November 29, 2018
God has entrusted Christians with a treasure. We are entrusted with the treasure of the Gospel…the Good News of Jesus Christ. Jesus taught His disciples for about 3 years and then was crucified, as foretold. He died on the cross and shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins. The good news is that He rose from the dead on the third day. Only faith in Him…faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ… will bring everlasting life. After His resurrection and just before He ascended into Heaven, He gave His disciples the command to spread the Gospel. “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved 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.” Luke 24:46-47. The men who had followed Jesus would spread the Gospel, but in doing so they faced tremendous persecution. Because they didn’t keep the Gospel to themselves, we are given the opportunity to repent of our sins, accept His shed blood for salvation, and live eternally with Him. The men whom God entrusted with the Gospel were faithful to share it. They were more concerned about pleasing God than they were about pleasing man.
The Apostle Paul wasn’t one of the men who originally followed Jesus, and in fact, he persecuted the early Christians. His life was changed forever when he was traveling to Damascus on a mission to arrest men and women who had accepted Jesus for salvation. Paul was a changed man and had a passion to share the Gospel. He traveled to many cities and shared the Gospel with everyone he encountered. His love for the congregations he planted had prompted him to write letters which were inspired by the Holy Spirit and they describe how a Christian should conduct their lives and also how to share God’s truth. “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so, we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 2:4-6. The Apostles were not concerned about sugarcoating their words in order to not hurt someone’s feelings. They didn’t mince words when salvation was the issue. The Gospel was preached and when people repented and asked Christ into their lives, that’s when sin was confronted. It isn’t judging when you confront sin, but it is an act of love to help a brother or sister to turn from sin and live for Christ. They spoke in order to please God, not men.
One of the first mission trips Paul took he passed through Thessalonica. He was only in there for three weeks, but in that time he taught them about many important doctrines such as salvation, sanctification, resurrection, prophecy, the Rapture, and much more. It’s a sad comment on our congregations today that there is so much ignorance of Scripture. That ignorance is directly related to the shepherds of the Preacher don’t preach the entirety of God’s word and Sunday school classes are mostly skim milk with no real meat given. “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?” Romans 10:14. What are preachers afraid of? If the pew-warmers are convicted of sin will they be offended and leave taking their money with them? If the preacher is more concerned with the number of people in the pews and the amount of money in the plate, then he’s allowing the congregation to die in their sins. If you aren’t teaching your congregation the entirety of Scripture then you’re not equipping them to share with the lost people in the community. Teach line upon line and precept upon precept no matter if God’s word isn’t politically correct. If you’re more afraid of losing your tax-free status or offending a person caught in sin than preaching God’s truth then you have more problems than an ignorant congregation. “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:15. In three weeks Paul taught more to the Thessalonians than most congregations are taught in a lifetime. That’s a sad comment about today’s Christian.
The Gospel didn’t begin with the New Testament. It’s been said that “The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed. The Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed”. The Book of Genesis gives us a plethora of foundational truth. God created the world and all that is in it (Genesis chapter 1). Sin entered through the lies of Satan and the only cure for sin was the shed blood of Jesus Christ (Genesis chapter 3). Satan hates people and his goal is to destroy us. God’s wrath will come, and a picture of that coming judgment is also found in Genesis. The entire creation was corrupted by the fallen angels (no, it wasn’t humans marrying humans that corrupted all of creation) except for eight people who kept themselves away from the corruption (Genesis chapter 6). Enoch was Raptured prior to the judgment of the Flood (Genesis 5:23 & 24 and Hebrews 11:5), and He is a picture of Christians who will be Raptured prior to Daniel’s 70th week. These are things that Paul taught to the Thessalonians from the Old Testament because there was no New Testament for them to read. Don’t wait for your pastor to teach the whole counsel of God’s word. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15. You will find treasure in God’s word by studying. There are many wonderful teachers online and you can find study guides in Christian bookstores. Be very careful though. Many heretical teachings (New Age, “Christian yoga”, contemplative prayer, etc.) are entering into mainline teachings. The Bible is true and if any teacher compromises God’s word then reject them.
We sometimes think that the great men who spread the Gospel had an easy path to follow. They didn’t. They were beaten, jailed, and rejected but they stood strong upon the word of God. Herod was an evil man and came against the Christians. “And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. Then were the days of unleavened bread).” Acts12:2-3. This murder didn’t silence the Apostles. Peter was arrested, but even Herod couldn’t stop the Gospel. An angel was sent to the prison cell where Peter was chained to two sleeping soldiers. The chains fell off, the prison door was opened, and Peter continued to preach the Gospel. This wasn’t the first time Peter had been in trouble for preaching about Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, he and John had healed a man. This upset the Jewish leaders who couldn’t deny the miracle but they ordered Peter and John not to teach in Jesus’ name. “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19-20. These two men had a treasure…they had the Gospel to share and refused to keep it to themselves.
Today we need to find the same conviction to share God’s truth. Satan is still trying to stop the Gospel from being preached, but the Holy Spirit is with Christians. God has entrusted all of us with the treasure of His word and it needs to be shared. If you please people and Satan you’ll keep silent and allow them to die in their sin. If you please, God, you’ll share the Gospel, in love but without compromise, and bring friends and family to salvation.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at our Home Page under the Newsletter Archive tab.
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
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