Are all disciples called to spread the Gospel, or just a select few evangelists and preachers? While praying to the Father, Jesus said, ”As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (John 17:18), and He told his disciples, ”Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15). This is impossible if only a select few take on the task. There were only twelve disciples at first, a group much too small to preach to the whole world, so it is clear from what Jesus said (and from what the disciples actually did) that God’s plan was something more; namely, all disciples spreading the Gospel to all creation.
Preach=Share=Spread=Testify to=Proclaim . . . The Gospel!
In Corinthians 12:1-11, Paul wrote about spiritual gifts. In 1 Corinthians 12:27-31, it is clear each person is appointed or called to a certain role in the body of Christ. He lists the roles of prophets, teachers, healers, helpers, etc., but nowhere in these scriptures does he mention preachers. While some people preach as their full-time role, this does not mean that other disciples are not called to testify, too.
Don’t get hung up on the word used to describe a disciple’s call to spread the Gospel. Preaching is not just standing in front of a congregation on Sunday or Saturday morning and giving a sermon. Preaching is any way and any time you talk about the Good News with lost people. This can be when you:
- Share your faith with a neighbor
- Hand out tracts that explain God’s plan of salvation
- Explain to a co-worker why you have peace in Jesus during a stressful time at work
- Study the bible with an unbeliever
- Write a blog about God’s Word and the Good News
The focus is on the lost, using the opportunities God gives you to seek them out and give them what you already have: forgiveness of sins and salvation in Jesus Christ.
These days, it is popular in the secular world to talk about loving others and helping the poor, but only disciples of Jesus have the highest form of love to offer: Jesus. In Matthew 25:31-46 and John 21:15-17, Jesus instructed His disciples to not only feed others’ physical needs, but their spiritual needs as well. What is more loving than being used by God to meet a person’s spiritual need for a relationship with God? Sharing one’s faith is loving others at the highest level possible.
Jesus’ Command to Share the Gospel is Not Optional
The very first time Jesus sent out the twelve disciples, He told them, ”What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim it from the roofs” (Matthew 10:27) and ”Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8b). All disciples are called to share their faith with others. If we are prompted by God’s Spirit to do this, and we do not, we sin (James 4:17). This happens when we give in to fear and focus more on ourselves than on the lost. It is unloving and selfish to focus on our timidity rather than on the lost.
Sometimes it seems that everyone has heard the Good News by now, or at least some form of it. It is discouraging to hear the same responses: “I have my own church”, “That’s nice for you, but not for me”, or some other polite brush off. Is that a reason to stop proclaiming the Good News?
Call to Action
In Luke 4:43, Jesus said, ”I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God…”. Is Jesus’ mission your mission, too? Are you heeding His call to ” . . . go and proclaim the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:60)? Until Jesus comes back, there is no reason to stop sharing the Gospel message. We are to obey God, and this includes obeying His Spirit when prompted to share our faith with the lost.
We are not to be concerned with the results, only with what God calls us to do. In fact, God will often deliberately NOT show us the fruit of our labors in these areas (frustrating, I know, but based on personal experience, I know this to be true!). This is actually just more of His boundless mercy, His way of protecting us from the temptation to be prideful and to take credit for His glory in saving someone.
If we are called to plant seeds of the Gospel, but never get to see the results, what is that to us? If He wills it, God will water and grow the seeds we planted in obedience (1 Corinthians 3:6-9). All He requires of us is obedience; the results of that obedience are in His hands.