Each local church plays a vital role in the great commission. If we desire to see the expanse of the gospel in our nation and the world, there must be evangelists in local churches who keep the fires burning. The Church today needs ministers of the gospel who emulate the Lord Jesus Christ in both theology and practice. It was our Lord himself who sought the lost on the mountainside and in the streets. He was, to all intents and purposes, a street evangelist. The Church today has been commissioned by the risen and ascended Saviour to “go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15). Sadly the great commission has become the great omission:
The gospel command is so little obeyed that one would imagine that it ran thus, ‘Go into your own place of worship and preach the gospel to the few creatures who will come inside.’ ‘Go ye into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in’ … we ought actually to go into the streets and lanes and highways, for there are lurkers in the hedges, tramps on the highway, street-walkers, and lane-haunters, whom we shall never reach unless we pursue them into their own domains.
The Apostle Paul was a man who was burdened for the souls of men. In the opening chapter of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, we see his heart throbbing for the lost in Rome. Paul was a man who emulated the Lord Jesus Christ. In this brief devotion, I want to walk you simply through Romans 1:13-15. As we walk through this text, I want you to see the soul-winning heart of the Apostle Paul. It is my prayer that through this brief devotion, the Lord would be gracious in stir your heart with the great desire of making His name known among the nations.
Now, let us walk through the text and let the text speak! First, in verse 13, Paul shows us that his intention to go to Rome was for the great purpose of reaping a harvest among the lost. In other words, Paul wanted to go to Rome with the goal of bringing the gospel to the lost. The Apostle writes: “I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.”
Second, in verse 14, Paul sensed a divine obligation to bring the gospel to all peoples. Paul writes: “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.” Now, what is Paul talking about? Well, very simply, when you become a believer in Jesus Christ, the riches of the gospel were deposited into your account. By grace, you are a recipient of the gospel and you are called to steward this gospel. You are called to pass on this gospel to others (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). Paul received the treasure of the gospel by grace alone and he understood the divine obligation to properly steward this great treasure. How can the gospel be properly stewarded? It must deeply affect our souls each day and it must be delivered to others.
Third, Paul was eager to preach the gospel. It is one thing to be under obligation to preach the gospel. It is another thing to be eager and earnest to share the gospel. In verse 15, Paul writes: “So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.” The heart of the Apostle throbbed to preach the gospel. This verse gives us a picture of a track-runner, ready to spring forward from the starting blocks. He is leaning forward, being ready and eager to sprint forward. Whatever opportunity may come before you, there must be this eagerness to preach Jesus Christ!
In 1732, a ship left a European harbor to set sail to the West Indies. Two young Moravian missionaries found themselves on the ship. Their intent was to reach the lost in the West Indies. Suffering would await. Yet, as the ship sailed away from the harbor, the young men cried out to their families the following statement: “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering.” These men had a Christlike love about them. They followed the footsteps of Paul as he followed Christ.
As we conclude, I want to ask you if you resemble the Apostle Paul as he imitates the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 13:7)? Do you have something of the heart of the Saviour toward the lost? Are you a broken-hearted evangelist, weeping over the souls of men? Is it your earnest desire to preach the gospel and reap a great harvest among the lost? Do you understand your sense of obligation to steward this gospel that you have been given by grace? Are you eager to advance the gospel in our day? Today, the world is plagued with fear and death. We have the only message that will bring light into darkness – the gospel of Jesus Christ.
 Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include Mark 16:9-20. For the purpose of this study, Mark 16:15 will be used as a great commission text since Spurgeon used this passage greatly. For an example of this, see C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students (1894; repr., Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954), 255-256.