By the time you read this I will have started my three weeks in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Over the years I have traveled many times to Africa and Europe. The natural question to ask is whether it is worth the time, energy, expense, and risk to try to preach the gospel to such faraway places.
Most of us know what Jesus said about taking the gospel to the world:
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” Mark 16:15-16
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’” Romans 10:14-15
We preach the gospel because Jesus said, “Preach the gospel.” We go because Jesus said, “Go.” We send preachers because Jesus said, “Send!” We try to go to faraway places because Jesus said, “Go into all the world” and “make disciples of all the nations.” But there is another reason: We love people, and we want them to know the incredible blessings that can be found in Jesus! We literally love sharing the good news of the Gospel! So, we look for places where people need the gospel, where they have not had as many opportunities to hear the gospel as we have, and where they may be receptive to the gospel (and sometimes, even more receptive than many are in the United States). When we share our resources (money, preachers, teachers, time, effort, etc.) with others it shows our love for people, souls, Jesus, and the gospel.
Of course, “into all the world” includes right here in our country, city, and neighborhood. The Scriptural picture of evangelism is that of scattering the seed of the gospel EVERYWHERE we can. We do this in a variety of ways, but sending me to places like Africa is one way of scattering it far and wide. May God bless us with opportunities to reach the lost and bless this church for its desire to glorify God and reach the lost worldwide! dd