The Gospel message 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). No matter who or what the individual may be — king or beggar, rich or poor, educated or illiterate — the message of the Gospel is for all. It is by this message that man can learn what to do to obtain the grace God offers to all.
The Apostle Paul worked to spread the Gospel message to as many as possible during his work. He 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.” Paul longed for this crown, but it was for the good of mankind that he kept working.
Peter 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). He also was a dedicated solider of the cross who preached the Gospel faithfully, even though religious leaders of his day told him to stop doing so (Acts 4:19-20).
The “crown” will be worn by all those who loyally serve the king of kings. Any person who obeys the Gospel and lives 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, meaning he has made the atonement for all men (1 John 2:2).
Paul wrote that the Gospel is the “power of God unto salvation.” The Gospel message is the “key” to man’s salvation. When Jesus spoke to Peter near the coast of Caesarea Philippi, he said 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 and 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).
The crown can be obtained if one truly wants to have it.
Editor’s note: This is part one of a two-part series.