Christians, those words in Mt. 28 are some of the last words that Jesus spoke to his disciples before He ascended through the clouds to be seated at the right hand of God in heaven. And we call those words “The Great Commission” because they are precisely that, they are the great assignment that our Lord commissioned us to do. He came into this world to save us from our sins by becoming the all-sufficient sacrifice and He rose from the grave, and that friends, is the gospel in a nutshell! And we are called and sent to spread the message of that incredibly Good News to the world. The very word Apostle literally means “sent ones,” and we are sent to proclaim a message to a people who, frankly, just as in Jesus day, do not want to hear it and are hostile toward it. So friends, the message is very simple, but at the same time, it’s also very huge, and it can be a very costly task. So friends, our mission is to Evangelize unbelievers and then disciple believers, and those things together are the Great Commission, not one or the other, but both!
And that’s where we find ourselves in this day and time, as God’s people, called to try to reach a world and a culture that doesn’t want to hear the gospel message and is growing more and more antagonistic toward it. And by the way, that’s not an accident, but it was precisely Jesus’ strategy friends. Why? Because with that command, he also gave us the promise that He would always be with us. And for what end? That He would be the one that would turn the hearts of many of those people to believe in the Gospel. I mean just look at you and I, we were those people who did not want to hear it, much less believe and embrace it. No! We rejected it, and it was foolishness to us, it seemed worthless and boring and a waste of time to us. Until one day, God opened our eyes and enlightened our hearts, and then all of a sudden it became the most important set of words we’d ever heard in our lives, and they still are. Amen!
And friends, it truly would seem like a daunting, if not impossible task, if it were left to mere human effort, wisdom and power. But here’s what we must always remember – our message is not only a life-changing and soul-saving message to all who will receive it, but the most important and encouraging thing of all, is that it’s backed by a Sovereign guarantee. Amen! And that guarantee is that our mission will be successful and it will bear fruit; because that’s what fuels our mission, and that’s what encourages and inspires us to keep on keeping on and telling others about the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – even in the face of the growing rejection and hostility we face in our culture today. Because our sovereign God has promised us that He will turn the hearts of many to Him, and if we will sow the seeds, He already knows some will fall on good soil – in our families, in our neighborhoods, in our cities and our nation. Amen!
So brethren, we must not allow this culture to silence our Christian voice, which it is trying hard to do. We simply must never give in or give up under the ever-growing pressure against our Christian beliefs and values today. And we would greatly benefit from the example of the early Church, as we confront a culture that is hostile to the Gospel we are called to proclaim. If you look in the book of Acts chapter 4, Peter and John get arrested for healing a man in the name of Jesus, then they get beaten for it and warned to stop talking to people about Jesus, told to quit speaking in His name. But when they were released from prison, they prayed and then they went right back to proclaiming the gospel message. Amen!
And in Acts 4:29-31 they prayed: “ Lord, look upon their threats to us “(and church we can learn a lot from this as people living in a hostile culture) “look upon their threats to us Lord, and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness”. So they are praying for God to overcome their fears, and as you can see, they had fears too, (and all of us today can identify with that). And they were asking God to please help them “overcome my natural fears and please don’t let us keep silent, even though they’ve been warning us to keep silent or they’ll beat us”. So here they are, bloody and bruised, they’ve got scars and they’re asking the Lord to help them, but not to keep their mouth shut, not to be silent, but to continue proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel. And friends, you see that repeated over and over again in the book of Acts; though threatened by a hostile culture, persecuted and even martyred; the more they’re persecuted, the more they’re threatened by their culture, the more they kept proclaiming the gospel with unswerving boldness. What an awesome example that is to us today! Oh Lord, that we might be drenched with faith and power and boldness like they were. Amen!
So brethren, our primary mission today is exactly the same as the early church – to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world in bondage to sin! And you and I are God’s missionaries right here and right now, for such a time as this. And you don’t have to cross an ocean or even leave your state. God can use you to witness to your family and friends, in your neighborhoods and work places and wherever God provides you and I an opportunity. And I want to begin to close friends with this prayerful plea from the Apostle Paul in Eph.6:19-20: “but please pray for me, that the words may be given to me (this is how we should pray for ourselves) “pray that the words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel for which I’m an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly as I ought to speak”. And brethren, what Paul is getting out here is that proclaiming the truth in this culture may come with cost, but it is our duty.
And church, woe to us if we do not proclaim the gospel. Woe to us if we are more afraid of man than of God. Woe to us if we hold back and we hold our tongues while men and women careen toward judgment and eternal suffering. Woe to us because this is not the time to be silent, this is not the time to slink away into our safe hiding places where no one will notice us so we can avoid trouble and controversy. Friends, the Lord has raised us up for such a time as this, to proclaim the Gospel and to suffer, if necessary, for his name and His word. As His disciples we must walk in the footsteps of our Savior who proclaimed the gospel and suffered for it, who was hated and despised and was crucified for his words, but He spoke them nonetheless. And we must be lights in the darkness beloved, so throw away your baskets church, let’s throw away the baskets that are concealing our witness and go and tell the Good News to those who desperately need to hear it. You may do it with weak knees and trembling, but you won’t do it without God’s help and and strength, because Jesus has promised us in Mt.28:20 “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.“ Amen!
Until next time friends, this is Reverend Ron saying God bless and always remember – MARANATHA – COME LORD JESUS!!!