“Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how GREAT THINGS the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee” emph mine seb (Mark 5:19).
Jesus gave those instructions to the man he had just healed of the “legion” demon possession. This incredibly grateful man wanted to accompany Jesus wherever He would go. Jesus wouldn’t allow it, but gave him a personal mission, “tell them how GREAT THINGS the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee”
This verse impresses me as a method of personal evangelism. Before we can apply it, we must know what GREAT THINGS the Lord has done for us.
Here’s my personal list.
The Lord has been very GRACEFUL in the giving of Himself as a sacrifice, and Propitiation for sin. (Eph 2:8-9)
He has shown me how to REJOICE in times of trial. (Jas 1:2-3)
He has left EVIDENCE of His goodness. (Acts 14:17)
He demonstrated AGAPE style Love. (Rom 5:6-10)
He has delivered to us God’s TRUTH. (John 17:17)
He has given me certain TALENTS by which I can provide for the needs of my family and for helping others. (Matt 25:15)
He has given me HOPE. (Heb 6:19)
He has given me access to INTERCESSORY prayer which is unavailable to those outside of Christ. (Rom 8:34; Heb 4:16)
He has taught me how to love my NEIGHBORS. (Matt 22:39)
He has given me every GOOD GIFT & perfect Gift. (Jas 1:17)
Lastly, but not least, He has provided for me SALVATION through obedience to the Gospel. (1Cor 15:1-4)
This list is certainly not comprehensive, but it does represent some of the GREAT THINGS He has done. I have another more private and personal list of GREAT THINGS the Lord has done.
What about you? Do you have a list? We sing the song, “Count your blessings,” do you know what some of them are?
“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee” (Psalm 139:17-18).
Perhaps you would like to make a note of the many GREAT THINGS the Lord has done for you?
JESUS SAID, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:31-32]
Jesus orders us to “continue in my word,” and He connects it to the truth. (cr. John 17:17) When we keep His word, the truth, we will be FREE!
FREE from what? From what does obeying the word of God set us FREE?
We’re used to having liberty in our country (free speech, right to assemble etc.), but most fail to realize they’re in bondage.
Let’s search the scriptures to learn from what we’ve been set FREE.
The Truth shall set us FREE from:
The FEAR of death. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” [1Cor. 15:56,57]. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” [2Tim 1:7]
Being set free from the FEAR of Death is a powerful blessing from obeying Christ. By extension, we are FREE from the FEAR of men. “We ought to obey God rather than men.” [Acts 5:29].
The truth also sets us FREE to pursue RIGHTEOUSNESS. Prior to knowing (& obeying Gal 5:7) the truth we were in bondage to sin and free FROM righteousness. Now we are FREE from sin to pursue RIGHTEOUSNESS. “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” [Rom 6:18-20].
This does not mean that we can’t sin [1John 1:8-10], nor does it give us license to sin. Rather, it is teaching that we can have assurance on how to live faithfully, and avoid sin.
Another thing from which we’ve been set FREE is found in the letter to the Galatians. Paul reminded the saints that Christ set them FREE from the ENTAGLEMENT of the Law of Moses. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” [Gal. 5:1; cr. 2:4; 4:9;]
Returning to the Law of Moses is tantamount to going back into bondage. It’s sad when folks appeal to the OT for NT practices, thereby becoming ENTANGLED in bondage. “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” [Gal 3:10]. “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” [Rom. 7:6].
Going back to Romans we learn one more thing. Having been set FREE from sin, we may now have EVERLASTING LIFE. “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” [Rom. 6:22]
None of the above will happen if we are ignorant of the truth. Remember, it is continuing in the TRUTH that sets us FREE. Before we can continue in it, we must first be in it.
…we become one of His disciples. HOW do I become a disciple of Christ? Remember, Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:31-32] To become His disciple we must obey the Gospel. Before He ascended into heaven He gave this command, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:” [Matt 28:19 (ASV)]
The Gospel is what calls us [2Thess. 2:14]. By hearing the truth, we can then believe that Jesus is the Christ [John 20:30-31; Rom 10:17].
By hearing and believing the truth, we learn to repent [Luke 13:3], and we learn to confess that Jesus is the Christ [Act 8:37].
