Evangelizing Through the Power of the Gospel
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
This text from the last chapter of Mark is referred to as the Great Commission. It is repeated in every gospel and the book of Acts as Jesus’ commission to his church.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Luke 24:46-48 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.
John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Something repeated five times by our Lord is VERY significant. What will we do with Mark 16:15? We can ignore it, delegate it, refuse it, rewrite it, or obey it.
IGNORE MARK 16:15
This is the option of many in the church today. The church is so very busy with many goings on. There are programs, conventions, Bible studies, fellowships and the list goes on and on. There is nothing wrong with Bible study if it leads to life transformation. One of the major areas of life transformation that we need is to be infused with a Spirit-empowered desire to tell the good news of Jesus Christ. When children hear their parents’ commands and ignore them, they are disciplined. How can we ignore the command of Christ to preach the gospel to every creature?
Sometimes the task seems impossible and so we ignore this command. Yes, it is impossible for an individual to preach the gospel to every creature. However, if every Christian were to take the command seriously, it is a possibility. Notice that this command is given not to an individual but to all the church. Jesus says, “Go ye…” When the Bible is speaking to a group it uses you or ye, when it is speaking to an individual it uses thee or thou. This command is given to us all. Brothers, we dare not ignore the command of Christ.
DELEGATE MARK 16:15
Many Christians simply delegate this command. They reason that they are a part of a good church and their pastor preaches the gospel so they are by proxy obeying this command. There is also a false teaching that is quite prevalent that says there is a spiritual gift of evangelism. Many say since they do not have this gift, they will prayerfully and financially support those who do. Some send a gift to their favorite evangelistic association and think they have obeyed this command in that way. All of these are ways that Christians delegate this command to others who they reason are more ‘gifted’ or more ‘outgoing’ than they themselves are.
Would we think it is ok to delegate other commands of Christ? What about his command against fornication? Can we go on in fornication because our friend is waiting for marriage? Of course we could not do that. We must not delegate Mark 16:15 either.
REFUSE MARK 16:15
This is more blatant but still happens in believer’s lives. We see this command but make excuses to refuse it. Some excuses that believer’s make are these:
1. I am not good at speaking to strangers.
2. I don’t know enough about the Bible.
3. I am too busy.
4. I don’t know what to say.
5. I could never tell someone they are a sinner.
6. I believe God will save who he is going to save whether I do anything about it or not.
7. I could never take the rejection that might happen.
8. I am afraid.
There are others, but these are all excuses that are made frequently. Maybe we do not actually say them out loud, but we think them. If we make these excuses, we should simply take a pair of scissors and cut out all the verses that tell us to evangelize. Brothers, we dare not refuse Mark 16:15.
REWRITE MARK 16:15
This is what many modern translations of the Bible have chosen to do with this text. Take a look at a New International Version and you will see that between Mark 16:8 and verse 9 the translators have inserted this:
“The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20.”
The New King James makes a marginal note saying, “Mark 16:9-20 are bracketed in the NU as not in the original text. They are lacking in Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, although nearly all other mss. of Mark contain them.” In other words, two copies that have been found don’t have these verses. All the rest have them.
The New American Standard makes a marginal notation at Mark 16:9 which reads, “Later mss add verses 9-20.”
The Holman Christian Standard places brackets around Mark 16:9-20 and contains a marginal notation stating, “Other mss omit bracketed text.”
How much doubt has been placed in people’s minds by this critical rewriting of scripture? Satan has always tried to rewrite God's word. It continues today with all the modern tranlsations. If Mark 16:15 is not scripture, what else would we like to cut out?
God has promised to preserve his word:
Psalms 12:6-7 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
If they are preserved then someone has introduced error. The modern translations rewrite scripture and introduce doubt. Jesus says those who do this will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:18-19 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Brothers, we must not rewrite Mark 16:15.
OBEY MARK 16:15
There is only one option for the child of God. Obey the word of Jesus. He says to preach the gospel to every creature. How do we obey him?
- Pray and ask the Lord for boldness.
- Get equipped. Learn from someone who has been down the road farther than you have. Go through training at church and apprentice with a seasoned soul winner.
- Start having conversations with people about Jesus.