Gospel and its Ministry
Henry Steedman, Birmingham
The gospel is God's first1 and last message to men.3 It was given in Promise,3 Psalm/ and Prophecy.5 Such was His message to Abram and to David. To Christ, give all the prophets witness.6 Then John the Baptizer gave the gospel in the words ' Behold the Lamb of God, the taker away of the sin of the world,7—the Lamb, the Load, the Look. We have the full gospel story from the Four Evangelists telling out His Life, His Death and His Resurrection.
Thereupon Peter became the Apostle, of the glad tidings to the circumcision,8 and Paul the Apostle of the gospel to the uncircumcision.* Then we have also the Evangelist Philip" and the witness Stephen.10
Moreover, there were those who went everywhere preaching the Word - heralding and conversing the gospel to others.11 Herein lies a privilege within the reach of all who know Christ savingly, and God's message concerning Him. It is open to the godly as well as the gifted ones. So let us all, in our sphere and measure, make Christ known to our neighbours. Remember the-Lord cometh13 and the time is short.13
We read in Gal. 3. 8 - " And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, ' In thee shall all nations be blessed." With this read also Gal. 3. 9-20. Here 'the Seed' is presented, even ‘Christ,’ concerning whom the promises were made. Thereby God evangelized Abraham14 by contact and revelation in promise, apart too from any human instrument.
Now, just a brief reference to Paul. The points worthy of notice at the moment arc these :-
1. Paul was characteristically a minister of the gospel, as also of the Church.
2. Paul served God (in a worshipful Spirit,as the word " served " denotes) in his spirit in " the gospel of His Son." 15 How reverently and God-consciously and sincerely he told out the Great Message to men !
3. Paul ministered16 as a public servant this gospel— publicly and from house to house/1* and often at his own expense. Let us ever emulate this public aspect of gospel service, and not shut ourselves away from the public ear in our Gospel Halls. We should fish for men just where they are, at the top
(8) Gal. 2, 7, 8. (9) Acts Bl. 8. (10) Act! 7; 22. 20, (11) Mk.16. 20; Acts 11. 19. (12) Jude 14, (13) I Cor. 7. 29, ' shortened.1 (14) Gal. 3. 8; (15) Rom. 1. 9 (16) Rom. 15. 16. (17) Acts 20, 20-27
of the streets and in the place of chief concourse.18 Whether it be Mars' Hill," or the hamlet or the hovel, Go ! brothers Go ! and the Lord will work with you. We have been, and we have seen this work effectually.
Pray, preach, and peg away. The private method is open wide to us all. From you sounded out - echoed out - the Word of the Lord.20 Arise and be a living echo of the only life-giving message to the world.20
Paul not only served in the spirit of a worshipper and as a public servant and again as a private worker, but he served God in the gospel as a sacrificing priest. This is the word used in Rom. 15. 16 - ministering - that is as a priest. Here is one who knows much of the Sacrifice of Christ, one who is sacrificing all in order to give it freely to men - spending and being spent for the gospel's sake and for the sake of souls. Paul thus regarded it a sacred thing to do gospel work. (We do well to read and compare 1 Cor. 9 with these aspects of service. Space forbids it here.) Thus shall we ' save some.' Thus shall we ' gain the more.' Observe, too, the ultimate object of Paul's service in these, as in other forms of his work. " That the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Ghost " (Rom. 1.5. 16). Herein Paul had the pleasure of God before him, as he visualized the presentation of the total fruit of the gospel to Him in that day.
May we apply ourselves to the work likewise, and so to have those with Christ who will be our joy and victor's crown of rejoicing 23, and not to meet our Saviour and Lord empty-handed' - not one soul with which to greet Him !
Do all in the ' Spirit of Jesus.'
Ye serve the Lord Christ.
We serve, Jesus saves.
(18) Proverbs 1. 20-22 (19). Acts 17. 22 (20) 1 Thess. 1. (21) 2 Cor 12. 15 (22) 1 Thess. 2.19. (23) 1 Cor. 11. 1.