Someone needs to teach Ben, who lives across the street from our church building.
Someone needs to teach the gospel to the husband of my kids’ or grandkids’ school teacher.
Someone needs to teach the wife of the man who teaches our kids how to play a musical instrument or coaches their ball team.
Someone needs to teach the gospel to our next- door neighbors.
Someone needs to teach God’s word to the waitress who takes our order and serves us twice each week when we eat at the Corner Café.
Someone needs to teach our cousins, aunts, uncles, and other family members.
Do you know what all of this means? We need disciples busy teaching God’s word right here! Right here in our own neighborhoods, in our own cities, and in our rural areas – right here at home.
Nobody should think that every Christian has to travel to the other side of the world in order to be a part of the teaching team that tells lost people the great news about the Lord’s eternal salvation. No, not every member of the church is required to get a visa which enables him to enter and teach God’s word in a foreign land. And, if someone does decide to devote part of his/her life to spreading the gospel overseas, that does not prove that he/she is more faithful in serving the Lord. One’s character and relationship with the Lord are not determined by where he breathes, eats, opens a Bible, and sleeps. A brother or sister might choose to stay in one general location for their whole life and serve in the Kingdom in that same spot. God bless them for such service.
At the same time, though, we must never ignore or overlook this reality: Jesus wants His followers to get the gospel message to every person in the world. You know that I am not making this up! What did our Lord say to His apostles? “Go into all the world.” For what purpose? “. . . and preach the gospel to every creature.” With what desire? “He who believes and is baptized will be saved . . .” (Mark 16:15,16). That is Great-Commission Christianity! Count me in.
Jesus said that He wanted His disciples to begin teaching the message of repentance and remission of sins in Jerusalem (Luke 24:46,47). The Christ did not say that Jerusalem was the only place that needed to hear the truth. It was just the starting point. His will is for the gospel to be taught to “all nations.”
Isaiah 11:1-10 is a message about the reign of the Messiah. We are blessed to live during the time that He is on His throne and ruling over His Kingdom (Colossians 1:13,14). Isaiah foretold that in the days of the Messiah’s rule, “(For) the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (11:9). What an exciting image – knowledge of the saving Lord covering the globe just like the waters cover the sea. If this is going to happen in our generation, then a whole bunch of saints need to get on their horses/planes and get busy teaching the word!
Romans 10:18 also brings to our mind the thought of spreading the gospel to all parts of the earth. After discussing the need for preachers, the fact that not all obey the gospel, and the truth that faith comes by hearing (10:14-17), Paul declares, “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world” (10:18). Do you not love the thought of all people in all places being taught the gospel? I do!
“Far and Near” is where there are lost souls.
“Going afar upon the mountains” is not for everyone, but we sure could use a whole lot more folks to leave their daddy and mama, along with the security and comforts of home, to go tell lost people about the risen Son of God whose blood can wash away their sins!
At some point after Paul became a Christian and had begun to preach the gospel, he went to Jerusalem. While there, the Lord spoke to Him with a life-changing message. The Lord had a plan for His servant’s life. What was it? He told Paul, “Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles” (Acts 22:21; emphasis mine, rdc). “Far from here” – that is where Paul was summoned to go teach the gospel.
Would you and I be ready and willing to go “far from here” to live and teach the gospel? Let me rephrase that. If the Lord charged us to go “far from” where we currently are living comfortably, would we do it? Well, would we? What would be our reason for carrying out or not carrying out such a commission?
In modern times, there is the potential to teach people in far-away places without ever leaving home. It also is true that short trips to other regions of the world can be helpful in getting the good news to lost people and strengthening the saved. Yet, we still need “boots on the ground” in faraway places. That would be Christians living around, close to, and among lost people in distant lands. That would be members of the church living long term in cultures that initially are strange to them, learning to speak languages that in the beginning sound like gibberish. Regardless of how diligently we do the Lord’s work close to home, there always will be a need for some of us to go teach the gospel “far from here.”
What are your personal plans to have a part in teaching the gospel to every person on the planet?
— Roger D. Campbell