If we’re honest, most of us tend to justify our reasons for not sharing the Gospel of Jesus. Do any of these sound familiar?
- “It’s not my calling.”
- “I don’t know how to share the Gospel.”
- “I might lose my friends.”
- “I live the Gospel rather than tell the Gospel.”
- “I don’t know many unbelievers.”
- “I may not be able to answer people’s questions/comments.”
Indeed, if I choose not to share the gospel, my life would certainly be much more comfortable and convenient. But doesn’t the Word of God say that every Christian has a responsibility to share the gospel?
If you’ve attended church much and/or have received instruction on evangelism (i.e., sharing the Gospel), you may expect that I’ll take you to Matt 28:19-20 or Acts 1:8. And while these are excellent passages on the mission of the church, they (at first glance, anyway) leave some room for doubt about whether telling the Gospel is really for every Christian.
Here’s what I mean. The immediate context in Matt 28:19-20 says that the 11 disciples were with Jesus. Admittedly, it does not say that only the 11 disciples were with Jesus, but neither does it seem to suggest that anyone else was there, making it possible that Jesus was speaking only to the 11 disciples.
Similarly, the immediate context of Acts 1:8 leaves room to wonder if only the disciples were to, “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,” since vs. 13 lists only the 11 disciples among the number of those gathered for Jesus’ final words (Acts 1:13).
Though there are very good contextual arguments that both of these passages refer to every Christian, for the purposes of this post, we’ll forego those arguments for another passage, which leaves no room for guesswork, making it perfectly reasonable to believe the commissions found in Matt 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8 are intended for every believer.
In the 2nd chapter of Peter’s first letter, he reminds Christians collectively, are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for [God’s] own possession.”
But there is a purpose to having received these blessings: “that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” And while the passage does not limit Christ’s excellencies’ to any one thing or another, certainly the excellencies’ of Christ cannot be adequately communicated apart from the Gospel.
In light of 1 Pet. 2, every Christian should understand the Matthew 28 and Acts 1 commissions and commands to apply to them.