Turning To The Gentiles: The Encouragement That Can Come From Turning To Other Cultures
All Scriptures have been taken from the ASV 1901 Version
A great topic will be studied today entitled, “Turning to the Gentiles: The Encouragement that Can Come from Turning to Other Cultures.” The purpose of this lesson is to encourage the Lord’s people to extend their vision of preaching the gospel, not only to those of our own language, but also to those of other cultures. We live in a country that is composed of people who speak other languages. We as Christians have a great responsibility of reaching out to them as well. The Bible teaches that “God desires for all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). The phrase “all men” refers to Jews and Gentiles, that is, to everyone in general. The Apostle Peter also tells us that God “does not wish that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Therefore, as we examine this lesson, let me encourage each and every one of us to be “doers of God’s Word and not hearers only” (Jam. 1:22). May we remember the blessings that come our way when we practice what the Word of God teaches us (Luke 11:28; Jam. 1:25).
In the next few minutes I want to direct your minds to the subject of evangelism and the great responsibility that each of us has to share the good news of salvation with other cultures. Therefore, let us consider in this lesson the following points: Our command to preach the gospel of Christ, the need to share the good news of salvation, the encouragement that can come from preaching the gospel to other cultures, and, finally, let us examine some practical ways of how you and I can share the gospel of Christ to other cultures.
The Command To Preach The Gospel To The Whole World
Brothers and sisters, it is imperative that we remember at all times the great command we have to preach the gospel of Christ to the world. The New Testament is very clear concerning the command we have to preach the gospel. The Lord Jesus Christ gave this command to His Apostles in Mat. 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-16. Logic demands that we reason correctly about this command and to recognize that it also applies to us all. Each member of the body of Christ has the obligation to preach the gospel to as many people as possible. The verb “preach” in Mark 16:15 is found in the imperative mood, which reveals a command to follow. Sadly to say, there are those in the Body of Christ who believe the command to preach the gospel only applies to the preacher, and not to the members of the church. Some have come to the point saying “that is why we pay our preacher.” An examination of Acts 8:1-4 reveals that the responsibility of preaching the gospel belongs to the preacher and to each member of the Body of Christ. In this context we see Christian going everywhere preaching the Word of God (v. 4). Brother Johnny Ramsey used to say that the early church went everywhere preaching the Word, but the church of today does not go anywhere preaching the Word. Why you may ask? The reason: some think this is the responsibility of the preacher only. Brothers and sisters, this is not right! We must be obedient to the command of preaching the gospel of Christ to a lost and dying world. Jesus Christ said, “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Have we taken the Great Commission seriously in our congregations? Are we, individually speaking, reaching out to the lost? In order for us to take the Great Commission seriously, we must have a love for the souls of this world. We must have the kind of attitude that the Apostle Paul had. Notice what he wrote to the saints at Rome, “I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are in Rome” (Rom. 1:14-15). Unless we have this attitude in our hearts, we will never share the gospel of Christ with the lost. The life the Apostle Paul lived is a great source of encouragement for you and for me who desire to preach the gospel to the lost. Paul was able to preach the gospel in many places (Rom. 15:19; Col. 1:6). Why? The answer is simple: He took the Great Commission seriously, and so must we!
The Great Need To Share The Gospel
Let us remember that people are lost without the gospel. The Apostle Paul tells us that the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). The gospel is the only solution to the sin problem. There is a great need for us to preach the good news of salvation to the whole world. People of every culture in this world have a soul that needs saving. It is imperative that we acknowledge that sin affects everyone in this world. The Apostle Paul wrote to the saints at Rome that everyone within the age of accountability was guilty of sin and stood in need of the gospel (Rom. 3:9-10; 6:23). During the early century, Jews and Gentiles needed to obey the gospel of Christ. Paul establishes the fact that Gentiles are lost and stand in need of the gospel (Rom. 1). He, also, establishes the fact that even Jews are lost and need to obey the gospel as well (Rom. 2). In Romans chapter 3, he establishes the truth that “all have sinned, and have fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Friends, nothing has changed today! People of every country need the gospel today more than ever. Sin is a universal problem that affects everyone. Thankfully, God has the solution to the sin problem. You and I can teach the gospel of Christ, the power of God unto salvation to every person we come in contact with. People of every nation are dying in this world every single minute. It is imperative that we acknowledge this; otherwise, people will continue to die without the saving message of Jesus Christ.
