A Letter to the Church by R.T. Kendall
Today, I wanted to share a letter to all of us from R.T. Kendall. One of the great features from The Mission of God Study Bible is “The Letters to the Church.” We were blessed to have some of our “older brothers” contribute some great encouragement to those of us who can learn from their journeys.
Over the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Dr. Kendall. Having been born in Kentucky, he eventually made his way to Oxford University where he earned a Doctor of Philosophy. Then, from 1977 – 2002, he served as the senior minister of Westminster Chapel in London, England. Additionally, Dr. Kendall has authored over fifty books including Total Forgiveness.
Please share the link with someone who might need this encouragement and challenge today.
A Letter to the Church by R.T. Kendall
The Bible in a nutshell, said Martin Luther, is contained in John 3:16: “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” These words unveil the Gospel of Jesus Christ: (1) why He came—namely, to die; (2) what motivated God to send Him—His love for the world; (3) who Jesus is—God’s one and only Son, the God-man; (4) how we receive His benefit—by faith alone; (5) exactly what that benefit is—eternal life; and (6) the consequence of not receiving Him—eternal punishment.
Why is our mandate to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ so important? The answer is, because it mirrors the very heartbeat of God. It means more to God than anything else. What Jesus did by dying on a cross for our sins is the most important thing that God ever conceived or did. Whereas all things in God’s creation are important to Him—its beauty, its being sustained by the word of His power (Heb 1:3), His goodness to all humankind—called ‘common grace’ by theologians, nothing parallels the role of His Son. In a word: God sent His Son into the world to die on a cross so that we might go to Heaven and not to Hell when we die.
Therefore if you and I want to understand the God of the Bible we need to get in touch with His heart. His beloved Son and what He did by shedding His blood means more to God Almighty than anything else. God is determined that Jesus Christ should see the agony of His death and be satisfied (Is 53:11). This satisfaction comes about essentially in two ways: (1) when the blood of Jesus pacified the wrath and justice of God, and (2) when the message of the Cross is carried to the entire world.
Had He chosen to, God could have saved the world by the death of Jesus alone—His perfect faith without our faith. This would have meant universalism, the idea that all are saved whether or not they hear and believe the Gospel. But God designed our salvation to be carried out “from faith to faith” (Rm 1:17), that Jesus’ substitutionary work on the cross be ratified by our own personal faith (Rm 3:22; Gal 2:16). Our faith—the ability to believe—comes only by hearing the message (Rm 10:17) applied by the Holy Spirit (2Th 2:13). In His infinite wisdom it pleased God by the foolishness of what is preached to save people (1Co 1:21).
This means that you and I have been given a mission. It is the most glorious calling, privilege, and responsibility in the whole world. It is carrying on what Jesus started. ‘As the Father has sent Me, I also send you’ (Jn 20:21). You and I have been dignified with the task of telling everybody we meet that God sent His Son into the world to die on a cross in order that we might go to Heaven and not to Hell when we die.
Have you ever wondered about the possibility that God might use you—and nobody else—to see a certain person converted? And have you ever thought about the possibility that you may be the only person who shares this Good News with that person? This is therefore a task for every one of us. We should not leave this task to the great preachers and evangelists of this world. God may use them, yes. But it is our mandate to speak to every man and woman as if no one else will do so, and then present the Gospel to them as if their destiny were in our hands.
Have you ever personally led a soul to Jesus Christ?
This matter was so important to the great Apostle Paul that he said, “To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some. Now I do all this because of the gospel, so I may become a partner in its benefits” (1Co 9:22-23).
This mission, then, is the chief calling of the Church. We must never forget this. It would be easy to be diverted by other things that concern us, and then forget our primary calling. We must feed the poor, be salt and light to the world, pray for our leaders, get involved in issues that reflect the righteousness that exalts a nation (Pr 4:34), yes. But at the end of the day the final direction from our Lord Jesus just before He ascended to heaven was to preach the Gospel to every person and make disciples out of them (Mt 28:19). We can learn from church history that those nations into which the Gospel penetrated were blessed in countless other ways, such as raising their standard of living.
But the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. That is our mission.