FEW REALIZE the first duty of every Christian, as a member of the true Body of Christ, is to preach the Gospel! "But what can I do?" you ask, bewildered. "I can't preach. I wasn't called to the ministry." Oh yes you were! Every converted Christian can, and does preach — but not in the way you think! Nearly all professing Christians are failing in their first duty — jeopardizing their very salvation — because they DO NOT UNDERSTAND this vital truth.
A Different Kind of Preaching
Many are in danger of losing their very salvation because they are all mixed up on this point. It is so VITAL your eternity may hinge on it! To His disciples Jesus said: "Go ye into all the world and PREACH THE GOSPEL." And if one should think that Great Commission applied to the Apostles, only, as called and ordained ministers, remember that of all those who should be converted under their ministry Jesus commanded... teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Mat. 28:20). There are more ways than you would think in which you can "preach the Gospel. "AND YOU WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE! Most people seem to think that to preach is to lecture others with their mouth! But often the most effective preaching is not oratory at all! For instance, how many millions are there who have gone to church and heard preaching they considered good from the pastor or evangelist, and yet they have become disgusted, soured, embittered, and finally turned away from Christ because too many of the church members did not practice what their pastor preached! "If that's Christianity," untold thousands have said in disgust, on noticing the hypocritical and unchristian lives of church members, "I don't want any of it."
"Actions Speak Louder Than Words"
The daily lives of professing Christians often preach more effectively to the unconverted than the oratorical persuasion of the minister. And the pity is, that if you are living the wrong kind of life, you may do more harm than the good Spirit-inspired minister of God can do. Do you realize that you influence everybody with whom you come in contact? The example you set, the life you live, the way you deal with people, affects the very life and character of all who know you or deal with you, in some small measure at least. I have long known a fine Christian girl who seems to have more joyous and happy sunshine within than the Southern California climate has without. I know this girl has her problems in life, her concerns, afflictions, disappointments, the same as everybody else. But somehow she has learned to TRUST GOD with them all — to commit them to Him, knowing all things work together for good to them that love the Lord, knowing God will work all things out for them that trust Him. And it is seldom those who are thrown with her from day to day ever see an unhappy expression cloud her smiling face. She brings sunshine to all around her. She makes others just feel better. And I know a most worldly man who said of this girl: "There's a girl that almost makes me want to be a Christian. If ever I saw a person who really lives a Christian life, it's that girl." This man has heard my preaching, and I have talked to him personally for hours, but that happy "Pollyanna" has preached more convincingly to him by her beaming personality and good wholesome Christian living than all the oratory he ever heard. By our actions, and our daily lives, and associations with others, we often either drive them away from God, disgusted, or awaken their interest and draw them toward it. BUT WE CAN NEVER TALK OR ARGUE PEOPLE INTO BECOMING CONVERTED! We can lead them, but we cannot drive them — except away from Christianity!
Even the Starry Heavens Preach
The most effective "preaching" is that done by WORKS, not words. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth SPEECH, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard" (Psalm 19:1-3). The heavens are the WORKS of God's hands. Thus His WORKS — His accomplishments — declare His glory. What He has produced preaches. In the vast starry heavens one beholds the awe-inspiring POWER of God — His all-mighty power, skill, wisdom, and science! They are His ACTIONS — they preach in every language, without words, yet there is no language where their voice is not heard. Likewise, your actions may speak louder to your friends and neighbors than my words. For good or evil, every Christian preaches — by the life he lives! What kind of preaching is YOUR life doing?
YOUR Part in the Verbal Ministry
All this, however, does not in any manner replace or relieve us of responsibility for carrying on the great verbal ministry of actual word-of-mouth preaching. Jesus set the example. He was the divine Messenger, sent of God, who brought us God's Message of the GOVERNMENT OF GOD. Jesus set an example by the life He lived. This example is for every Christian. "He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations" — in the Kingdom of God, said Jesus (Rev. 2:26). The called minister, too, must live the Gospel as well as preach it. The Gospel of Christ is the Message Jesus preached — the Message God sent to the world by Him. The life He lived was the kind of life He proclaimed. His MESSAGE was the Good News of the KINGDOM OF GOD — that is, of the GOVERNMENT of God. It is the Message of government, individually, personally, and also nationally and internationally as it will be, by the will of God instead of conduct according to the will of man. Jesus said, "Not my will, O Father, but THINE be done." He revealed the will of God. His life exemplified God's will. Still, there was a definite MESSAGE — the Message of the coming world-ruling Kingdom of God, and of government by the will of God in the individual lives of Christians now. "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent?" (Rom. 10:14-15). And so Jesus called to Him and His ministry His twelve apostles to carry on with proclaiming to the world the great powerful Message God had sent by Him. And later He called the Apostle Paul, and thru him other young ministers were taught and trained and sent out to proclaim the same Message to Gentiles. But the powerful organized denominations and religions in the world opposed and combatted this Message — the true Gospel — with all their power, strategy and cunning. When they were unable to stop it by force, they adopted the strategy of joining in with the Church, working