5. JESUS DESIRED THAT ALL LOST PEOPLE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR THE GOSPEL.
Before ascending into heaven Jesus instructed His followers to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel". But, to whom were they to go? Just the middle or upper class? Just the educated? Just those of a certain ethnicity? No, no, and no. He said - "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature"; in other words, to every human being! Tell it to the king on the throne and the beggar in the street. Go everywhere and preach the good news. Tell it freely to the lost.
What is the good news? It is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (cf. I Cor. 15:1-4). Jesus came to bring grace and truth to this world (cf. John 1:17), and if we will put our trust in what God did for us at Calvary, we can be saved from our sins. Now, trusting the Lord is more than just mentally affirming such. True trust (like faith) cannot exist without appropriate action. We, as God's children, are to do our best to keep the commands of the Lord. We are to do our best to live by that perfect law of liberty--and this includes evangelism! When we find ourselves falling short, we are to repent and seek God's forgiveness and keep on trying our best. That is what genuine faith and trust is all about (cf. I John 1:7-9; Phil. 3:12-14).
Those who are not yet God's children must become such to be covered by His grace. To become a child of God one must obey the gospel of Christ (i.e., die to self, have one sins buried in the waters of baptism, and then rise to walk in newness of life; cf. Rom. 6). After we obey the gospel, we must teach it to the lost! This is a sacred duty and responsibility. The last thing Jesus said to His followers about the lost was, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:15,16).
Friends, the application in these lessons is simple: How do you and I treat the lost of this world? Are we treating them like Jesus did or as the religious leaders of Jesus' day did? Think about it: Are you more like Simon the Pharisee or God the Father? If Simon was on the front porch in Luke 15, would the prodigal son have been welcomed home? What would have happened had you or I been on the front porch? Would we manifest compassion toward the penitent or indignation?
Dear listeners, there is something terribly wrong when unbelievers treat people better than believers do. Let us imitate Jesus and treat the lost like friends, not enemies. Let us focus on the good in people, telling them what they can become--not how bad they are. Let us treat all with compassion, like the heavenly Father does. Let us work diligently and make the sacrifices necessary that all lost people be given the chance to hear the great gospel of Christ.