Who Wants To Go To Samaria?
Preaching to every creature means where you are and live. We need to be effective communicators and share the Good News.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, dear radio friends, beloved friends that you are. My heart goes out to you. [chuckle] Boy, aren’t you glad that we can be together on the radio like this, around the word of God? I am. Well, how in the world are you? I mustn’t miss that familiar greeting or somebody will write in and say, “What’s the matter with you? Are you sick or something?” [chuckle] No, I’m alright. [chuckle] Happy in the Lord.
Come with me now to the closing verses of the Gospel of Mark. Our Lord Jesus appeared to His apostles, that sad phrase, “Unto the 11, Judas was gone.” Whenever you fail, you leave a hole in the fabric of Christian fellowship. Let’s stay true to the Lord, huh? But He said, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Go ye, you are it. Nobody else can take your place. And as I said to you when we were together the last time, it’s important to stop every now and again and ask one’s self, “What am I really doing to obey that specific command, ‘Go ye’?” That means Bob Cook and Tom and Sue and Hazel and Mary and all the rest of us. Go ye. You’re it. And we need to ask honestly, “Am I doing all I can to get the gospel to every creature in this world and in this generation?”
Incidentally, reaching the world for Christ is a one generation job. If we fail, somebody else has to start all over again with another generation. Maybe that’s why it’s been so long. God is not slack concerning His promise… That’s the promise of the second coming that Peter was talking about. Not slack concerning His promise but long suffering to us where not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. God waits for you and me to do the job.
And He says, “Preach the gospel.” That word preach comes from a Greek verb, kerusso, which means to proclaim like a herald does. In the old days they didn’t have loudspeakers, they had heralds that stood on a tower or in some kind of an outcropping that was raised above the crowd and they would proclaim a message, a message presumably from a king or a ruler, or something of great importance to the general public. That was a herald that did that. Now that’s the meaning of that word preach, it means to proclaim like a herald. Kerusso.
Now how does that affect you and me? You can’t go to work in the morning and as you come in through the doors of the office say, “Listen here everybody, I wanna proclaim… ” No, you can’t do that. You’d be in personnel by 9:00 o’clock and the men in white coats would have you by 10:00. Now, what does it really mean? Well, I think if you’re a preacher you can proclaim it, that’s for sure, on the radio, on the television, from your pulpit, and all of that. But it turns out that the effective proclaiming of the gospel oftentimes is a sharing one to one. Philip was in a great citywide campaign in Samaria. Remember this story? And the Spirit of God said to him, “Now I’ve got a special appointment for you. I want you to leave where you are now and go down to the backside of the desert.” Can you imagine Billy Graham leaving a citywide campaign, such as he carries on from time to time, and going clear down to the desert somewhere to talk with one person? It isn’t quite likely, humanly speaking, is it? But that’s exactly what God had in mind.
And see, Samaria, there was a great revival going on. So what? Well, the angel of the Lord said, “Arise, go toward the south unto the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is desert. I’ve gotta get you to see this picture. Acts 8:5, “Philip went down to Samaria, preached Christ and the people, with one accord, gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles, unclean spirits came out and so on. Great joy in that city.” Ain’t that something? A whole city moved by the preaching of one man, and now God says, “Okay, and I want you to go down the desert.” [chuckle] Ain’t that something?
Which leads me to say God’s plans don’t always fit in with human logic, and when the Holy Spirit of God moves in your heart, you better obey Him whether or not you can figure it out. You follow that? Well, Philip went and talked to a man who was on his way back to Ethiopia, had come to Jerusalem to worship. He was reading Isaiah the prophet. Philip used a very good approach. He said, “Do you understand what you’re reading?” The man said, “How could I, except some man would guide me?” And Philip went up into the chariot and he preached unto him Jesus.
Now, verse 35 of Acts Chapter 8 says, “He preached unto him Jesus.” Now, same words, see? But now the audience was one man. Do you follow that? The audience was just one man, but he preached just the same.
