Friday, December 30, 2011

Apostles Only?

Felicity Dale posted a fascinating question on her blog yesterday: Was the Great Commission given only to the eleven disciples?

I like her answer!
I believe that all of us are called to be ambassadors, those who represent the Kingdom of God to the rest of the world. Obviously, how we do it, and what motivates us is important too.
I have heard the argument made in the past that the Great Commission was only for the apostles or at least is reserved for a few, properly ordained Christians. When I hear that, I just turn to the New Testament itself for proof that all Christians are called and "licensed" to preach the Gospel. Check out Acts 8:1-4 (emphasis added)

And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. (Act 8:1-4)
Preaching the Gospel is not the privilege of a small sub-class of the church. It is the calling of every Christian. Of course we also have to keep in mind that when the Bible speaks of preaching, it is not talking about sermons delivered to the gathered church. There certainly are men who are recognized as elders who equip believers for the work of ministry so that the less mature become mature by observing the example of servant-leaders in the church. But spreading the Good News? That is for every born-again follower of Jesus Christ.

Don't let anyone tell you that you are not called to preach the Gospel if you are a Christian. Don't let some religious group tell you that you need special education or an ordination certificate or a "license" to preach the Gospel. The mission field is far too vast to have most of the church relegated to being spectators in the Great Commission.

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