Christians today need to put aside every bit of favoritism and begin to share the gospel of Christ with those who do not look like or speak like we do. There are those Christians who would not even consider the possibility of preaching the gospel to other cultures. This was the mentality that the Jewish people had back then. On a certain occasion, Jesus Christ was willing to go through Samaria in order that He may preach the Word of God to the Samaritans (John 4). He ended up staying two days with them. Can you imagine that? Jesus Christ held a two-day gospel meeting in Samaria! I am pretty sure that the Apostles were not very comfortable with that; nevertheless, they still followed the Savior, and were willing to spend a few days in Samaria. We must be willing to preach the gospel of Christ to everyone. Other cultures need the gospel too! The Apostle Paul acknowledged this truth and this is why he was willing to preach the gospel to the Gentiles.
We must remember that God desires the salvation of every single person in this world. There are several passages that reveal the divine desire of God to save all men. Please take the time to read the following passages: Mark 16:15-16; Mat. 28:18-20; 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9; Tit. 2:11; Eze. 33:11; John 3:16. Each of these passages includes people of other cultures. This is something that you and I must understand. I am thankful to God for those faithful brethren who have taken the time to travel to other countries to teach the gospel. I am thankful for brethren who take the time to learn another language so they can preach the good news of salvation to others (e.g. Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Telegu, Chinese, Korean, etc.). We are thankful to God for those congregations who support missionaries across the world. We are thankful to those congregations who are willing to let our Spanish brethren use their facilities so they can have their worship services in their own language. I am thankful to the Gospel Broadcasting Network for contacting me about material to teach others the gospel in Spanish. We are thankful for the House to House publication in English as well as in Spanish. Many have benefitted from their sound material. We are thankful to the brethren who work at Apologetics Press and for their sound material in Spanish. We thank Brother Moises Pinedo for taking the time to translate articles from English to Spanish so many can be taught the Word of God. Friends, we are thankful to God for all of these avenues we can use to teach the Gospel in English as well as in Spanish. We are thankful to those faithful gospel preachers who give us permission to translate some of their material into the Spanish language.
I am thankful to God for the opportunity to be able to speak two languages. This provides me the blessing of being able to preach the gospel of Christ in most parts of the world. I truly enjoy the opportunities to preach lessons bilingual. I have had the blessing of preaching for several gospel meetings where I get to preach bilingual lessons. If you have the opportunity to learn another language, please consider doing so. You will be able to reach out to more people by speaking in other languages. If you are a gospel preacher, and cannot learn another language, at least try to have someone translate lessons for you. Thank God for those faithful brethren who are willing to translate God’s Word.
I am thankful to God for the Brown Trail School of Preaching Spanish department. For 9 years we have been training students in their own language so they can preach the gospel and sound doctrine in Mexico, Costa Rica and many other Spanish-speaking countries. The same courses that each student study in the English department are the ones that all of the students in the Spanish department study. We thank our supporters for helping Spanish students receive their training at Brown Trail. We thank congregations who call the school to ask for preachers who can evangelize in Spanish the community where the church meets. Some of our students are bilingual and can preach the saving message in English as well as in Spanish. We also offer a course in English to those who do not speak the language so we can help those who come from another country learn some things about the language that can assist them in trying to teach others also. When we go on door-knocking campaigns it is interesting to see how the students from the Spanish department who do not speak the English language struggle to teach others the gospel. They, at least, make the effort to tell others about Christ. There is a great lesson we can learn here!
