“That spoken word you yourselves know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee.” — Acts 10:37
“Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.”–Mark 16:15.
Unless otherwise noted, all Biblical quotations
are from the World English Bible translation.
(1) It is very disturbing when we hear of some of the consecrated in effect try to disassociate personal public preaching of the Good News of the Kingdom from developing themselves in Christ-likeness. Although not interchangeable terms, neither can they be separated from each other. One simply cannot develop into Christ-likeness without feeling the need to personally take the sword of the spirit and preach the Gospel, for Jesus certainly verbally preached the Gospel to the public. To be like Christ, to develop Christ-likeness, demands that we do the same. How can one obey the Master by disobeying one of his most prominent commands: “Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things which I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen ” — Matthew 28:19,20; John 15:9,10,14.
(2) Indirectly, by prophecy we are under a command: “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” — Matthew 24:14. Luke 6:46 – “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things which I say?” John 14:23 – “Jesus answered him, If a man loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him.’ “
(3) We quote the following from the Watch Tower , January 15, 1909, page 25 [R4317]:
“So long, therefore, as the apostles could reasonably, properly find hearers for their Master’s Word, they preached it. And so it must be with us. We must not be intimidated. While obedient to the powers that be respecting every earthly way, we, like the apostles, cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. To keep the message secret, to put our light under a bushel, would mean our own failure to progress, the dwarfing of our New Nature, and ultimately disobedience to our Master; and obedience to earthly powers along this line would mean to us failure as respects a place with Jesus in his throne. It is overcomers whom the Lord is now seeking! There could be no overcoming if there were no trials, and tests, and character development.
(4) Too many have seemingly reached the conclusion that the preaching work is over, that all they need now do is develop Christ-likeness in themselves and to help their fellow believers develop the same Christ-likeness, and that by means of their “Christ-like” character they can preach to the world without actually taking up the sword of the spirit and verbally announcing (preaching) the Gospel of the Kingdom. OH! how Satan has deceived! We are to preach the Gospel, even if not one person gives a hearing an ear — until the cities are made waste without inhabitant. — Isaiah 6:11.
(5) One simply cannot develop the full extent of Christ-likeness without being like Christ in preaching as well as obeying the Master’s command to preach the Gospel. It simply cannot be done. Nor can it be accomplished by saying that we do so by developing Christ-likeness, and thus by our Christ-likeness we preach the Gospel. The very evidence given in the Bible itself reveals that this is not what Jesus had in mind when he gave the command to preach the Gospel. See:
The Necessity of Preaching
(6) In only in a very few instances could any of the following scriptures be using the word “preach” in the sense of preaching by our actions than by our words:
From that time, Jesus began to preach, and to say, “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” — Matthew 4:17.
As you go, preach, saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” — Matthew 10:7.
It happened that when Jesus had finished directing his twelve disciples, he departed there to teach and preach in their cities. — Matthew 11:1.
The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. — Mathew 11:5.
This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. — Matthew 24:14.
He preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and loosen.” — Mark 1:7.
He said to them, “Let’s go elsewhere into the next towns, that I may preach there also, for to this end I came forth.” — Mark 1:38.
He appointed twelve, that they might be with him, and that he might send them out to preach. — Mark 3:14.
They went out, and preached that people should repent. — Mark 6:12.
He said to them, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” — Mark 16:15.
They went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed. Amen. — Mark 16:20.
Then with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. — Luke 3:18.
The Spirit of [Yahweh] is on me, Because he anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim release to the captives, Recovering of sight to the blind, To deliver those who are crushed. — Luke 4:18.
But he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also. For this reason I have been sent.” — Luke 4:43.
Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John the things which you have seen and heard: that the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.” — Luke 7:22.
He sent them forth to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. — Luke 9:2.
The law and the prophets were until John. From that time the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. — Luke 16:16.
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. — Luke 24:47.
He charged us to preach to the people and to testify that this is he who is appointed by God as the Judge of the living and the dead. — Acts 10:42.
For Moses from generations of old has in every city those who preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath. — Acts 15:21.
When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go forth into Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.” — Acts 16:10.
They therefore, when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans. — Acts 8:25.
Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture, preached to him Jesus. — Acts 8:35.
