Sermon Series: 2002
Into All The World
By Bernie Parsons May 18, 2002
South Shore church of Christ
Mark 16:15. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Brothers and sisters, we have used a model in the local churches for several decades that has proved ineffective in spreading the gospel. Churches are in decline, and I know there are more reasons than one for that, but it is time for a fresh look at what we are doing
There are two main components to advancing the knowledge of Gods will for us. These are referred to as preaching and teaching. Lets look at preaching first.
Preach comes from a root word that means to proclaim in public. Public comes from a root word that means the people, the community at large. To preach means to proclaim among the people, or among the community at large.
Matthew 10:27: "What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops."
Jesus commanded the Apostles to go into the whole world to publicly proclaim-preach-the gospel. The word gospel is derived from the root words god spell (godspel), or good story, or god story. This English word came from the Greek word euangelios, which meant bringing good news. Our word evangelist comes from the Greek root.
The gospel is the good news, the good story, the god story, or the story of Jesus. It does not mean simply to iterate the "Five Step Plan Of Salvation". We have often heard Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John described as the "Four Gospels". Although some take offense at this description, it is an accurate one, and a scriptural one.
Mark opens his account of the life of Jesus this way:
Mark 1: 1: The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;"
Mark referred to his story as "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;" He proceeded to describe the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, concluding with the order for His Apostles to take this message to all the peoples of the world. The gospel includes the whole life of Christ, as well as His purpose and promise of eternal life.
I spoke of revival on the opening night of this series of meetings. I did not call it a "gospel meeting", and for good reason. Notice that Jesus urged His followers to leave Jerusalem and carry the gospel to the world. He did not say, "Send out an invitation for all the world to come to you to hear the gospel." I can find neither the expression, nor the concept, of a gospel meeting in the Holy Scriptures.
You see, brothers and sisters, that somewhere along the way we scrambled the message of Jesus, got it all turned around backwards, and have the cart before the horse, as it were. We have embarked upon the wrong road, and find ourselves back where we started. We end up preaching the gospel to ourselves, instead of to "all the world".
For years I sat in church assemblies where all in attendance were members of the church, or else were too young to be accountable for themselves. What did the preacher proclaim in these sessions? Usually, he advocated, "Hear, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized". Some Sundays the preacher would instead expound upon how we are the one true church, with an occasional discourse on how the denominations are going to hell.
The order of our Lord is to take the gospel to the world, not hope to lure the world to the gospel. That is where the denominational world goes wrong, and that is where we go wrong. Rather than follow the Lords plan, we devise our own, thinking ourselves to be smarter than God. The next thing you know there is "Sunday school", vacation Bible school, childrens church, church ball teams, rock-and-roll music in the assemblies-whatever bait we can throw out to catch a sinner. Thats not Gods plan.
Jesus sent out the 12 apostles, Mark 6:7-12, and in verse 12 it says:
Mark 6:12: "And they went out, and preached that men should repent."
You see, Jesus intended that His followers to go out, and preach. In Luke 10:1-21, we read of Jesus sending out the 70 disciples to heal and to preach. The gospel is to be carried to all the nations, and a good example of the gospel message being taken to the world occurs in Acts 3:12 - 4:4.
Peter here preached Jesus from Abraham, when the promise was first given, through the judges, and then the Law of Moses, and the prophets, concluding with the events of the first century AD. That is the gospel, the story of Jesus, the Christ.
John Baptist, and Jesus, preached to the public masses. The seventy disciples, and the Apostles, preached to the public masses. At some point the church of Christ retreated from the public masses, and began to preach at ourselves. We hold what we have named "gospel meetings, and invite the world into the assembly to hear the "5-step plan". But the assembly is for the edification of the saints, as noted in:
Matthew 14:23: "If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?
24: But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
25: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth."
Notice the "if" in verse 23, regarding unbelievers in the assembly, which is for the believers. When properly instructed and fired up, they are to take the gospel to the world.
Acts:8:4: "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word."
1 Peter 2:5: "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
We are all to preach the gospel to the world, as the opportunity arises. Yet, the scriptures recognize that there are those who are blessed with the specific ability to preach.
Ephesians 4:11: "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:"
Romans 10:13: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14: How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15: And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"
Those evangelists are worthy of our support, as said Jesus in:
Luke 10:5: "And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.
6: And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.
7: And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house."
Apostle Paul further elaborated on this in 1 Corinthians 9:6.
We need to take the preaching public again. Some say, "But the law would shut us down, throw us in jail, and give us a bad name."
In Acts chapter 4, the apostles were arrested for preaching the gospel. They were brought before the Jewish council, which the Romans allowed to preside over religious matters.
Acts 4:18: "And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
19: But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
20: For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."
After their arrest for preaching the gospel, Peter proceeded to preach the gospel to those who had arrested them, and were interrogating them. Acts chapter 5 tells us how they were again arrested. This time they were punished, and ordered not to preach Jesus.
