14.UNDER DIVINE ORDERS

GOD’S WORD is powerful. The gospel is a divine dynamic for saving men from sin. But God’s Word has one weakness. It must be spread by human beings (I Corinthians 1:21). Not because God could not do it some other way, but because He did not do it another way. And the responsibility for spreading the Word of God rests squarely on God’s people, the church.

This means if we do not preach the Word, nobody will. This puts the heavenly treasure in clay pots, as it were (II Corinthians 4:7). The responsibility is ours and we cannot dodge it or reason it away. Yet the power is God’s and we must learn to trust Him completely for results. Our obligation is not to get results. It is to make the message known -to give men opportunity to respond to it. When results do come, we must give God all the glory, or share in the sin of Moses (Numbers 20:1-13), Gehazi (II Kings 5:1-27) and Herod (Acts 12:21-23).

The extent of our preaching is to be “every creature” (Mark 16:15). It is not limited to whites or to the middleclass. It is not confined to those of a certain social level or those we think will be an “asset” to the church. We will give account to God if we make any such distinctions. The gospel is for all.

Our job is not to bottle up the gospel and protect it from exposure. It is to expose it and ourselves to the world, in a divine gamble to save the world. Sometimes we have limited the Word to the church building and the leaven to the shelf. Then we praised ourselves because the shelf was kept free of germs. As the Apostle Paul might put it, “this persuasion cometh not of Him that calleth.”

Perhaps we have been busy inventing schemes and pushing projects because we thought our job was to get results. Sometimes we have been like some Bible salesmen I once knew who spent half the working day riding around “looking for territory,” and the other half “making plans.” I do not need to tell you that they accomplished very little indeed. Maybe we have been more concerned with making a name for the church, or a particular congregation, or (God forbid!) some preacher, than with telling the Name to those who have never heard it and are dying without it.

Preaching the gospel is not something devised by man. It is not just one part of a human system. It is not spreading propaganda for a religious club. It is a divine order in the eternal purpose of God. It is the foremost duty of the church. It is our primary reason for being.

We say that we are God’s people and Christ’s church. Let us put our hands and feet where our mouth is. Only works will prove our faith.