We noted yesterday that the apostles were sent to two groups, the converted and the unconverted. What was the messages that they would bring to those groups?
As far as the unconverted were concerned, the message to be brought to them was the gospel. The word ‘gospel’ means good news, so if the message conveyed to people does not contain good news it is not the message that Jesus wanted his apostles to convey. So we need to find out what it means to pass on the message of the gospel.
We don’t pass on the gospel if all we do is point out the sins of people to them. Nor do we spread the gospel if all we tell them is that they are going to hell. The gospel is the message that tells sinners how they can be saved from going to a lost eternity. Of course, we need to tell people that they are sinners, because otherwise why would they need a Saviour? The gospel means telling people that they will be forgiven by God if they repent of their sins and trust in Jesus, who died for sinners and was raised from the dead. We can see from the Book of Acts that the apostles did this. They told the gospel simply, personally and wooingly.
Then there were the messages that they were to give to the converted once they had responded to the gospel. We find what they had to say in this regard when we read the various writings of the New Testament. Of course, there are many ways of outlining or summarising the message that the apostles and their colleagues communicated to the converted. For the present, I want to point out five aspects of their message that was there when they were alive and is still required from all those who come into the church of Jesus.
First, they taught that the converted have to hold tight to the doctrines that the apostles taught. We hold on to things that are precious to us. Second, they said that the religion of the converted involves the heart, that it is a religion of love. Third, they informed the converted that God hears and answers prayer. Fourth, they stressed to the converted the necessity of a holy life, which basically means becoming like Jesus. Fifth, they comforted the converted by pointing out to them the certain hope they had about the future because of Jesus and the incredible activities he would engage in when he returned.
What wonderful messages the apostles were instructed to pass on to their hearers.