But Philip was found at Azotus. Passing through, he preached the gospel to all the cities, until he came to Caesarea. — Acts 8:40.
But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. — Acts 9:27.
That spoken word you yourselves know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached. — Acts 10:37.
Before his coming, when John had first preached the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. — Acts 13:24.
So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. — Acts 13:42.
There they preached the gospel. — Acts 14:7.
When they had preached the gospel to that city, and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch. — Acts 14:21.
Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also encountered him. Some said, “What does this babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be advocating foreign demons,” because he preached Jesus and the resurrection. — Acts 17:18.
So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. — Romans 1:15.
You therefore who teach another, don’t you teach yourself? You who preach that a man shouldn’t steal, do you steal? — Romans 2:21.
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart;” that is, the word of faith, which we preach. — Romans 10:8.
And how will they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” — Romans 10:15.
In the power of signs and wonders, in the power of God’s Spirit; so that from Jerusalem, and around as far as to Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. — Romans 15:19.
Yes, making it my aim so to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, that I might not build on another man’s foundation. — Romans 15:20.
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel — not in wisdom of words, so that the cross of Christ wouldn’t be made void. — 1 Corinthians 1:17.
But we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks. — 1 Corinthians 1:23.
For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast about; for necessity is laid on me; but woe is to me, if I don’t preach the gospel. — 1 Corinthians 9:16.
What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, so as not to abuse my authority in the gospel. — 1 Corinthians 9:18.
But I beat my body and bring it into submission, for fear that by any means, that after I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected. — 1 Corinthians 9:27.
Now I declare to you, brothers, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which you also stand. — 1 Corinthians 15:1.
By which also you are saved, if you hold firmly the word which I preached to you — unless you believed in vain. — 1 Corinthians 15:2.
Whether then it is I or they, so we preach, and so you believed. — 1 Corinthians 15:11.
Now if Christ is preached, that he has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? — 1 Corinthinas 15:12.
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, by me, Silvanus, and Timothy, was not “Yes and no,” but in him is “Yes.” — 2 Corinthians 1:19.
For we don’t preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. — 2 Corinthians 4:5.
So as to preach the gospel even to the parts beyond you, not to boast in what someone else has already done. — 2 Corinthians 10:16.
For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or if you receive a different spirit, which you did not receive, or a different gospel, which you did not accept, you put up with that well enough. — 2 Corinthians 11:4.
Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached to you God’s gospel for nothing? — 2 Corinthians 11:7.
But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you any gospel other than that which we preached to you, let him be cursed. — Galatians 1:8.
But I make known to you, brothers, concerning the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not according to man. — Galatians 1:11.
To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I didn’t immediately confer with flesh and blood. — Galatians 1:16.
I went up by revelation, and I laid before them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately before those who were respected, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. — Galatians 2:2.
But you know that because of weakness of the flesh I preached the gospel to you the first time? — Galatians 4:13.
But I, brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling-block of the cross has been removed. — Galatians 5:11.
He came and preached peace to you who were far off and to those who were near. — Ephesians 2:17.
To me, the very least of all saints, was this grace given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. — Ephesians 3:8.
Some indeed preach Christ even out of envy and strife, and some also out of good will. — Philippians 1:15.
The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, thinking that they add affliction to my chains. — Philippians 1:16
For you remember, brothers, our labor and travail; for working night and day, that we might not burden any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. — 1 Thessalonians 2:9.
Without controversy, the mystery of godliness is great: God was revealed in the flesh, Justified in the spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the nations, Believed on in the world, And received up in glory. — 1 Timothy 3:16.
Preach the word; be urgent in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching. — 2 Timothy 4:2.
For indeed we have had good news preached to us, even as also they, but the word of hearing did not profit them, because it was not mixed with faith by those who heard. — Hebrews 4:2.
Seeing therefore it remains that some should enter therein, and they to whom the good news were before preached failed to enter in because of disobedience. — Hebrews 4:6.
To whom it was revealed, that not to themselves, but to you, did they minister these things, which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent forth from heaven; which things angels desire to look into. — 1 Peter 1:12.
“But [Yahweh]’s word endures forever.” [Psalm 119:89] This is the word of good news which was preached to you. — 1 Peter 1:25.
