After His resurrection and before He ascended into heaven, Jesus gave the great commission to His disciples, telling them that they were to go into the world and preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15). This commission was not just for the disciples, but also for all believers, then and now. As followers of Christ, we are to spread the good news of salvation through Jesus to anyone who has not heard it. There is a quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi that says, “Go into the world and preach the Gospel, and if necessary use words.” We need to preach the Gospel not only in words, but also in the way in which we live.
If our lives do not live up to what we are preaching, the message becomes muddled and will likely be received with skepticism by those who hear it. What we are saying will appear as hypocrisy. In order for the message to be received in the way that God intends it to be, we must show ourselves to be true followers of Christ, people who are striving to be like Jesus.
We are in a time in history where this is more important than ever. I believe we are in the time spoken of by Paul in his second letter to Timothy, a time when those who are of the world will turn from sound doctrine and turn to those who teach what they want to hear. In our society, many people turn their ears to false teachers. The opinions and beliefs of celebrities, politicians, and the like–people who do not speak the truth of Christ–are valued more than the Word of God. (2 Timothy 4:2-5)
As believers, we must always be ready to preach the word in any season of life. We should be both students and hearers of the Word but, just as importantly, we must do what the Word says (James 1:22). Only then will the true message of the Gospel be received by a world so greatly in need of it.