By hearing and believing the truth, we learn to be baptized for the remission of sins. [Acts 2:38; 22:16; Mark 16:16].
Being set FREE occurs AFTER obeying the gospel. The Gospel is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus [1Cor 15:1-4]. Obeying the Gospel is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of us through water baptism [Rom 6:3-4].
Obey the Gospel and be set FREE.
Spencer is a gospel preacher residing in Borger Texas where he works with the congregation that meets at Franklin & Juniper streets.
Paul wrote to the Galatians warning about those that were troubling them over the GOSPEL. He called it
a different gospel
an other gospel
He said that there is not another GOSPEL, and that the GOSPEL they heard originally was not from men, nor did it come from men. He said, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:8,9).
Very strong words with critical consequences. So critical that he says it twice!
Rather than list all the ways the Gospel can by perverted, let’s see what is the GOSPEL.
The GOSPEL literally means, “GOOD NEWS.” This Greek word for the GOSPEL is from the root word for evangelist. But it’s not enough to just be GOOD NEWS. The GOSPEL is GOOD NEWS from GOD. More than that, the GOSPEL is the GOOD NEWS about the GRACE of GOD. “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)
As one looks up every one of the 98 verses where the word is used, they would find that the GOSPEL is something to be OBEYED. If it is to be OBEYED, then there is something we must do. “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1Peter 4:17; cf. 2Thess 1:8).
As we look for those things we must do, we learn that a person must do these five things in order…
So, the GOSPEL is the Good News of the Grace of God, and is to be Obeyed, but for what reason? A search of the scriptures shows that the GOSPEL is for the SALVATION of mankind. “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.” (1Cor 15:1-2; cf. 2Tim 1:10; Eph 1:13)
Continuing our research of the scriptures, two more ideas about the GOSPEL come to our attention. The GOSPEL is the “power of God unto salvation;” (Rom. 1:16), and that it is the Good News to be PREACHED by people by people. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) We have no other thing by which we shall reach people. We are limited to the Power of God through Preaching the Gospel.
Another important thing related to the GOSPEL of the GRACE of GOD, is that it is to be preached to EVERY CREATURE (Mark 16:15; cf Mark 13:10; 14:9). The GOOD NEWS of the GRACE of GOD regarding the SALVATION of man is not to be withheld from any person. To do so would be showing partiality and judging unrighteous judgment (cf. Matt 7:1-2).
The last thing one may notice in their study about the GOSPEL is that it is to be preached out of LOVE (Phil 1:15-17), and it is to be LIVED out for the remainder of our lives. “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ:” (Phil 1:27)
The GOSPEL is the Good News of the Grace of God, it is to be Obeyed so that we may be Saved, this Power message is to be Preached to Every creature out of Love, and it is be Lived out daily in the life of the those that have received its power.
Spencer is an evangelist in Borger Texas. He has labored with the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ for the last 8 years.
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
There is a MESSAGE for the world. It’s an important message. Dare I say, it’s a vital message to the survival of the soul? It’s the Gospel.
But who shall take this message to the world? According to the bible, we will, the church. It began with the chosen Apostles, and then was extended to us.
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2Tim 2:2)
The Creator of the universe has entrusted us with this vital message. Are we up to the task?
Normal is not up to the task. We’re all familiar with the average man and his hesitancy to perform a task. When given such an assignment, will the regular person say, “Here am I; send me?” No, they will rather ask one or more of these questions:
When should I start?
Where do I go?
Who is the world?
Is that my job?
Do you mean right now?
“As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.”
The Lord wants laborers. “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2)
We are the laborers, each of us have been ‘hired’ for this important taks. “And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.” (Matt 20:1-16; cf Matt 25:24-30)
Now back to the command; “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” (Matt 28:19) Let us GO. The rest of this article we’ll look at the two qualities we need when we GO into all the world.
Firstly, we need ourselves to be changed people. Before we can present the Gospel to anyone, we must first be partakers of that gospel. Without GODLINESS it will be near impossible to convince anyone of the good news. You cannot teach the gospel just through a godly life, but it’s impossible without it.
“Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1Peter 2:12; 3:16)
“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” (Phil 2:15)
Many folks have rejected the gospel, the church, and pure religion, simply on the basis of the hypocrisy of its members. Let us GO in all GODLINESS. “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” (1Tim 6:11; cf 2Pet 1:1-10)
The second part of this simple command is to be of ONE mind with Christ in all that we do. “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;” (Eph 6:5).
Going into the world to preach does not require a vow of poverty nor for us to quit working (cf. Eph 4:28; 2Thess 3:10; 1Tim 5:8). Living godly lives in our work, our home, and our community gives us opportunity to meet folks and to shine our lights. From there we must have ONE mind with Christ, which is to share the life saving Gospel message. “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” (Matt 18:11; Luke 19:10).
We as individuals may not reach them all, but all that we meet may be reached, and if all of us reach then some may be saved. “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1Cor 9:22b) Go. You need not go very far. “…behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35)
Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ in Borger Texas. If you live in the Borger area and would like a personal bible study, please reach out & let us know how we can help you know more of God’s word.
While challenging Jesus, a certain lawyer seeking to justify himself, asked, “who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered with the parable of the good Samaritan to make him and us consider the answer to that question. (Luke 10:25-37)
Who is my neighbor?
What a great question! Seeing that the second great command is to love thy neighbor as thyself, we ought to ask it of ourselves today. (Matt 22:39; cf Lev 19:18)
It reminds me of NAAMAN’S stolen little maid (2King 5:1-14). Who was her neighbor?
It was the one that STOLE HER!!
From the parable and the story of the little maid we learn that EVERYONE we come in contact with is our neighbor, and let’s not forget about our online neighbor.
Do we have the love to INVITE our neighbor to the healing power of Jesus? Another question, would they accept or decline the invitation based on our GOOD works or lack thereof? “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” (Titus 1:16). The story of the healing of Naaman hinges on an invitation from the stolen little maid. What does Naaman’s acceptance of her word speak about her good behavior?
Jesus speaks of love for, rather than HATRED of our enemies. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt 5:43-44). It makes me think of the server that had wronged a Christian. After he exacted his pound of flesh through a verbal assault, I wonder if the server would be open to an invitation to a home bible study with that Christian? (Ouch, that hurt.)
What about our BORDER neighbors, the ones with whom we share a fence line? If history is indicative of future possibilities, what would their answer be to our invitation to worship after our current land dispute? Let alone the Proverbs wisdom about being friendly with our property neighbors. “Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.” (Prov 27:10; cf. Prov 3:29)
It can be difficult to be at peace with everyone, but we OUGHT to try. “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.” (Rom 15:2) “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Rom 12:18) We OUGHT to pursue peace with our neighbor if for no other reason than it interferes with both of us going to heaven. (cf. Mark 9:50; Rom 14:19; Heb 12:14) “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1Tim 2:3-4).
Lastly, let’s also think of our less fortunate neighbors without showing RESPECT of persons. Jesus said, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.” (Luke 14:12; cf. James 2:1-13). After disregarding our poor neighbors, or those different from us, could we invite them to worship and would they accept?
Who is our neighbor? Great question. The take away for me is to live in such a way as to not make enemies. This doesn’t mean to ignore nor to whitewash the truth of the gospel. Rather it’s about avoiding situations where we might create lifelong enemies that will hinder the spreading of the gospel. “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1Cor 9:22)
Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ in Borger Texas. If you live in the Borger area and would like a personal bible study, please reach out & let us know how we can help you know more of God’s word.
Is it Wrong to Persuade? Some view our insistence in giving and requesting a “book, chapter, and verse” as being argumentative, or pushy. But is it really? Could it not just as easily be called persuasion?
God insisted David give Him a “thus saith the Lord” regarding the topic of building a temple; read 2Sam 7:1-7.
“In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?”
It’s when we don’t give a “thus saith the Lord” that we’re actually just arguing opinions. Is it wrong to use persuasion?
We use it in just about every other are of our lives…
People persuade when applying for work.
People persuade when looking for love.
People persuade kids to eat their vegetables.
People persuade to get our kids to do well in school.
We find persuasion used in scripture…
Stephen used it. “And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.” (Acts 6:10)
Certainly, Peter used it; “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” (Acts 2:40)
Naaman’s servants had to use it. They couldn’t command him to dip in the Jordan. “And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?” (2Kings 5:13)
What is Persuasion?