What is the point here? What is the point? The point is, it’s not the size of the crowd, it’s the effectiveness of the communication that counts. You see? It’s the effectiveness of the communication. Incidentally the word ‘preached’ there, it turns out to be, “He shared with him the good news. He evangelized him.” [chuckle]
Get it for yourself. You don’t have to stand on a soapbox, or appear in a world famous pulpit, or go on TV in order to preach. You can preach using those media, obviously, but you can preach Christ to one person by sharing the good news. Do you get the idea? You share the good news that Jesus is who He says He is, and that He can do what He says He can do, save that is to the uttermost.
So He says, “Preach the gospel.” Then He says, “To every creature.” I’m always awe-stricken by that phrase. Approximately six billion people, isn’t it, in our world now? Something like that, or at least that’s what they say it will be by the turn of the century. Well over four, I guess going onto five. I haven’t checked the figures lately, but the population is growing, growing growing. “Every creature”. When you stop to think about it, we are closer today to being able to fulfill that command than anybody else ever was before, because we have satellite technology that enables you and me to speak, if we were set up for it, to every person around the globe simultaneously.
Well, there are regions where they don’t have radio and television receivers, admittedly. But there are vast areas that have been unreached by the gospel previously, which now do have this technology. And it’s possible now through satellite technology and otherwise to talk to great areas of people that never heard of Jesus, and to share the good news of the gospel with them. I’m excited about that. I want to have as much of a share as I can in getting the gospel of the good news of Christ out to people as long as I live. Every creature. Now that starts at home.
Our Lord Jesus said in Acts 1:8, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Every creature starts right where you are. Man said to me one day very sadly, as he looked across into his neighbor’s front yard, a little three year old dolly of a girl playing there. He said, “That’s my neighbor’s little girl. I often thought that I ought to speak to him about his soul, but I didn’t. He had a heart attack last week and died.”
Every creature starts right where you are. Let me ask a question. Does your next door neighbor know that you’re a Christian? Oh, they may know that you go to church. You leave the house about 10:00, or 10:30 of a Sunday morning, and you come back at 12:30 and put on the dinner. They know that. They know your schedule. We get to know our neighbor’s routines pretty well, don’t we? We lived in Chicago. I could tell when our next door neighbors had a fight. I could tell what time the teenage girl came home from a date, and all that. [chuckle] You get to know routines. But that doesn’t mean that they know who and what you are.
So, I come back to that question I asked a second ago. Does your next door neighbor know that you love Jesus, and that you serve Him, and that He can save to the uttermost? Have you given any thought at all to establishing the kind of rapport that will that will enable you without a pious tremulant in your voice, to share your faith in Christ? That’s where it starts. Every creature starts where I live, Jerusalem. And then it takes in the suburbs, so to speak. You live in a great city like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, whatever. Have you given any thought to what’s going on in your city for Christ? We get to be very insular and parochial in our thinking, don’t we? We have our home, our school, our church, our interests. “Don’t bother me with the rest. Call a social worker. Call the Red Cross. Call the police, but don’t bother me.”
That’s the attitude of millions of people. I asked one time as I talked with the manager of a super apartment building, I said, “Why is it that all of these people live here, and everything is so closed off, and all of that?” He said, “Well, they just don’t want to be bothered.” Most of these people don’t know who their next door neighbors are, and they don’t want to know. They just don’t want to be bothered,” said he. Well, it’s a sad commentary, if a Christian feels that way. Because our Lord Jesus said, “You ought to share Him with the people right where you live, Jerusalem. Then, with the people who are around you in the general community, Judea. And then you ought to share Him with people you don’t like, Samaria.” Little humor in the Bible. God dropped in that phrase, I’m sure. And it jarred them, I’m sure it jarred them. Samaria, who wants to go to Samaria? Who wants to talk to people I don’t like? If you wanted to insult a Jewish person in Bible days, you would call him a Samaritan, that would insult him. Jesus said, “I want you to go talk to them too.” And then He said, “The uttermost part of the earth.”
See, all I wanna do in talking like this is to remind us that we have an obligation to get the gospel out, and it starts right where we live and it keeps right on to the whole world. And we have a better chance today to get the gospel out to everybody than anybody ever did before.
Dear Father, today help us to do our best in sharing the good news of the Gospel with others. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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