Action Commandments for Every Believer Day 1 – Go and Preach the Gospel
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15, ESV)
I don’t really understand how people can hate cats. It’s probably because I have managed to own only really good ones. From Smokey (my childhood cat) to Millie & Maui (our present sweetheart companions), I’ve loved them all. But I’ll probably always have a soft spot for the G.O.A.T.—our beloved Tiger, whom my family lost in 2021. She was simply awesome and the easiest pet to care for. But as she got older and her health declined, her care became a little more of a chore. What would we do when we left on vacation, though? Enter our friend Brandi, who would faithfully check in on Tiger. We were relieved to have someone who was willing to step in and care for her. Gone were the days of “Just drop in and make sure she has food.” That was replaced by a list of things she needed: food, water, medication, and attention. It all had to be done daily. The list wasn’t optional; Brandi knew that and was always kind enough to do what was required to care for Tiger. Having a friend who will step up to the plate for you when you’re gone is a great blessing in life.
Throughout this week, we are going to look at a list of five items. And just as my list for Tiger, this one isn’t optional either. It is a list of commandments for every Christian. The first one ties in with my story above. Jesus was leaving, and He left instructions (and a command) that were to be followed. They weren’t optional. As He said in the verse noted at the top, He commanded His disciples (and us) to go and proclaim the gospel. It was a command and a call to action. He was leaving and needed them to step in to spread the message. They weren’t to passively sit back and wait for people to ask them about the gospel. They were to go and proclaim it. It would involve two actions: moving and preaching. I think there are two important things to point out in this particular action commandment: the scope and the audience.
First, let’s think about the scope. Jesus said, “Go into all the world.” What does this mean? It can probably be understood in several ways. The statement could be broadly applied: go into the entire globe. Go to the farthest reaches—remote islands, tribal villages, every nation, every city, and every neighborhood. The point? Don’t put an outer limit on how far to go with the gospel. The gospel is a message for everyone—the entire world. After all, Jesus did say, “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16), didn’t He? This was something the early Church went after. You can see this in Paul’s missionary journeys, as he traveled just about as far as a person could travel by ship in the first century. And with him went the gospel, which further expanded the scope of the gospel message. But as individuals, I think it could also be localized: go into all your world. It would be impossible for any single person to take the gospel into the entire world. With digital reach today, you could get close, but not the entire world. So instead, think about taking the gospel and proclaiming it actively in your world. That world encompasses your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and communities. What a challenge! But should it really be a challenge? I fully confess it is for me, but it’s actually a commandment; it’s what I should be doing. Let’s also think about the audience of the commandment: the whole creation. Again, the gospel is for everyone. Paul wrote, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). He also wrote that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23). The gospel is for everyone because we are all the same—we are all sinners. It’s a message of good news Jesus wants every human being to hear, because they all need to hear it! Jesus loves us, He came to save us, He died for us, and He wants us to be in Heaven with Him forever. Talk about good news! Why would we want to exclude anyone from hearing it? And yet we do. Sometimes, it’s out of fear: if I tell my friend the gospel, I will have to confront them with the fact that they are a sinner. How will they react? Sometimes, the motive is far worse: a lack of desire to speak with a person because of their color, social status, or something else. We are commanded to proclaim the good news to them all. Jesus wants us to do it; He commands us to do it.