By John Isaac Edwards
I want to preach the gospel of Christ! I believe that preaching the gospel is the greatest work to be done. When I think about why I want to preach the gospel of Christ, many reasons come to mind. Here are a few reasons why I want to preach the gospel of Christ:
It Is God’s Will
It is God’s will that those who hear and obey the gospel learn how to teach it to others. Before ascending into heaven, Jesus commanded, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15). Matthew’s account says, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt 28:19-20). It is written, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).
In Hebrews 5:12-14, Paul rebuked the Hebrew Christians, a saying,
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Evidently there is a time after one’s conversion when the Lord expects his child to be able to teach others.
To Be Pure From The Blood Of All Men God said unto his prophet Ezekiel,
Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul (Ezek. 3:17-19).
I want to preach the gospel of Christ because I realize that if I fail to warn the wicked of their wicked way, I will be held accountable. I want to be able to say as Paul said, “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men” (Acts 20:26).
Paul wrote, “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). It may seem foolish to some that I want to preach the gospel of Christ, but preaching saves! The gospel of Christ has saving power! The apostle Paul declared, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). The gospel of Christ is able to save men from their sins (Jas. 1:21), but it must first be preached!
We Are Going To Be Judged By The Gospel
I want to preach the gospel of Christ because we will be judged by it at the last day. Paul revealed, “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Rom. 2:16). This judgment will be world-wide in scope, but individual in nature. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). Since the gospel will be the standard of judgment, folks need to have the gospel preached unto them.
The Influence of Godly Parents and Grandparents
I have been blessed with one of life’s greatest treasures:godly parents and grandparents. My desire to preach the gospel of Christ did not just happen accidentally, but rather, it is the result of being brought up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). The duty to “fear God and keep his commandments” (Eccl. 12:14) was impressed upon me at an early age. While I was yet in my mother’s womb, I was at every church service and attended many gospel meetings. My parents tell me that I was about two-years-old when I began preaching. I would stand on a footstool and “pretend” that I was preaching. One time, as Dad was preaching in a gospel meeting, he said, “Let there. . . . ,” and before he could finish, I hollered, “be light.” I still remember the times that I went on gospel meetings with my granddad, Johnie Edwards. In a hotel one Sunday afternoon, when I was only about seven or eight years old, we both sat at a table and he showed me how to put a sermon together. My dad and granddad have helped me tremendously. There is no way that I would be where I am now if it had not been for them. No doubt Timothy’s background influenced him to want to preach the gospel of Christ. As Paul wrote this young man, he said, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also” (2 Tim. 1:5). I have been taught, as was Timothy, to “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim.4:12).
The Encouragement From Others
I have received much encouragement from members of the church and other gospel preachers. When I felt as if I had preached the worst gospel sermon ever heard, there were those who said such things as, “Keep up the good work,” and “You did an excellent job.” There have been times when I have felt like “throwing in the towel,” but when I called to remembrance those encouraging words from others, that was enough to motivate me to keep on keeping on. Just those small, kind words have been a great source of encouragement. There have also been those who have helped me financially. I have received checks and gift certificates from several individuals to help me purchase books and other tools necessary for preaching the gospel of Christ. Cletus and Lorena Dowden have encouraged me greatly. Cletus is one of the elders of the Downtown church of Christ in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. The Dowden’s have extended many kind words of encouragement and have had me in their home on many occasions. Also, it has been very encouraging to be around other young men who want to preach the gospel of Christ. The preacher training program, a work of the Ellettsville, Indiana church of Christ, has been a tremendous encouragement.
Paul charged Timothy and all future generations of gospel preachers when he said,
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry (2 Tim. 4:2-5).
I will make every effort to keep that which is committed to my trust (1 Tim. 6:20).
To reach my goal of preaching the gospel of Christ on a regular basis, I preached my first gospel sermon when I was 14 years old before a church in Oblong, Illinois. Further, I gave Wednesday evening talks, did Scripture readings, and waited on the Lord’s table. I served at every opportunity realizing that I was gaining much needed experience. When I was 15 years old, I preached occasion-ally for different area churches. I also started attending the Ellettsville preacher training program taught by my granddad, Johnie Edwards, and my dad, Johnie P. Edwards. When I turned sixteen, I sent out letters to some of the churches around Indiana expressing my interest in preaching the gospel of Christ. Before long, I was preaching every Sunday. Now that I am seventeen, I have been preaching every Sunday for different churches within a 150 mile radius. Just recently I completed my work in the Ellettsville preacher training program and have begun working with the Westside church of Christ in Salem, Indiana. I hope this article will inspire other young men to want to preach the gospel of Christ.
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 6 p. 22-23
March 16, 1995