Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 10, 1952
NUMBER 48, PAGE 12,13a

The Commission -- The Gospel

Robert H. Farish, Tarrant, Alabama

This is the first article in a series of articles on the commission of Christ. First we will get before the reader the record of the commission as given by the different writers. Matthew's account is found in Matt. 28:18-20, "And Jesus came to them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Next Mark's account; Mark 16:15, 16, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned." Then Luke's account as he recorded in Luke 24:46, 47, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all nations, beginning from Jerusalem."

With these accounts fresh in our minds, we can sum up and get the complete picture. By combining the testimony of these qualified witnesses we learn that the apostles were commissioned by Christ to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature, and that those who believed, repented and were baptized into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit would be saved.

Your attention is called to the fact that this commission is given by Christ and that he had full authority — "all authority in heaven and on earth." No single item in this commission can be cancelled out or minimized as being unauthorized by the highest authority. Every single item and condition is backed by the authority of the Son of God. It is no worse to flaunt or question the authority of Christ at one point than at another.

The apostles were to preach the gospel. There is no authority to preach anything other than the gospel. Those who would change or modify the gospel of Christ in any way are pronounced accursed by the inspired apostle. Ponder seriously this from Gal. 1:8, 9, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema. As we have said before, so say I now again, If any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema." The curse of God is pronounced upon any who would add to or take from the gospel. What a fearful responsibility rests upon all who claim to preach in the name of Christ. It was in the name of Christ — by his authority — that the gospel was to be preached. It is impious and high-handed presumption to claim to speak by the authority of Christ while preaching a mutilated gospel. A perverted gospel in this age is no more acceptable to God than it was in Paul's day. But do you know there are actually those who will hold back part of the council of God — who will preach only part of the conditions of remissions of sins that are found in the commission of Christ. If those who are engaged in preaching a different gospel from the one Paul preached could be caused to consider the fearful curse pronounced upon those who do such — a shudder of horror would run through the religious world. Over night there would be a turning from the peculiar and distinctive doctrines of the day to the one and only gospel of Christ — the gospel Paul and other apostles preached as they preached it.

What is the gospel? The word itself means simply "good news" or "glad tidings." But certainly not all news that could be called good is included in the gospel to be preached under the great commission. To what good news is the gospel of the, great commission confined? In seeking an answer to this, we go first to Rom. 1:1-4, "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, which he promised afore through his prophets in the holy scriptures, concerning his Son who was born of the seed of David, according to the flesh, who was declared to be the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead; even Jesus Christ our Lord." Here we see that the good news is concerning the Son of God — Jesus Christ. This is amplified by this same apostle in his letter to the church at Corinth. 1 Cor. 15:1-4, "Now I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures." From this we can learn what the apostle delivered when he preached the gospel. He said that he delivered unto them that Christ died for our sins — was buried — and was raised on the third day. From the two passages we learn that the gospel is good news concerning Jesus — his death for our sin — his burial and resurrection. This is the way the apostle sums up the gospel preached by him.

But this same apostle states that the Christ at his coming will render "vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus." 2 Thess. 1:8. How is one to obey the gospel? This is settled by consulting the actions of the Corinthians to whom Paul said he had declared the death of Christ for our sins — his burial and resurrection. What did the Corinthians do when they heard this gospel preached by Paul? Acts 18:8, "And Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his house: and many of the Corinthians hearing, believed and were baptized." Paul preached the gospel to the Corinthians — the Corinthians heard this gospel and believed it and obeyed it. Sinner friend, have you obeyed the gospel? How fearful to contemplate meeting the Lord in judgment never having obeyed the gospel. He has warned you of your fate. Why do you wait? — "suffering punishment even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might," is the doom pronounced upon the disobedient by the Lord.

The gospel is God's powerful means unto salvation. Rom. 1: 15. 16, "So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth: to the Jew first and also to the Greek." Why should any today be ashamed of the gospel? It is the power of God unto salvation. Yet there are those who manifest shame of the gospel, by shunning to declare it as it is written and by failing to obey it. Shame of the gospel is evident when people call on God to save them in some special way — to send power direct from heaven to accomplish their individual salvation. Friends, Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of the gospel, has designed it to the salvation of your soul. Why don't you believe its facts, obey its commands in order to obtain the precious and exceeding great promises.

By the gospel men are called to salvation. 2 Thess. 2:13, 14, "But we are bound to give thanks to God always, for that God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto he called you through our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." By the gospel men are saved. 1 Cor. 15:2, "By which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the Word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain."

By the gospel we will be judged. Rom. 2:16, "in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ." How important it is then that we preach the gospel exclusively and that men in all the world obey it.

In view of this truth — that God, by Christ will judge the secrets of men according to the gospel, how important it is that we familiarize ourselves with its message and comply with the will of God expressed therein. Rom. 1:17 tells us that therein — that is in the gospel is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith. The righteousness revealed in the gospel is God's righteousness. It is righteousness from faith. The gospel being God's plan of righteousness from faith, man needs to obey its demands or he will find himself in the position of the Jews of Paul's day. Rom. 10:3, "For being ignorant of God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God." When one humbly submits to the requirements of the gospel he is subjecting himself to the righteousness of God. When people believed the preaching of the gospel, done by those preaching under the authority of Christ, they were baptized.