When Judy and I were first married, we lived in a mobile home. Despite the bad reputation of “trailer park” living, it was highly affordable and opened wonderful doors for ministry. Long before we bought it, our mobile home was pulled in behind a truck and backed into place. Workers situated it on concrete supports and removed wheels, so technically it was no longer mobile. Believe it or not, 36 years later our “no-longer-mobile home” teaches me a valuable lesson.
When we look carefully, the gospel has two parts—both of which Jesus established. One is the amazing message that transforms lives. Paul declared, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1.16a, ESV). That is the essential payload of the good news, and we thank Jesus for this outstanding gift!
The other part of the gospel is not quite as evident, so let’s look at John 17 which we refer to as Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer. This is really a prayer for His disciples, and in these 26 verses He mentions them over 40 times. Obviously, they (and we!) were heavy on His heart that evening. But look at verse 4: “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” Past tense; the work is done! Jesus accomplished the work. Yet He is not speaking of His atoning work, because He said this before the cross. No, our Lord is speaking of the work of establishing the other part of the gospel: the vehicle that carries it far and wide. He completed the work of raising up disciples who would go and raise up more disciples, who would in turn go and do the same—right down to you and me today (indeed, you’ll see yourself in verse 20).
Today, the message of the gospel is as powerful and life-changing as it was on day one. But the vehicle of the gospel is vastly broken. Precious few disciples actually carry the gospel message these days, and instead we rely on spiritually lost people to come to us. The gospel vehicle has become like our mobile home—a home, but no longer mobile, propped up on blocks and eagerly hoping the world will come to us. And all the while, the vast majority of people are not being exposed to the life-changing message that Jesus desperately wants them to hear.
Dear friends, what will it take to re-capture the gospel vehicle that our Savior established long ago? Imagine the massive impact on the nations if the wheels of the gospel were in full working order once again.
The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2.2 (NASB)