Preaching Where Christ Has Not Been Named
By David J. Stewart | June 2019
Romans 15:20, “Yea,
so have I strived to preach the gospel, not
where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation.”
What does the Scripture mean in Romans 15:20? What did the apostle Paul mean when he said, “lest I should build upon another man's foundation.” In Romans 15:20, Paul was determined to find virgin territory where the Gospel had never been preached. Why? If we examine the surrounding context of this Bible verse, it becomes clear that Paul had a Biblical precedent for his method of soulwinning. ...
Romans 15:21, “But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.”
Paul is referring to a quote from the Old Testament book of Isaiah...
Isaiah 52:15, “So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.”
Paul was learned in the Old Testament Scripture very well, having been trained as a strict Pharisee. Like Christ, Paul wanted to fulfill the Scriptures. Why would Paul revisit places where the Gospel had already been preached, when the Scripture plainly say: “for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider” (Isaiah 52:15b). Paul understood that the Gospel needed to be preached to the world. Jesus had told His disciples the same thing, right before He miraculously ascended into the heavens. Acts1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Every Bible-believing local New Testament church should have a local focus to win souls, and a regional focus, and a national focus, and a worldwide missionary focus. I recommend that every church have a big sign at the door, just before church members leave the building, which reads: “YOU ARE NOW ENTERING THE MISSION FIELD!”
Paul said that he would witness to a lost person TWICE, and then move on if they refused to heed God's words...
Titus 3:10-11, “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.”
Paul wanted to be as effective for the Lord as possible. By going to virgin territory to preach the Gospel, he would have the biggest impact for the Lord, rather than going over territory where the Gospel had already been preached. Paul further says in Romans 15 that he hasn't preached the Gospel in Spain yet, but it eager to do so...
Romans 15:20-24, “Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand. For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you. But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you; Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.”
I could not find any Biblical evidence indicating that Paul ever actually made it to Spain. We don't know.
I love what Paul said in the preceding Scripture passage, which reminded me of Pastor Steven Anderson's aggressive soulwinning church in Tempe, Arizona: “But now having no more place in these parts.” Paul had gone door-to-door soulwinning (Acts 20:20), and ran out of doors to knock on, so now he is eager to preach the Gospel elsewhere in a new place. That is a good problem to have!
I think we need to use some wisdom in discerning this passage of Scripture. If you think about it, it would be unwise today to be reluctant not to go over a certain territory again and again with the Gospel. The reasons why are numerous:
- People are always moving, coming and going to an area.
- Different people in a home often answer the door.
- The Devil's religious cults (especially Jehovah's Witnesses) never give up!
- People's life circumstances change, which might make them more receptive to the Gospel.
We need to keep in mind that the 'GOOD NEWS' of Jesus Christ crucified, buried and risen was brand new to the world, and Paul wanted to get that message out as quickly as possible, as far and wide as God's Holy Spirit enabled him. Paul wanted to make every day of his remaining life count for the Gospel, touching upon as many new areas as possible with the Word of God. Today it is somewhat different, because the Gospel is been preached to all four corners of the world.
I do agree with Pastor Steven Anderson that if we go to an area to preach, and it is unreceptive to the Gospel, then we ought to go elsewhere to a place that is receptive. That seems like common sense to me; yet I once heard a missionary to Ireland almost apologize to the church supporting him all those years, for only leading ONE PERSON to the Lord in 20 years! That's messed up! A bunch of churches spent $1,000,000 over 20 years to support ONE MISSIONARY, who had ONE CONVERT in that time. That is not the most effective way to spend God's money, is it. Like Paul, we should desire to be as effective as possible with the resources God has entrusted to us!
What Romans 15:20 Doesn't Mean (In My Humble Opinion)
I admit that at first glance, I was thrown off myself of the actual meaning of Romans 15:20. At a glance, if we examine this single Bible verse by itself, it appears that the apostle Paul is concerned about being ethical toward his ministry peers. However, as I have shown you, if we continue reading to verse 21, Paul clearly explains his intent to fulfill the prophecy found in Isaiah 52:15, to preach the Gospel to those who haven't heard it yet. This has NOTHING to do with being ethical to other ministers. When Paul says that he doesn't want to build upon another man's foundation, it is not to avoid being unethical; but rather, to fulfill an Old Testament prophesy to preach the Gospel to those who haven't heard it yet.
What got me thinking is the disturbing idea, that only one minister is responsible for a certain geographical area with the Gospel. That is nonsense my friend! Would be to God that we had an army of soulwinning preachers who would go across the world with the Gospel, to every place, in all nations, with the precious seed of the Gospel! I find absolutely nothing in this passage of Scripture, that says Paul was being ethical to his peers. Yet, ninety percent of Bible commentaries claim just that! No where in the Bible are we taught that two preachers ought not focus their soulwinning efforts upon the same geographical area.
