The gospel is to be preached to the entire world.
This command was given by our Lord prior to his ascension back into heaven. “And he said unto them, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16).
It does not matter who the individual may be, be they king or beggar, rich or poor, educated or illiterate — the message of the gospel is for all. The taking of the gospel to all the world continues the mission of Jesus, for he came to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
Paul wrote that the gospel is the “power of God unto salvation.” It can and does change the life of all who will obey it, for the gospel message is the “key” to man’s salvation. Jesus told Peter he would give to him the “keys” to the kingdom of heaven. On the day of Pentecost Peter used the keys; he preached the gospel of Christ. He told of how Joel had prophesied of the day that had arrived, of how David spoke of the savior, telling of the resurrection of Christ. He told them how Jesus had performed miracles, signs and wonders which they knew about, and declaring “that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:14-36). They stopped his sermon and asked what they needed to do. Peter’s response was, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:38, 39).
Now what does this have to do with wearing a crown? Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:8, “Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: And not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
When Peter spoke about this crown he called it a crown of glory. “And when the chief shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (1 Peter 5:4).
The “crown of righteousness” will be worn by all those who serve loyally the king of kings. Any person who will obey the gospel and live righteously will be able to receive this crown. Jesus died to make this possible. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). John tells us that Jesus made propitiation for everyone. This means that Christ has made the atonement for all men (1 John 2:2).
The “crown” is obtainable, but it takes effort. All who desire to wear the “crown” must strive to obey God, by following his will. “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2 Timothy 2:5).
The Bible is God’s word, and in it we find the instructions on how to be pleasing to God. We are to present ourselves as sacrifices. We give ourselves to God. First, in obeying the gospel, by having faith that Jesus is the Son of God, turning from our sins, confessing Jesus as God’s Son before men and being baptized for the remission of our sins.
Secondly, we must continue to give ourselves. Paul wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).