Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 10, 1970

"To Every Creature"

William V. Beasley

In giving the great commission Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:15-16 AV). This is one of the most quoted, but least appreciated passages in God's word. The denominational world does not appreciate verse sixteen, and most members of the church do not appreciate verse fifteen, especially the importance of the bold faced words, "to every creature." There seems to be some sort of aversion, on the part of so called "faithful Christians" to taking the "power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16) to the lost. We are happy, so we say, to teach our friends, acquaintances, or those who visit our services, but never, no never go out cold knocking on doors.

We find all sorts of excuses for not doing what God has commanded us to do. Satan must be overjoyed when he hears a child of God say, "I would like to teach others, but I just do not have the time. I am too, too busy." Yet in His short life of about thirty-three years Jesus of Nazareth was not too busy to die on the cross for the sins of humanity. Others, being more honest, admit they have the time, but plead ignorance as to how or what to teach. They do not know what to teach because they do not know what the early disciples taught. They are ignorant of what the word of God teaches. They are, in fact, "a workman that needeth to be ashamed" (See II Tim. 2:15).

Another excuse, one that has been used by those who have both the time and ability (knowledge), reveals that the excuse maker is, God forbid, ashamed of Christ or His gospel (See Mark 8:38; Rom. 1:16). To the idea of going out cold, knocking on doors they say, "The Jehovah Witnesses do that, and it would create a bad image for us to do what they do. You know what people think of their coming around all the time." I do not know what others think about the Jehovah Witnesses, but I, personally, admire their zeal and determination. I know, from studying the word of God, that they are in error, but I must admire their courage and conviction in trying to teach others. "For I bear them witness," said Paul, "that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge" (Rom. 10:2).

Some of our excuse makers use a slightly different approach. They say, "People will confuse use with the Mormons, if we do that." As long as I can remember I have heard gospel preachers praise the zeal of the Jehovah Witnesses and the Mormons. Perhaps we need to be more like they are. At least they are not ashamed of Joe Smith and/or the Watchtower. I know they are not because they are out telling others about what they believe and why they believe it. We admire their zeal, in theory, but not enough to emulate their zealousness.

One gentleman told me he was willing to teach a home Bible class for as long as necessary, but he just did not believe in going out cold knocking on stranger's doors. Me thinks this is not the attitude of the early Christians. If Philip had been like some of my brethren today the Ethiopian eunuch would have died not knowing what Isaiah 53:7 foretold. The Spirit's instructions to, "Go near, and join thy self to this chariot" (Acts 8:29)... would have gone unheeded. Philip might have answered, "Wait just a minute! I do not know that guy. He might think I am one of those idol worshippers, or even a Zealot. You know how pushy they are! No sir! I will teach my friends, neighbors, or acquaintances, but not a stranger!"

Paul's missionary journeys would have been more like pleasure cruises, if Paul had been infected with this "strange-itis." As it was Paul was infected with a sincere love for God and his fellow man. This infection gave him a desire to preach the gospel "to every creature."

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