Please don't misunderstand, I do believe in ministry ethics between ministers and churches (e.g., not stealing each other's members), but that is not what this Scripture passage is teaching. I think a more applicable passage for ethics is found in James 2:8, “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well.” If I were a pastor in a certain geographical area, I would welcome other pastors to work in the same vineyard. Matthew 9:37, “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.” Check your local white pages dear reader, for the number of taverns in your town versus churches, and you'll find that there are far more bars than churches (with rare exceptions)! So why not have more churches? Can we ever have enough local churches? I think not. I welcome them all, just so long as they are true to the New Testament pattern as given to us in the book of Acts of a soulwinning church.
We Are “Labourers Together” the Bible Says
May I offer some Biblical proof that Paul was not trying to be ethical toward other preachers. Paul said that he laid the only foundation which can be laid, which is Jesus Christ; but then, he says, another man built upon that foundation...
1st Corinthians 3:9-11, “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
From reading the preceding passage, it appears that “labourers together” refers to the soulwinner and the person that was led to Christ. However, I think it would be wise to include ALL persons involved in the mentoring of a believer, which I think is the Biblical understanding. Notice that Paul says: “But let every man take heed how he buildeth.” It is not normal for a Christian to lead someone to the Lord, and then no one else builds up that believer, except just that one soulwinner. Thus, I think it is clear in Romans 15:20 that Paul was simply wanting to go soulwinning in virgin territory with the Gospel of free grace, and not trying to avoid building upon another man's foundation to be ethical. The apostle plainly stated in 1st Corinthians that “WE ARE LABOURERS TOGETHER,” in the mentoring of new converts. Again, Scriptural “proof” of what I am teaching is found in the following passage:
1st Corinthians 3:4-8, “For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.”
Humbly, this passage proves my hypothesis that the phrase “we are labourers together” refers to more than merely Paul (who planted) and his convert (whom God alone saved); but rather, it also includes Apollos (who watered). One Christian wins a lost person to the Lord with the incorruptible seed of God's Word (Luke 8:11; 1st Peter 1:23), and then another Christian comes along at some later time and waters that seed (so the convert can be edified in the Lord), but in either case it was GOD ALONE WHO GAVE THE INCREASE. Getting a person saved is “increase.” They have gained the gift of eternal life by faith. Teaching a convert the Word of God is also “increase.” They are being edified (built up), growing in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, which comes from the Scriptures (1st Peter 2:2). Albeit, we must always remember as Christians that whether we lead someone to the Lord, or teach them the ways of Christ, it is God's Holy Spirit alone Who works in that person's soul. We have no right to boast or hold on to any praise or credit which we receive from men. ...
1st Corinthians 3:18-23, “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.”
In order for Paul to plant, and Apollos to water, obviously these two men had to labor in the same vineyard together. They labored in the same territory where Christ had been named. Therefore, if Paul was indeed teaching ethics in Romans 15:20, then 1st Corinthians 3:9 would make no sense. Paul and Apollos and Cephas were all ministering to the same church at Corinth. Clearly, the apostle Paul didn't have a problem ministering to the same territory with other preachers. Ultimately, it is God Who works in the souls of unsaved people to bring them to repentance unto the acknowledgement of the truth. No one has a right to boast of their soulwinning abilities. To God alone be the glory, Great things hath He done!
'The Great Commission' Seldom Obeyed in Churches
Most believers don't understand “The Great Commission.” Matthew 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Oftentimes churches go out and win people to Christ, and that's the end of the story. However, that is not what the Lord intended, and is not The Great Commission.
The Great Commission has four parts:
- PREACH THE GOSPEL
- WATER BAPTIZE NEW CONVERTS
- TEACH THEM THE WORD OF GOD
Kindly, most churches don't even go soulwinning, failing to get past step one of The Great Commission to “GO.” That is why Romans 10:15 says “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” God calls the “FEET” of the soulwinner beautiful, not the “mouth” or “tongue” or “lips,” because even the most eloquent words that can be spoken by human lips, are completely meaninglessness if our feet don't “GO” to carry that Gospel message to the lost. Sadly, most churches today have spiritual gout!
The apostle Paul obeyed The Great Commission to the fullest, indoctrinating his converts with the Words of God as the Lord intended. We see this evidence in Paul's epistles. New converts need mentoring. That is what I have done over the years through my website ministry, mentoring my web visitors, whom I have led to Christ through my many writings. They are my children in the Lord, as Paul called them. 3rd John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” Granted, my website ministry is not a church, because I cannot completely fulfill The Great Commission to baptize converts. Every convert ought to be water baptized (which is a person's public profession of faith in the Gospel). My ministry is a help to the churches, preaching the Gospel and helping to provide resources for new converts. Let me say loud and clear that my ministry cannot replace fellowship with a local New Testament church, nor have I ever encouraged people to come to my website as a substitute for seeking involvement in a local church. Albeit, if you cannot find a good church in your area, I am so glad and privileged to do all I can as a missionary to cyberspace to help you in Christ.
