Author: Ron Graham
Preaching the Gospel
—The need for workers
It is possible that God’s plan of salvation will not work. In making this statement I do not wish to cast doubt upon the fact that the Bible plan of salvation is workable. It is a workable plan for redeeming mankind. But like any scheme, it requires more than workabilty. It needs workers too.
It is axiomatic that in any great project, the failure of the workers to fulfil their responsibilities will frustrate the plan. The city's plan for highway development, or the State's hydro-electric scheme will not work without workers. It is like that with God’s plan of redemption.
1 The Faithful Foundation Work
The most responsible position in the "works department" of the scheme of redemption was filled by Jesus. The atonement, the plan's most wonderful aspect, was carried out by Him and financed with His blood. The cup could have passed from Him in the garden of Gethsemane, but He submitted to His Father’s will.
He could have made a successful defence before Pilate, but He opened not His mouth. He commanded legions of angels, but He let men take Him to the cross. If Jesus had not done His part, what would have become of the plan of salvation?
Then there were the apostles and prophets. These workers completed the tasks allotted to them, which were essential to the plan. Possibly their greatest work was to write the scriptures. If they had not done their work, the plan of salvation would have gone by the board.
This takes care of the foundation. What about the superstructure? More workers were required. Every member of the church was needed to build that church bigger. Not just the elders, deacons, teachers and preachers.
They had to get the gospel into all the world and keep it there. They did. "They went everywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8:4). They "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6). In their generation, every creature heard the gospel preached (Colossians 1:23).
2 The Breach of Contract
Between that first century and this twentieth, someone has fallen down on the job. Billions of people have not heard the gospel. This means that there is a hitch in God’s plan. A very, very serious hitch.
Where there is a plan, there is usually a contract. If the contract in not filled, the plan does not work. We have a contract with God that we have not filled. For this reason, there is a hold up in God’s plan.
The terms of our contract are: "Necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel! ... a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me" (1Corinthians 9:16-17).
God’s scheme of redemption is being frustrated, because down in the quarry, the men with the dynamite have gone on strike. "The gospel is the power of God unto salvation" (Romans 1:16).
That word, "power" is translated from the Greek word δυναμις (dunamis). It is from this same Greek word, I am told, that our word "dynamite" is derived.
In spite of all Christ and the early disciples did, the plan of salvation still will not work today, unless members of the church quit striking and start preaching the dynamic gospel.
3 Working God’s Plan Today
It has been estimated that churches of Christ throughout the world have more than enough resources now, to evangelise all the world in this generation. If this proves that God’s plan is workable, why is it not being worked?
We often hear it said that before our neighbour can be saved he must "believe, repent, confess Christ, be baptized and continue faithful." That is only half right. Listen: "How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14).
God’s plan does not commence with the other fellow believing. There is a prior requirement. We must preach to him.
Whilst one cannot in any sense earn his salvation, only those who work to the uttermost will be saved to the uttermost. The plan of salvation is a working plan. It is the privilege of every Christian to preach "the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8).
Let each one loyally and boldly proclaim the Word of God, and that alone (2Timothy 4:2-5). As Peter said, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God" (1Peter 4:11).
That is what it means to speak the Truth in love. "Go ye therefore and teach..." (Matthew 28:18).