Mark 16:15: "And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’"
All the Gospels agree that among the last things that the risen Jesus did on earth was commission or send out his disciples. There is a centrifugal quality to the Christian life, an outward focus. Jesus did not tell his disciples:
"Go into a monastery and pray."
Or, "Go withdraw from the world and look deep within yourselves."
Or, "Go build a wall around yourselves and have nothing to do with anyone who does not believe in me."
No, he says, "Go into all the world…." This is even more amazing when you consider that Jesus was saying this to a group of Jewish men who at this point considered it taboo even to have table fellowship with Gentiles.
Notice three important things about this commission:
First, the Biblical method is preaching. What is preaching? Preaching is a man in Christ standing to speak from the Word of God about the things of God in order to draw together and edify the people of God.
Preaching is the preferred method of Biblical ministry.
Second, the Biblical message is the gospel. The word "gospel" means "good news." It refers to the "good news" about what God has been pleased to do in the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Third, the Biblical mandate is universal. They are to go and preach the gospel "to every creature." The gospel is to be preached without discrimination to every single human being as God’s unique image bearers within the creation.
The apostles were not only to go to their fellow Jews, but to all nations.
They were not only to go to men, but also to women.
They were not only to go to the adults, but also to the children.
They were not to go to the elite, but also to the lowly.
They were not only to go to the wealthy, but also to the poor.
They were not only to go to the educated, but also to the illiterate.
They were not only to go to those whom they deemed most likely to respond, but also to those they deemed least likely to respond.
There is a universal mandate for this gospel preaching ministry.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle
Note: Evangel article 3/10/09.
This actually relates to both the great commission post and your post on the deterioration of the modern evangelical church. In our Sat. morning men's study, we are beginning the fantastic (yet admittedly intimidating) voyage through Grudem's Systematic Theology. In the first chapter, Grudem's uses Matthew's account of the great commission as a foundation for the importance of studing doctrine and carefully considering what the collective word of God has to say about specific topics (Grudem's definition of systematic theology). Matthew recorded in 28:20 of his gospel account that Jesus said "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you...". The pure "missions" church and many modern evangelical mega-churches will fly the Matthew 28:20 flag and prescribe to the "easy believism" and altar calls that plague the Christian faith today. But Grudem was illuminating a much more sober version of Jesus' command. We are called to "teach" his commands. To me, this goes well beyond saying a little prayer. As a church, we need to boldly, diligently, and repeatedly teach the thorough truth of the gospel. Not just the more "popular" aspect of "God is Love," but also the depravity of man and the doctrines of grace. We are told to love the Lord our God with all our minds as well as our hearts, strength and soul. And for the saints, this continual process can be extremely fruitful in "working out our own salvation."
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