Mark 16:15 …..Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature
This verse is widely known as part of the “Great Commission.” It also goes hand and hand with Matthew 28:19, which tells us to teach all nations. The interesting point I would like to make here is who the command is given to. You will notice that there are alot of books/letters written in the New testament that are addressed to churches, as well as many statements that are made for churches(Read Revelation 1,2,3). There are also statements made throughout your Bible that are addressed to groups or nations of people. But the statement we have today is not a statement only for a church, or a nation, it is a commandment for individuals.
The word “ye” is almost always a reference to individuals within a group of people. Examples of this are, John 3:7 YE must be born again, and 2 Corinithians 6:17 Come out from among them, and be YE separate. Both of these commands are given to everyone, but they require a personal choice. Now back to our verse. “Go ye” is not just a great verse for foreign missions, it covers ALL the world. Many times we as Christians loose sight of the importance of PERSONALLY preaching the gospel to this world. In are modern day, we have taken 2 extreme opposite viewpoints that I want to briefly discuss.
First, the majority of Christians believe that the duty of preaching the gospel falls at the feet of a pastor, evangelist, missionary, or other full time worker in the ministry. I am not sure as to where this thinking has come from, but I strongly believe it has hurt the furtherance of the gospel very much. Part of the issue is “Pastors” who believe that they are the Head of the church and that they must utterly control all things that their people do. So this leads to the issue of church people being instructed to invite others to church to hear the Pastor preach, instead of giving the people a clear presentation of the gospel right then. We are here to tell sinners about the salvation offered to mankind through Jesus Christ, not promote our church. Don’t get me wrong, I love my church, and I believe the church I attend is the best church in our town, and I invite anyone interested to come and visit with us, but if all I do is hand out invitations to church and not address the issues of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come, I have not followed the command given to me as an individual.
Secondly, many Christians today feel that they have obeyed the Great commission by simply giving money to missions. Please do not misunderstand, I personally believe that every Christian should personally financially support a missionary.(I find it curious that Christians who go to McDonald’s every other day, and have 4 idevices apiece can’t afford to send 25 dollars every month to support the furtherance of the gospel) It is a great sacrifice to leave family, friends, and all the cultural comforts and conveniences of another country to tell people about Jesus Christ. Men and women who willingly do this have my applause and prayers, but the issue here is not about supporting missions, it is about ONLY supporting missions. If all you do is send money for someone else to preach, you PERSONALLY have not obeyed.
Acts 1:8 ….YE shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Look at this last command given by Jesus immediately before he left the earth. He tells them to be a witnesses in Jerusalem(their immediate town), then all Judaea(the region in which they were, kinda like a county), then Samaria( the neighboring region, which is like an adjacent county or state), THEN the uttermost parts of the earth. So it can’t be just foreign missions, it requires preaching here in America. We need to be preaching in our local towns, and surrounding areas, as well as sending missionaries overseas.
So in closing, go grab a handful of tracts and your Bible and get busy. How about knocking on the doors in YOUR neighborhood this beautiful spring in the evenings, and telling people about how they can have the salvation that only comes through Jesus Christ. Don’t expect your pastor to do it for you, do it yourself.