450 Grandview Drive
Cookeville, TN 38506
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world,
and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).
The "Every" Concept of Evangelism
For the past several weeks we have been discussing some of the reasons that we are not evangelizing the world as we once did. The church is not growing as it did in the 50s and 60s. There are a number of things that factor into why this is true. In this article we are suggesting that we have not gotten back to the “every” concept of the New Testament church when it comes to evangelism.
For instance, we need to get back to the “every creature” concept. Jesus charged his apostles, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). In Matthew’s account, Jesus said that we are to “teach all nations.” Acts 8:4 is an example of the application of that instruction. When persecution came on the church, “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” J. M. McCaleb said it well in the song lyrics, “Where sin has gone must go His grace; The Gospel is for all.” As long as there is one single person on any lonely island anywhere in the world that has not heard the gospel, there is still work to be done.
Then there is the “every house” concept. Luke informs us, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42). When the church was growing rapidly, there were many door-to-door campaigns in an attempt to reach as many as possible. Today this may not be as safe as it was in the past, but we have many avenues where the media can be used to accomplish this task. We should utilize every method available to get the gospel into every house.
Along with the “every house” concept, Acts 5:42 also speaks of the “every day” concept. They had daily additions (Acts 2:47) because they had daily teaching. The early church grew rapidly; she had many conversions because they were teaching many sinners, and such was being done by many members. In the present age, many churches are 4 hours short of 168 hours each week of doing nothing in the field of soul saving.
As we discussed in our last article, we need to get back to the “every member” concept. Every person taught is to be a teacher also. Paul instructed Timothy, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 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” (II Tim. 2:1-2). We all can do something! I have often used the example of a man I knew who could neither read nor write, but he led many souls to Christ by handing out tracts and by giving his friends a recording of sermons. By this method he was instrumental in leading many to Christ. The Hebrew writer listed failure to teach others as a hindrance to the truth. “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” (Heb. 5:12).
Let each one of us work at restoring the “every” concept of the New Testament church.
Paul M. Wilmoth
Church of Christ