James W. Boyd
Just before our Lord ascended into heaven to assume his position on the throne of the universe, he left a command which was both a charge and a challenge to all who would walk under his banner. That charge has become the marching orders of the church of Christ. Jesus said, "All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them unto the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." (Matt. 28:18-20). This command was the impelling power which sent the early Christians "about preaching the word," and it must once again become an imminent impulsion with every child of God until this generation can also say that the gospel has been "preached in all creation under heaven. "
These marching orders issued by the Great Commander-in-Chief resulted in action which would today be termed fanatical. Many men sold their houses and their land; others deserted their homes instead of their Savior and so were scattered abroad. Some changed both their religion and their occupation. Some were imprisoned, some banished from society. A goodly number made the supreme sacrifice. But before these sainted souls are stigmatized as fanciful fanatics, let the world take note of the terrific impact which they had upon a decaying civilization. These devoted disciples of the first century accepted their marching orders, and in keeping with their Master's wishes, quite literally "turned the world upside down." (Acts 17:6).
The marching orders have riot changed. Neither has the condition of the world, for in this age it is still wrong side up. How then can we allow the Lord's charge to have a different effect upon our lives? We, too must be willing to leave our "father's house" and our "kindred" and go into the places where the lost are calling. Preachers, instead of seeking to be cushioned with the comforts of a "life-time contract" in one community, must open their ears to the Macedonian call which is so loudly echoing from countless cities destitute of spiritual truth. Every evangelist should make it his aim, at least once during his life, to preach the gospel where Christ has not been named. (See Rom. 15:20). The challenge of Christ and the condition of the cosmos make this imperative. But the marching orders reach deeper than this. Brethren everywhere need to be awakened to the fertile fields which await the hay-vest sickle. Savable souls abound in areas of the globe that we have hardly thought about, and they are plentiful in sections of the country not remotely removed from our "strongholds." Christian people, with faith in their hearts and God's word in their hands, need to go into the highways and byways seeking those who have fallen by the wayside, The Lord's work must be supported by the personal efforts of every Christian. The preaching of the gospel must extend beyond the confines of our "meeting-houses" to the very boundaries of the human race. When brethren's fervor for furthering the cause of Christ reaches the stage which critics term fanatical then perhaps the world will both largely note and long remember what we have done here.
May we profit by the mistake of a defeated king of the ancient world. The army of Sparta was once invading the country of Thrace, and as they crossed the Hellespont, the king sent to the people of the different regions asking whether he should march through their country as a friend or as a foe. Most of the regions replied, "By all means as a friend." But the king of Macedonia said, "I will take time to consider it. " The king of Sparta quickly answered this indecision. "Then let him consider it, but meantime we march, we march." And brethren, it is just so with the spiritual hosts of wickedness. While congregations are considering the possibility of helping in mission work, the army of Satan is marching. While gospel preachers hesitate in their decision to go into ALL the world, the army of Satan is marching. During the lingering lull of our indecision and inactivity, souls are trampled under by the truding feet of time. Let us not linger lest we lose the precious souls for which the Lord died. Remember, these are your marching orders too.