Who Will Go? – Part 1
“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” (Acts 8:4 NIV)
There’s no possible way we can reach a dying world for Christ with our distorted American system, where the clergy is a separate class from the believers, and they’re the ones expected to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. The thinking is, “The famous evangelist does it… The pastors do it… That’s what they’re paid for; that’s why they’re on staff… We watch; they do.” That is a cursed system, never found anywhere in Scripture! The ones who made new converts and won souls in the New Testament were not the pastors and the apostles alone. It was all the believers. We read in the New Testament that on the day that Stephen was martyred, “a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria… Those who had been scattered preached the word [i.e. the good news] wherever they went” (Acts 8:1, 4). Who preached the gospel? Those who were scattered! Who were they? The believers! And they preached the gospel wherever they went.
The problem we have is that the word “preach” has been completely distorted. People think preaching is done by a guy with a turned-around collar or in a robe, standing behind a pulpit, while the people all sit there, listening to him. He’s given the utmost respect, because he’s qualified to preach. He knows the Hebrew and the Greek; or he has a degree or experience. He preaches; you listen. How long do you listen? Until the day you die! You keep listening. What else do you do? Not much. And if someone asks you, “How are you doing?” you say, “I went to church.”
“To hear the preacher.”
“Because I’m supposed to hear the preacher.”
The word “preach” in the Greek language means to declare, to publish, to talk about, to share, to say something about. The idea of someone getting up in front of an auditorium, and perhaps even changing their voice in order to “sound” like a preacher, is foreign to the New Testament. Some of us have taken that in with our mother’s milk, and we think it’s special. “He’s a minister. That’s the way ministers talk!” we say. But it’s a curse on us. No one is supposed to take on a different persona and talk differently. Jesus never had another tone.
And that was never found in the early Church! The Bible says that as a result of the persecution, all of the believers were scattered— except the apostles; they stayed in Jerusalem. But everywhere the scattered believers went, they preached the word— they declared, published, talked about, shared, said something about the good news of Jesus Christ; and multitudes got saved!
Read Acts 8:1-4.