“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and charged them, saying, ‘Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ ” (Matt. 10:5-6).
In “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer the author points out that all activities of disciples of the Lord are subject to the clear precepts of God. Disciples are, therefore, free from the tyranny of their own ideas and calculations. Further, if Christ will not let us preach the gospel in any particular place, we must give up the attempt. I believe this is an important point in an age where, at times, persons in the Church attempt to devise “strategies”, beyond simply presenting the gospel message, to reach the lost. Rather than devise our own plans, we should be attune to God’s leading as to who and when to present the Gospel. This acknowledges the sovereignty of God even over salvation. (Acts 13:48).
Bonhoeffer goes on, in discussing Christ’s instructions to his disciples in Matthew 10, to note that the proclamation of the gospel is clear and concise. They were simply to announce that the kingdom of God has drawn nigh, and summon men to repentance and faith. Thy come with the full authority of Christ and make the offer with the support of the highest credentials. There was no need for them to enter into any further discussion to clear the ground or to persuade their hearers. Either bow down and receive the King or be ultimately destroyed by his wrath. Bonhoeffer points out that we must recognize both the power of the gospel – to draw persons who are ready to believe to Christ – and weakness of the gospel – in that we have no authority to force any issue beyond the Word of Christ to anyone who will not accept the Word. We are not presenting an ideology but the Truth, pure and simple.
As Bonhoeffer notes – “An ideology requires fanatics, who neither know nor notice opposition, and it is certainly a potent force. But the Word of God in its weakness takes the risk of meeting the scorn of men and being rejected. There are hearts which are hardened and doors which are closed to the Word. The Word recognizes opposition when it meets it, and is prepared to suffer it. It is a hard lesson, but a true one, that the gospel, unlike an ideology, reckons with impossibilities. The Word is weaker than any ideology, and this means that with only the gospel at their command the witnesses are weaker than the propagandists of an opinion. But although they are weak, they are ready to suffer with the Word…”
A good word for the times we are in where we often see the gospel message watered down to get people into the church. We need to simply present the unadulterated Word of God, including the sure destruction of those who reject it, and otherwise leave salvation to God.