The Encouragement Of Preaching The Gospel To Other Cultures
What type of encouragement do we get for preaching the gospel to other cultures? Brothers and sisters, the encouragement is great. Therefore, let me encourage each and every one of us to please consider the following:
There Is Encouragement In Knowing That Other Cultures Can Receive Forgiveness Of Sins
We know that forgiveness of sins only comes through obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we teach them the gospel and they obey it, then they are baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14). Remission of sins is necessary in order to be able to see God one day (cf. Mat. 5:8; Heb. 12:14). We can help people receive the forgiveness of their sins by teaching them the gospel of Christ. People today can be justified before God through an obedient faith in Him (Rom. 3:28; 5:1). They can be justified just like the Gentiles did in the early century, through an obedient faith.
There Is Encouragement In Knowing That Other Cultures Can Be Added To The Body Of Christ
It is a great blessing to be members of the Body of Christ! You and I can help other cultures experience this same blessing. Let us teach them that when they obey the gospel of Christ, they can be added to the Body of the Son of God (Acts 2:22-47). They can become members of the one true church of the Bible. Obedience to baptism is what puts people into Christ (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3-4). Once they are in Christ, they will begin to enjoy all the spiritual blessings found in Him (Eph. 1:3). Therefore, let us teach them this great truth!
There Is Encouragement In Knowing That Other Cultures Can Have An Opportunity To Be Reconciled Back To God
The reality of sin in man is what keeps him separated from God (Isa. 59:1-2). The only solution to the sin problem is Jesus Christ and His gospel (cf. Rom. 6:23). Other cultures need to learn that reconciliation is found only in Jesus Christ (cf. Eph. 2:13-16; Rom. 5:10). Other cultures can become part of the family of God by being reconciled to Him (Eph. 2:19). You and I can help other cultures learn what they must do in order to enjoy reconciliation in Christ.
There Is Encouragement In Knowing That Other Cultures Can Experience A New Life In Christ
Through the preaching of the gospel to other cultures, we can help them experience a new life in Christ. We will teach them about the gospel that can help them to be born again of water and the Spirit (John 3:3, 5). Once they are baptized into Christ, they will begin to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4; 2 Cor. 5:17). They will experience a great change in their lives, a change like the one the Corinthians experienced (1 Cor. 6:9-11), or a change like the one the Apostle Paul experienced (Acts 9, 22, 26).
There Is Encouragement In Knowing That Other Cultures Can Enjoy The Opportunity To Worship God In Spirit And In Truth
The only way to worship the Creator of heaven and earth acceptably is by being in the Body of Christ. Only these are the ones who are authorized to worship in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23-24; Eph. 3:20—21). The Apostle Peter made a great statement when he was preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. Notice what he said, “And Peter opened his mouth and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him (Acts 10:34-35). Only those who are faithful to the commandments of God are qualified to worship God acceptably. We can bring more people to God who will give Him the honor and glory He deserves. We can be the means by which other cultures can forsake paganism in order to come and worship the living God. The saints at Thessalonica forsook their idols so they can worship God (cf. 1 The. 1:9-10). They did this because of the preaching of the gospel through the Apostle Paul.
There Is Encouragement In Knowing That Other Cultures Can Enjoy The Hope Of Eternal Life
We need to teach other cultures what they must do in order to enjoy the hope of eternal life (Heb. 5:8-9). Let us teach them that by being baptized into Christ is how they can have the hope of eternal life. They need to know that this hope is found in Jesus (cf. 1 John 5:11—13; John 11:25—26). The Bible teaches that eternal salvation is found only in Jesus Christ (John 10:9; Acts 4:12). We can help people get into Christ by teaching them the gospel. Once they obey it, they will begin to enjoy this great hope of eternal life.