their own leaders into positions of leadership and then perverting the true Gospel. Instead of the Message God had sent to the world by Jesus Christ, they began to proclaim a Message about His person. Instead of the TRUTH of God, they substituted the fables of paganism. Instead of the WAY of God, they installed the mystic rites and impressive ceremonies of Babylon. Instead of the GOVERNMENT of God, both in the Church and in the private lives of its members, they instituted government by MAN and the will of man. The Protestant movement threw out many of the pagan rituals, forms and ceremonies; retained, at first, the fundamental doctrines of Creation, the Virgin birth, the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension — but it retained many of the pagan doctrines, and therefore a false way of salvation, and it continued embracing the governments of this world and the way of government by the will of man. But the MESSAGE, or true Gospel, of Jesus Christ, it totally ignored! And today, more and more, Protestantism is turning "modernist" — rejecting even those old-time fundamentals! But now we have reached "The TIME OF THE END" — the time when Jesus prophesized "This GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM" shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the END (Mat. 24:14). AND THE MOST IMPORTANT BUSINESS ON EARTH TODAY IS THE PROCLAIMING OF THIS MESSAGE — THE VERY SAME MESSAGE GOD SENT BY JESUS CHRIST, AND WHICH CHRIST HIMSELF PROCLAIMED. And EVERY true Christian to whom the knowledge comes has a vital part in the proclaiming of this dynamic, powerful and vital Message! What is YOUR part? What can YOU do? Well, now let us see this as it is. Jesus Christ has called me to this mission as surely as He called the Apostle Paul to a special mission carrying this same Gospel to the Gentiles. But He said this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world — unto ALL NATIONS! In 1933 I began preaching in a little country schoolhouse. I could not afford printed advertising or handbills — so I went over the countryside personally inviting people to come. The one-room schoolhouse seated about 36 — attendance averaged around 40 — usually some had to stand. The Gospel was preached, several precious souls were brought to Christ, into the TRUTH, converted. But all my personal efforts, alone, were reaching in those days only around 40 people at a time. Then opportunity came to go on the air — on a smallest-powered station in America. The radio ministry started as small as it could start. The cost was very little — $2.50 a week. But that was more than I had. A small number of friends and brethren became CO-WORKERS with me, and they began putting some of God's tithe money and their own offerings into this ministry along with my personal efforts and my voice. I was really surprised to discover God had endowed me with a good radio voice, and the gift of using it effectively. And so by then, instead of preaching to 40 people at a time, with the co-workers, COMBINING their portions of God's tithe money with my personal efforts were preaching to more than a thousand people at a time. Interest grew. People had never heard that vital, live, powerful, dynamic MESSAGE THAT JESUS PREACHED before. They had heard pagan fables and messages ABOUT the person of Christ, but not the very Message He preached. Now a larger number was being converted, and added to a gradually growing family of CO-WORKERS. And after two or three years the Message was going out over a larger station in Portland. As new co-workers were added, we were enabled to begin proclaiming the Message of Christ to Seattle and the Puget Sound region. New co-workers there enabled us, by 1942, to send out the Message to Southern California over a strong Hollywood station. And these co-workers joining their offerings and portions of God's tithe and their prayers and encouragement to those of the Pacific Northwest made it possible to begin sending out the Message to the entire United States, Canada, and Mexico. After a few years, our growing family of co-workers made it possible for the same voice, called of God, to proclaim this Gospel of the Kingdom EVERY NIGHT over the MOST POWERFUL RADIO STATION (standard broadcast) IN THIS HEMISPHERE, and then to establish in Pasadena AMBASSADOR COLLEGE where young people can be taught and trained for a personal part in this great and fast-growing ministry, THAT THIS GOSPEL SOON MAY GO OUT INTO OTHER NATIONS, PROCLAIMED IN OTHER LANGUAGES, ALL OVER THE EARTH. WHAT CAN you DO? Now look back. Alone, and without co-workers, I was able to preach this great Gospel to about 40 people at a time. As of 1960, with thousands of coworkers, the same voice preaches the same dynamic Gospel of Christ for the first time in 1900 years to a cumulative audience of ABOUT FIFTEEN MILLION PEOPLE every week! Let us say that MY part, alone, is 40 people. But YOUR part — that of our co-workers, adding their prayers, their generous offerings and faithful portion of GOD'S TITHES, is approximately FIFTEEN MILLION PEOPLE hearing this Gospel every week! Think of it! By the miracle of radio, organization, the growth of this work, altho my personal effort without it could preach to only a little handful of people, yet BY the power of these things God has opened to us, every single one of your dollars helps carry that SAME PREACHING to the ears of THOUSANDS of PEOPLE! Just one of your dollars, or one of God's tithing dollars, now reaches many times more people with the true Gospel — the FAITH ONCE DELIVERED — than my personal efforts did without it! Yes, THERE is INDEED SOMETHING you CAN DO! The person who is able to put a single thousand dollars into this great work is actually doing thousands of times as much in fulfilling this Great Commission of Jesus Christ as I was able to do before God opened up before us these super-powered vehicles for carrying His Message! And the person who can, and is willing to place several thousand dollars in it is actually DOING something with Christ's own Gospel that he probably cannot quite realize! This great work has been built BY FAITH! It has grown and developed by a living, active faith — the kind that is mixed with OBEDIENCE, and with our works, God-empowered and God-directed. So lastly, YOUR PRAYERS for this great work are a most vital thing YOU can contribute! Yes, indeed, there is something YOU can do!