To All, but not for All
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the
gospel to every creature. —Mark 16:15
Recently, I received a letter from a preacher who was enraged by something he read by me on election. He declared, as many have, “My Bible says we are to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Because of his hautiness and rudeness, I did not bother responding to his venomous attacks. Yet, there are many who truly love Christ and his gospel, who are perplexed by the fact that we are commanded to preach the gospel to all men, though the Scriptures clearly reveal the fact that only the elect shall be saved.
We are clearly commanded to preach the gospel to all men, but not for all men. The Holy Spirit tells us that the preaching of the gospel is, by God’s design, a stumbling block, a rock of offence, and an instrument of everlasting destruction and death to the reprobate.
Everything God does is for his elect. Reprobate men and women enjoy the sunshine, the rain, and the benefits of them because they live in this world side by side with God’s elect; but the sunshine and the rain are sent for the elect. Indeed, the reprobate exist and are allowed to live in this world for the elect. Long ago, Herman Hoeksema accurately compared the human race to grain, as our Lord often did, saying, “The reprobate shell of the human organism serves the Church of Christ. In the shell of reprobation, the elect kernel becomes ripe.” In other words, God’s purpose of grace, his everlasting love, his gracious designs, and his providence are all in complete harmony. It is utterly absurd to imagine otherwise. The world exists and is upheld by our Savior’s power in order for him to save his elect in the world.
We are not commanded to preach the gospel to all men because there is some sense in which God loves all men. He does not (Rom. 9:13). We are not commanded to preach the gospel to all because God wills and desires the salvation of those whom he has not chosen, his Son did not redeem, and his Spirit shall never call. God almighty always does exactly what he pleases, desires, and wills. There is never a sense in which God’s purpose is not perfectly accomplished (Ps. 115:3; 135:6; Isa. 14:24, 26, 27; 46:9-11). We are commanded to preach the gospel to all men because God has, in sovereign predestination, purposed to save his elect by this means (Rom. 10:10-17; 1 Cor. 1:21; 1 Pet. 23-25; 2 Thess. 2:13-14). God’s elect are found among all people, in all places. Therefore, we preach the gospel to all for the salvation of God’s elect. As we do, we are absolutely confident that God shall call out his chosen by the irresistible power of his grace. He will, by this same means, expose the wickedness of the reprobate, render them without excuse in the day of judgment, and harden them as “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.” By their own willful and obstinate unbelief, they display their enmity against God. In the end, they shall “eat of the fruit of their own way” (Pro. 1:31). —Don Fortner
Take Heed What You Hear
And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear. —Mark 4:24
If you care for your soul, the Lord Jesus warns you to “take heed what ye hear.” (Mark 4:24) I hear people and hear from people all over the country and around the world who willfully put themselves and their families under the influence of pagan, Arminian, freewill, will-worship, works religion. They try to justify themselves, saying, “We have to go to church somewhere. We must not forsake the assembly of the saints. The preacher says some good things. I don’t pay any attention to what they teach. Our children like to go there. They have good programs. My family goes there. I’ve always gone to church there. We have a lot of friends there.”
We will be wise to hear the Son of God: “Take heed what ye hear!” Our Lord was not just beating the air when he said that. Mark was not just filling up space when he wrote it. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” God the Holy Ghost forbids us to entertain, support, or even pray for God’s blessings upon preachers who deny the gospel. To pray for God’s blessings upon them is to pray for God’s blessings upon antichrist.
“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.” (2 John 1:7-10)
If you care for your soul and care for the souls of those under your influence (wife, children, neighbors, etc.) do not subject yourself or them to the influence of Arminian, freewill, works, antichrist religion to any degree or for any reason.
Antichrist is not difficult to identify. The Spirit of God tells us plainly that “every spirit (preacher) that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is that spirit of antichrist.” (1 John 4:3) Every preacher who denies that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, who denies that the man Christ Jesus actually brought in everlasting righteousness, and made an end of iniquity for his elect by his obedience unto death is antichrist.
If you care for your soul, and care for those under your influence, if you care for the worship and glory of God, addict yourself to the ministry of the gospel of God. Addict yourself to the preaching of God’s free, sovereign, saving grace in Christ. —Don Fortner
Preach the Gospel
And he said unto them, Go into all the world, and preach the
gospel to every creature. —Mark 16:15
If a man is called of God to the work of the gospel ministry, it is his great privilege and awesome responsibility to preach the gospel of Christ to eternity bound sinners, for the glory of God and the everlasting salvation of those who hear him. Let me repeat what I have told you hundreds of times. I wish I could get the attention of every preacher in this world and persuade him of this fact: there is only one sort of true, biblical preaching, and that is gospel preaching. No man has preached, in Bible terms, until he has preached the gospel. No man has truly and accurately expounded any text of Scripture, until he has preached the gospel from the text. No Bible subject has been faithfully and properly handled, if it has not been set forth in the context of gospel light. No sermon should ever be preached which does not show eternity bound sinners the way of life and salvation in Christ. The singular, universal subject of Holy Scripture is the gospel of God’s free, sovereign, saving grace in Jesus Christ, our crucified, risen, exalted Lord and Savior (Lk. 24:24, 44-47; 1 Pet. 1:23-25).
Knowing these things, I say with the apostle Paul, “As much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you…For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith…Christ sent me…to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God…I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified…God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (Rom. 1:15-17; 1 Cor. 1:17-18; 2:2; Gal. 6:1-4; 1 Cor. 9:16)
To preach the gospel is not merely declaring the historic facts of Christ’s person, incarnation, virgin birth, life of perfect obedience as our federal Head and Representative before God the Father, sin-atoning death, resurrection, and glory as our Substitute, that God might be just and the Justifier of all who believe, though these facts must be faithfully proclaimed. There is more to preaching the gospel than merely repeating to sinners the necessity of the new birth, Holy Spirit conviction, and faith in Christ, though we must never fail to show sinners the way of life in Christ.
To preach the gospel is to set forth the beauty and glory of Christ in all his glorious person and work as the God-man, our Mediator, in all the Scriptures. It is to proclaim Christ crucified as the basis, motive, and inspiration for all faith, obedience, devotion, worship, and praise. To preach the gospel is to show in all the Scriptures the things concerning Christ. —Don Fortner
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