Proclaim The Gospel!
8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you.9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say,11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.”
During the time of Christ’s ministry about two thousand years ago, people often sacrificed their foods to idols and false gods. Jesus, aware of the Jewish dietary concerns of His disciples, indicated to them that it was OK to eat the food that was offered to them. Paul later gave more insight into this area. By accepting the food offered, they were able to not offend their hosts and receive the blessings that God had provided to fulfill their needs.
Move in Miracles
It has been said that miracles should follow believers, and that believers should not follow miracles. God gave these specific men special grace to heal the sick, cast out demons, and perform other miracles. This verified their calling from God, and opened the hearts of the people to believe the Word of God when preached to them. When we merely follow miracles, we are not ourselves the bearer of miracles. When we focus on the mission of God, He will validate His calling upon His people so that the unsaved would recognize the power and glory of God upon His servants, and that His servants would recognize God’s calling upon them as well.
William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, believed in the Soup -> Soap -> Salvation principle. He believed that it was very difficult to preach a loving saviors to a person that was starving to death. Once a person was out of pain and suffering, they were in a better position to be able to listen. Tending to a person’s physical needs enabled that person to hear the Gospel with more open ears. And after healing the sick, the disciples mightily proclaimed it.
Witness the Warning
Just a reminder to all of us, as well as them, Jesus implied that we are merely the mail carrier. Whether or not the person desires their mail, opens it, or even likes it, is up to them. It is our responsibility to deliver the message, nothing more. The Holy Spirit is responsible for the preparation of the soil of people’s heart – we merely cast the seed.
And when people refuse the mail, we merely remind them that we delivered the message, and that they have heard the message – “The kingdom of God is near.” Then they shook the dust from their feet. This was a symbolic message equivalent to today’s phrase, “I wash my hands of this.” The disciples had done everything that they could, and even the dust would be a witness against them. Paul put this into practice when he and Barnabas shook the dust off their feet at Pisidian Antioch.
The Day of Destruction
Jesus gave us something to think about. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God for their sin. Yet the areas that were given the Gospel and refused it will be judged harsher than them, for they have heard the message of salvation and rejected it. Woe be to any who hear and harden their hearts; for they don’t reject you, they have rejected the One who sent you. And when the ones who rejected You come before the White Throne Seat of Judgement, God can say, “Did not my faithful servants bring you my message? Did you not reject it?” They will have no excuse. Paul says that even creation itself shows them that they have no excuse.
A Qualifying Question
So let’s ask ourselves a question: Are we faithfully delivering the message?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, it should grieve us to know that many will refuse to acknowledge Your Son as Lord and Savior. Help me to remember that one reason that You have saved me is to do Your perfect will. Transform my mind with Your perfect Word under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that I may be positioned to test and approve Your Good, Perfect, and Pleasing Will. Strengthen me today and remove any hindrances that are keeping me from doing what You have called me to do. May I be like Abraham and immediately attend to and obey Your commands. Help me as I transition to being a better message bearer. Father, all I desire to hear when I am called home is to hear Your Son say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” May my heart so greatly desire to hear those words that anything else I have been doing in my life will seem as insignificant as dust blowing in the wind. Help me Lord God Almighty to focus on the tasks at hand and to not be distracted by anything. Guard and guide my heart, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.