WHY PREACH THE GOSPEL ?
Scripture Texts: II Corinthians 5:10,11,14,18-20
Since beginning my radio ministry on March 4, 1956 I've often been asked by well-meaning people why I preach the Gospel. After all, they feel that my successful life in academia would be sufficient to satisfy most people. In addition to teaching in several high schools, I've also served as Chairman and professor in the Applied Mathematics Department at Washington & Jefferson College (PA) following WWII. I later served as Chairman and professor in the Engineering Graphics Department at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University) in Pittsburgh,PA. From there I went to the nearby University of Pittsburgh where I served as Engineering Coordinator of the NASA-sponsored Knowledge Availability Systems Center and subsequently served as a Dean in the School of Engineering.
Most of my secular life has been spent in teaching, traveling and the presentation of technical papers at conferences throughout the United States and abroad. I have written several books, all of which have been used worldwide and I've also had the pleasure of meeting with such well-known individuals as the late German rocket scientist, Dr. Werner Von Braun, and the former astronaut and Senator, John Glenn. I've been to both Cape Canaveral and the Edwards Air Force Base to see our space vehicles take off and return to earth. So you ask the questions, " Why don't you leave the realm of so-called "religion" up to the trained seminarians? Why don't you mind your own business and let people believe what they've been brought up to believe?"
In answering these questions let me say that seminaries are completely foreign to the word of God. In I John 2:27 we read "ye need not that any man teach you." The Lord tells us in John 14:26 that the Holy Spirit "shall teach you all things." Again in John 16:13 the Lord said that "when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth." If a Christian is to learn anything of real spiritual value, he will be taught by the Holy Spirit of God. Of course, we can learn from one another but that teaching must be as led by the Holy Spirit alone, as confirmed by the word of God.
I thank God for every Christian, seminary-trained or otherwise, who is faithful to the truth of God's word. Unfortunately, too many today are preaching religion but no Christ; reformation but no Christ; rituals but no Christ; anecdotes but no Christ; discourses on politics, economics, cultures, environment, morals and ethics but no Christ! No wonder the Lord tells us that of the people who are responsible to God for their sins, most of them are on the broad road that leads to eternal torment. Read Matthew 7:13,14.
It is sad, but true, that many so-called "clergymen" are "watering down" the Gospel in order not to offend their congregations upon whom they depend for their financial support. I thank God that I am not depending upon any denomination or "financial angel" to keep my ministry going forth. In my 50 years of radio ministry I've never begged for financial support either verbally, or by a so-called "newsletter." I've preached in many hundreds of meetings but I've never taken up a "collection." My God promises in Philippians 4:19 that He would "supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." If God wants me to preach the Gospel over the air then nothing, nor anyone, can keep me off the air. I believe that it is highly hypocritical for anyone to preach salvation, or even healing by faith, then to beg for financial support. Where is the preacher's faith? In Hebrews 11:6 we're told that "without faith it is impossible to please God."
The word "Gospel" means "good news," but it can only be "good news" when people realize the "bad news." The "bad news" is that none of us can either merit or inherit a place in God's Heaven, and if we could, then why did Jesus die? The "bad news" is that if we've never been "saved," or "born again," through faith in Jesus Christ alone, then we are headed for the place that Jesus Christ called Hell. The "good news" is the fact that if we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord, we don't have to go there.
According to what we read in II Corinthians Chapter 5, every true Christian should be preaching the Gospel in their own particular sphere of influence for at least FIVE GOOD REASONS.
First of all, we read in Verse 10, "For we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ." The Apostle Paul uses the word "we" 26 times in this Chapter and is speaking only to real Christians. We will someday have to stand before our professed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to give an account of our words, thoughts and deeds since we've been saved. Paul says in I Corinthians Chapter 9, Verse 16, "Woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel."Again in Romans Chapter 1, Verse 16 he declares, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile."
Many times I've seen professing Christians speak fluently about the various aspects of our society and its many problems, yet they never seem to have a word of testimony for what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for them. Remember that God's desire is to see everyone saved. The Apostle Peter tells us in II Peter 3:9 that the Lord "is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." We also know that the Apostle Paul says in I Timothy 2:4 that God "will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
If you profess to be a "born again" Christian today, are you living a life which glorifies God and that is well-pleasing to your professed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? In this same Chapter 5 and Verse 17 we're told that "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." God has saved us for a purpose and that purpose is to live for the One Who died for us. Remember, there are no "still-born" in God's family!
