by Steven Chan
15 February 2009
In Mark 16:15,16, 20, Jesus gave us the Great Commission when He said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned…. And they went forth, and preached everywhere…” “They therefore that were scattered abroad, went about preaching the word.”( Act 8:4). So the apostle Paul exhort us in 2Ti 4:2 to “preach the word”. “The Word” is what the Father in heaven gave to us through His beloved Son as recorded in John 17:8: “For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them…”
God’s Word, is the truth that will set man free from sins (John 8:31,32;17:7). The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16). The early Christians obeyed the command of the Lord and went everywhere preaching the Word.
I recently had the privilege of observing at close quarters how a brother in Christ preached the Word to a seeker of the truth and I was very encouraged by the sheer simplicity and enthusiasm with which our brother showed from the Scriptures the truth concerning God’s plan for the salvation of man. There was no appeal to external sources other than the Bible. There were no sophisticated arguments presented. It reminded me of what Philip the Evangelist did in Act 8:35 when he “opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus”. Our brother just simply turned the pages of the Bible in response to the various questions posed by the student, and asked that the Scriptures be read.
As I observed the brother spontaneously opened the Scriptures and showed the truth-seeker the relevant passages, I noticed that the student was very impressed or convicted by what the Bible says – as the Scriptures were read. The Scriptures were not presented as if “this was what the church of Christ teach” but as what it really is, the very Word of God just like the apostle Paul said about those in Thessalonica that “when they received the word of God, which they heard from the apostles, they accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in those who believe” (I Thess. 2:13).
I was reminded by the account in Acts 18:24ff, concerning “a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by race, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the scriptures.
This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spake and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, knowing only the baptism of John: and he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more accurately. And when he was minded to pass over into Achaia, the brethren encouraged him, and wrote to the disciples to receive him: and when he was come, he helped them much that had believed through grace; for he powerfully confuted the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.”
According to the inspired record, Apollos was “mighty in the Scriptures, fervent in spirit, spoke boldly, and he powerfully refuted or mightily convinced the Jews, showing by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ”. We need to be equipped in the same manner as Apollos was, by being ‘mighty in the Scriptures, fervent in our spirit and being bold to show from the Scriptures the truth concerning Jesus Christ and the Will of God’. Our brother in Christ exhibited the same spirit of enthusiasm, fervency of spirit and boldness by opening the Scriptures to the one seeking for the truth. The Word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17) is able to convict the hearts of man. As recorded in Jer 23:29, the Bible says: “Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”
We need to rely more on God and His Word, rather than on our own wisdom. Then in spite of our weaknesses or lack of formal training or formal education, we can still reach out powerfully to those who are seeking for the truth just the fishermen of old who became the apostles and started catching men: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). As ‘uneducated and common men” but having been taught by the Lord, they went everywhere preaching the Word – so must we! Equipped with the Word of God, and fired up with fervency of spirit in our desire to serve the Lord, we can all speak boldly the gospel of our Lord to all – and God will give the increase as the Word is sown in the hearts of men.