About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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The Foundation To Evangelism  


Mark 16:20 says this:


"Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it."  


The consensus among Bible scholars is that Mark 16:9 through 20 was not included in Mark's original gospel account.  It was added at a much later date by someone else, but don't let that disturb you.  I am sure the Lord realizes how difficult it is for us to compile and translate His Word from various ancient manuscripts into modern languages.  Besides, He has chosen to display His Word, His glory, in and through us despite the imperfect "jars of clay" that we are (2 Corinthians 4:7), and for that we are very thankful.  The bottom line is this.  There is nothing inherently unbiblical about these verses, and that includes verse 20 that I quoted above.   


Just before Jesus returned to His Father He commanded His followers to stay in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit and His power to effectively proclaim the gospel (Acts 1:1 - 8).  Once receiving the Holy Spirit they did as Jesus commanded.  They went and preached the gospel, but they did not go it alone.  As Mark 16:20 and other passages like John 14:18 state, Jesus, via His Spirit, went with them. 


Mark 16:20 presents us with an important New Testament principle.  We go and preach while Jesus provides some kind of spiritual sign that confirms the validity of our message to those to whom we speak.  In other words, we do the manual labour while Jesus provides the spiritual confirmation.  The proclamation of the gospel is a joint venture, a mutual participation, between us and Jesus.  We have our job to do and Jesus has His job to do.  If we fail to do our part, Jesus is inhibited from doing His part.  If we go it alone, leaving Jesus behind, our message will be ineffective.  The message we sow into the lives of people and how we sow it will determine what we reap.  Going it alone with a weakened message might well lead people into believing they are true believers when in fact they are not.  This is a serious matter with eternal implications, something our present-day Evangelical church needs to take time to think through.  


Each one of us has a specific part to play in cooperation with Jesus in proclaiming the gospel.  When we do our job the way Jesus wants it done, Jesus will do His job.  This is the foundation to effective evangelism.             



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