Remember, the ONLY foundation of Christianity is the precious Lord Jesus Christ. 1st Corinthians 3:11, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Amen! The Roman Catholic church (cult) claims to be build upon the apostle Peter. Well it must be, because Catholicism is certainly not based upon the Words of God! Mark 7:7-9, “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”
Paul and Peter Preached the Same Gospel
Although Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles, and Peter the Jews, the Bible plainly teaches that God is not a respecter of persons. Acts 10:34-35, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” Repeatedly in the New Testament we are taught that there is “NO DIFFERENCE” between the Jew and the Greek (e.g., Romans 1:16). Today it would be like one missionary being sent to China, and another to Sweden. These are merely different places to minister, but not different messages or Gospels.
Peter and Paul did not preach different Gospels. There is no Scriptural evidence to support the idea of more than ONE GOSPEL existing. In fact, we are sternly warned in Galatians 1:6-9 that there is ONLY ONE GOSPEL, and to beware of anyone who preaches “ANOTHER GOSPEL.” ...
Galatians 1:6-9, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
There has always been only one Gospel. Throughout the Old Testament, the only plan of salvation was through faith in the coming Messiah. Acts 10:43, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
I am against dispensational teaching (but I tolerate some of it, just so long as modern-day manmade Israel is not idolized), because it emphasis ISRAEL instead of emphasizing the preaching of 'THE GOSPEL.' I wrote this helpful article refuting Dispensationalism...
Dispensationalism makes 7 (or sometimes 8) divisions of the Bible, but God has already made TWO great divisions to His Word—OLD TESTAMENT and NEW TESTAMENT; Or, respectively, LAW and GRACE! That is how simple the Bible is—LAW and GRACE! The LAW shows us that we are sinners and cannot perfectly keep the commandments of God, no matter how diligently we may try. No man is capable to keep God's LAW perfectly. And then the LAW brings us to GRACE, to be saved through faith in Jesus Christ...
Galatians 3:24-26, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
Notice that we are all saved “BY FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS.” This is God's only plan of redemption for humanity, through the cross.
False Teachers in Churches Need To Be Exposed
The apostle Paul taught his partner and fellowhelper, Titus, to preach against false teachers, which corrupted entire households...
Titus 1:10-13, “For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.”
That is what my friend Pastor Max Younce has called me over the years—a fellowhelper to the truth. 3rd John 1:8, “We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.” I love that! Paul called Titus his fellowhelper in 2nd Corinthians 8:23, “Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.” Soulwinners are all fellowhelpers to the truth!
Out of necessity, I preach against certain corrupt so-called “churches,” that are not real New Testament churches, because they teach the heresy of Lordship Salvation, and promote the heresy of “turning away from sins” to be saved, and promote Satanic counterfeit Bible versions, which people need to be warned about (lest they be deceived by the Devil). How can a professed “church” be legitimate if they are teaching Calvinism (the teachings of heretic John Calvin) instead of the Gospel of free grace?
A sore evil in America today are bad pastors who go along to get along with corrupt peers in the clergy, refusing to expose heresy. Paul refused to suffer fools. If a man is wrong on the Gospel, he is not saved. If a man is wrong on repentance, he is not saved. If a man is wrong on the incorruptible seed of God's Word, he is not saved. How can a man be wrong on the “incorruptible seed” (1st Peter 1:23) by which we are “born again” and truly be saved? In every corrupt Baptist church that I am aware of (where Westcott's and Hort's modern Satanic Bible versions are sold and promoted), if anybody there is saved at all, it is only because the King James Bible is also present in their congregation. Woe unto the church that doesn't have the King James Bible at all!
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false
teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies...” —2nd Peter 2:1
END OF ARTICLE
'The Gospel' In Just One Minute (by Pastor Max D. Younce)
“A man can slip into hell with his hand on the door-knob of heaven.” —Evangelist Billy Sunday
BELIEVE “THE GOSPEL” 2B SAVED!
Confession Is Never A Requirement For Salvation
'The Gospel' In Just One Minute(by Pastor Max D. Younce)
“As a blind man has no idea of colors, so we have no idea of the manner
which the all-wise God perceives and understands all things.” —Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
Another Gospel Which Is Not Another (a red-hot MP3 by Dr. Curtis Hutson exposing Lordship Salvation)
“If you have to look at your life to prove that you are saved, it proves that you're not!” —Pastor Ralph Yankee Arnold; an excellent quote from the awesome YouTube sermon titled, “Why Lordship Salvation is WRONG! | MP3.”