The Mission of Every Believer - Part I
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then said He unto the disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray you therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.” —Matthew 9:35-38
I want to look at just how important it is for every single believer to be a soul winner and to truly grasp and understand just how important that our mission really is, for if it was important to Jesus Christ, then it should be extremely important to us.
Teaching And Preaching
Looking at Christ’s earthly ministry, I think the Word of God is overly clear as to His objective—the Cross—and He would give everything to see that objective through. But before Calvary, He would spend three and one-half years teaching, preaching, and performing miracles. In other words, His ministry was evangelism. In fact, the word evangelize is synonymous with Christianity, so much so that the definition of evangelize, according to Webster’s New World Dictionary is this: “to convert to Christianity,” and “to preach the gospel.”
That is exactly what Christ did during His three and one-half years of earthly ministry—He preached the gospel. Christ’s way of proclaiming and communicating the Scriptures was by teaching and preaching. Teaching refers to the imparting of scriptural knowledge and instilling doctrine. It means to explain the Bible. Christ was the greatest teacher of the Word who has ever lived, and it was simply because of His knowledge of the Word and the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon His life, for He was truly full of the Holy Spirit without measure (Jn. 3:34).
Preaching refers to the proclamation of the truth. Teaching was predominant in the Old Testament, while preaching was predominant in the New Testament. Preaching and teaching have always been God’s method of promulgating the gospel, so much so that Paul the Apostle would write, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them who believe” (I Cor. 1:21).
However, when it comes to preaching and teaching now, it must hinge on one thing: the Message of the Cross. Paul would also write a couple of verses later, “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness” (I Cor. 1:23).
Now that the new covenant has been given, it must center on the finished work of Christ, without exception. When Jesus used the words, “gospel of the kingdom” in Matthew 9:35, those words primarily refer to all that Christ bought and all that Christ brought through His death, burial, and resurrection. God has chosen preaching and teaching as His predominate method, and if we choose to move away from His method, then the results will never be favorable.
He Was Sent To Israel First
Not only was preaching and teaching His predominate method, but He also did this all around the nation of Israel. During His first advent, Christ’s earthly ministry was centered around the nation of Israel (Matt. 15:24). However, though His ministry revolved around Israel, it would eventually lead all around the world. The reason for His earthly ministry being geared toward Israel was due to the many prophecies that were given regarding the nation of Israel and the plan of God. The Jewish people are His people, and all of the tremendously important promises that are given in the Word of God were for these people. As a result, the “gospel of the kingdom” must begin with them, and not the Gentile world.
Does this mean that God never intended for the gospel to venture out into the rest of the world? Actually, it was the very opposite. It was always God’s plan for the entirety of the world to hear and receive the gospel, for that’s why this gospel must be a “whosoever will” gospel. God told Abraham that “in you shall all families of the earth be blessed,” (Gen. 12:3).
I am a result of the gospel of Jesus Christ that has since gone around the world, and so is every single Gentile who has ever named the name of Jesus Christ. I am a Gentile, even though born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, here in these great United States of America, but nonetheless, I am not of Jewish decent, so, therefore, I am a Gentile. It was always God’s plan for the gospel to venture around the world, but when Jesus came the first time, He had to go to Israel first, and if they would have truly accepted Him the first go around, then things would have been much different. Nevertheless, they didn’t, and the Gentiles would.
Healing The Sick
Our opening passage of Scripture also says that He went about healing the sick. Let me be clear on this topic: I believe in divine healing. I say that because I have experienced divine healing in my life. Many of you might recall my miracle, but for those of you who may not, allow me to repeat it.
It was the fall of 1996, and I was set to graduate from high school in May of 1997. As would be obvious, I was a senior in high school, and I was a 2-year starter on our varsity basketball team. I was the starting point guard, which meant that I was looked at as an extension of our head coach, Sam Lopez, and the offense ran through me.
It was in the month of October on a Tuesday night and our first game of the year. We were playing at our home gym. The second quarter was coming to an end, and, while dribbling the ball up the court on what I would call a semi-fast break, I tried to stop, but my foot landed on a wet spot right across the half court line, and my knee hyperextended. But that wasn’t the worst of it. As my knee hyperextended, an opposing player, whom I had played against since middle school, decided that he was going to put pressure to stop my forward progression. So, as he was running at nearly full speed, his knee hit my hyperextended knee, and bent it in a way that a knee should never be bent. The pain was unbearable, and in my mind, I wondered just how much damage was done.
The next night was Wednesday, and I stayed home from church. I was in a tremendous amount of pain and figured that my basketball career had ended. Then, at around 8:30 p.m., my father came home, ran up the stairs, barged into my room, and told me that the Lord has spoken to him and told him that He was going to heal me. Dad prayed for me, and the Spirit of God fell in my bedroom. He got up from praying and said, “You’re healed,” and walked out. I was lying on the floor with my knee propped up, and then it happened: I watched as that swollen, discolored knee went back to normal. It was a miracle! It was my miracle!
So, I have experienced divine healing, and, for those who don’t believe in divine healing, well, my word to you is that you may have an argument, but I have an experience, and I would much rather have an experience than an argument.
Why Does God Chooses To Heal Some And Not Others?
When it comes to divine healing, as I have stated any number of times, I don’t understand why God chooses to heal some and not others, but it doesn’t change the fact that I believe that His Word declares, “I am the LORD that heals you” (Ex. 15:26).
I would be lying to you if I said that I knew all there was to know about divine healing, and anyone that tells you that they understand divine healing is lying. But in His ultimate wisdom, He knows why He chooses to heal some and not others.
Next month, we will continue on this topic in our article series on discipleship.
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