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The Church Has A Divine Mission Evangelizing The World For Christ[an error occurred while processing this directive]
by Jerry Dyer
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Jesus came to a lost world to live a life that would set the perfect example for all people of all time. (1 Peter 2:21-23). Because he lived such a life, he could be offered as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world (2 Corinthians 5:21). Having lived that life, set that example and given his life, he came back from the dead (Romans 1:4). A few days after his resurrection he went back to heaven to take his position at the right hand of God and become our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5). It was at this point in time when the purpose of his life (i.e., to seek and save the lost, Luke 19:10), was passed as a command to his disciples. That command is recorded in Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-16.
Take time to read these passages and carefully observe the teaching of the Great Commission.
A. "Go Preach the Gospel" (Mark 16:15-16). "Go Teach" (Matt. 28:19). The word gospel means "good news." We have good news about his birth, life, example, death, resurrection, atonement and ascension to heaven. That is why Jesus came and that is why we must go preach and teach.
It is very important that we remember that this is a command and God expects us to obey his commands. Salvation will be our reward for obedience (Hebrews 5:8-9). Eternal destruction will be our punishment if we fail to do his will (Matt. 7:21-23).
These passages use two different words, "preach" and "teach," that have the same ultimate purpose. Not everyone can preach nor should everyone preach (1 Cor. 12:12-21). However, all Christians have the responsibility to teach the gospel.
B. "To Every Creature"; to "All the Nations." We go to all nations because all nations are lost without Jesus. Read and study the following scriptures:
1. Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 . This passage says very clearly that there are two classes of people who will suffer "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord": (a) Those who do not "know God" and, (b) those who "do not obey the gospel." One will not be able to stand before God on the day of judgment and expect to be excused from eternal destruction because he did not know God and therefore did not obey the gospel.
2. Romans 1:16 shows that the only way God will save a sinner is through the gospel of Jesus. There is no other way. One dare not preach any other plan (Galatians 1:8-9).
3. Ephesians 2:1, 3, 12 describes the condition of the man out of Christ. The Scripture says that people who are out of Christ are "dead" "separated," "excluded," "foreigners," "without hope," "without God." They are eternally and irretrievably lost without obedience to Christ. Could the Holy Spirit have made it any clearer?
4. First Thessalonians 4:13 teaches that those who die "in Christ" have joy, pleasure, peace, etc. Those who die out of Christ have no hope!
5. John 14:6 declares that Jesus is the only way to God. You can't go through any other prophet, savior, etc. There is none other.
6. In Acts 17:30-31 Paul said that God would no longer overlook the ignorance of men today, whether it is "denominational darkness" or "idol worship." All the world will be judged by the same standard.
All the world is lost without Jesus. That is why he came and that is why we must go. There are some who say: "I'm sorry but I love people too much to condemn them." We would have to respond by saying: That is not Jesus' definition of love. Jesus said in John 14:15 that love demands obedience. To see that the Bible teaches that all people outside of Christ are lost and then fail to warn them, would be like the doctor who found that his patient was dying from a disease but refused to tell him because he did not want to be "judgmental and upset him." The "social gospel" that serves just the cultural needs of mankind will cause many people to be lost.
The simple truth is that NO MAN CAN BE SAVED APART FROM CHRIST. Those who extend hope to the non-Christian (be it those in the darkness of idol worship or in denominational error), do something the Bible never does and weaken the hands of disciples who are trying to get the gospel to all.
C. "Teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." Paul teaches us this same truth in 2 Timothy 2:2: "And the things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also." This is what is sometimes referred to as the second part of the Great Commission or "keeping the saved, saved." This passage presents four levels of teaching and learning. This passage shows the difference between a "terminal" and a "germinal" ministry.
1. Things thou has heard in the presence of many witnesses. God expects us to listen, learn and apply truth that we learn from listening to others. Of course, we are to search for ourselves as we listen (Acts 17:11).
2. Commit to faithful men. That which Timothy had been taught was not to stay with him. It must be shared with others. Paul says we need to do more than "keep the faith," we must share it with others. If we do not share it with others, our ministry is terminal, i.e., the truth has stopped with us.
3. That they may be able to teach others also. Here's where our ministry is tested. We must so teach and motivate others that they will receive and send that message on to others.
POINT: God does not want us to allow new Christians to wither. We need to help them grow. We must teach them the whole truth (Acts 20:26-27). We must teach the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). We must teach the truth at the right time (1 Cor. 3:1-2); 1 Peter 2:2). We must teach others (2 Tim. 2:2).
D. "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Jesus promised that as we go, he will go with us. When we sit, we sit alone. There is no barrier high, wide or strong enough to keep the gospel out (Philippians 4:13). He will never fail nor forsake us as we go (Hebrews 13:5).
May God help us "go. . . make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I (Jesus) have commanded you. . . " This is the mission of the church. Everything else we do as a child of God is subservient to that command.
Does the Great Commission apply to more than the eleven who received it? (Matt. 28:16-20).
Will all people of all nations be judged by the same standard?
Is it fair for God to judge all nations by the same standard?
Can a Christian be lost who does not seek souls?
Should all Christians be expected to be able to teach the plan of salvation to the lost?
Is there a "best" method to reach people who are lost?
Discuss a plan of action to reach the lost of your area.
Note: This material is copyrighted (1981) by Star Bible Publications, Inc., P.O. Box 821220, Fort Worth, TX 76182 and is used with the express permission of Mr. Alvin Jennings, owner
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