ONE OF the things Jesus Christ did when He walked the earth was the preaching of the Good News of the Kingdom of God. And Christ's servants, who learn from Him, would also preach the same message. The Good News of the Kingdom of God points to Jesus Christ; it points to His birth, death, burial and resurrection. So preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God is preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is why the first apostles made a commitment to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
The apostle Paul gives further exposition of his preaching and teaching which should remind modern-day fivefold ministers of our responsibility. Paul preached the full gospel of Christ. He did not betray any of them. He preached the birth, doctrines, deity, graces, death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Christ as well as His return for the church. Paul did not want to know or preach anything except Christ Jesus.
“…And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2).
Interestingly, the Gentile-sent apostle would not boast or take delight in anything except his preaching and teaching successes and accomplishments in the Cross of Christ. This, he did, to lead souls to the Lord. “…But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).
The apostles — Paul, Peter, James, John and others — made a commitment to preach Jesus Christ because they knew that the gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). Certainly, in days of yore, people had pressing needs as many people do have today. They needed money, marriage, jobs, travelling opportunities, houses, camels or donkeys (cars) for easy transportation.
Yet, in the midst of all these pressing needs, the apostles made sure that the preaching of the gospel of Christ dominated their messages. They knew the principle that “first things first”. They knew the commandment of the Lord that seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness first was a priority. They understood that spiritual wealth was far more important than material wealth. They understood that the success of physical life of a Christian depends on the success of his spiritual life.
Therefore, before Paul died, he had accomplished the divine tasks assigned to him. He testified that he was innocent of the blood of people who heard him preach and teach. He made known the whole counsel of God concerning the gospel of grace of God. He made a commitment to do the will of his Master who called and sent him.
“And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:25-26).
It is very important to insist that the Kingdom of God points to a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. He was the One who powerfully announced the Good News of the Kingdom of God. He proclaimed, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15).
Without Jesus, Christians have no kingdom to belong to. Oh yes! This is the truth. The Lord Jesus makes this point crystal clear. He said, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14). The Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Church, is the way, the truth and the life.
The Lord is the only way to the Father. He is the truth which is the Word which sanctifies believers. He is the life by which He quickens and makes the spirits of all believers alive. The Lord Jesus is the only gate to the kingdom. The Kingdom of God points to Him. There is no other way! Meet with Jesus and get transformed in His arms or deny Him and continue to conform to the pattern of this world forever, die and go to hell!
It is wonderful how the apostles, who had no New Testament Scriptures put together for them, as we have it today, were able to preach the gospel out of the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. I believe that Christ Jesus gave them the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to open and explain all the mysteries of the gospel (Matthew 16:19). After all, ministers of God are the servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Similarly, today's ministers, who learn from Jesus Christ, have a great responsibility to preach Christ Jesus and explain the various mysteries of God to believers. Before Jesus started His ministry, John the Baptist had preached Him, testifying to the truths about Him and announcing Him to the world (Mark 1:4-8). Every genuine servant of God filled with the Holy Spirit will preach and teach nothing, except messages that dignify and honour Christ.
By James Quansah
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