Friday, March 2, 2012


Mark 16:15, “And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.’” (ESV)

The engine room of the Nuclear Submarine on which I served was a complex assembly of nuclear, electrical, and mechanical equipment. An Engineering Officer was tasked with overseeing the men in maintaining its safe and functional operation. But the Engineering Officer was not always there in the engine room. In his absence, he left to us “Standing Orders”—his specific commands regarding our responsibilities. These Standing Orders, were written in a “Night Order Book” and remained in effect until they were rescinded.

Our Engineering Officer was not particularly well liked by his crew. One of the enlisted men decided that he would express his disapproval in an unusual way. He took the Night Order book—a heavy duty, government issue, green-covered notebook—and work to fold it in half. Back and forth, for an entire night, he folded the cover and the pages. In the end the book was still readable, but hardly recognizable. The Engineering Officer was none too pleased with what he found—we were all forced to stand at attention in the Engine Room until the culprit was identified. Any disdain for the standing orders of the Engineering Officer, that would work to threaten the well-being of the boat and crew, could not be tolerated.

We’ve been issued standing orders by the Lord Jesus Himself. His final words to His followers, His Great commission, are inscribed in our verse. His command to us—“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel” (Cf. Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). Our glorious Lord has commissioned us to declare a glorious message (1 Timothy 1:11) regarding His glorious work (1 Corinthians 1:18). The message bears the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). It is a matter of first importance (1 Corinthians 15:3), which is to remain preeminent in every aspect of the church’s ministry (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Many have disdained the standing order. Doubting the power of Christ and His gospel to save, they have devised other man-made schemes to build gospel-less churches. But let us be careful to treasure the standing orders of our Lord Jesus. As His ambassadors we are here to do His bidding. The proclamation of the gospel message is His Great Commission to us.

J. C. Ryle commented on our text: “The Lord Jesus would have us know that all the world needs the Gospel. In every quarter of the globe man is the same, sinful, corrupt, and alienated from God. Civilized or uncivilized, in China, or in Africa, he is by nature everywhere the same--without knowledge, without holiness, without faith, and without love. Wherever we see a child of Adam, whatever be his color, we see one whose heart is wicked, and who needs the blood of Christ, the renewing of the Holy Spirit, and reconciliation with God. The Lord Jesus would have us know that the salvation of the Gospel is to be offered freely to all mankind. The glad tidings that "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son," and that "Christ has died for the ungodly," is to be proclaimed freely "to every creature." We are not justified in making any exception in the proclamation. We have no warrant for limiting the offer to the elect. We come short of the fullness of Christ's words, and take away from the breadth of His sayings, if we shrink from telling any one, "God is full of love to you, Christ is willing to save you." "Whoever will, let him take the water of life freely." (Rev. 22:17.) Let us see in these words of Christ, the strongest argument in favor of missionary work, both at home and abroad. Remembering these words, let us be unwearied in trying to do good to the souls of all mankind. If we cannot go to the heathen in China and India, let us seek to enlighten the darkness which we shall easily find within reach of our own door. Let us labor on, unmoved by the sneers and taunts of those who disapprove missionary operations, and hold them up to scorn. We may well pity such people. They only show their ignorance, both of Scripture and of Christ's will. They understand neither what they say, nor what they affirm.”

Pastor Jerry

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