WHY WE MUST PREACH THE GOSPEL
The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans )
Men have derived many laws and honest Christians do their best to obey the ones that do not break God’s law. However, the Gospel - the word of God - is our only divinely written authority in all matters of life. The goal of our preaching and teaching is always to impress upon each Christian our duty to take God’s authoritative message to the lost. We want the lost to learn and obey the things from Heaven - not the things from men.
But the questions are frequently asked, “What will become of the heathen who never heard the Gospel”? Wouldn’t it be better for a lost soul to stand before our merciful God in the judgment having never heard the Gospel than for him to have heard and not obeyed?” If a person understood the real purpose and philosophy of the Gospel, he would never ask those questions.
To set such questioners to thinking, we ask: “What would have become of the same heathen or lost soul if there had never been any Gospel”? The Gospel was designed to save a world already condemned (cf. Romans ; ; -12, 23; 5:8). It is only in a relative sense that people are lost because they do not obey the Gospel. Primarily people are lost because they are sinners.
To illustrate: a boat is rushed out to rescue a drowning man. He refuses to be rescued, and is drowned. Now, why did he drown? Some one replies, “he drowned because he would not get in the boat.” WRONG! The boat had nothing to do with his drowning; he drowned because he was in the water, and he would have drowned just the same had there never been a boat. Of course, his refusing to be rescued made his drowning a case of suicide.
Just so with the sinner. The Gospel is sent out to rescue the perishing (cf. Romans ). When the sinner refuses to be rescued, it intensifies his guilt and shows it to be a case of spiritual suicide. But the Gospel had nothing to do with his perishing; he would have perished had there never been a Gospel. The boat was a means of rescue, and so is the Gospel.
Many of our denominational friends are inconsistent when it comes to saving souls. The inconsistency of some denominations is seen in that they contend that God converts people through a direct operation of the Holy Spirit, but yet they conduct evangelistic campaigns and support missionaries. Consistency demands that they stand back in silence and let God convert sinners that way. If their teaching of a direct operation of the Holy Spirit is true, there would be no need to preach the word. They should dismiss all their preachers. Why have a preacher to preach that souls may be converted, if they are converted through a direct operation of the Holy Spirit apart from the word?
If we have been Christians any amount of time, we are aware that Christ has commanded that the Gospel be preached. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark -16).
What is the first part of this command? (Go and preach the Gospel). What is the second part of this command? (Believe and be baptized). It is as needful to obey the first part of the great commission as it is to obey the latter part. In fact, obedience to the latter part is dependent upon man’s obedience to the first part. The Gospel must be taken to those who know it not!
Below, we will study six Biblical reasons why the Gospel must be preached to others. First of all, it is impossible to have Gospel fruit without first sowing the seed of the kingdom. Jesus taught in the parable of the sower that only the good soil (those who hear and understand the Gospel) will bring forth fruit (Read Matthew 13:3-8; 18-23). The point we must see is that the fruit was not produced until AFTER the sowing of the seed (the Gospel or word of God - Luke ).
Second, no one can please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6), and there can be no production of faith apart from hearing the word (cf. Romans ). Hearing the word of God produces faith (Romans ). That is one reason why we have the written word (Read John -31). The Corinthians are good examples of this teaching. Many of them heard the word and believed (Acts 18:8). We must beware, for Satan knows that faith is produced as one hears the word (cf. Luke ).
Third, men cannot be drawn to God apart from being taught of Him. Only those who hear and learn of the Father can come to Jesus (John -45). Since the Father draws sinners unto Christ through the Gospel (cf. 2 Thessalonians ), we should plainly see how important it is that we sound it out!
A fourth reason why the Gospel must be preached is because Jesus placed teaching first in the system of conversion (Read Matthew ). In this passage we have teaching - “see with their eyes, and hear with their ears.” We also have understanding, turning (or conversion), and healing (or forgiveness). If there is no teaching, there will be no understanding; no understanding, no conversion; no conversion, no healing or forgiveness. These facts should again impress upon each Christian our duty to take the Gospel to the lost. Just in proportion as we fail to do our duty in preaching the Gospel to the lost we fail in making it possible for them to be saved.
Fifth, the Lord’s word is the begetting power in the process of the new birth. The Bible says, “Being born again...by the word of God” (1 Peter ). Just as there can be no physical birth without a father, neither can there be a new spiritual birth without the teaching of God’s word.
And sixth, where there is no preaching, there can be no salvation (Read Romans -14). Let us begin at the last of this passage and go back to the first. Where there is no preaching, there can be on hearing; no hearing, no believing; no believing, no calling; no calling, no salvation. So it does not matter whether we begin at the first and go to the last, or begin at the last and go back to the first. We arrive at the same conclusion; namely, the pure Gospel must be preached for souls to be saved.