Terry R. Baughman
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
Some who are critical of the church neither understand the importance of preaching nor the power of the Gospel. They feel that all our efforts and resources should be in areas of social assistance and simply focus on the physical needs of the impoverished and oppressed of the world. In reality, some extraordinary efforts have been accomplished by humanitarian outreach around the globe by religious organizations. Hospitals, clinics, food distribution, and water resources are among the efforts of these organizations in many regions of the world. This mission is indeed a part of Christ’s instruction to feed, clothe, and care for the impoverished. However, the Great Commission was not focused on the physical and financial needs, but rather the more important vision of purpose, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15–16). Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them …” (Matthew 28:19). Again, He said, “You shall be witnesses to Me … to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Jesus said, “For the poor you have with you always” (John 12:8). He was not minimizing their need, but rather explaining that we will never have enough resources to satisfy every financial and physical need of our world. The mission of the church is to care for souls and rely on the life-changing power of the Gospel to bring about the most crucial transformations.
“God so loved the world …,” that He brought salvation. The Scripture did not say “God so loved the world that He fed the hungry and clothed the naked.” Jesus did those things in the course of His greater purpose. He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick,” then explained,“I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matthew 9:13). The full scope of His mission was outlined as He read from the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue of Nazareth, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18–19).
The greatest need of the hour is the preaching of the Gospel, our ultimate mission is to proclaim Christ in every culture. We cannot leave their eternal destinies to chance, or rely on humanitarian efforts to satisfy the greater need of the soul. God’s vision must become our goal. Our mission must always include the global vision. “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations” (Matthew 24:14).
It is faith in Christ that brings us to salvation, and faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Only through the preaching of the Word of God will people come to know the liberating power of the Gospel. We must declare the message to every nation. Paul quoted the psalmist declaring, “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world” (Romans 10:18).
“Lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (John 4:35).