“Preach the Gospel at All Times…”

Where did your mind go when you read the subject line? Probably “And when necessary, use words!”. This quote that has been attributed to St Francis of Assisi (albeit falsely) is one of the most overused sayings when it comes to people’s excuses for not wanting to share the good news. I mean, let’s be honest with each other for a moment. How selfishly arrogant could we possibly be to have been spoken to (by someone) the truth of the gospel and yet come up with an excuse to not have to do likewise in another individual’s life? Eh hem. Pretty selfish, right?

Scripture is very clear about how the gospel is to be furthered. And it is most significantly through proclamation. Remember Pentecost? What happened when the Holy Spirit of promise finally came upon the church? The “about” 120 (Acts 1:15 – Don’t you love it how even biblical writers exaggerated numbers?) started speaking. They didn’t start healing. They didn’t start casting out demons. They didn’t start raising people from the dead. They started speaking. What did they say? Luke tells us that these Galileans began to speak (in somewhere around 19 different dialects) the mighty works of God (Acts 2:11). In other words, they began to share the gospel. The first thing that happened after the power of the Holy Spirit came upon the church was that the gospel was shared. This had nothing to do with deeds. Now, please don’t misunderstand me. We need to preach the gospel with our deeds as well but that’s for another day and another post. What we need to center on here is that Jesus chooses to first and foremost use our words as the primary gospel furtherance tool. If there is no proclamation, there is no gospel furtherance.

The proof is undeniable. When the gospel is preached, incredible things happen. Scripture even tells us the results of gospel proclamation that is spirit-empowered and Christ-centered:

1. Results will be driven by pure conviction. In Acts 2:37, people are cut to the heart after having heard the good news.

2. Results will be rooted in true repentance which produces tangible fruit. In Acts 2:38, Peter proclaims that if people repent, they will receive the Holy Spirit.

3. Results will be determined by God, apart from any determination by man. In Acts 2:39, we are reminded that God is the one who calls people to Himself to be saved (people need to hear this and they will only know it if they hear it from us).

4. Results will be confirmed through the testimony of those who flee idolatry and run to Jesus. In Acts 2:40, Peter, bears witness (with his words) that people must turn from idolatry (and obviously turn to Jesus).

5. Results are numerous. In Acts 2:41, after the gospel is preached from the mouth of Peter (a guy who had just denied Jesus with that same mouth a few short weeks earlier), 3,000 people are saved and baptized that day.

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