1 Corinthians 9:16, “For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.”
The penalty for not sharing the gospel is woe, intense sorrow and shame on the day Jesus judges His church. Paul, like Jesus, was a grace and truth preacher (John 1:17). He made sure to always emphasize the gracious nature of God and His judgment to come (Ephesians 2:8-10 & Philippians 2:12). Some Christians wrongly believe that after they became a Christian they will no longer be judged, however, the Bible teaches that Christians will be judged.
Though the Christian will not be judged according to their salvation, they will be judged according to the works they did as a disciple. One of the judgments we will face will be based on our obedience or neglect to preach the gospel to the lost (1 Corinthians 1:11-15).
The “Great White Throne Judgment” will be when Jesus separates the sheep from the goats and sends all those who don’t have their name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life into the lake of fire (Revelations 20:11-15). Afterwards, at the “Bema Seat of Christ,” Jesus will reward or rebuke His people based on their obedience to His commands.
Paul described this “Bema Judgment” in 2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat [Greek, “bema”] of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” We as Christians will be judged after the lost are punished at the Great White Throne and will be either rewarded for our good deeds or shamed for our bad works.
The greatest illustration given in the Bible of the consequence for not sharing the gospel with those who are perishing comes from Ezekiel 33. God commanded Ezekiel to be a spiritual watchman over the people of Israel. God said that if he was faithful to warn the people of the judgment to come their blood would not be on his hands. However, if he failed to warn about the coming judgment, their blood would be on his hands (Ezekiel 33:1-9).
Paul used this same expression in Acts 20:26-27 in regards to preaching the gospel when he said, “26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.” David Jeremiah once said, “We know exactly what needs to be done to advance the gospel and fulfill the Great Commission. The question is, ‘Will we do it?’”
Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 that the Christian’s works would be judged by fire and if our works were done in obedience to Jesus and His commands our works would remain and appear as precious metals. However, if what we did in this life was not what Jesus commanded, we would be saved as only one escaping the flames, but our works would be burned up like wood, hay and stubble! Therefore, don’t be disobedient to God’s command to preach the gospel- go into the entire world and make new disciples!
- Repent and ask God to forgive you for the times you did not preach and share the gospel when you had the opportunity.
- Pray and ask God to make you aware of the times you should preach.
- Preach, pray and plug away until Jesus comes back!