Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 27, 1964

Ways And Means

Floyd Embree

Over 1900 years ago, Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." This charge was given to twelve men. He also charged them to teach others "....all things I have commanded you."

What an awesome task for twelve men of limited means and facilities! The only help they had or could reasonably expect was a promise front the Savior "....and lo, I am with, you alway, even to the end of the world." How could they possibly perform such a task?

That they successfully performed this gigantic task is undisputed history. Less than forty years later, Paul wrote, "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away front the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature under heaven: whereof I Paul am made a minister." (Col. 1:23) Just how was this accomplished?

The twelve apostles began preaching on the first Pentecost after Christ's resurrection. They converted three thousand the first day. Shortly after "the number of the men was about five thousand." Then we are told that in Jerusalem, a short time after this, "Believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women." (Acts 5:14)

A great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem after Stephen was stoned, and the disciples, all except the apostles were scattered abroad. Those scattered "went everywhere preaching the word." (Acts 8:4) We have the record of Philip preaching and converting many Samaritans, Simon the sorcerer, and the Ethiopian eunuch. Others went as far as Phenice, and Cyprus and Antioch of Syria preaching to Jews. Later, Peter preached to Gentiles when he preached to Cornelius and his house, and the church at Antioch began preaching to Gentiles. Note should be taken that most preaching and teaching done was an individual matter. I can recall only one church that ever sent a man anywhere and then nothing is said about his support, though I have reason to presume he was supported. (Acts 11:22) We have records of churches supporting a man while he preached the gospel. (2 Cor. 11:8) We have a record of one church supporting a man when he went forth to preach. (Phil. 4:15) Using God's plan, these people went forth teaching and preaching and in less than forty years, Paul said the gospel had been preached to "every creature under heaven." (Col. 1:23)

We still have the same command to teach and preach to all the world that the apostles and early Christians had. We have means and facilities they did not have. Yet, we haven't preached to all of our known world.

Some, becoming alarmed at this, have decided that the way to do it quickly and efficiently is to combine the means of numerous congregations and Christians in radio and TV preaching. If we had a net work program in this nation that converted 1,000 souls a day for 365 days a year, we would call that marvelous and fantastic! But even at that rate, it would take us over 500 years to convert the present population of the United States! And such a program would cost millions of dollars a year!

On the other hand, a congregation of ten faithful members could start out, each member converting one other during the year, then the twenty convert twenty more the next year and so on and on. From this small beginning of ten faithful members, each taking a year to convert another, the entire population of the United States could be converted in twenty-five years, and in thirty years the entire population of the world could have been taught the gospel of Christ. The gospel could have been preached to every creature under heaven!

Preaching over the radio and television is good when scripturally done, but it isn't God's answer on how to convert the world. Preaching the gospel is a matter of faithful disciples telling others the good news of Christ. A congregation of ten faithful Christians can accomplish more in a quarter of a century than the greatest conclave of congregations in a cooperative radio and television effort. The first is man's plan to convert the world, and it will not suffice. The latter is God's plan. It will work! Have you tried it?

— Route 1, Box 570A, Yuma, Arizona