Advancing the gospel

By Ted Traylor

In the closing two verses of the book of Acts, Paul is imprisoned in his own home. Nero is on the throne of the Roman Empire. There is no religious liberty and the preacher is in jail. Yet, the gospel is advancing. How can that be?

I find several principles at work to advance the gospel is a culture that wants to thwart the Good News.

1. Faithful stewardship advances the gospel.
Paul is in his own rented quarters. He is paying for the house in which he resides. The apostle was a great fundraiser. We know he had gifts that came to him, and we know he sent gifts out to others. In our churches, we need to make sure that evangelism is a priority item in the budget. We must fund our vision. If the vision is to win the lost, make certain that work is adequately funded. For Southern Baptists that should include faithful giving through the Cooperative Program, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering®.

2. Kingdom preaching advances the gospel.
Paul was preaching the kingdom of God from his rented quarters. Being a Bible preacher is imperative in doing the work of evangelism. God’s Word will not return empty. I would encourage every pastor who wants to win souls to be a faithful and consistent preacher of the Word.

3. Faith-based writing advances the gospel.
Paul wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon from this jail cell. The use of one’s pen is important in evangelism. I am not suggesting we will write scripture. However, many servants of the Lord have a book, a blog and/or website. We need to be writing about the things of God. Books like Pilgrims Progress have touched the people of the world. Be a writer.

4. Developing disciples advances the gospel.
Paul was welcoming all who came to him. And his work included teaching concerning the Lord Jesus. This is how we train and develop soul winners. We must teach the Christ life. We not only have a changed life, but an exchanged life. It is Christ in you who is the hope of Glory. Paul developed Luke, Timothy , Demas, Epaphras, Tychicus and others in his jail house.

5. Personal evangelism advances the gospel.
We know from the book of Philemon that the young slave Onesimus visited Paul in Rome. In Philemon 1:10, we learn that Paul lead the young slave to Christ before sending him home to Philemon. Nothing is more powerful in evangelism than one person telling another about Jesus. Gospel conversations and confrontations are essential in gospel advancement.

The Word of God is not bound (2 Timothy 2:9). You might place the preacher in jail, but you cannot lock up the gospel. It is the power of God unto salvation. Some try to stand in the way of the gospel, but it cannot be stopped. We dare not hinder the work of evangelism. We must ever be on the team of those advancing the gospel. Even if we have to do it from a jail cell.

Published May 30, 2018

Ted Traylor

Since 1990 Dr. Ted Traylor is the pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida. His weekly radio and television ministry, At the Heart of Things, reaches thousands of homes along the Gulf Coast and through weekly podcasts and streaming. Dr. Traylor’s bold and practical preaching brings people to a fresh understanding of God’s Word and challenges them to become bondservants for Christ. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Religion from Samford University in 1997 and a Master of Divinity (1981) and Doctor of Ministry (1986) degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to serving as First Vice-President of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000 and President of the Florida Baptist Convention in 1995, Dr. Traylor was President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2004 Pastors’ Conference, 2010 Pensacola Bay Baptist Association moderator, and was part of the 2010 Great Commission Resurgence Task force team. Currently Dr. Traylor is proud to serve on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes board for the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!).