THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST (Part 89): SENT TO PREACH THE GOSPEL

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST

(Part 89) 

SENT TO PREACH THE GOSPEL

 

January 26, 2014

 

Today’s readings:

Isaiah 8:23-9:3

1 Corinthians 1:10-17

Matthew 4:12-23

 

 

We are called to continue the work of Jesus. “From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (Mt 4:17). We are to preach repentance, we are to proclaim the Kingdom of God. We are called in the same way the first disciples were called. Jesus “said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” (Mt 4:19). We are to evangelize, we are to help bring people into the Kingdom. We are to do what both Jesus and his first disciples did. “He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.” (Mt 4:23). We are to teach (or help form people), proclaim the gospel (evangelize), and heal (work at human liberation).

We can see that our work is very important, nay, very crucial. It is the very work of Jesus. It is to accomplish the very intent of God in restoring people to Himself. And so we who have been called by God need to be of one heart and one mind. We need to be focused on the work at hand. We need to go all out, and engage the one enemy. We need to “be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.” (1 Cor 1:10d).

How do we attain to such unity?

First, we must never forget who calls us and who sends us and what his purposes are. We are called “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:10a). It is Jesus whom we serve, it is he whom we proclaim, it is he whom we look to for power and strength. We look not to human leaders. “Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Cor 1:13b). If we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, then we will remain united.

Second, it is important “that all of you agree in what you say” (1 Cor 1:10b). There is one gospel. There is one Savior and Lord. We need to focus on the fundamental message. It is pure, it is true, it is powerful.

Third, it is crucial “that there be no divisions among you” (1 Cor 1:10c). The enemy will always try to divide us. And oftentimes we allow him to! This he does through gossip, rivalries, envy, being judgmental, being overly critical, maligning brethren, fomenting discord, factionalism, and so on. We are one body of Christ. “Is Christ divided?” (1 Cor 1:13a). If divided among ourselves, then we cannot stand. Thus, in relation to brethren, which can be difficult at times, we look to love, patience, forbearance, endurance, forgiveness, and the like.

 

Christ sent us “to preach the gospel” (1 Cor 1:17a). Who are we to do the very work of God? Who are we to be entrusted with the all-important gospel? Who are we to speak in the name of Jesus? Well, we are nothing, but with Jesus we can be everything, because God desires to accomplish His purposes in and through us. That is great news. Our power and strength and wisdom come from God. So we look not to “the wisdom of human eloquence” (1 Cor 1:17b). We do not have to depend on ourselves, because we are to depend totally on God.

In fact, Jesus points us to the weakness of the cross. Jesus died and seemingly was defeated on the cross, but he rose again and won the victory. We act such “that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.” (1 Cor 1:17c). We proclaim the authentic gospel of the cross. In seeming defeat is victory. Out of darkness there is a great light (Is 9:1). Out of the yoke of burden comes great rejoicing (Is 9:2-3a). From the rod of the taskmaster is the harvest of spoils (Is 9:3b,2c). In death is life.

 

*     *     *