Posts Tagged Mark 16: 15

Foolishness and Power

1 Corinthians 1: 18

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Let’s talk about evangelism a bit today. When you find something good, don’t you want to share it with others? The news about Jesus is good news and we often want to share it with others so they can experience his goodness as we do. Beyond that, though, there is a certain expectation in the church that we share this gospel of good news. After all Jesus did say, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” (Mark 16: 15). So, we try to do our part to share the gospel to those we know and people we meet. Unfortunately, it is utter foolishness to them. One version says it is nonsense. To the unregenerate mind the things of God cannot be understood. For that reason, people need to see Christ in addition to hearing of him.

Paul said that Jesus sent him to preach the gospel but not in cleverness of speech that the cross of Christ might be made void, or meaningless (1 Corinthians 1: 17). What do you think he meant by that? How can the preaching of the gospel void the testimony of the cross? In the second chapter of First Corinthians Paul wrote, “And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power,” (v. 4). Using the word demonstration, he intimates that people need to see the Spirit of God at work, not just be preached to about it. This is where most of us fail in our evangelistic efforts. We don’t let the Spirit of God be seen.

You see, it really is the Spirit’s job to evangelize. We are, as they say, boots on the ground, but the master architect of salvation is the Spirit of God. Paul reveals in verse 2 of First Corinthians: One, that people are called to salvation. By whom are they called? They are called to Jesus by the Holy Spirit. We are the light which, going into all the world, people see and are subsequently called to Jesus.

You and I can save no one but we can be light bringers. We can have testimonies. We can tell of God’s goodness, but we can never convince anyone because it is all foolishness to them. Secondly, Paul said the gospel, to us, is the power of God. This goes along with verse 4 from chapter two, “My message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power.” The power of God can be demonstrated; it can be seen. That is our part in evangelism. We are to demonstrate the power of God. Think about this for a moment and let it sink in. Does this make sense to you? Is this what Paul is saying? If you agree that this is the point Paul is making then we need to each ask ourselves, “When was the last time the power of God was demonstrated through my life?” I grant you this is a challenging question and I think most of us will have to admit we have been living powerless lives. Powerlessness in not God’s will for our lives. Would you agree with that? If so, then what are we to do? Are we to continue in our drab existence doing nothing to show God’s power and love to the world? Shall we simply continue going to church on Sunday but keeping our heads low all the other days of the week? Or maybe we will continue to convince ourselves that when Jesus told us to go into all the world he meant for us to preach at the unbelievers until they are persuaded. Do we believe we will find the persuasive speech which will evangelize the world?

It is time we, the church, each one of us, began to take this gospel seriously and allow it to rock us out of our comfort zones. It is time we call upon the name of Jesus to be Lord in this world. It is our time; time to lay hands on the sick and heal them, time to mend broken hearts, but not by persuasive speech, rather by the power of God. Jesus, it is not me who heals, mends, and saves, but rather you. We need to get ourselves out of the center of this dynamic so that Jesus can step in and wield his power. We need not be so concerned that we cannot perform but be convinced that he can. What would it take for you to pray for someone? What kind of miracle is required for us all to begin walking in the earth like the early disciples did? Are you a disciple of Christ? Are you filled with God’s Spirit? Let the goodness and the power of God flow from you. Don’t be a hoarder. God is the God of overflow meaning that He wants His power to overflow from you onto others.

Look, evangelism is easy when people get healed. It is not difficult to convince people of God’s love when you raise their child from the dead. Let’s all get busy. Let’s fulfill the commission Jesus gave us. Go into all the world and share the good news of Jesus.

Good News

Mark 16: 15        (NIV)

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
This passage is from when Jesus commissioned his disciples after his death and resurrection. He told them to go and preach the “good news” to all creation. Sometimes as Christians we forget how Jesus phrased this and we lose sight of our commission. He did not tell us to go into all the world and correct others and criticize their life styles. He did not tell us to go and preach fire and brimstone on them until they repent. He told us to tell them the good news; that he, Jesus, came that they might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10: 10). We are supposed to preach that he came into the world so that all could be saved and can enter into a personal relationship with the Father of all creation. He breached the gap between people and God so that we could be reconciled to Almighty God as our own father. This world needs love. People everywhere suffer from a lack of love. We need to tell them that our Father is love and that he loves them. Don’t preach John 3: 16 and skip the word love. Preach it the loudest.

Gospel of Good News

Mark 16: 15

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

Glory to God, the message of God, the message of the cross is good news. Did you know that “gospel” means good news? In fact, many Bibles translate this passage with the use of the words “good news” instead of “gospel.” One example is the Common English Bible which reads, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to every creature”. The story of Christ, his coming and his ultimate victory is good news indeed. Think about this also, what are the first four books of the New Testament called? The gospels, right? They are the good news about Jesus, the Messiah.

