If we’re honest, most of us would really like it if the answer to this question were, “No.” “No” would enable us to avoid being hated (for telling the Gospel, anyway!), and all that comes with that. In essence, “No,” would justify our reasons for not telling the Gospel of Jesus. Do any of these sound familiar?
- “It’s not my calling.”
- “I don’t know how to tell the Gospel.”
- “I’m not good with stuff like that.”
- “I might push people away.”
- “I might lose my friends.”
- “I might lose my job.”
- “I may be hated for it.”
- “I live the Gospel rather than tell the Gospel.”
- “I don’t know many unbelievers.”
- “I may not be able to answer people’s questions/comments.”
Indeed, if “No” were the answer to the question, my life would certainly be much more comfortable and convenient.
But the answer to the question is, “Yes.”
Maybe you all ready know the answer is, “Yes,” and maybe you don’t. Either way, we need to let Scripture itself convince us. So, let’s get into the texts.
The Word of God Says Every Believer Must Share the Gospel.
If you’ve attended church much and/or have received instruction on evangelism (i.e., telling the Gospel), you may expect that I’ll take you to Matthew 28:19-20 or Acts 1:8. And while these are excellent passages on the mission of the church, they (at first glance, anyway) leave some room for doubt about whether telling the Gospel is really for every Christian.
Here’s what I mean.
The immediate context in Matthew 28:19-20 says that the 11 disciples were with Jesus. Admittedly, it does not say that only the 11 disciples were with Jesus, but neither does it seem to suggest that anyone else was there, making it possible that Jesus was speaking only to the 11 disciples.
Similarly, the immediate context of Acts 1:8 leaves room to wonder if only the disciples were to, “receivepower when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea andSamaria, and to the end of the earth,” since verse 13 lists only the 11 disciples among the number of those gathered for Jesus’ final words (Acts 1:13).
Though there are actually very good contextual arguments that both of these passage refer to every Christian, for the purposes of this post, we’ll forego those arguments for the sake of another passage, which leaves no room for guesswork, making it perfectly reasonable to believe the commissions found in Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8 are, in fact, intended for every believer.
In the second chapter of Peter’s first letter, he reminds all the Christians who have been dispersed as result of heavy persecution that they are:
“a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are Godâ€™s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Pet. 2:9-10).
We find in this passage that the people of God, collectively, are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for [God’s] own possession.” But there is a purpose to having received these blessings: “that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” And while the passage does not limit Christ’s excellencies to any one thing or another, certainly the excellencies of Christ cannot be adequately communicated apart from the Gospel. And this is modeled by Peter, who has essentially only spoken of the Gospel to this point in his letter. As such, every Christian should understand the Matthew 28 and Acts 1 commissions to apply to them.
Go Therefore and Make Disciples.
The result is that all believers should concern themselves with communicating the Gospel not only to the lost and dying world, but also to one another (Rom. 1:1-6, 15). In fact, the Gospel should be a frequent topic of conversation for all who know Jesus. And this makes sense. If what comes out of one’s mouth is indicative of what is in his heart (Mt. 12:34, Lk. 6:45), and if our hearts are full of love for Jesus (Mt. 22:37), why would we not and how can we not proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light?
So, to those who know and love Jesus, I say with Jesus, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:19-20).