Week of September 29
The Commission of God
One of the characteristics about God that separates the Christian faith from other religions is that our God pursues us. While the world's religions devise ways to seek out and appease a higher being, Christians know that God is the One who initiated the seeking. God is the One who calls us to Him. Since the very beginning of history, God has chosen to commission His people to testify to His name. Today He is still calling His children to share His Gospel with the world.
After His resurrection, Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:18-20).
The Great Commission is not only for preachers, evangelists, and missionaries. The Great Commission is for every believer and follower of Jesus Christ. We do not need seminary degrees or a library full of commentaries to tell others about Christ. Once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we receive all the qualification we need. His Holy Spirit will guide our words and actions. He will equip us to speak with whomever He leads us to, no matter how intimidated or nervous we may feel. He will prepare the way for us; we only need to follow obediently.
We all have a role in spreading the Gospel message until the day of His return. Yet many of us routinely fail in following through on this commandment. We shy away from it; we forget about it. We procrastinate. We become so involved in our earthly concerns and priorities that we neglect the kingdom of God. As we make the Great Commission our top priority, we will discover that our concerns and excuses are taken care of: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33).
Throughout history, God's people have disappointed Him in His commissions. In the days of the Old Testament, God gave His children great victories and blessings to make Himself known to the world. Instead of sharing about God, His people became self-focused and kept the message to themselves. Even the prophet Jonah tried to run away from his responsibility to share God's Word. In the days of the early Christian church, God's people would lose their enthusiasm for witnessing. Eventually the center for missionary activity would change from one city to another: from Jerusalem to Antioch to Alexandria to Rome. Eventually a missionary movement spread from Rome to England, where it crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
And here we stand at a crossroads. What will we continue to do with the opportunities God has given us? Will we completely lose our focus and allow the Christian church to drift aimlessly? Will we obey the Great Commission and share the Gospel message while we still have the freedom to do so? Or will we allow ourselves to be silenced while countless souls are in danger of eternal hell?
Only the Holy Spirit can change someone's heart, but God is calling us to be a part of the process. We can make a difference in the eternal lives of others. We can tell our neighbors how Christ changed our lives. We can share with our friends why we have peace in the middle of difficult times. We can train our children in the ways of the Lord. And we can unite together in prayer for the souls of nonbelievers. We can pray that we will continue to have the freedom to openly speak Jesus' name in public. We can pray that we remain free to share the full Gospel message, without being confined to a politically correct version. We can pray that God will continue to use His people to spread His Gospel to the ends of the world.
Spend time in prayer today examining your priorities. Where does the Great Commission fall on that list? Pray daily that God will renew your passion for the souls of nonbelievers. Pray that God prepares the hearts of those around you to receive the Gospel message. Pray for the Holy Spirit to provide you with opportunities for sharing about Christ. Pray that our country's freedoms will continue so that we may freely speak the uncompromising Truth of the Gospel.
"I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ."--Philemon 1:6
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