From time to time we have people come to the door to preach the gospel. This is not that unusual and it must be tough for those who do this work as many people become hostile or simply slam the door in their faces.
In this section of scripture we see that Jesus sent out the twelve to go and preach the gospel to the people in the surrounding towns and villages. Perhaps this is where the people today got the idea to do door to door ministry. But there was one significant difference when Jesus sent the disciples out.
The BIG Difference
When Jesus sent the twelve out to preach he did one thing first. He gave them the power and authority to go out and heal sicknesses and release people from demons first.
Why is this of interest? Simply because the miraculous gifts that were given were used to support the ministering of the word. The healings and casting out of demons that the disciples did while spreading the gospel bore witness to the testimony of the word that they were giving the people.
Signs and Wonders
This is scriptural too for the Lord said that this is what would be done. When the TRUTH of the gospel is given the Lord supports the word by these signs and wonders. As Mark wrote, “And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it.” (Mark 16:20)
The main purpose of the signs that the Lord performed and that he gave power and authority for the disciples to perform was to confirm the truth of the message. Wherever Jesus went he performed signs as a proof to the people that the word he was preaching was the word of God. Of course it was a great blessing to the people as well, but the primary purpose of the signs, wonders and miracles was not the spectacle of such things, it was the proof of the word of the truth.
When Jesus sent out the disciples, “…he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal” (Luke 9:2) Not just to heal and not just to preach but to do both. The healings were proof of the word and the word bore witness to the healings.
Today when people minister door to door their focus is not about healing and sometimes not even about spreading the gospel. Sometimes (not all of the time) the focus of the door to door ministry is growth of that particular church group. Its about filling the pews of the local group for the sake of growth in numbers rather than for the sake of salvation of the person being witnessed to.
Was this the way the Lord spoke to the people? Was it the focus of the ministry of the Apostles? There is no doubt that they experienced massive growth in the church, but it was growth based on ministering the truth of the word. When people heard the truth of the gospel and understood the freedom on offer they jumped at it. It was too good an offer to refuse.
So what should ministers do today when they preach the gospel to those in the world? Perhaps seek to do so in the manner that the Lord showed. We have the power and authority today to offer healing, at least it is given to the elders of the church through the anointing with oil as James wrote, “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up.” (James 5:14-15)
People do not take to the door to door “salesmen” of the word for the same reason they do not take to the people who go door to door to “hawk” products. Their concern is that they want something from them and that they are looking to gain an advantage over them in some way; that they will take something away from them. Instead we see that Jesus and the disciples gave to the people. They gave healings, release from demons and so on and the people were receptive to the words of these Lord and the disciples because they were getting good value and could see the advantages to be had by listening to these men of God.
Sure this sounds a bit like a marketing strategy, that you have to give before you get. But in truth the Lord and the disciples did not “get” anything from this. All they did was to give…healing and the offer of life into eternity.
Perhaps there is a lesson here for those who minister door to door!