Various Means To Share The Gospel With Other Cultures
How can you and I reach out to other cultures with the gospel of Christ? What are some of the things that we can consider to accomplish the preaching of the gospel? Let me invite you to please consider the following:
Try To Learn Another Language If Possible
We have several gospel preachers who have taken the time to learn the Spanish language as well as other languages. They had the desire to do mission work in other countries and so they went to a school to learn the language. Some of them learned so well that they were able to preach in that particular language. If you have the opportunity to learn, please consider doing so. It is a great joy being bilingual because you can teach the gospel of Christ on both sides of the world!
When Possible, Try To Give Away Tracts That Teach About The Gospel And The Church To Other Cultures
We have several tracts in Spanish that have been written by faithful gospel preachers. We also have tracts that have been translated into other languages. We can purchase these tracts and pass them out to our friends from other cultures. Some of your friends may accept them, while others will not. We are thankful for ministries such as House to House, Worldwide Spanish Literature Ministry, Mission Printing, and many more that have translated several tracts into other languages. Let us be good stewards of these means by which we can teach others the gospel.
Support Ministries That Advance The Teaching Of The Gospel To Other Cultures
We are blessed to have several ministries that advance the teaching of the gospel to other cultures. The ministries mentioned before, as well as Apologetics Press, World Video Bible School, the Gospel of Christ and others need our support so they can continue to produce sound material that will teach people the gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to consider supporting these ministries, as well as take advantage of the various literatures they have.
Support Sound Preaching Schools That Are Involved In Preaching The Gospel To Other Cultures
You and I know how much need we have for sound schools of preaching to be in existence. Jesus once said, “The harvest indeed is plenteous, but the laborers are few” (Mat. 9:37), therefore, this being the case, we will always stand in need of sound preaching school who will train faithful gospel preachers, who will reach out to a lost and dying world. We have several sound schools today that are making a difference around the world. The World Missions Program of the Memphis School of Preaching is and will continue to be a great way to reach out to the world. In this school, we also have several Spanish-speaking students who received their training there, and who are making a difference teaching other cultures the gospel of Christ. The Brown Trail School of Preaching Spanish department will also make a difference by training gospel preachers in their own language. Graduates from these schools are teaching the gospel to as many people as possible. Let us keep them in our prayers.
If Possible, Begin A Spanish Ministry In Your Local Congregation
There are several congregations in the United States that have started a Spanish ministry in their local congregation. After my graduation from Brown Trail School of Preaching I went to work for an English-speaking congregation who had a Spanish work within their facilities. I was able to work together with the leadership as well as the members from both congregations. There were times when we had several bilingual services together. It was indeed a great experience being together to worship our heavenly Father! The congregation may consider hiring a bilingual preacher who has graduated from a sound preaching school. This way they can know for sure that the doctrine that will be taught to the Spanish brethren will be sound. There are several preaching schools that are graduating bilingual preachers.
Recommend Sound Websites Where Other Cultures Can Learn About The Word of God
With the use of the internet, we have come to a point in which we have a lot of written material that can teach the gospel to other cultures. Let us be familiar with these websites and recommend them to our friends. My personal website is: www.regresandoalabiblia.com (backtothebible). On this website you can find a lot of Spanish material that has been written by me. There is also a Bible correspondence course that I wrote, and that you can use to teach Spanish-speaking friends the gospel of Christ. There is also the www.housetohouse.com website and www.enfoquebiblico.com These are great avenues to teach people the gospel of Christ. Let us take the time to recommend these websites. Personally, I get emails from people all over the world that have benefited from the material that I have written. Let us make good use of the technology we have to teach others the gospel of Christ.
Preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to other cultures is a command from God for His church. This task will produce great encouragement in our lives. Therefore, let us be doers of God’s Word and not hearers only. Let us reach out to as many people as possible with the saving message of Christ. May the Lord give us the wisdom and the strength to carry out this noble task of helping others get to heaven. Always remember that God would have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). To God be the glory in everything we do, especially in preaching the gospel to the world.
Willie A. Alvarenga
P.O. BOX 210667
Bedford, TX 76095
(817) 268 3222; 681 4543