I have a great exercise for you and I think it will change some passages for you and maybe even the context of the New Testament. Go to your Bible, if it has a concordance, or a search engine like www.Biblegateway.com and search the gospels in the New American Standard for the word “gospel.” It produces 20 verses. Then read that list substituting the word “gospel” with the words “good news.” I believe you are going to feel good after you do this little exercise.

Here is the point I really wish to make though. People talk about a vindictive God. I hear them saying how God took their loved one, caused some bad thing to happen or other doom and gloom pronouncement. I think not. If He is such a vindictive and harsh God then why is His news good news? We have good news to take to people. When humanity was in its fallen state from its own actions, God sent a savior. This good news savior came to rescue us from the pit and restore our earthly and eternal lives to ones of glory and joy. That is good news brother.

I wrote in yesterday’s Word of the Day on Isaiah 52: 7 that beautiful and blessed are the feet of those who bring good news. I also posited that this idea is the perfect evangelistic model. Read today’s verse again. Jesus did not tell us to go into all the world and tell people that they are sinners and that they are doomed to hell. He said to tell them that a savior has come. I saw a car in my hometown which was plastered with damnation messages and it grieved my heart. Really? Is that the love of God on display? Is that the love that put Jesus on the cross for us when we were full of sin and rebellion? Is that the message that saved you? How do we read John 3: 16 and manage to miss out on the word “love?” “For God so loved the world . . . .”

Go into all the world or, everywhere you go, tell the good news of Jesus, our Christ and our beloved. Give away the joy of the Lord. He is not damning people to hell, He is saving them. Glory to God!

Whom Do You Love

John 21: 15

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?

That was a loaded question. If you have ever heard a teaching on this passage which delves into the Greek words for “love” you know that Peter was really up against the wall because Jesus was talking about a deeper kind of love than Peter was yet able to fathom. I would like for us to look at this passage today in a similar way to the Greek word study but in a way that I think makes Jesus’ meaning even more clear. (By the way, the easy way to see what was going on in the Greek is to read this passage in the Amplified Bible.)  

Let us take today’s verse and overlay it onto 1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 8a. When we do so we find Jesus asking Peter a series of questions. First let us read the passage from 1 Corinthians. “Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. Love never comes to an end” (God’s Word Translation). In many versions the last sentence reads, Love never fails. Well, you get the point but if you really want a revelation, read this passage in the Amplified translation. Actually, read it in a lot of translations. You will be enlightened. Anyway, when you read 1 Corinthians 13 together with John 21: 15 you find Jesus asking Peter (and each of us), Peter, do you love me – will you be patient with me? Peter, are you kind to me? Are you jealous? Do you brag? Are you arrogant and self-centered? Are you ever rude to me? Peter, are you thinking of yourself or of me? Are you irritable with me? Do you keep a record of past wrongs? Are you happy with unrighteousness; happy in the truth? Will you always be patient with me, believe in me, never give up, never fail and never stop hoping? That is what Jesus was asking when he said, “Peter do you love me?” 

Now think of it this way. Jesus has said to you, “I love you.” When Jesus says he loves you he speaks in the fullness of the concept of love. That means that he is conveying to you all of those things found in 1 Corinthians 13. There is great richness and depth in Jesus’ love for you. This is the way the Father loves you also. They love you with their whole being for love is not a shallow word in Christ.

Think of this also the next time you tell a person that you love them. Do you mean to convey all that is found in 1 Corinthians 13? If not, then you don’t really love that person. It may be a deep form of “like” but it isn’t love if you cannot put their needs in front of your own applying all of the characteristics of love. You see, 1 Corinthians 13 defines love for us. In our society we can sometimes use the word love very casually but now that we see what it truly means we may want to curb our tongues. Don’t misunderstand me though. I am all for telling people that you love them. I just want you to mean what you say and understand what love is. If we are not patient and kind to people then we have to conclude that we really do not love them with what God calls love. We may need them, want them, etc. but we have not reached that place in our hearts where we can love as Jesus commanded. When this is the case we must look within ourselves and ask why we, like Peter, have such difficulty expressing true love.

Peter was at the infancy of his ministry when Jesus asked him this question and it really was a question that was intended to prepare Peter for ministry. As we continue to follow Peter’s life and ministry we see that he did get a revelation of what Jesus began teaching him with that simple question. Peter grew and changed and became a great disciple of Christ and a great bearer of the commission and commandment of Jesus. Jesus only gave us one commandment and that command is to love one another (John 13: 34). Our commission is to spread love. It sounds so 1960’s but it is the truth and the essence of Christian life and evangelism. Go into all the world and tell them the good news (Mark 16: 15). What is the good news? That God loves them and that Jesus has restored them to that non-failing, endless love.

So, I want to ask you this question. Who do you love? Do you love Jesus? Does your love for God stand up to the test? Are we putting our needs and wants before God? It is a tough test, to be sure, but looking inside our hearts for the answers will help us to grow as people and as Christians. Live, love and grow.