In which he also went and preached to the spirits in prison. — 1 Peter 3:19.
For to this end was the gospel preached even to the dead, that they might be judged indeed as men in the flesh, but live as to God in the spirit. — 1 Peter 4:6
(7) “With the mouth confession [to profess; to declare openly, speak out freely] is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:10) Regarding this scripture, Brother Russell states:
This implies that a dumb believer will never make his calling and his election sure. We do not refer to those who are naturally dumb; but understand the word “mouth” in the same sense that we speak of the “ears” of our heart, and the “eyes of our understanding.” A heart that sees and hears the grace of God, and that truly accepts the same, must in due time become so enthused with the things heard and seen, that it cannot refrain from some outward manifestation of its joy and peace and hope and trust and thankfulness. As the apostles declared, “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” All Christians who, having received the light of truth, having seen the grace of God in the divine plan, having tasted that the Lord is gracious, having heard the wonders of “so great salvation, which began to be spoken by our Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him” — these must not, cannot, keep silence nor put their light under a bushel. If they do, it means the extinguishment of their light, the stoppage of their growth; and persevered in this would ultimately mean to them destruction in the Second Death; — for those who are ashamed of the Lord and of his Word, after they have discerned clearly, not only are not fit for the Kingdom, but of such the Lord would be ashamed under any and all conditions. –Luke 9:26 — Zion’s Watch Tower , March 1902, page 72 [R2966]
(8) Someone says: “We are so close to the end of the age that there is not any more room left to be joint-heirs. Why waste our time by preaching the Gospel now?” To such we say: We do not find in the Bible any place where it says that this is a reason not the preach the Gospel. Indeed, if we believe that we are so close to the end of the work, it should be even more reason to take up the sword and preach the Gospel; it should be even more reason to increase activity in the Volunteer work (generally weekend distribution of tracts from door-to-door, sidewalks and other public places); it should be even more reason to increase activity in distribution of books, booklets, magazines, etc., door-to-door and otherwise; it should be even more reason to increase activity in the Coloporteur work (extensive or full-time in distribution of books, booklets, magazines, tracts, etc.); it should be even more reason to increase activity in whatever work in public preaching our Lord has given us any opportunity to do.
(9) As to there being no more room to become joint-heirs, that should not be our concern, as far as our preaching to the public is concerned. Jesus never said to stop public preaching because there is no more room to become joint-heirs. Nor did he say to stop making disciples or teaching the people because we believe that there is no more room to become joint-heirs. Even if there is not one more person who is to be called to join-heirship in Christ, we are still to obey our Master: to preach, teach and baptize, for not all who belong to Christ in this age are to receive the prize of joint-heirship anyway.
(10) And still, if no one listens, and there is not one more person in the world with a hearing ear, if there is not even one person left willing to be baptized, we are to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to the world for a witness in obedience to our Master. We are not given any reason from the Bible to believe that such a time will come when absolutely no one will listen; however, as Brother Russell said, consecration is still in order, whether the one being baptized will be able to receive the reward of joint-heirship or not. — See: ZWT, September 1, 1915, “The Two Parts of the Harvest Work”, under the subheading: “Those Consecrating Between the Ages”.
(11) But there is also another danger in being active in the public preaching work in that it can become the most important aspect of one’s ministry, to the neglect of the Christian congregation as well as personal family. We need to remember that in our service to God that our first responsibility should be our family and to our fellow workers. However, at the same time, part of this responsibility includes helping our Christian brothers (whether believers in our immediate family or brothers in the Christian ecclesia) to fulfill the role of publicly preaching as best as we are able, for such is what our Master has instructed us to do.
(12) Our earnest prayer and admonition is that more work be done by ecclesias and individuals in the weekend volunteer service, as well as the sharpstooter and colporteur work. The field is so great: just look at the thousands of people who know nothing of the “ransom for all” as understood by the Bible Students. Many can give much time on the weekends. Others can give time during the week. Still others may be so situated that they give nearly full attention to the ministry, spending many hours each day as they are situated in life. Now is the time to get out there and find those who have a hearing ear. Let us proclaim that Spoken Word of truth!
February 1, 2001
Some related articles:
See also Pastor Russell’s Convention Report Sermons, page 339 — CR339 (online version is in PDF format)Click here for reuse options!
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