Into our hands the gospel is given;

 

(Please Read :  Romans 10:9-17)

(BASED UPON A SERMON BY TOM HOLLAND)

A very beautiful hymn from our hymnbook, reads this way:

Swiftly we're turning life's daily pages;

Swiftly the hours are turning to years.
How are we using God's golden moments? 

Shall we reap glory?  Shall we reap tears?

 

Millions are groping without the gospel;

Quickly they'll reach eternity's night.
Shall we sit idly as they rush onward? 

Haste, let us hold up Christ the true light.

 

Souls that are precious, souls that are dying,

While we rejoice our sins are forgiven--
Did He not also die for these lost ones? 

Then let us point the way unto heaven.

Chorus: 

Into our hands the gospel is given;

Into our hands is given the light.
Haste, let us carry God's precious message,

Guiding the erring back to the right.

 

This song is one of my favorite humns,  written by Mrs. Roy Carruth and our Brother  Tillet S. Teddle  The chorus is one of  the most challenging and awesome truths with which every Christian must deal.  It is a truth that has to do with the monumental responsibility  which the New Testament teaches that our Lord has given his people, to present the saving gospel to those who have not been saved from their sins! Hear it again.

 

Into our hands the gospel is given;

Into our hands is given the light.
Haste, let us carry God's precious message,

Guiding the erring back to the right.

 

It is not possible for us to conceive of how different the church of our Lord would be if every member in it had a good comprehension of this enormous responsibility, and ordered his life accordingly!

 

We read in 2 Timothy  4:1-5

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

 

Paul the apostle who was inspired, wrote to Timothy giving him the following charge. ”do the work of an evangelist   What is the “work of an evangelist”?  To preach the word , or “Evangelism”.

 

Isn’t that a refreshing word? Brother Tom Holland stated “Evangelism has the heart of an angel because  angel is the heart of the word”. 

 

When the Holy Spirit inspired a prefix to the word “angel” “ev Greek [eju] good... then one who is an evangelist potentially becomes an “angel,” or “messenger” of good news.

 

Isn’t that a challenging encouragement in an age when gloom and doom are daily “preached” by a pessimistic media? There is a good message of love, forgiveness, joy, peace, purpose, and hope of a beautiful life after death.  Evangelism is the hope of the world.  Evangelism is the heartbeat of the church. Evangelism is the challenge of preachers and Bible teachers alike..

 

I would like to notice  three important aspects of evangelism in this lesson. The message, the motivation, and the means of evangelism.

 

“The Gospel” is the message of evangelism and means “glad tidings of good things” (Rom 10:15). The word “evangelist” identifies “one who proclaims the good news... those who preach the gospel” 

 

First then the message.  The gospel has several dimensions.  An examination of the New Testament revelation of the gospel is like beholding the facets of a beautiful diamond; each facet very attractive.

 

The message is the “gospel of salvation,” as Paul reminded the saints at Ephesus (Eph. 1:13).

“in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation,-- in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise”

 

The gospel when adhered to brings “salvation”.  therefore it is the  “glad tidings” (Romans 1:16; Romans 10:15).   “Salvation” is the theme of God’s Scripture . James admonishes us  (Jas. 1:21).

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls”.

 

The synonyms for salvation, “justification, redemption, and reconciliation” all indirectly emphasize the importance of the gospel  which is God’s power to bring people to salvation and salvation brings  justification” (Rom. 3:23-24).   “Justification” is an act of God whereby He pronounces a person “not guilty” of the sins which have been committed.

 

 God can justify sinful people because Jesus paid the price for sin.  Therefore, justification is “by the blood of Christ” (Rom. 5:9). Salvation is redemption (Rom. 3:24). To “redeem” is to “buy back,” but redemption practically means “liberation”  because  those redeemed are justified. 

 

But to adequately appreciate redemption” one must appreciate the reality of the law of sin and death. (see Romans 8) One who is under the “law of sin” is ruled, dominated, controlled by sin. Sin “reigns” in that individual’s life Romans 6:12

12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof:…   (continuing verse 16) ….  16Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves as servants unto obedience, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (and verse 17). 17But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered; 18and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness”.

 

Redemption, like justification, is made possible by the blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:18-21). 

“knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God”.

 

Redemption is to be brought out of a moral condition of slavery. Oh, we don’t use the word “slavery” today to identify one under sin, we  use the word “addiction”.. Think of the addicts in our world. alcohol, pornography,  drugs, sexual immorality, and greed, to name a few..  But we have an exciting message for people whose lives are controlled by sin… “There is “redemption” or “liberation” in Jesus Christ!”

 

When sinful people are justified and redeemed they are also reconciled to God, and reconciliation is salvation (Rom. 5:10). That which has alienated or separated man from God, namely man’s sin (Isa. 59:1-2; Col. 1:21, 22), has been forgiven so God no longer imputes his trespasses unto him (2 Cor. 5:19).

 

One commentator   observed:

As sinners, we lay under the condemnation of God, and His wrath hung over us.  That was the situation which had to be faced: was there love in God equal to it? Yes, when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son

 

In reconciliation we become God’s friends and are no longer His enemies.  As surely as justification is in redemption, and both by the blood of Christ, so reconciliation to God is made possible by the “death of God’s Son,” (Rom. 5:10; Eph. 2:16). And as “redemption is in Christ Jesus,” so “reconciliation is in the body of Christ” (Eph. 2:16) and the body is the church (Eph. 1:22, 23).

 

Another beautiful facet of the gospel is forgiveness (Eph. 1:7).

7In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”.

