Forerunners for Christ

I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I,… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Matthew 3:11

He traveled to some 185 nations, met with prominent world leaders, and authored more than 30 books of which one is his 1953 bestseller Peace With God. It is estimated he reached more than 2 billion people with the gospel and that some 2.2 million came forward in response. He is one who has been called a modern-day apostle Paul and perhaps you have by now guessed that the man and faithful servant of God of whom I write is, of course, the late Rev. Billy Graham. 1

To be compared to the likes of apostle Paul is a great honor. It was Paul who wrote 13 books of the New Testament and laid the groundwork for modern evangelism. While the advent of technology allows us to reach more people for Christ, Paul’s ministry was hardcore and just as penetrating in his day. He suffered many trials and was killed for sharing his faith and for preaching the gospel.

There was another man who preached well before the days of apostle Paul named John the Baptist. He preached the message of repentance and called on people to confront their sin and turn from it. He also employed the initiation right of baptism; however, he did not view his baptism as a means of salvation but rather as an outward expression of an inward transformation. John was not one to be hesitant when it came to taking a stand for his faith. He once refused to baptize some religious leaders because they had no such outward signs. Jesus warns us to beware of false prophets and that we will know them by their fruits (Matt. 7:16).

These men, each in their own right, boldly proclaimed Jesus Christ everywhere they traveled and with everyone they met. John pointed to and paved the way for the first coming of the Lord while Paul and Billy pointed back to the cross at Calvary and ahead to the second coming of Jesus. They urged people to repent, to turn from sin, and to place their faith and trust in the Lord and for Paul and Billy, they were fulfilling the command given by Jesus to all those who choose to follow Him. Jesus said:

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18

Our mission, as followers of Jesus Christ, is to carry the message of the gospel to the world. We are to teach others about the lessons Jesus taught His disciples and us through Scripture. We are to teach them about what He has commanded and what he expects from each of us as His followers.

When it comes to making disciples, it takes one to make one. It goes beyond the mere act of sharing the gospel and leading someone to Christ; it is an enduring commitment from one Christian to another new born again Christian. Discipleship is a kingdom investment of one’s time, talent, love, and loyalty to Jesus. What the world needs is forerunners for Christ who will boldly step out and proclaim the gospel to every person and every nation. Someone like you and me!

[1] LifeWay; Facts & Trends. “Billy Graham’s Life & Ministry by the Numbers.” 21 February 2018. LifeWay. Web. 12 January 2019. Retrieved from

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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