I recently saw where a fellow claimed that Jesus only commissioned the apostles to spread the gospel, arguing that such was not the responsibility of individual saints.
Really? Is he kidding? Was disciple making to end once the apostles died? I seriously doubt that was Jesus’ intention.
If so, why then did the Holy Spirit inspire Luke to tell us of so many who were not apostles, but who made disciples, such as the saints who were scattered from Jerusalem by persecution, but went everywhere “preaching the word” (Acts 8:1-4)? In Acts 6-8 we are told how Stephen & Philip (not the apostle as per Acts 6:1-6, but the “evangelist”, 21:8) preached the word of God, which resulted in Stephen’s death on one hand, but the evangelization of Samaria on the other.
We are told of Aquila & Priscilla, Apollos, Silas, Barnabas and others who were not apostles, yet made disciples.
The Colossians learned the gospel from Epaphras, one who was not an apostle (Colossians 1:1-8).
What if Epaphras had not taught them the gospel? They would have remained lost to eternity and we would not have the great letter Paul wrote to them. Thank God for Epaphras! What of the simple, practical application of Jesus’ principle of loving others? If we are to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty and clothe the poor, should we not teach the gospel to the lost on the same basis? Am I to be salt, light and a city on a hill only by my deeds? Am I not to light the darkness by telling folks about Jesus and his gospel to save them?
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews rebuked the readers because by that time they should have become teachers (5:12). Were they to be teachers of only those who are saved? How then would anyone who was lost ever become one of the saved?
We are shown a vision of those who were killed “because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they maintained” in Revelation 6:9-11, and later we see the dragon making war with those “…..who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus”, 12:17. What was their testimony except a statement of the gospel and what it had done for them? Is this not to be our testimony as well?
It is incredulous to me that anyone who has become a Christian by hearing the word of God would deny their obligation to tell others of the salvation to be enjoyed in Jesus.
Indeed, to whom will you and I share Jesus with today?