For most of us, we have heard and/or read Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-16. In both of those accounts, Jesus is on record as having commanded either teaching or preaching. In Mark’s account, Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Matthew’s account is worded, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt. 28:19-20). These accounts should not surprise us when we realize that it is the Gospel that is “the power of God unto salvation”. Paul exclaimed, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). The Gospel is what God has chosen for man to believe and obey. There is no other way to be saved from our sins, than to obey the Gospel.
Consider the following remark by the apostle Paul: “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thess. 1:6-9). Did we catch that? Without obedience to the Gospel, souls will “…be punished with everlasting destruction”! That means those souls will not be in Heaven, but will rather be in Hell. If we truly believe God, then we should desperately be doing what we can to help souls hear and obey before it is too late. That means that I have to be willing to teach and preach the Gospel to those in my family, my friends, my co-workers, my neighbors, and whoever else I can get to listen! It really is a “life and death” situation: everlasting life or the second death (Rev. 21:8). I may be the only one who will ever let them hear the saving message of the cross! If I refuse, what does that mean for their souls?
When writing to the church in Corinth Paul indicated, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:1-4). The Gospel is the message of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. It is this message that must be believed and obeyed in order to be saved. With that being said, how do you obey that message? The church at Rome received a letter from Paul that described that very thing. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Rom. 6:1-6).
We must take this message/the Gospel to the lost! They must hear it and obey it in order to be saved! We must never forget that the power is in the Word! That is why Paul was so adamant to Timothy to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:2). We do not need to change the material in our sermons and Bible classes. Instead, we need to continue to rely on the power of God!
~ Corey Barnette