Love. Live. Preach. Teach.—Preach Him

By Peter Amsterdam

January 3, 2012

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We have finished covering the second element of discipleship, Live Him, and nine principles connected to it: Abiding in Jesus, Love, Unity, Humility, Non-Anxiety, Forgiveness, Fellowship, Generosity, and Prayer.

The third of these four elements of discipleship is Preach Him.Some ofJesus’ last words before ascending into heaven were the mission statement for His disciples: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.”[1]

Forty-three days earlier He had died on the cross, and after three days He had risen from the dead. The purpose of it all was so that humankind could have the opportunity to be forgiven for their sins, to be reconciled to God, and to have everlasting life. Jesus had done His job. He had fulfilled His mission on earth. His death and resurrection had made salvation possible. He had made it possible for us to live eternally with Him.

During the last years of His life, He had enacted a two-fold strategy: to preach the message of the kingdom and salvation, and to find a core group of people who would embrace His teachings and assist in spreading His message to others—in making disciples. He lived the same mission statement He had just given to His disciples. He had come into this world and preached the Gospel. He had found those whom He could train to Love Him, Live Him, Preach Him, and Teach Him. Once He had imparted to them all that was needed, He could leave and the Holy Spirit would then come and empower His disciples to take the message to all the world.

Jesus’ years of public ministry were spent preaching, teaching, and training. In this article we’ll focus on His preaching.

Sometime after having been baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan, and after having fasted 40 days and 40 nights, Jesus went to live in Capernaum in the area of Galilee. From that point on He began, as Mark’s Gospel says:

Proclaiming the Gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.”[2]

Matthew’s Gospel says:

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”[3]

Jesus made it clear that His preaching the Gospel was one of the reasons He was on earth:

He said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.”[4]

He said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.”[5]

When He visited His hometown of Nazareth and went to the synagogue, He stood up to read from the Scripture. He was given the book of Isaiah and read the following:

“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.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”[6]

Jesus was sent to preach the Gospel, and He taught His disciples to do the same.

He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.[7]

As you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”[8]

What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.[9]

He appointed twelve (whom He also named apostles) so that they might be with Him and He might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.[10]

Jesus preached the Gospel, and through His example taught His disciples to do the same and gave them opportunities to experience preaching it themselves. After His death and resurrection, He said to them:

As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”[11]

Right before ascending into heaven, He declared:

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.[12]

Within days the Holy Spirit fell and the early disciples were powerfully preaching the Gospel in Jerusalem, and in time throughout Israel, outside of Israel, and in all the world.

It’s through preaching the Gospel that Christianity spreads. It’s through witnessing that the gift of salvation that Jesus died to bring is given to others. If the first disciples hadn’t preached the Gospel and taught others to do the same, then the Gospel could have ceased to be known. God has given us something so great, so eternally life changing, it’s our responsibility, as disciples, to share it with others, to give them the same opportunity.

Disciples preach the message of the Gospel. As Peter said in Acts 10:

He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.[13]

For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”[14]

Disciples preach through the words they speak, through the lives they lead, and through the manifestation of God’s Spirit within them. Which brings us to:

The Light-bearing Principle

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.[15]

Part of preaching the Gospel is living your life in a manner that people see the light of God in you—the concern you have, the joy, the integrity, the manifestation of God and His love in you, His Spirit dwelling within you. You have the light of life—Jesus—within you, and if you live your faith, then your life will be seen as light-giving. Then when people see you and what you do, they will see and feel the Spirit of God.

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.[16]

As Paul wrote to the Ephesians:

For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true).[17]

And to the Philippians, Paul said:

That you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.[18]

We are asked by the Lord to live in a manner that communicates Him to others, not only in words, but in deeds and truth. Words are important, of course, as through your words you will explain salvation, and tell about Jesus’ love; but your deeds, your good works, your example, the love and kindness you show people, your concern for them, all of this will show that the words you speak about Jesus are true, because those you are speaking with will feel Him emanating from you.

As disciples, it’s important that God’s light shines through you, which it will when you Love Him and Live Him, when you Preach Him and Teach Him.

The “In the World” Principle

We are to be active within the world, without becoming of the world.

Jesus, God incarnate, lived in the world. He wasn’t of the world but He lived in it. His being in the world made it possible for Him to interact with those in need, to love others, to help them, to heal them, to be friends with them, to witness to them.

In like manner we are in the world, and we too have the opportunity to love and help others, to bring them God’s love and everlasting life. Loving Him and living Him keeps us from the world but doesn’t take us out of the world. Disciples interact with others, and when the opportunity presents itself, they share the news of salvation.

The principle is to be involved in your world, the society in which you live—the workplace, the mission field, wherever you are—in a manner that makes you a blessing to others.

In the course of being actively involved in our world, we want to make sure we keep the proper connection and relationship with God, giving God, His Word, and the Great Commission the right priority. We don’t want to become absorbed by the ways of the world or its priorities. Jesus addressed this in prayer to His Father when He said:

I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.[19]

The “People in Your Path” Principle

Disciples are ready to witness, pray for, and minister to whomever God brings across their path. 2 Timothy 4:2 expresses this concept quite well with the words “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season.” The phrase “in season and out of season” is translated in some Bible versions as persist in it whether convenient or not; keep at it in opportune times and in untimely situations; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable. There’s no telling when you will cross paths with someone who needs the message, and when you do, as a disciple, you should be ready to share God’s message with them.

