Monday, May 23, 2011

The Great Commission- Matthew 28:18-20

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” –Matthew 28:18-20

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the Great Commission, God’s plan for our lives, and the state of our Church today. Now I just recently went on a trip with my school’s Sr. High band, where several seniors gave us brief exhortations, many of which basically boiled down to reading the Word. Now these brothers and sisters could not have given a more life changing exhortation than this, for reading the Word changes lives the way nothing else can, but what does it say about the state of the Church today that the entire message of an exhortation should be the importance of reading the Word? Reading the Bible is as essential to spiritual life as eating is to physical life, yet we do not require our parents to constantly remind us to eat because eating is a basic instinct, something that we know and desire to do without need of reminder or encouragement. Why then should high school students, many of whom have grown up in the Church, need a reminder to do something that is as basic and essential to Spiritual life as reading God’s Word? My friends, I do not think that God is pleased at this. I believe that God desires so much more from us. I think our view today on what God asks of us in the Great Commission is far short of what He truly desires.

I really believe that many believers today do have at least some desire to serve the Lord. To my understanding, I would say most in the Church would say that they believe they are fulfilling the Great Commission by finding ways and taking advantage of opportunities at their workplaces, at home, in their neighborhoods, with friends, and at social or public locations to share Christ with non-Christians. Young adults seek to find a spouse, family, location, and career which satisfy them and then seek the best way to serve the Lord wherever they’re at. Certainly, on the surface this seems like a fine approach to spreading the Gospel. It would appear that such a life would satisfy Jesus’ desire for someone’s life. However, I believe that Jesus wants so much more!

The problem with this way of living life is that it seeks to somehow incorporate God’s plan into one’s own plan for his or her life. In this lifestyle, we chose what we do, where we are, and who we marry, and then we try to incorporate God’s plan into ours. The Great Commission takes a backseat to our lives, our jobs, and our families. We are content to be workers who preach. The Great Commission is not an aspect of our lives! It is our lives and the rest of our lives should be lived with the purpose of how we can better fulfill it! God calls us to be preachers who work. Rather than figuring out how we can reach the lost wherever we work, we should rather pray to seek what God wants us to do with our lives to reach the lost. In short, rather than the Great Commission being an extension of our careers, our jobs should become our outlets to fulfill the Great Commission. Our purpose in our current school or career should be evangelism rather than education or income. Our entire mindset should be focused on reaching the lost.

Some might call this “radical Christianity.” Is it really radical, though, to fulfill the one task Christ asked of us before He ascended into Heaven simply on the premise that the Church today is not living up to the standard that Jesus asks of us? I think not. Is there going to be a cost? You better believe it. The Great Commission requires tremendous sacrifice. It will require you to lay down those things which you have a right to, give up your chance at personal fame and glory, damage some people’s opinion of you, live the life of a servant, live in humility, be obedient to the command of God, endure pain or even death for Christ’s name, and die to yourself. Does this sound like too much? This is exactly what Jesus did for us (Philippians 2:5-8). So yes, the Great Commission is difficult, costly, risky, dangerous, and requires all of your life. But how glorious it is for those who accept it, deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Christ! The journey is long and hard, but how worth it the end will be!

In conclusion, let’s look at the example which we have recently seen of Harold Camping’s claim of judgment day on May 21st. While they were passionately following a lie, none can deny the passion and urgency of his followers to spread the message, nor can they deny the speed and efficiency with which this lie was spread. While these people were deceived, they still offer us an example. If these people were so urgent, passionate, quick, and efficient about spreading a lie, why aren’t we, who have the truth, matching and surpassing them in urgency, passion, speed, and efficiency? 8,000 people spent their life savings on spreading this false message, yet I doubt that we could find 8,000 American believers willing to give up the same for the Truth. How much more should we be willing to give up for the sake of the Gospel? I am by no means suggesting that I have mastered this, but I for one believe it is time for a change. It is time for the Church to allow God to use us the way He desires and live lives completely given over to Him!