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Page 137

Rejecting God's gospel invitation not only deeply insults God's condescending goodness, it also insults the deep expression of His love in Jesus Christ. In the sending, humiliation, and death of His Son, God opens His "Holy of holies," He bares His heart of love, revealing His wonderful, gracious desire to restore, and again commune with, man. To despise and reject the gospel invitation is to crucify the Son of God afresh, to count His blood as an unholy and worthless thing, and to despise the calling work of the Holy Spirit. Is it any wonder that Scripture speaks of the rejection of the gospel as a most frightening sin with most fearful consequences?

If non-elect, unbelieving sinners will not believe or respond to the external call, why should the gospel be preached to them? Why preach the gospel to all people indiscriminately? Why not preach only to the elect? The gospel must be preached, the external call must be brought, to all people for the following five reasons:

1. The gospel must be preached to all because it is God's command to do so. God's revealed will, His express command, is to "preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:9). In His secret will and decree, God knows who His elect are, but we do not. God instructs us to obey His revealed will and commands: "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the works of this law" (Deuteronomy 29:29).

We may not strive to be wiser than God nor attempt to place contradictions between God's revealed and secret will. We are commanded to sow the seed of the gospel everywhere, but to leave the increase of it to the Lord.


    In the vision recorded in Ezekiel 37, we read that God sent Ezekiel into a valley which was full of very dry, dead bones. God commanded him to preach to these dead bones and say, "O ye dry bones, hear the Word of the LORD" (Ezekiel 37:4).

    Does this make sense? Can dead, dry bones respond to the Word of the LORD?

    God asked Ezekiel, "Son of man, can these bones live?" What did Ezekiel answer? "O Lord God, Thou knowest" (Ezekiel 37:3).


    How does this example illustrate God's command to preach the gospel to every creature - including those dead in sin - because it is His command to do so?

 

Then began He to upbraid the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not:

Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.

And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

- Matthew 11:20-24

The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: becuase they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

- Matthew 12:41-42

For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him.

- Hebrews 2:2-3

 

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