BENEVOLENCE

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Christ gave His disciples duties of both evangelism and benevolence. The first priority was given by Jesus in His last words on earth: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15). The book of Acts records how the disciples went everywhere preaching the gospel. It was a priority then, but in the last 100 years, a liberal thought arose among disciples, a trend developed known as the social gospel. The concept was that benevolence to the poor, not preaching, should be its first purpose. Gradually evangelism lost its strong emphasis while physical assistance gained prominence. The body’s needs surpassed the soul’s needs. Jesus’ last words emphasized preaching and teaching (Mt 28:18-20). The first sermon instructed people to “repent and be baptized for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Clearly, evangelism is the most important duty; afterward we help the new convert and others as we are able. Knowing the gospel will help in overcoming many wasteful and foolish habits: money formerly spent on alcohol, tobacco, gambling, etc., is now available for food and clothing. Time once wasted on laziness is now used in earning a living (2 Thes 3:10; 1 Tim 5:8; Gal 6:10).

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