How can Christians unite during COVID-19 to serve our neighbors?
MACARTHUR: This is when we need to show the joy in the Holy Spirit that Paul talks about in Romans 14. This is when we need to show the peace that surpasses all understanding in our hearts because we know we’re locked into an eternal redemption and we have an eternal inheritance laid up for us in heaven. This is the time for Christians to have joy, to demonstrate peace, and to declare their faith.
We also need to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many people think of their responsibility to witness and to give the gospel as kind of a confrontation, and it can be a little off-putting to confront somebody. You see examples of evangelism where you go to somebody, nail them to the law, and start an argument or a debate. But, when you go to Scripture, it’s very different.
We’re not called by the Great Commission to have an argument or even some kind of evidentiary presentation that includes the gospel; we’re called to proclaim the gospel. This goes back even to the Old Testament: “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all people” (Psalm 96:3). This is the time for us to take the opportunity to declare the gospel, not to decide whether we can win the argument with a nonbeliever.
There is a verb in the New Testament, kēryssō, that’s used many times. It’s translated a number of different ways, but it basically means “to herald.” Without newspapers, authorities would send a herald into town, and he would declare a message from the authorities to the people. That’s how we need to present the gospel. We’re not looking for some kind of argument or debate; we just herald the gospel of Jesus Christ. In Acts 13, that’s what Paul and his companions did—they declared the gospel. Then it says in the next verse, “And as many as were appointed unto eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).
LARSON: It sounds like you’re saying, just as preachers walk into the pulpit whether they’re able to gather by livestream or just in smaller communities, to just keep on keeping on?
MACARTHUR: Yes—and declare the gospel. Declare that God is God, that men are sinners, and that Christ has provided the sacrifice so that God can be just and the justifier of sinners. Just declare the gospel. It doesn’t have to be an argument or a debate. The declaration of the gospel is what we do. We proclaim the gospel and let the Holy Spirit take that and do what He will, as He has ordained.
This is a transcript of John MacArthur’s answer from The Gospel, the Church, and This Present Crisis from our Made in the Image of God event and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, just visit Ask.Ligonier.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.