Church of Christ
Mission USA
Hindrances To The Gospel

By Perry Sexton

 
      The gospel may be hindered in many ways: by circumstances beyond our control; by the deliberate actions of evil workers; by those who reject the truth; by hypocrites in the church; by our own careless words or actions, etc. But we often overlook the fact that we are hindering the gospel if we are not spreading the gospel as is our responsibility. If we as God’s people do not spread the truth, who will? If we do not evangelize, how will the gospel be taught to all nations?

      It starts at home. If we do not bring up our children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord," who will (Eph 6:4)? If we do not teach our neighbors the truth, who will? If we do not carry the gospel to the next town, the next county, the next state, and the next country where the church is not, who will? God has given this great treasure to His people (II Cor. 4:7) and the responsibility thereof (Matt. 18:18-20; Mark 16:15, 16). Yes, it starts at home, but it certainly does not end there! The same is true of charity.

      It is a sad state to see those cleansed by the blood of Christ not living according to the doctrine of Christ (cp. II John 9; II Thess. 3:6; Heb. 4:11; II Pet. 2:20-22). They are hindering the kingdom of God! It is sad to see the blood bought church not doing the works of Christ (consider the church at Ephesus, Pergumos, Thyatira, Sardis and Laodicea: Rev. 2:1ff). They are greatly hindering the gospel! Many churches have been started by some preacher(s) and workers of other congregation coming into their area and proclaiming the word of God. But, they themselves have not carried on this propagation. They have broken the lineage, the way of God to establish His church and thereby breaking the word of God! They are not prosperous in God’s work. I have known of congregations receiving much help from other congregations in order to become established, but when established, they selfishly hoarded their members and their (rather God’s) money. Let us learn from the honey bees. Each year they send out swarms in order to propagate their species. We have the example and command to spread God’s word – to sow the seed. Let us be busy as bees in God’s work and therefore sweet: "For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:" (II Cor: 2:15).

      Let us note some warnings of which we need to be mindful. Paul warned: "But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak" (I Cor. 8:9). Paul, himself, was careful to do nothing that would hinder the gospel: "... but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ" (I Cor. 9:12). By whatever way the gospel is hindered it is a most serious matter! Jesus warned: "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Mat. 18:6). And pronounced: "Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered" (Luke 11:52).

      Although Paul was careful to do nothing to hinder the gospel himself, he was hindered by others and by circumstances beyond his control: "Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles." (Rom 1:13); "For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you" (Rom 15:22); "Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us" (I Thess. 2:18). But this did not stop the apostle, he pressed on sowing the seed of the kingdom.

      Many among us are sowing impure seed: some binding where God has not bound while others are loosening where God has not (cp. Col. 3:17). Both cases are serious errors! However, these often show more zeal than we. Many times we find them going to new ground while many among us are plowing the same old hard ground. I suppose it would be amazing to know of the many overlapping efforts are put forth in some areas, while in many places nothing or very little is being done. Certainly, saturating an area with truth is good, except when other areas are neglected, perhaps altogether. Remember the commission is to "Go ye into all the world" (Mark 16:15). Surely it would astound us if we knew of the millions of dollars spent in the Bible belt on spreading the gospel while others, even in this country, go without! THINK of our Captain’s orders to us: "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15 cp. Matt. 28:18-20). Let us examine our evangelistic efforts. Is it to plow the same old rocky soil over and over again while good soil may lie in waste?

   We may very well be zealous in preaching and teaching the gospel by every means available to us, but woefully short in spreading the gospel to others out of "our area." Are we hindering the saving gospel, for which our Lord died, by not proclaiming it far and wide?

   Let us guard our own souls and not be a stumbling block to others and never hinder good works, but abound in them as our brother Paul admonished: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (I Cor. 15:58).  ♥