The gospel business belongs to God

The problems that the early disciples encountered are still with us. The only difference is that, through social media, reaching out to people is now faster and safer than was the case at that time. Attitudes have not changed and the dangers still exist as much as they existed then. The resistance of the gospel is still prevailing as it prevailed at the time of Jesus.

The most important activity that occupied Jesus’ mind was the spread of the gospel. Jesus told His disciples of the dangers associated with the gospel, expected to be preached. He initially appointed the twelve disciples, training them on how to disseminate the gospel. He sent them out to travel in pairs, reaching out to those connected to the lost sheep of Israelites.

The purpose of sending them in pairs was based on the tradition that matters needed to be settled when testified by two witnesses. The preaching method to the lost sheep of Israel would not be the same as approaching the raw Gentile public. Reaching out to those people fulfilled the witnessing program.

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, and drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:5-8 NIV).

The resistance was to be anticipated. Not many people are aware of the resistance of the gospel, appearing as no longer the case, in our time. Humanly speaking, preaching the gospel is not something that can be achieved without God’s intervention. Jesus never indicated that preaching the gospel would be easy-going. The treatment of the apostles would be similar to how Jesus was often treated.

“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward” (Matthew 10:40-42 NIV).

The work of God is not financed by human beings. It would not be the work of God if anyone were assumed to be responsible for financing the gospel mission. God finances His work, using people who may not even be dedicated Christians. The disciples did not carry financial provisions when sent on that missionary expedition. Everything went according to God’s plan.

“Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts—no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker, is worth his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the Day of Judgment than for that town” (Matthew 10:9-15 NIV).

The mission had been directed to the lost sheep of Israel. Others would accept the gospel, but others could not. The instruction was that the disciples would not carry any gold or silver or copper to take with them. They were not even to carry bags of money, extra clothing or sandals.

The disciples were only supposed to carry out the instructions. Some of the approached people would provide some support to the disciples, during their expedition. But the disciples would not go about asking for assistance. Those helping would be driven by love.

When providing assistance, those people would not be aware of the mission of the disciples. They would help out without recompense, let alone being aware of the one who sent them. They would receive a reward, in heaven, which they would not have anticipated. What appears as disturbing, though, is what happens to the city whose residents denounce the disciples.

Jesus says Sodom and Gomorrah would be more bearable than for them. In other words, what prevails is that; rejecting the gospel puts a person on a deadly footing. That person would have established himself as an enemy of the gospel.

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account, you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matthew 10:16-20 NIV).

Jesus revealed that the idea of preaching the gospel is not a casual matter. This world does not like anyone providing information that grants freedom to humanity. Those in authority prefer keeping people in ignorance. Their reasoning is that people should be kept in ignorance to be controlled. They know how difficult it is to control the freed beings.

Humanity is under slavery, as long as not knowing the slave master. The ones enforcing slavery would be under slavery but also unaware of being under the condition of slavery. The spirit of suppression is with the entire humanity. Those able to appreciate the gospel are the only ones appreciating the condition of freedom.

Another interesting revelation is that the disciples would not need to worry about what to say when taken to the law courts. The Spirit would enable them to respond appropriately. The gospel bears the authority directly from God, who then answers appropriately.

There is no need to personalize the gospel. One may feel uncomfortable with the personality being used to preach. Or feel comfortable with the person being used. All that would be a display of ignorance. The responsibility of preaching the gospel is a Godly business, without the messengers’ input.

God would be dwelling in the personality being used so that by invalidating the gospel preacher, one would be invalidating God. This is why the advocates of Trinity cannot understand such issues. The power that the gospel preachers hold is God’s power, just as Jesus held God’s power.

“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me, but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do” (Luke 10:16-21 NIV).

The power that the gospel preaches hold is beyond human ability. The people sent on a mission to preach the gospel were able to achieve what only Jesus had been capable of achieving. Out of excitement, the disciples came to Jesus, narrating experiences which included the demons’ submitting to them.

Immediately, Jesus displayed not being impressed by their behaviour, revealing their naivety about the significance of God’s work. Rather than appreciate the results of their work, they ought to have been humbled, instead. The envisaged success had nothing to do with them and could lead them to condemnation, as inviting the devil’s attitude.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:17-20 NIV).

Jesus was apprehensive of the disciples’ naivety, concerning the exhibited power over demons. Those demons had submitted to God’s Spirit, existing within those disciples, and not necessarily qualifying the disciples’ physical power. Physical humans remain oblivious of God’s Spirit existing within humanity, but not physically observable. Demons, however, can recognize God’s Spirit existing within such human beings.

When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” (Matthew 8:28-29 NIV).

While the disciples were amazed by the fact that the demons were submitting to them, the demons knew who they were submitting to. When Jesus warned of Satan falling down like lightning, He was talking as one with spiritual knowledge. Therefore, Jesus was telling those disciples to never rejoice because of that phenomenon.

The only thing that could cause them to rejoice was the assurance that their names would be written in Heaven. This could be the only reason for Jesus instructing His followers to rejoice, only when persecuted, rather than when praised by physical humans (Matthew 5:10-12).

The most important knowledge is that the one responsible for preaching the gospel is Jesus. He uses those that He prefers to use, granting them the opportunity to become God’s children, ahead of others. This does not entitle those enlisted; to be better than others. This confirms the reason why Jesus said the greatest among believers, should be the servant of all (Matthew 20:25-28).

Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me” (John 15:20-21 NIV).

Jesus testified the truth, representing a personality that the world could not know. The same Spiritual personality would be living within those said to be servants of their master. The chain of command suggests persecuting Jesus when persecuting God’s servants. This, therefore, suggests persecuting God, unknowingly, when persecuting whoever would be God’s servant, in whom God’s Spirit dwells.

This exposes those insisting that Jesus is a member of the Trinity. They invalidate God’s servants, whom they view as being different from Jesus, who they claim to be a Trinitarian member. They fail to discern that they would be invalidating the same person they consider to be a Trinitarian member. They would, accordingly, be invalidating God.

One can understand those people, similarly, to how Jesus understood those likening Him to Beelzebub. But that would be impossible, for the meek, according to Jesus (Matthew 5:5). A meek person does not have the temerity to invalidate, let alone deride another fellow human being.

“This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world, we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister” (1 John 4:17-21 NIV).

The apostle John suggested this, due to the fact that God would be dwelling in a person being despised. The one despising would be fooling himself, imagining knowing God, based on vanity, as assuming to be better than the despised person. Sadly, he/she would not be despising the perceived person, but despising God, unknown by those of this world.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.

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