We are sent to share the Gospel. In a statement known as the Great Commision (Matthew 28:16-20) Jesus told his followers to go to all nations. They were sent to proclaim the Gospel message and to make disciples; teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Evangelism is more than having an audience raise their hands, repeat a prayer or sign a card. Making disciples goes beyond baptism. It’s an investment into people’s lives that involves building relationships and working together in ministry. Followers of Jesus are not to just promote him but to lead others into a life of following. To teach others all that Jesus has command we must first learn and understand ourselves. The two processes actually happen simultaneously. We continue on the journey of learning and being conformed to the image of Christ while recruiting others to walk with us. Go to all the world, preach/teach/share the Gospel, make disciples. To this task we are called.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Acts 1:8
Some translations render the Great Commision in terms of preaching the Gospel to every creature. Acts 1:8 says nothing about preaching. Jesus said to all watching and listening, his last words before ascending into heaven, “be my witnesses.” Any Christian believer should be able to share their faith with another person, even if it’s one on one. It doesn’t take a platform, an auditorium or a degree in theology to tell someone what Jesus has done in your own life. As a matter of fact you might be a better witness without those things. Your family members, your friends and your neighbors – the people you have already built a relationship with, the people in your sphere of influence – may be more receptive to hear the Gospel or anything for that matter than to listen to a preacher or pastor.
The Great Commision is the sending of believers into the world to make new believers. Acts 1:8 is about being witnesses of what we have seen and heard, first where we are and then beyond. Preachers, pastors, ministers and missionaries are called into a life of service. To paraphrase Romans 10:13-15: To call on the Lord people must hear about him. To hear someone must preach. And to preach one must be sent. All believers are to do the work of evangelism. There are many spiritual gifts and we are all working together to build the kingdom. To those in vocational ministry, it can be discouraging. We don’t always see an immediate return on the time and energy invested. Sometimes there is no return that we can see at all. But if you have answered that call let me encourage you not to turn back now. Paul said we press toward the mark and the prize; everyday is not like running the race. Some days it feels like walking uphill against the wind. I wish I could give proper credit but all I can say in this case is that I once heard a preacher say “If you can quit preaching, you should.”
Why preach the Gospel? Because God has called us and sent us into the world for this singular purpose. We are compelled. Jesus and all of his chosen apostles gave their lives for the Gospel. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12
Much of the New Testament was written in Greek and gospel is a word that we borrowed from the original language without translating it. Gospel simply means good news. If you look at crime rates, history, human nature or simply tune into to any news program then you know that we are surrounded by bad news. In the United States we are deeply divided politically, there is gun violence, debate over gun violence, crime in the big cities and various protests across the nation over a variety of issues. Other countries are at war, operate under a military regime or are completely impoverished. People don’t seem to be getting better. Our level of science and technology has increased but after thousands of years of philosophical discussion we as the human race have not dramatically improved. Theft, rape, murder and war are still universally found around the globe much as they were in ancient times. The bad news is obvious to anyone paying attention: there is something wrong with us. Beyond politics, individual beliefs and philosophy, human nature is flawed. There may in fact be some good in every person but the bad in every person has not yet been weeded out. Continue reading →
10 years ago I had a lot of help starting a blog. I worked with Michael Spencer, the original Internet Monk, in real life. I had all the WordPress experience and pro tips a newbie could ask for. So think of this post as paying it forward.
Chameca Helm was a student at OBI back when I taught geography and World History. Now she makes testimony videos and is building an online community to reach people with the Gospel. She asked me to help make her latest video “go viral” and I told her I would see what I could do. The Godly Complexion Movement by Chameca Helm is an online community that utilizes Facebook and YouTube to be uplifting and encouraging with the goal of pointing people to Jesus. Continue reading →
Perhaps a better title would be A Scriptural Response to Racism but this is copied and pasted directly from a Facebook post I put up yesterday. There is so much upheaval in the world today and we are bombarded with information from traditional media to social media 24/7. When it gets to be too much, the Christian believer needs to step back, take a breath, and remember that we are in the world but not of the world.
I don’t mean an official resolution passed by any group of representatives from any church denomination; my congregation will tell you that we read a lot of scripture. Every sermon, every Wednesday night Bible study, every Sunday school lesson begins with reading scripture and keeps going back to it. So this is not any particular Christian leader’s response to racism, this should be “our” response to hate and racism anywhere based on the inspired Word we live by. Continue reading →
Our collective attention has been focused on Orlando since Sunday. Every angle of that story, from terrorism to gun control, has been covered. Stories with that much media attention I usually avoid commenting on completely; everything that can be said pretty much has been (whether it should have been or not).
Omar Matten reported posted “All gays must die” before the shooting starting. While Americans debate whether bakers and florists should be closed down for refusing to serve LGBT customers, homosexuality is still punishable by death in Muslim countries. I don’t want this post to disintegrate into a political discussion, but some Christians have questioned the current administration’s support of gay rights and also tolerance of Islam in light of those two things not necessarily being tolerant of each other. I want to remind all Christian believers that vengeance belongs to God. Continue reading →
The spiritual condition of Judas is an age-old debate and not the one I mean to engage in today. I want to add a new wrinkle to the discussion; did Judas preach the Gospel? When the Apostles were sent out with the power to heal the sick and cast out demons (Matthew 10, Luke 9) did Judas do those things as well?
I saw a quote the other day, see if this sounds about right.
“It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God’s professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.”