 

Sin burdens the conscience with guilt and shame. However, in forgiveness the burden of guilt is “washed away” (Acts 22:16). So instead of guilt there is a sense of pardon which brings peace. Romans 5:1

 

Instead of shame there is joy. Instead of fear there is hope. We have a good message that a condemned, sin dominated, alienated from God, guilt-ridden world sorely needs. True evangelists have a good message of hope for a dying world.

 

What will move evangelists to evangelize? One thing is an appreciation for the message that the world really needs.

 

Another  is a love for people….  Love will cause one to “do the work of an evangelist.” In response to a lawyer’s question concerning the “Great Commandment,”  Jesus said, “Love God and love your neighbor” (Matt. 22:37-39).

 

Earlier in His earthly ministry Jesus had been asked the question,

What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”   (Luke 10:25)

 

Jesus responded to the lawyer’s question by asking, “what is written in the law? How readest thou?” The lawyer knew the answer. “Thou shall love the Lord thy God…and thy neighbor as thyself.” The Savior said that the lawyer had answered correctly and Jesus said, “this do, and thou shall live.”

 

But the lawyer in an attempt to justify himself asked, “and who is my neighbor?” Jesus’ answer was a now familiar story,  The parable of the “Good Samaritan” Luke 10:30-37.

 

When we realize that  there are many people today, by life’s roadside who have been “beaten” by false philosophies that robs them of life now and eternally, we will take them a good message.

 

The philosophy of materialism and evolution that would reduce people to the animal level, evolution is not a fact, it is a philosophy which denies the reality of a God-given spirit in people and is robbing people of hope for life after death.

 

Many people have been “beaten and robbed” by the philosophies  prevalent in the entertainment industry as the movies, television, music and books. Immediate gratification is advocated, promoted, and pushed to the extent that millions have bought  into it resulting in unwanted pregnancies, the murder of millions of babies in the name of abortion, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, crushing the hopes of youth, destroying families, and robbing people of the hope of heaven.

 

Think of the people who have been spiritually “beaten and robbed” by the false doctrines of the so-called “new age religions”.  People are being “beaten and robbed” by perversions of the gospel (Gal. 1:6-9). Instead of being told the Lord’s way of salvation, sincere people are being told, “Receive Jesus as your Savior and pray this (the “Sinner’s Prayer”).”

 

This is not the gospel Jesus said He wanted preached to the nations (Luke 24:46, 47; Mark 16:15, 16). The gospel God wants preached is the D-B-R  (1 Cor 15:1-8).

 

Think of the people who have been “beaten and robbed” by ignorance. Shall we, like the priest and Levite, pass by and not do what we can to help those who have been “beaten and robbed” by bringing to them the “wonderful words of life?”   When we love our neighbors as ourselves we do what we can to bring them the “gospel of salvation.”

 

Another potential motivation for evangelism comes from the realization of  “The worth of one person’s soul”. Our Savior said,

26For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26).   In an age of billions of people,  we must not overlook the value of one. One soul is, in the Lord’s sight, worth more than the world

 

Once we are moved to action by realization of the vital message that the world acutely needs, when we desire to show mercy and compassion on those who have been “beaten and robbed”; When we appreciate the value of one soul saved,  Then we are ready to use the means of getting the Lord’s saving gospel to those who are lost.

 

Very quickly “The  Means Of Evangelism”.  Evangelists who are motivated will find a way to spread the message.  There are many different ways to obey the Lord’s Commission to “preach repentance and remission of sins to all nations” (Luke 24:47).

 

One important means for preaching and teaching is the mass evangelistic method, that television, radio, the internet, and the printed page offer.

 

Is it Providential that at the moment in human history when there would be a population “explosion” technology would provide a means of reaching out to the masses with the pure gospel of Christ?   However, mass evangelism requires someone’s personal involvement in baptizing and helping those converted in growing spiritually (Matt. 28:18-20; 2 Pet. 3:18).

 

Think of the people who have been converted to Christ through “personal evangelism”.  The evangelist, Philip, left his preaching to a city (Acts 8:5-8, 12-13) and went to preach to one (Acts 8:26-39). The Lord’s apostles in fulfilling the Lord’s Great Commission preached publicly and “in every house” (Acts 5:42).

 

There are aids for doing personal work. Many have used filmstrips; now on  DVD’s. Books have been written to help people in knowing how to teach people on a personal basis.

 

One of the most effective ways today of doing personal work is through what some call   “Friendship Evangelism;” making friends with work associates, neighbors, relatives and thereby opening the “door to their hearts.”

 

Cornelius is a good example of this approach to evangelism.  He “called together his kinsmen and near friends” and when Peter arrived to tell Cornelius “words whereby Cornelius and his house” could be saved (Acts 11:14),  Cornelius said to Peter, “now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things commanded thee of God” (Acts 10:33).

 

We have the message, the gospel, “glad tidings of good things,” and when we are motivated to declare that message, we will find a way to get the message to a lost and dying world.

 

There is great reward in being a messenger of good, in sharing with others the gospel of salvation.  Our own appreciation for our salvation is enhanced.

 

Think of the gratitude people will express in heaven to those who loved them enough to teach them how to go to heaven.  But most of all, think of the Savior who loved people enough to die for them,

and think of the words expressing to those whose lives were devoted to seeking the lost for whom Jesus died, saying, “well done, good and faithful servant...enter thou into the joy of the Lord” (Mat. 25:21, 23).

 

The reward of evangelists was beautifully expressed by the “sweet singer of Israel”:           “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him”       (Pro. 126:6).

 

I close with this reminder from the apostle Paul  1 Cor 15:58

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord”.

 

contact:

Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658