Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – June 5, 2016
Theme: Living with Eternity in View
Topic: Preaching the gospel
Main Texts: Matthew 28:19-20; 24:14
Key Verse: Matthew 24:14 – “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (NIV)
Last Sunday we saw that Persevering in Tribulation is an essential attribute of the Christian. Our key learning from that study include:
- The turmoil in the world today is because the whole creation has been subjected to frustration by God’s will (see Romans 8:20), and the frustration will not abate until the Lord comes.
- Over and above the frustration that is common to all mankind, the Christian faces additional challenges – and sometimes frustration – because of God’s Spirit in him or her that would not tolerate the evils in the corrupted world.
- For the Christian to stay strong, he or she must see these tribulations in the light of the Scripture, and appropriate the resources God makes available for His own, to survive in the troubled world.
- It is important to share the realities of tribulation with those coming to know Christ for the first time – especially the fact that submission to Christ could mean more troubles for them. As we share this reality, we must also share the reality and the effectiveness of the resources God provides to give the Christian the needed strength to stand.
This Sunday, we will be examining the mandate Christ gave every Christian – Preaching the Gospel. If the early disciples had not followed up on this mandate, we would probably not have known of God’s plan of salvation, talk less of benefiting from it. The Lord’s intention is that the preaching continues until He comes. Our key learning from the study should include:
- We have a mandate to make Christ known to the world – to get people to understand God’s plan of salvation to the point of being able to make a choice to be saved. This is the “testimony to all nations” that Christ spoke of. He did not promise us that all who hear would believe.
- Besides the challenges to the gospel posed by the hostile world, we Christians often contribute to creating a resistance to the gospel by the way we live. Indeed, failure of the Christian to live out the gospel could be a stronger cause for rejection of the gospel by unbelievers, than the world’s rebellious disposition.
- Our ultimate objective as we preach the gospel is to turn people into disciples – beyond merely seeing them respond to an altar call to receive salvation. It is therefore important that we have an effective follow-up and mentoring plan for those that come to know Christ.
There is hardly a committed Christian who would dispute the fact that Jesus Christ commissioned Christians to preach the Gospel in the course of our journey to eternity with Him. Our key verse indicates that reaching the world through preaching of the gospel is a way of speeding up his return. Apostle Paul underscored the role of Christians in this prophecy when he wrote: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14 NIV).
1. What is the significance of the expression “as a testimony to all nations” in the prophecy of reaching the world with the gospel, and how does it define what we should aim for in evangelism? The early Christians carried out this command largely by house-to-house evangelism (especially in the days immediately following Pentecost) and by taking advantage of established structures such as synagogue gatherings. These are in addition to their exemplary lives. Today, we have far more channels for preaching the gospel, each with varying degrees of success in turning people to Christ. Besides what the early Christians had, we have large organised crusades and several platforms in electronic media.
2. Let participants who are certain they are born again share their experience of the channel through which they came to understand the gospel to the point of being able to commit their lives to Christ. While it is relatively easy to preach the gospel to a Church congregation or even to a ready- assembled crusade gathering, there is no doubt that preaching the gospel outside such gatherings, in today’s society, is increasingly challenging. Modern thinking increasingly views the gospel as superstitious, outdated, unscientific, in many non-white societies, as “the white man’s religion”, and for the politically minded, “a neo-colonialist agenda”. Despite the awkwardness of preaching, Apostle Paul commands us “… to preach God’s message. Do it willingly, even if it isn’t the popular thing to do.” (2 Timothy 4:2a CEV).
3. (a) What are the particular challenges of preaching the gospel through the various channels mentioned earlier and how do Christians tend to respond to those challenges? (b) How are some of the challenges self-inflicted by the Christian? As we noted in an earlier study in this series, coming to a decision for Christ is only the beginning of an eternal journey. What the Lord desires is that we make disciples – people who would not only make a one-off eventful decision, but who would thereafter live their lives as his followers: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. …” (Matthew 28:19-20a NIV).
4. Let participants who consider themselves disciples of Jesus Christ share why they know they are disciples, beyond just being born again.
Father, continue to nudge us to preach the gospel, even when it seems inconvenient to do so. As we preach it, may You confirm it by the power of Your Spirit, bringing many into Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.