If we have time, preach the Gospel

THIS IS NOT another article on being busy, or wasting time. Neither is this article going to tell you never to help the needy. No, this article looks at some complicated issues facing the church. Below are two questions that get to the heart of the matter…

  • Why did Jesus come to Earth?
  • What is the work of His church?

Answering these questions incorrectly can lead to a misunderstanding of the work of the church. We must know the answer, we’ve got to get it right. To do otherwise will cause a lot of us to be lost.

Recently, a brother in Christ stated, “In my Bible, Jesus spent His life helping poor and the needy.” It is statements like this that have led to a complete departure from the God given work of the church. Many denominations have deprecated the work of the church and turned it into a benevolent organization. If that is what God wants us to do, we had better do it. However, what if He gave the church, that He built, a different task?

To find out what our work is, we need to answer those two questions.

Why did Jesus come to Earth?

Looking to what Jesus Himself said on the matter, we find a few passages…

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? [Luke 2:49] Did Jesus say this as the carpenter’s son or as the Son of God? Clearly, He spoke as Emmanuel, God with us.

And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent. [Luke 4:43] In this passage, Jesus is plainly saying why He came to earth, TO PREACH THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

When people came to Jesus in John 6, He perceived that they only came for the physical food. What He says to them speaks volumes about why He was here. Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. [John 6:26-27] If Jesus’ job was to provide for the physical needs of the poor, why didn’t He feed them again? If you didn’t get it, read vs 29; Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. The work of God, the job Jesus came to do, was to teach people about the Kingdom of God, to pay the penalty for sin so that we could be reconciled back with God. He did the miracles of feeding and healing to CONFIRM that this message, which was alluded to in the OT, was from God [John 20:30-31].

When we look at other passages, we learn what others thought of Our Lord’s work. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. [John 1:29, 36] John the baptizer knew why Jesus had come, it was to reconcile man back to God.

At the circumcision of Jesus, Zacharias said, “And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,” [Luke 1:76-77]. We are separated because of sin and need a Savior. If we understand the principles of sacrifice from the scripture, then we will have a better understanding of why Jesus came to earth. He came to bring salvation from sin.

Lastly, when we look at the last command He gave while still on this earth, we learn the answer to question two.

What is the work of His church?

What was the last command Jesus gave while still on earth? He gave it after His DEATH, BURIAL & RESURRECTION.

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 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 alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. [Mat 28:18-20; cr. Mark 16:15-16]

Jesus, the founder and builder of the church which bears His name, gave very clear instructions; PREACH THE GOSPEL, MAKE DISCIPLES (through hearing, believing, confession, repentance & baptism) and to TEACH those disciples to obey His commandments. THIS IS THE WORK OF THE CHURCH! Can people feed the poor, YES. Should people feed the poor, once again, YES. And the bible gives us instruction on how and who. It also limits the church collective to needy saints [1Tim 5:16]. We need to focus on preaching the Gospel, to do anything less is to place salvation as a secondary activity to physical concerns, something we do IF WE GET TIME.

THEY WERE ALL WRONG

A good many years ago, a preacher went into a town where there was no New Testament church. He preached in a house of worship and then in the market place of the city.

Soon the religious leaders of the city heard him and invited him to address them. They thought if his religious claims seemed meritorious to them, they would fellowship him. But, to their dismay and confusion, he preached that they were wrong and he was right; that their worship was not acceptable to the God of heaven. He preached that the church to which he belonged was the only true church of the living God.

Such a preacher! Don’t you know he hurt their feelings? Evidently they were sincere. Surely he could have made a nice talk and got away without causing any discord!

Who was the preacher anyway? His name was Paul, and he preached this sermon in Athens. It did cause some stir. It did not please those leaders at all. They got up and left before he finished. But the sermon pleased God. You can read it in Acts 17. There is no room in Christ’s church for a compromiser.

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Ac 17:16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. 17 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. 18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. 19 And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? 20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. 21 (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)

22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

 24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:  28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:  31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.  

32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.

 33 So Paul departed from among them.  34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

unconventional evangelism

I actually want to look at evangelism in a way that seems to be missing in many Christians, but first let me tell you a story……

I was attempting to eat at a restaurant where I live in Borger, Texas. I say attempt, because the entire staff for this particular restaurant was outside smoking. Had they been in the back by the dumpster, my recommended smoking area for any restaurant, I may have never noticed. Nay nay, they were by the front door!

Since it was a buffet, I seated myself, retrieved my own food and served my own beverage. Oh, you may say that it was a buffet, what do you expect. Folks, the drink dispenser was in the kitchen, had it been self serve I would have no problem. No one cleared my plates, too many by the way (I need to work on that problem), no one offered a refill. AND no one brought me a bill. I even attempted to wait on another table as they were in the same plight as myself.

As I went up to check out and paid my bill with my card I was faced with the dilemma when filling out the “tip” line. ….

Many of these folks would identify themselves as a Christian

Here’s what got me thinking, As a Christian, how should our work ethic be perceived? Another thing I got to thinking about, looking at myself, If I demand such HIGH expectations from the purchases I make, shouldn’t I GIVE the same or better quality in the services I provide?

Is there a guiding Biblical principle for these Ideas? Yes…...the Christian work ethic……

  1. Eph 6:5 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; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: KJV
  2. 1Pe 2:18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. 19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: NKJV

All of these are sufficient to show HOW a Christian should work, but I want to show you WHY this is so important. This will also get to the point of the title of this blog…….Evangelism through our work..

  1. 1Pe 3:1  Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation (lifestyle) of the wives; (speaking of wives, but could easily apply to any spouse)
  2. 1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (this is speaking to Christians having a positive, hopeful attitude in the midst of trouble)
  3. Joh 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Let us remember, we are here to be a light to the world, spreading the Gospel. I will leave you with this……

“Christians should always be preaching the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.” unknown

spencer
Borger, Tx
806/274-5021

Ask me how to make your calling and election sure. 2Pet 1:10