“On Your Mark” – Day 143
‘Go!’ (Chapter 16 Verses 9-20)
Two more things must be said about the commission before we move on (vv15-16). It is through the foolishness of preaching that people are to be saved, now that is absolutely clear in these two verses and elsewhere in the New Testament (1Corinthians 1.21). Paul tells the Corinthian Church that was what he did when he first ventured amongst them ‘I came…declaring’ (1Corinthians 2.1), that is how they got saved. It is the first thing we find Paul doing after he was converted, preaching (Acts 9.6). He could not do anything else, he had a divine constraint upon him to do just that (1Corinthians 9.16). Why? Because it was God’s command to him, not just a preference (Titus 13). He was ever eager to preach he tells the Roman Christians (Romans 1.15). Are we as eager to reach out with the gospel today as Paul was? He commands young Timothy to be engaged in the same function, preaching (2Timothy 4.2). That surely must be central within the Church’s vision for outreach. There are other extremes are there not? Some get taken up with the sacraments, others seem to be obsessed with music, music, music. There are all sorts of by-paths that need to be avoided. The Church should be guided by the word of God, and empowered by the Spirit of God, as we proclaim the Son of God. Preaching is a must! Good sound, solid, expository, evangelistic preaching.
Through the proclamation people hear, believe and are saved (v16; Romans 10.12-17). That is the promise that seals the commission, that if a person believes then salvation results, then as a consequence are baptised. It is faith that brings salvation, that brings rescue from the death and judgment because of sin, placing us in a position of eternal and blessed security. The believing is subjective, inward. The baptism is objective, outward. Therefore baptism cannot bring salvation to us, it is a mere sign, a symbol, and a seal of the covenant of grace. But the person who refuses, who rejects faith rejects salvation and remains condemned (John 3.36). It does not come much clearer than that. So the method is preaching, the empowering comes through God’s Spirit, the place and the people are in the world, the message is salvation through Jesus and him alone (John 14.6; Acts 4 12), and it is offered to “whosoever believeth”, to all people without exception. What more do we need? What are we going to do about it? “Go,” says Jesus.