It’s Persistence. Someone once said they’re not convinced of Hell because believers aren’t very persistent in their warnings about it.
It’s continuing to study with a sinner (who is willing to study) until they understand the importance of the gospel. (Acts 17:11; cf. Mat 15:14)
It’s showing the sinner about the Love of the Lord and their response to His love. “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” (Acts 26:28)
It’s showing the sinner about the perils of ignoring the gospel. (Acts 24:25)
It’s showing them that it does matter what one believes. “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
It’s helping them see the wisdom in choosing to obey the Lord. “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
It’s showing the sinner about the urgency in obeying the gospel. (Acts 16:30-34)
It is helping the sinner realize the frailty of life (Jas 4:14).
It is convincing the lost that there is a desperate need. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
Persuasion is NOT.
Manipulation, which is using unfair or deceitful means to accomplish our own purpose. (2Cor 11:3-4)
It is not force or coercion. One convinced against their will is of the same opinion still. “… for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.” (John 9:22)
It is not steamrolling nor threatening another person into submission. (Acts 4:21; 19:34)
It is not badgering nor mocking another person. (Acts 17:32)
It is not arguing out of anger. (Acts 7:57)
Persuasion is just good old-fashioned evangelism from a fully convinced child of God who loves his family, friends, and neighbors enough to share with them the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Living in Borger has opened my eyes to the enormous problem of STRAY dogs.
Multiple times a week there are social media postings about them. Most often the STRAY is afraid of the one trying to help them.
Whenever a good Samaritan approaches to help the STRAY, it will often run away in fear even with an offer of food or water! There’s no recognition that this person is trying to help. They have no idea they need help.
This illustrates a spiritual problem with those who are wandering the shadows of death outside of Christ.
They do not recognize that the Lord is calling them to come to Him with the Bread of Life. They seem to have no concern that they are spiritually starving and astray.
Many are lost, starving, headed for trouble, and in need of His help and rescue.
What do you know about STRAY sheep?
Jesus saw people as SHEEP without a shepherd (Mark 6:34; Matt 9:36). Some look at these passages and note that Jesus fed them. Yes, He did, but He fed them the bread of Life. “And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.” Stray sheep need to be fed the spiritual food of eternal life (cf. John 6:51, 68). Unfortunately, some will not take the spiritual food, but offer it any way.
On one occasion, Jesus looked upon the city of Jerusalem and shed TEARS over it, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37; Luke 19:41-44). Strays are in jeopardy. How do we feel about that? Does it move us to TEARS? Some of us want to get rid of the strays that wander onto our lawns. Let’s have compassion on the straying people.
Some stray intentionally. Peter refers to some who have gone astray as those who will “RECEIVE the REWARD of unrighteousness. “And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;” (2Pet 2:13-15). Jesus is no respecter of persons. He died even for the unlovable. (cf. Rom 5:6-10)
Anyone who is off the path of righteousness, regardless of the reason, is ASTRAY. “All we like sheep have gone ‘astray’; we have turned, everyone, to his own way…” (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus went to the cross to make our salvation possible because we have all gone astray. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” (1Peter 2:24-25). We need to remember that we once were straying and someone reached out to us.
He invites all to come to Him for salvation: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30). Being a stray may seem like freedom, but it’s actually bondage to sin. As counterintuitive as it may sound, submitting to the YOKE of Christ is freeing! “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom 6:16) Some of the straying want to be free to live how they want, but that’s a dangerous way to live away from the protection of the Good Shepherd. (cf. John 10:7-14)
As the Good Shepherd, He has set forth the rules of entry into His fold: Hear. Mat 7:24; Believe John 8:24; Repent Luke 13:3; Confess Mat 10:32; Baptized Mark 16:16; Faithfulness Mat 28:20. He is the door, the way, the truth, the life.
Jesus sees us in our sorrowful, starving, and straying condition. Without Him we are lost sheep, astray from His life saving blood. He is calling through the Gospel (cf. 2Th 2:14). He is offering us the bread of life (John 6:48). His is the door of the sheep, offering salvation (John 10:9). You have nothing to fear and everything to gain. Let Him comfort you with His staff & His rod (Psalm 23:4).