WHAT IS OUR MOTIVATION in preaching the gospel?
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Written by J.B.N.
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 19:00
“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me;
yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16).
- Simple OBEDIENCE:
“And [Jesus] said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15). That ought to be enough. Who took this to heart? Just the disciples to whom He spoke? See Acts 8:1,4. The apostles stayed in Jerusalem; it was all the other believers who “went everywhere preaching the word.” And NOW is the time to do it.
- The LOVE of CHRIST (GOD):
“The love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15). This is what William MacDonald called “the love and logic of Calvary.” The context of this verse is evangelism (see esp. v. 20). However we do not need to manufacture our own love for people since we have “the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us” (Rom. 5:5)..
- APPRECIATION for our own SALVATION and of our SAVIOUR:
Hannah says that her “mouth is enlarged” (1 Sam. 2:1) so that she must speak of her Lord. She couldn’t stop talking about Him and what He had done. “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy” (Ps 107:2).
Suffer a sinner whose heart overflows,
loving his Savior, to tell what he knows;
Once more to tell it would I embrace;
I’m only a sinner saved by grace (J.M. Gray).
Notice how Paul gives his testimony (6x). This is the best thing that happened to me initially, and has produced the best things in my life ever since. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
- A DISCHARGE of my DEBT:
“I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise” (Rom. 1:14). We “ought” is a contraction of the Old English “we owe it.” Why? Every blessing is a burden (stewardship).
- The HONOR of AMBASSADORSHIP:
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20). What an honor! What a responsibility! What is an ambassador? For one thing, he doesn’t get involved in local politics. He doesn’t have his own interests at heart. He speaks the mind of a foreign government in the most winsome way possible.
- COMPASSION for HUMAN NEED:
“And Jesus, when He came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd” (Mk. 6:34). All around us are broken hearts. Does their need move us? Must some of our own friends and associates declare, “No man cared for my soul”? (Ps. 142:4).
- The UNCERTAINTY of CERTAIN DEATH:
The old Puritan Richard Baxter used to say: “I preach as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.” I have my own time limit; and others around me are on eternity’s brink. There is no time to waste. Remember D.L. Moody’s mistake. On Sunday, October 8, 1871, as Moody came to the end of his sermon for the evening, he encouraged his audience to go home and think about what he had said rather than pressing them to a decision then and there. But the city fire bells were already ringing. It was the beginning of the Great Chicago Fire. Many of his audience died in the fire. “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Prov. 27:1).
- The REALITY of the LAKE of FIRE:
“Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Cor. 5:11). This is not His terror against His people. It means that surely the Christians believe in eternal perdition even if those around us think of it as a joke. The Lord uses the phrase, “in danger of hell fire” (Mt. 5:22) and “the wrath of God abideth on him” (Jn. 3:36). Recall the story of the soldier speaking to a chaplain who had been spending his Sunday sermon time telling jokes. “Is there a hell?” he queried. “Why do you ask?” countered the man of the cloth. “Because if there is, why are you telling us jokes? If there isn’t why are we wasting our time in here?”
- The COMING of the LORD:
Said Jesus, “I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work (Jn. 9:4). “Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night” (Isa. 21:11). It is an unanswerable observation that “knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Rom. 13:11). Any time lost now cannot be recovered.
- The JOY of heavenly REUNION:
“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?” (1 Thess. 2:19). “Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations” (Lk. 16:9). In the words of Samuel Rutherford (who lived in the small Scottish town of Anwoth)and turned into poetry by Ann Ross Cousin:
O if one soul from Anwoth meets me at God’s right hand
My heaven will be two heavens in Emmanuel’s Land.
- The HOPE of REWARD and RESPONSIBILITY:
Is this a suitable motive? Absolutely! Jesus taught rewards and Paul strove for them. It is with rewards accomplished only through God’s resources that we will have the honor of further glorifying Christ. “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Rom. 14:10). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). God is also the “Lord God of recompence.” Recall the story of the Good Samaritan: anything used in His business will be reimbursed for He is no man’s debtor. “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus” (Esther Kerr Rusthoi).
- For the ENJOYMENT of GOD:
This was certainly the case of the Lord Jesus: His food was to do the Father’s will (see Jn. 4:34). We need to make much of the Lord Jesus. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me,” He said (John 12:32). As I spoke to a street preacher in Times Square in New York, I asked him if he became discouraged by the indifferance of the people passing by. His response thrilled me. “I figure,” he said, “that God hears so much blasphemy and abuse of His Son’s name, He must delight in hearing His Son well spoken about. As long as He enjoys it, I’ll just keep doing it.” Amen to that!
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 September 2009 10:08