A second reason for preaching the Gospel is found in Verse 11 of Chapter 5 where we read, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;" If there was no judgment for sin; if there was no wrath of God; if there was no Lake of Fire awaiting the Christ-rejecter, I would not be preaching the Gospel for even one minute. However, we read in Job 36:18, "Because there is wrath, beware lest He take thee away with His stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee." Did you notice that God says that no amount of money can deliver an unsaved person from His wrath, once they pass out of time into eternity? Again we read a verse which includes every person on earth today, John Chapter 3 and Verse 36, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life:and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
If the wages of sin was not spiritual death and eternal separation from God, then the Lord Jesus Christ would never have suffered, bled and died that agonizing death on Calvary's cross. People may allow the Devil to blind their minds relative to the reality of Hell, but their spiritual blindness will in no way detract from the God-given fact that there is a Heaven to gain and a Hell to shun. You can deny the veracity of God's word; you can deny the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ; you can deny the vicarious death of Jesus Christ at Calvary and His subsequent victorious resurrection from the grave; and you can deny the verified existence of a place called Hell BUT, as soon as you pass out of time into eternity without Christ you'll change your mind, but it will be too late then. Your day of salvation shall have ceased to exist and you'll be doomed and damned throughout the endless ages of all eternity. Remember, there are no "unbelievers" in Hell they all believe NOW!
The third reason for preaching the Gospel is found in Verse 14 of Chapter 5 where we read, "For the love of Christ constraineth us;" and if that fact doesn't motivate us to preach the Gospel to others, then nothing else will. I can honestly say today that I love the Lord Jesus Christ ! Why? - because He first loved me; Why? because He died on the cross for my sins; Why? because He is going to return soon, perhaps today, to take every true Christian to Heaven where we'll be with and like Him, forever more. In John Chapter 3, Verse 16 Jesus said, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Yes, even though God hates sin with an infinite hatred, nevertheless, He loves the sinner with an infinite love. In the book of Romans Chapter 5 and Verses 8 and 9 we're told that "God commendeth His love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."
I believe that the best definition of "love" is found in I John 4:10 where we read, " Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." In verse 19 of that same I John 4 we read, "We love Him because He first loved us." Remember, if we don't accept the love of God expressed in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, then we must accept the only alternative the wrath of God! The choice is ours to make, and destiny is determined by decision!
The fourth reason for preaching the Gospel is found in Verses 18 and 19 of Chapter 5 where we're told that since we Christians have been reconciled to God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, He has "committed unto us the word and ministry of reconcilation." In other words, if we Christians don't tell others about Jesus Christ, then who is going to tell them? What if someone hadn't told us about the love of God expressed in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ? Where would be be headed today, or perhaps already there? I, personally, don't see how a true Christian can stand by and see their unsaved family and friends go out into eternity without having witnessed and testified to the grace and love of God which had reached the Christian, and which could also save those same unsaved individuals whom they profess to love.
God gives a very solemn warning in Ezekiel 33:8 and 9. He says "if thou dost not warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul."
Remember when we were saved, or "born again," God could very easily have taken us "Home" to Heaven but He left us here for a purpose. Remember what that purpose is!
Finally, the fifth reason why we should preach the Gospel is found in II Corinthians Chapter 5 Verse 20 where we read that "we are ambassadors for Christ." An ambassador to the United States from a foreign country always speaks well of their homeland and reigning monarch. So it should be with true Christians, we should speak well of Heaven and the One Who sits enthroned at God's right hand, the Lord Jesus Christ. Christian friend, our citizenship is in Heaven from whence also we look for our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, like all foreign ambassadors, we are temporary residents here on earth and it won't be long till our Monarch calls us away from this scene of sin and sorrow; from this scene of chaos, confusion and conflict; from this scene of departure, declension and death. We'll soon be in the presence of the One Whom having not seen, nevertheless, we love, our Lord Jesus Christ.
If you profess to be a true Christian today, when was the last time you witnessed to an unsaved loved one? Have you ever told them what Christ has done for you and what He can likewise do for them? When was the last time you passed out a Gospel tract? Soul searching, is it not? It is easy for us to criticize the cultists who knock on our doors from time to time but they could teach us something about zeal. We're the ones who should be knocking on doors to tell the unsaved of their need of Christ as their own and personal Saviour.
In Matthew Chapter 10 and Verses 32 and 33, Jesus said, " Whosoever, therefore, shall confess Me before men, him shall I confess also before My Father, which is in Heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in Heaven."Perhaps the reader of these words is a professing Christian who was once noted for their spiritual boldness in witnessing for their professed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, but today you are silent. For various reasons, known but to you, God and the Devil, you're no longer a faithful testimony to God's love, mercy and grace expressed in His dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember what the Lord said in Revelation Chapter 2 and Verse 4, "Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love."
In conclusion, as I usually do at the end of a Gospel message, I plead with any unsaved reader to acknowledge and repent of your sinful condition before God, and simply trust His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as your own and personal Saviour. If you'll do that right now you'll be "saved", yes, you'll be "born again", and as sure of Heaven as though you were already walking on the street of gold. Friend, you'll be saved, not only for time, but thank God, you'll be saved for all eternity. And remember, THIS IS FOR ETERNITY !
Evangelist: Minor C. Hawk