By Bill Cavender
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and re”Fturneth not thither, but waterth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isa. 55:8-13).
Our God and Father in heaven has ordained that by the preaching of the gospel of Christ lost men and women shall hear, believe and obey His truth to the saving of the soul from sin’s guilt. Paul said, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:21). He told our brethren in Corinth that “though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (1 Cor. 4:15). James, an elder of the church of Christ in Jerusalem, our Lord’s brother, and brother of Jude (Acts 12:17; 15:13ff; 21:18; Gal. 1:19; 2:9; Jude 1), servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ (Jas. 1:1), tells us that “of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures” and to “lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness (“overflowing of wickedness” – ASV), and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (Jas. 1:18, 21). Peter says that our souls are purified through obeying the truth through the Spirit and this is accomplished by the word of God, the truth of the gospel (1 Pet. 1:22-25). Jesus said that it is the baptized believer who is saved from his past sins, this believer being such because he has heard the gospel (Mk. 16:15-16; Rom. 10:13-17).
God’s power to save the lost is made known, and is effected and exerted through His word. “The word, of God is quick and powerful (“living, and active” – ASV) . . . and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). This word of the truth of the gospel is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Rom. 1:16; 1 Thess. 2:2, 8,9,13; 1 Pet. 1:22-25). There are believers only where the word of God is taught, where the gospel of Christ is preached. Those who hear and believe the truth of the gospel have the authority, power and right to become God’s children when they will repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins (John 1: 12; Acts 2:37-41). The blood of the precious Jesus, who came to seek and to save the lost, and to die for lost sinners, only cleanses those who through faith obey the gospel, being baptized into Christ (1 Pet. 1:18-19; Rom. 5:6-10; 3:21-26; Luke 19:10; Rev. 1:5; Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3-7).
Preachers are commanded by the God of heaven to “preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching,” and to “watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Tim. 4:1-5). Without fear or favor of or from men the true preacher of God’s word is to “go into all the world,” preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ to saint and sinner, friend and foe, male and female, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, black and white, to all those who will believe and to those who will not, doing nothing by partiality (Gal. 1:10; Eph. 3:8-11; 2 Cor. 12:15; 13:8; 1 Tim. 5:21). The welfare of the church and of the world depends upon the faithful, diligent proclamation of God’s word by true and tried preachers. “The word of God is not bound,” and it is to have “free course, and be glorified” (2 Tim. 2:9; 2 Thess. 3:1). The only power in all the world that will really change men, turn their hearts from error and evil, and create in them a new and pure heart and good conscience, is the power of God Almighty working through His word of truth.
The world and the church need the gospel preached and taught without addition or subtraction, without compromise or apology, without human wisdom and opinions, without pretense and hypocrisy. Each and every gospel preacher should dedicate himself to this task. God’s work will not return unto Him void if it is proclaimed in all of its power, purity, purpose and perfectness, and if it is not obscured by the faults and failures, sins and shortcomings, doctrines and divisiveness, of those who profess to be its adherents, advocates and apologists.
Guardian of Truth XXX: 2, pp. 33, 55
January 16, 1986