In my last Blog (Part 2) I dealt with the first of the three I am’s found in Romans 1:14-17. In that Blog, I discussed what Paul meant when he said, “I am a debtor!”
(1) I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, (2) I am ready to preach the Gospel to you who are in Rome also. For (3) I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
This Blog will deal with the next I am – “I am ready to preach the Gospel.”
Some Christians may immediately say, “I am not called to preach, so this verse does not apply to me.” When we use the word preach, the image of someone standing behind a pulpit, wildly flailing their arms and spraying everyone close by with spit, must be removed. There are some believers who are called to publicly preach the Gospel, but by and large, most Christians will ‘preach’ sitting across a table from their congregation of one.
A Congregation of One!
I have preached to large crowds, and I have also sat on the beach, with the sound of pounding waves, sharing the good news with a fellow surfer.
One of my greatest evangelistic meetings took place in a poorly lit thatch mud hut, where an old man was lying on a grass mat. In this primitive home, I had an awesome evangelistic meeting as I preached to my congregation of one. This meeting was a home-run as I had 100% positive response to my message. Everyone in my audience received Jesus. I was as passionate preaching to this one man as I would have preached to an audience of a million. There is a strong likelihood that this precious old man would have died in his sins had I not visited his village in rural Africa. I had to go out of my way, driving on very rough roads, way off the beaten track, into an area known for being in civil unrest. However, though it took me out my way, though there were risks, the fact that this man was saved made the few inconveniences well worth the effort.
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:14-15 (NKJV)
How shall they hear without a Preacher?
So many Christians have settled to be the hearers and have never stepped out to become preachers. There is a time to sit, listen and learn but then there is also a time to become the preacher. We can’t stay in a place of perpetual training and learning. There has to come a point in time that we put into practice all that we have learned. The lost will not be saved without preachers being raised, taught, trained and released to carry the message of the Cross to their audience. Jesus began his ministry by calling the first disciples to become fishers of men. After the resurrection, He commissioned these believers to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all nations. Every disciple (Christian) should become a fisher of men and take responsibility to carry the Gospel to their world. We, who are saved, must take responsibility for our generation to hear the Gospel. Without preachers, the lost will never be able to call on the Name of the Lord and receive salvation.
Paul said, “I am ready to preach the Gospel.” What makes us ready to preach the Gospel?
1. Experienced that the Lord is good
When I was first born again, I desired that everyone I knew; friends, relatives, and even strangers, should discover the reality of salvation. This was too good to keep to myself! I wanted everyone in the world to experience the love and the presence of God in their lives as well.
There was a Chinese farmer who had cataracts removed at the hands of Christian surgeon. When this man realized that he could see again, he was so excited; he could not keep this to himself. The next day the surgeon found a whole group of blind people that had been brought to the surgery so that they too could regain their sight.
When Saul encountered Jesus on the Damascus Road and his sight was restored he immediately began to preach Jesus in the synagogue. As a brand-new believer, He wanted to communicate the power of God’s grace to everyone, starting right in Damascus.
2. Filled with the Holy Spirit
In Acts 1:8 Jesus commanded the disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they were clothed with power from on high. After the outpouring in the Upper Room, the one hundred and twenty all had the power to be witnesses. We should not only be baptized in the Holy Spirit, but we must stay being filled. (Ephesians 5:18) The task of reaching the lost and communicating the Gospel must be in the power of the Holy Spirit. On the Day of Pentecost, Peter boldly preached the Gospel and three thousand people were saved. Just a few days before Peter had been so afraid that he even denied that he knew Jesus. But now he was a God-possessed follower of Jesus, and this empowering made him bold in the Gospel.
3. Trained to present the Gospel will skill and clarity
Soon after being saved, I was boldly preaching the Gospel in the streets. A man came up to me and said, “You don’t know what you are doing!” I replied, “I know, can you please teach me and help me?” With this, he walked off and in a gruff voice and said, “I am too busy!” As he walked away, I shouted, “Then I will just keep doing my best!” Here I am 45 years later still boldly preaching except I now know a whole lot more. I have grown in knowledge and skills, and though I have the same zeal, I am a whole lot better at doing what I am doing. Jesus took ordinary people, and made them fishers of men. In other words, Jesus taught them the way of salvation and how to communicate this message with the power of God. It is essential to study the Word of God and have a thorough knowledge of the Gospel, but we should also study the techniques of communicating the Gospel. We should learn how to answer difficult questions and how to remain on point when people try to throw us off from delivering our message.
4. Be Alert, Ready and Bold
Philip, the evangelist, was led by the Spirit to join the chariot so that he could reach the Ethiopian Eunuch. There are times that the Holy Spirit will lead us or prompt us to share the Gospel with a person or a group of individuals. Whenever we are led by the Spirit, we should instantly obey. Jonah the prophet was directed to go to Nineveh, but rather than obey God he went in the opposite direction. As followers of Jesus, we ought to have our ears open to the voice of God, and we should be quick to obey.
Sometimes we are directed by the voice of God to share the Gospel. However, we do not need a specific word from God as we always have the Bible. Jesus said, “Go into all the world!” We don’t need a word as we always have the Word. The exception is when God specifically directs us to a person or a place. We can go anywhere, we can go to anyone, and we will always be in the will of God. The exception will be if God specifically sends us to someone or to a specific place. I refer to Philip; he was preaching the Gospel in Samaria (in the will of God). Though Philip was not specifically sent to Samaria, rather he was moved there due to circumstance…in fact, it was persecution that moved him. While engaged in the outreach in Samaria, he was given a specific assignment, and that was to go to the desert where he would share the Gospel with the Ethiopian. So, we learn that we can go anywhere and preach the gospel. Then there are times when God directs us. If I don’t have a specific God-assignment then I live sensitive to God and while waiting on him I share with all those that I can.
We should be on the alert, look for doors of opportunity to share the Gospel with all who we can. People may ask us about our relationship with God, but mostly we will need to find a way to share the hope that we have. For example, someone may speak about the unstable times that we live in and we can launch the Gospel by sharing that in tumultuous days we can have a solid foundation. We can cultivate a sensitive heart and sense the ideal moment to share the Gospel. Be aware of the environment and be respectful to people in their jobs. For example, don’t share the Gospel with a busy waitress who is trying to take care of some tables. Remember, she is not just taking care of your table.
“But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully” 1 Peter 3:15 (AMP).
Ask God to lead you to someone who is ready for the Gospel. I am quite confident that if you will make yourself available that God will have someone for you to reach. If you feel no promptings of the Holy Spirit then simply find someone to start with. Take a friend out for coffee, lunch or just hangout and share with them the provision of God for their salvation.
You must be sensitive to God, to people but at the same time, you must be bold. You need to be ready to boldly proclaim the Gospel with the goal to reach as many people as possible.
“For which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:20).
What makes us ready to preach the Gospel?
1.) Experienced that the Lord is good
2.) Filled with the Holy Spirit
3.) Trained to present the Gospel with skill and clarity
4.) Be Alert, Ready and Bold