Are people hearing the gospel from us? It is God’s plan for people to hear the gospel from our lips. Romans 10:14 says, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (KJV). Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47, John 20:21, and Acts 1:8 teach that each believer is to be a “preacher,” proclaiming the “good news” of the Lord’s salvation. If George Barna’s research is right, at least half of the people who call themselves “Christians” are not actively sharing the gospel on a regular basis.
It is impossible to hide the evidence of our disobedience to God in the area of evangelism. Multitudes of unreached people surround us, and many church members are more interested in church business meetings and property maintenance than in church outreach. More energy is given to board meetings and Bible conferences than to the spread of the gospel. More time is given to debating nonessentials and matters of eternal insignificance than to sharing the message of salvation. We’ve come to the place in church planting where going through the target community and simply telling the people about the Lord is one of the last things on the preparatory master plan. As a result, some new churches are nothing more than recycling plants for dissatisfied believers instead of centers for the spread of the gospel. We even mark those who we believe are making poor attempts at evangelism but do none ourselves and think of ourselves as better than they. While all of this is going on, we sit and wonder why churches and movements are dying. In our lamenting, we forget about all the souls who are dying without Christ.
We need to get our eyes off ourselves and look to the fields where God has appointed a harvest (John 4:35). As we mingle through the crowds in our communities, we need to be moved with intense compassion like our Lord was when He saw the crowds (Matt. 9:36-38). We don’t need a great program; we just need to start telling those whom God brings into our lives the truth of the gospel. If they receive the truth, then we need to make sure they are baptized and taught the Word of God. For the gospel’s sake, we need to be willing to surrender our personal rights instead of splitting churches over them so that people might be saved (1 Cor. 9:23). This act can be done without surrendering any of the precious doctrines of the faith once delivered to the saints. While we witness, let’s not forget to ask the “Lord of the harvest” to “send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:38).
The “preacher” of Romans 10:14 is not a reference to the pastor. It is a reference to every one of us who are the redeemed of the Lord. Will people be hearing the gospel from our lips in 2008?
|For the past 14 years, Pastor Joe Roof has served God as the senior pastor at Calvary Baptist Church (Albany, NY). He is also involved in area church planting and serves on several nationwide ministry boards. |
He graduated from Bob Jones University (Greenville, SC) with a B.A. in Bible in 1990 and an M.A. in Bible in 1991.
He has been married to Kim for 15 years, and God has given them three children with one on the way.