Jesus was ready to meet the need no matter what the circumstances. He was faced with a multitude of different situations in which He needed to take action immediately—to witness, to love, to win, to heal, to forgive, to do a miracle. He rose to the occasion in every instance.

Some examples of this are the woman of Samaria, the wedding at Cana, Nicodemus’ visit, the woman caught in adultery, the centurion, the Greeks who wanted to speak to Him, Peter’s mother-in-law, the mute person, the Canaanite woman, the children, the rich young ruler, the mother of James and John, the paralytic man, the Syrophoenician woman, the boy with an unclean spirit, blind Bartimaeus, a leper, a man with a withered hand, the woman with the issue of blood, Zacchaeus, Pilate, the thief on the cross.[20] He was ready in season and out. He was there for whomever the Father brought across His path.

Jesus reached out to those He was aiming to help—the sinners who needed salvation. Those He met and ate with were not always the rich, the righteous, or the folks who were “living right.” He was willing to minister to those whom others rejected—the hated tax collectors, the sinners, the unclean and unworthy. He was criticized when He connected with those who were in the margins, but He made it clear how important every soul is, no matter what their circumstances.

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear Him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”[21]

So He told them this parable:

What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.” Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.” Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.[22]

Every person is valuable to God. He wants everyone to receive salvation, and He rejoices when they do. God brings people across your path for you to witness to, and their status in society, their prominence or lack of it, should make no difference whatsoever. If you are the disciple to whom the Lord has brought this person, you should be ready to speak with them, whether they are rich or poor. God is no respecter of persons. Everyone, no matter what their status, is a sinner before Him and in need of His love and redemption. A disciple’s job isn’t to judge or discriminate; it’s to preach the Gospel to everyone, especially to those whom He brings across your path.

When listening to a course on the history of Christian theology, I came across a portion that I thought was interesting about preaching to and teaching the poor. The teacher was speaking of Pentecostalism and went out of his way to commend them for the work they do in reaching the poor.

The professor said: Pentecostalism is the largest, fastest-growing form of global Christianity today. Pentecostalism has spread like wildfire; it is the fastest-growing set of churches in Latin America, very influential in Africa. And in these countries, the Pentecostal churches are the church of the poor. The poor people love this experience. It’s sort of evidence that God is with them even in their poverty. It’s tied to a very rather, we might say in the informal sense, puritanical lifestyle. Pentecostals stop smoking, stop drinking, the men stop beating their wives and running around. We get stable families among the poor, among the destitute, so that the children of the destitute end up becoming respectably poor, or maybe even lower middle class. And their children end up maybe going to college. The Pentecostals are the church of the poor, and in the second or third generation the poor are no longer poor because of Pentecostalism. That’s I think a very powerful witness to maybe the Holy Spirit working among the Pentecostals.[23]

I thought it was interesting in that it shows the impact preaching and teaching can have not just on those you witness to and win, but if you teach them to witness, then the fruits of your teaching can change the generations to come. While the lecturer was speaking of Pentecostalism, the principle of what he was saying can be applicable to anyone who preaches the Gospel and teaches Christianity.

Following the People in Your Path Principle means not limiting those you witness to, or teach, or disciple, to only those whom you may be accustomed to or comfortable with. Reaching the middle and upper strata of society, or those on the lower economic scale, are both important to the Lord. He can make a disciple out of anyone who has a changed heart, learns to love Him, and wants to serve Him. Whoever God brings across your path, whoever He calls you to reach, is who you should witness and minister to. Be instant in season and out.

Preaching was something Jesus taught His disciples to do, and it was the commission, the mission statement, that He left them with. Disciples today have the same commission. We are to let our light shine, to interact with the world without becoming of the world, and to minister to those God brings across our path. This is preaching Jesus. This is doing the mission. This is how new disciples will be won.

(To read the next article in this series, click here.)


[1] Mark 16:15 NAU.

[2] Mark 1:14–15.

[3] Matthew 4:17.

[4] Mark 1:38.

[5] Luke 4:43.

[6] Luke 4:18–21 NKJ.

[7] Luke 9:2 NKJ.

[8] Matthew 10:7 NAU.

[9] Matthew 10:27.

[10] Mark 3:14–15.

[11] John 20:21–22.

[12] Acts 1:8.

[13] Acts 10:42.

[14] Romans 10:13–15.

[15] Matthew 5:14–16.

[16] John 8:12.

[17] Ephesians 5:8–9.

[18] Philippians 2:15.

[19] John 17:15–16.

[20]

The woman of Samaria: John 4:7

The wedding in Cana: John 2:1–11

Nicodemus’ visit: John 3:1–21

The woman caught in adultery: John 8:3–11

The centurion: Matthew 8:5–13

The Greeks: John 12:20–26

Peter’s mother-in-law: Matthew 8:14–15

The mute person: Matthew 9:32–33

The Canaanite woman: Matthew 15:22–28

The children: Matthew 19:13–14

The rich young ruler: Matthew 19:16–22

The mother of James and John: Matthew 20:20–23

The paralytic man: Matthew 9:2–7

The Syrophoenician woman: Mark 7:26–30

The boy with a spirit: Luke 9:37–43

Blind Bartimaeus: Mark 10:46–52

A leper: Matthew 8:2–4

A man with a withered hand: Mark 3:1–5

The woman with the issue of blood: Luke 8:43–48

Zacchaeus: Luke 19:1–10

Pilate: Luke 23:1–4

The thief on the cross: Luke 23:39–43

[21] Luke 15:1–2.

[22] Luke 15:4–10.

[23] Professor Phillip Cary, The History of Christian Theology, Lecture #28.

 

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