Acts 5: 40: "And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
41: And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name."
Just as Jesus picked the 12 apostles, the 70 disciples, and Saul of Tarsus, to do special duty in preaching the gospel, God grants special abilities to others to preach. We need to support them, vocally and financially, in this special work.
I want to now switch focus upon teaching the church, a theme I lightly touched upon when I spoke of the elders last night. Teach comes from a root word that means to show, or demonstrate. Teaching is often done in a place apart, a separate place, a private place. Private comes from a root word that means separate.
The teacher is a workman, or worker, who must study and learn the will of God. You cant teach what you dont know.
2 Timothy 2:15 "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
It is a weighty matter to speak for God, not to be taken lightly. It is no wonder, then, that James and Paul set forth these words of warning:
James 3:1 "My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation."
Romans 2:17 "Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,
18: And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;
19: And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,
20: An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.
21: Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
22: Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
23: Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
24: For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written."
Hebrews 5: 12: "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13: For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14: But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
We do well to give heed to these words. Not everyone has the ability to teach the congregation, and Paul pointed this out in Romans 12:6-8, and in.
1 Corinthians 12:28: "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
29: Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
30: Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?"
Apostles made first contact, as ambassadors; prophets followed preaching the gospel; and teachers settled in to see that the Christians were rooted and grounded in the faith. Not everyone is knowledgeable enough to teach. Those who speak must speak as God has directed, not representing their opinions as Gods law.
1 Peter 4:11: "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
There is no age restriction on teachers, as we read last night. However, those who teach must recognize that there are Christians in every stage of development in the church. A real teacher will know this, and act accordingly.
1 Corinthians 3: 1: "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2: I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3: For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4: For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
5: Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
6: I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
7: So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
8: Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
9: For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building."
The church is Gods, not ours. God gives the increase, if we tend the crops. One man may plant the seed, while another waters the plants, or fertilizes them-but they belong to God. Our teaching is to edify, or build up, the members that are the body of Christ, and should not be wasted in empty arguments over things that wont save us.
1 Timothy 1:3: "As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
4: Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
5: Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
6: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
7: Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm."
Those who dont diligently study the scriptures are not qualified to teach. Years as a baptized church-goer do not qualify you. Merely repeating what you heard some other preacher espouse does not qualify you. You fail as a teacher if you fail to edify the body.
1 Corinthians 12: 25: "That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26: And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27: Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."
The teacher must be able heal the body, helping it to grow. Youve got to love the members, or organs, of the body of Christ in order teach properly.
Ephesians 4:11: "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15: But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
We should also realize that one person is usually not given all the answers. We need to listen to different brothers with the ability to teach, as we read in:
1 Corinthians 14: 29: "Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
30: If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
31: For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
32: And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
33: For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."
We teaching brothers, as well as our own audiences, need to listen to, and learn from, each other. Communication is important.
James1:19: "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:"
We must teach everything that God says, not just that with which we are comfortable.
Acts 20:27: "For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
28: Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."
That doesnt mean teaching traditions of men for doctrine, a thing that Jesus condemned.
Matthew 15: 1: "Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,
2: Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
3: But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
4: For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
5: But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
6: And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
7: Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
8: This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
9: But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
We must also support those elders who work with the local congregation of the body.
Galatians 6: 6: "Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
7: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8: For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9: And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
10: As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."
1 Timothy 5:17: "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
18: For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward."
Lets organize locally-not on a national or worldwide level-to preach and teach the gospel. As Jesus sent out the 12 then the 70, and later, the Apostle Paul, we should act along those same lines, supporting the preaching of the gospel.
One way to get the gospel out might include newspaper articles. You also need to be aware that Web pages on the World Wide Web are reaching many, with the potential to reach millions at extremely low cost.
I also propose for your consideration, that since Jesus drew crowds by healing and feeding them, using those opportunities to teach them, perhaps we should consider going door to door in groups of two or more to see how we can serve our neighbors. Service to others is the hallmark of the Christian, and is what Jesus used to draw crowds.
The early church prospered when the Christians served each other, impressing those outside the church, who then wanted to be a part of this wonderful group of people.
Internally, we need elders to teach and lead us, deacons to teach and serve us, and teachers to instruct and inform us. We should not follow the single-preacher model adopted by so many, because that is not scriptural. We must not allow one single preacher to call all the shots for several churches. We must allow the qualified speakers to take turns, yielding to other qualified teachers when the Spirit directs. We must lay aside strife and envy, and their resultant confusion.
Most of all we need love, as Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:8: "And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins."
If you are not a Christian, we have told you that Christ is He that was promised to Abraham, referred to by Moses, foretold by the prophets, and witnessed by the Apostles, the disciples, the Holy Spirit, and the voice of God.
Come believing the truth told by these witnesses, repenting of your sins, confessing Jesus as Lord, and Son of God, and be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Please come!