I read the following article by Bryan Anthony yesterday and it articulated for me something that I have been wrestling with when it comes to how we approach missions. No matter how you slice it, the gospel must be articulated, it must be preached for people to be able to respond. “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” is a very unhelpful sentiment erroneously attributed to St
While an ever-increasing wave of missiological methodologies rolls on, it behooves us to adjust our ears to the clarion voice of the apostles, which is always calling us back to the clear proclamation of the slain and risen Lamb. To preach the gospel is to preach the mind of God, for it is the Lord’s final address to both “Jew and Greek.” The gospel, particularly the gospel preached, needs again to become the central note sounded in the missionary enterprise.
Paul was not “eager to preach” as some kind of antique ministry model that would later be trumped by the advantage of modern technology. He was eager to proclaim the glory of the gospel to broken and depraved men, for he knew that preaching was God’s primary means of witness in this age, “to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” He preached, not because he lacked better methods, but because the worth of Christ was so prevalent in his consciousness that he could do no other. He was inwardly compelled to the proclamation of the gospel in the nations.
Have we a proper esteem for preaching, and are we “eager” to proclaim the gospel? Have we muddied the waters of mission with sentimentality, psychology, and every other kind of confidence in the flesh? This leprosy would be cleansed, this ill would be healed, if we would restore to its rightful place the gift of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we would esteem the Scriptures and the preaching of the gospel as Paul himself did, it would lead to a transfiguration of the church’s life and witness.
Some will preach one-on-one and some will preach to thousands, but by all means, let down the walls and permit the Lord’s coal to touch your lips. Let the gospel find expression through you. If we are not preaching the gospel, we are not missionaries; we are not “sent ones.” If our mouths are stopped up, failing to show forth His worth among the nations, we may be engaged in all kinds of work, but it will not deliver men from the bondage of sin.
Wherever the Lord has called us to live and to serve, let us be engaged with setting forth a faithful witness to the death and resurrection of our coming King. Let us give our lives to that glorious end, “until the day of Jesus Christ.