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FIRST-PERSON: Preach, preach, preach everywhere


Editor’s note: Excerpted with permission from Preaching: A Sermon Collection by Charles H. Spurgeon, edited by Jason K. Allen. Copyright 2024, B&H Publishing.

“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)

Before our Lord gave his disciples this commission, he addressed them in tones of serious rebuke. You will observe that, appearing unto the eleven as they sat at dinner, “he upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart because, they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.” So honorable an estimation did he set upon testimony; so marked a censure did he pronounce upon those who neglected it. The reprimand they received on such an occasion may well serve as a caution to us, for unbelief unfits the Christian for service. It is in proportion to our personal faith in the gospel that we become competent witnesses for teaching it to others. Each one of us who would get credit for sincerity must say with David, “I believed, therefore have I spoken,” or else a want of faith of ourselves will effectually deprive our speech of all its power over our fellow men.

There can be little doubt that one reason why Christianity is not so aggressive now as it once was, and exerts not everywhere the influence it had in apostolic times, is the feebleness of our faith in Christ as compared with the full assurance of faith exercised by the men of those days. In vain you hide a timid heart behind a modest face when the attitude we should show and the living force that should constrain us is a bold reliance upon the power of the Holy Spirit and a deep conviction of the might of the truth which we are taught to deliver. Brothers, if there is to be a revival of religion, it must begin at home. Our own souls must first of all be filled with holy faith and burning enthusiasm, and then shall we be strong to do exploits and to win provinces for the scepter of King Jesus.

Having thus made a note upon the context, I want you to refer to a parallel passage in Matthew. There we learn that in delivering this commission our Lord assigned a remarkable reason for it, and one that intimately concerned himself. “All power,” he said, “is given unto me in heaven and in earth, go you therefore and teach all nations” These words were adapted to strengthen the faith of his disciples, of whom it had been just observed that “some doubted.” Do you not see the point of this announcement? Jesus of Nazareth, being raised from the dead, tells his apostles that he is now invested with universal supremacy as the Son of Man. Therefore he issues a decree of grace, calling on all people of every clime and kindred to believe the gospel with a promise of personal salvation to each and every one who believes. With such authority is this mandate clothed, and so imperative the duty of all men everywhere to repent, that they who do not believe are threatened with a certain penalty of damnation. This royal ordinance he will have published throughout the whole world, but he enjoins it on all the messengers that those who bear the tidings should be thoroughly impressed with the sovereignty of him who sends them. Let the words then ring in your ears, “Go ye therefore.” They sound like the music of that glad acclaim that hails the Redeemer installed with power, holding the insignia of power in his possession, exercising the full rights of legitimate power, and entrusting his disciples with a commission founded on that power, “Go ye into all the world.”

Yet another remark before we proceed to the text. The commission we are about to deal with was the last the Lord gave to his disciples before he was taken away from them. We prize greatly the last words of his departing servants, how shall we sufficiently value the parting words of our ascending Master? Injunctions left us by those who have gone to glory have great weight upon our spirits; let obedient lovers of Christ see to it that they act according to the last will and testament, the last desire expressed by their risen Lord.

I claim for my text peculiar attention from every disciple of Jesus, not indeed as if it were a mournful entreaty but rather as a solemn charge. You remember Christ’s own parable, “The kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.”[2] Look at this as the last direction Jesus gives to his stewards before “he went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.” It seems to me that as when the mantle of Elijah fell upon Elisha, Elisha would have been much to blame if he had not caught it up, so when these words fell from our ascending Savior before the clouds concealed him from the disciples’ sight, we ought to take them up with holy reverence. Since he has left them as his parting mantle, they ought to be lovingly cherished and scrupulously obeyed.

Come we, then, to invite your earnest heed to the command the Savior here gives: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” It was given to the apostles representatively. They represent the whole body of the faithful. To every converted man and woman this commission is given. I grant you there is a specialty to those gifted and called to surrender themselves wholly to the work of the ministry, but their office in the visible church offers no excuse for the discharge of those functions that pertain to every member of the body of Christ in particular. It is the universal command of Christ to every believer: “Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

    About the Author

  • Charles Spurgeon

    Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) served as the Pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England for nearly forty years and is the founder of Spurgeon’s College. Having preached to over 10 million people in his lifetime and being widely considered the “Prince of Preachers,” Spurgeon published more words in the English language than any other Christian in history and baptized more than 14,000 converts.

    Read All by Charles Spurgeon ›