under a special agreement with
presents "New Life in Christ" Course 3
under a special agreement with
In our last two lessons we learned some wonderful things about the Church. We learned that the Church is the Body of Christ. Christ Himself is the Head of the Church and all believers are members of His Body.
In the midst of Satan's evil world system, Christ has a Body through which He can work and manifest His mighty, victorious power. It is through the Church that Christ expresses His life and does His work in the world.
In this lesson we are going to consider the mission of the Church—what the Church is supposed to do.
What is the mission of the Church?
The mission of the Church is to proclaim the gospel to every person in the world. Every believer has a part in this. The Lord Jesus said,
"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."
It has been nearly two thousand years since our Lord gave this command to His disciples; yet today there are still millions of people who are not saved. These unsaved people can be divided into two groups:
those who have heard the gospel but rejected it, and
those who have never heard the gospel.
In this lesson we are going to be thinking about the second group—those who have not heard the gospel and have no true knowledge of God. We want to see what their spiritual condition is and what God has told us to do about it.
Those Who Have Not Heard the Gospel
…what is their condition?
They are in spiritual darkness and under the power of Satan. How do we know this? Because they commit terrible sins; they worship idols of wood and stone; they live in fear of evil spirits; they are afraid to die. In some countries, mothers throw their babies to crocodiles; others cut themselves and walk on beds of spikes. Why do they do these things? Because they have been told that by doing these things their sins will be forgiven.
In other countries, people are highly civilized; yet they do not know God. They may not worship idols of wood and stone. Nevertheless, they too are in spiritual darkness and under the power of Satan. The Bible describes them as being "without Christ, having no hope, and without God in the world."
Of course, those in Christian lands, who have rejected the gospel, are no better off than those who have never heard the gospel. Indeed, they will be judged more severely by God because they rejected the gospel.
Did God create people with no knowledge of Himself? No, He did not. Man was created in the image of God, but man turned away from God.
In the first chapter of Romans, we read about man's downward steps away from God. When they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, neither were they thankful. They became foolish in their imaginations, and their hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools. Instead of worshipping the glorious God who created them, they made images of birds, and beasts, and snakes and worshipped these idols. From this they went into terrible wickedness and immorality. Thus men went from spiritual light into spiritual darkness. (See Romans 1:21-32— click link)
Are those who have never heard the gospel lost?
Yes, they are lost. Every person without Christ is lost. Those who die in their sins will be forever separated from God in the lake of fire. The Bible says,
"The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." Psalm 9:17
Why are those who have not heard the gospel lost?
They are lost for two reasons:
They are sinners.
They do not know Christ as Saviour.
Although these people do not have God's Word, they know that they do wrong things. How do they know? Because God has put His laws into their hearts and consciences. They know that lying, stealing, murder, adultery, killings and the other things they do are wrong, yet they do these things. Therefore, they are sinners and they will be judged for their sins. The Bible says,
"…the soul that sins, it shall die." Ezekiel 18:4
Can their religions save them?
Many people believe that, if these people are sincere in their religions, God will somehow save them. Is this true? No, it is not.
The Bible makes it clear that a person cannot be saved unless he personally receives the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour. Christ is the Saviour—the only Saviour. The Lord Jesus said,
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6
Salvation is in Christ and in Him alone. The Bible says,
"Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12
Those who worship idols may be sincere in their religions, but their worship is not acceptable to God. The Bible says that when people sacrifice to idols they are actually worshipping Satan and his evil spirits! You can see from this why God hates all false religions, and why He will not accept those who worship idols.
Can these people be saved?
Yes, of course! The gospel is for all men. The Bible says that the gospel of Christ "is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believes."
FOUR Important Questions
The Bible says, "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." But the Bible asks these questions about those who have not heard the gospel:
How can they call on Christ if they have not believed in Him?
How can they believe in Him if they have not heard about Him?
How can they hear about Him without a preacher?
How can a preacher preach to them unless he is sent?
(See Romans 10:14-15— click link)
Can people call on the Lord Jesus if they do not believe in Him? No, they cannot. Can they believe on Him if they have never heard of Him? No, they cannot. Can they hear of Him unless someone tells them? No, they cannot. Therefore, someone must go and tell them about the Lord Jesus if they are to be saved.
Who can tell them about Jesus? Those who have been saved. The Bible says,
"Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given US the ministry of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:18
The GREAT COMMISSION is our Lord's command to His disciples to go into all the world and to preach the gospel to every creature. He said,
"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15
Has the Great Commission been Fulfilled?
No, it has not. Millions of people are still in spiritual darkness and under the power of Satan. Most of the people in the world have never seen a Bible nor heard the name of Jesus. They are without Christ and without hope. The words of a pagan woman should stir our hearts. She said, "Tell your people how fast we are dying. Ask them if they cannot send the gospel a little faster."
A missionary in Egypt was telling the story of the love of Jesus. At the close of his message, a woman said, "It is a wonderful story. Do the people in your country believe it?"
"Yes!" said the missionary.
The woman thought a moment and said, "I don't think they can believe it, or they would not have been so long in coming to tell us."
The Whole World must hear the Gospel
The Lord Jesus has commanded us to preach the gospel to every creature. We must obey Him. If we do not do what we can to take the gospel to the lost, God will hold us responsible. He said,
"When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; BUT HIS BLOOD I WILL REQUIRE AT YOUR HAND." Ezekiel 3:18
We cannot close our eyes to the terrible condition of the lost and escape our responsibility. Every Christian must, one day, stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ to give an account of his life after he was saved. If we fail to do what we can to send the gospel to every person, we will have to answer to the Lord for our neglect. We cannot say that we did not know about their needs. The Lord Jesus said,
"Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest." John 4:35
What can I do?
If those who have not heard the gospel are to have a chance to be saved, every believer must do all he can, under God's direction, to get the gospel to them. God has a work for every Christian in fulfilling the Great Commission. You ask, "What can I do?" Here are five things:
God's plan for evangelizing the world is for everyone who knows the story of Jesus to tell it to someone else—not only with his lips but also with his life. The Lord Jesus said, "You shall be witnesses unto Me...." Begin now, being a witness for the Lord Jesus, right where you are.
We can pray that God will send forth missionaries to the unsaved, and we can pray daily for the missionaries God has already sent forth. The Lord Jesus said,
"The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest, to send out labourers into His harvest." Luke 10:2
When we give money to the Lord's work, we are sharing in that work, and we will share in the rewards one day. We should give wisely, seeing to it that our money goes to those who are faithfully preaching the gospel. We should give joyfully, knowing that our money is being used that others may have eternal life.
If we want to be useful servants of the Lord, we must prepare ourselves. We can do this by setting aside time each day for Bible study and prayer and by memorizing Scripture verses. Get your tools ready and God will use you!
We do not need to ask the Lord if He wants us to serve Him. God calls all of His children to serve Him. The only question you and I must ask is, "Lord, what will You have me to do?"
What will you do?
You have learned something of the terrible condition of those who do not know God. You have learned of your responsibility as a Christian to get the gospel to them. Now, the question is: What will you do?
Will you be a faithful witness for the Lord Jesus where you are? Will you pray that God will send forth labourers into the harvest field? Will you give that others may hear? Will you prepare yourself to serve the Lord more effectively? Will you go where God calls you to go?
"Only one life, 'twill soon be past.
Only what's done for Christ will last."