Don’t Stop Short…

stopshortAlmost anyone that claims any sort of knowledge of the Bible or Christianity knows the Great Commission. Jesus commissioned His followers to spread the good news of salvation to the world. It is the greatest responsibility of anyone that claims His name. In short it is why this blog exists and it is why you have been redeemed, assuming that is the case.

I would image that most professing Christians can even recite this verse from memory…almost!

Here is the problem, in my opinion. They stop short. (side note: if you are a Seinfeld fan you will get the reference, if not, never mind…)

Let’s look at what I mean by that.

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”

They stop short right here. By simply stopping right here the seriousness of the message our Lord is giving us and giving them has been undermined. The message is REALLY good up to this point. Look at what Jesus has said.

“Go” – poreuomai (to go, to travel, to take a journey, to go one’s way) We shouldn’t be sitting in our houses hoping someone like a Jehovah’s Witness will knock on our door so we can share the gospel. We are “commissioned” by Jesus to be travelers for His name.

What are we to go do? Make disciples. This is not to be confused with the twelve Disciples, minus Judas. The word means a pupil, or a learner, one who desires to learn, such as a scholar. If someone desires to learn someone needs to be instructing them.

In this post we won’t discuss baptism, but simply there is an order to follow once someone believes and that includes a public profession of faith by being baptized, but where I think is most often a “wiff” in Christianity, and this is where we stop short, is failing to recite verse 20.

…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Do we see the stark contrast between going, then teaching but not commanding them to observe Christ’s commands? Many a misguided mission trip forgets that there is a call to obedience. This often omitted part of the Great Commission is really the lynchpin on which it all hangs. If obedience is not mentioned then Jesus is only a “savior” and not Lord. The whole truth of salvation has been lost. If Jesus is not your Lord, then He’s NOT your savior, and a Lord demands obedience.

A social or cultural gospel that does not require obedience doesn’t save…

It’s why there are so many running around shouting their little Antinomian battle calls, and crying foul and legalist the moment you bring up sin. It’s the biggest mistake in most of modern day evangelicalism. It’s a gospel without any teeth, a “jesus” that requires nothing of anybody, is completely unoffensive and sits around drinking latte’s and telling jokes with the sinners. How many times have you heard that?

“Well Jesus condemned you Pharisee’s and hung out with the sinners!” Yes, correct but He called them to repentance and told the harlot to go and sin no more… He didn’t hate her enough to say, “why don’t you go finish your tryst and stop by later for coffee and we can chat.”

Not THE Jesus, not the Triune Jesus… He demands our obedience and says He will cast those into hell that practice lawlessness (Matthew 7:23).

So if you have an opportunity to Preach the Word today, don’t forget to tell them they must observe all He commanded. Jesus did not take on the wrath of God and drink it down to the dregs so we could “dabble” in sin, He hates sin and those that practice sin will not inherit God’s kingdom.

Luke 13:2-3 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

That’s the gospel Jesus preached, let’s see that we do likewise.

 

Kevin

Holy Land Day 2 – The Gospel

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth and spent the majority of His ministry based out of Capernaum.  This is hard to visually understand, because we’ve all heard these names but don’t really understand the relationship and what it would have been like to travel in those days.  We just hop in a car and go.

As we took a boat ride today on the Sea of Galilee it came much more into focus for me.  Capernaum was home base for Jesus and His disciples, and was a busy town of approximately 2000 people at the time of Christ.

image

It was here that Jesus performed many of His miracles and changed the course of world history.

Matthew 4:13-17 And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people who sat in darkness saw a great light, and upon those who sat in the regioin and shadow of death light has dawned.”  From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Isaiah had prophesied this was the place the Lord would dwell and as we walked this area I was struck by what it must have been like in those days.  These were not major metropolitan areas as we know today, just rural fishing villages, but yet all who lived there had busy lives interacting with each other, and Capernaum was a place of commerce and darkness as the scripture tells us.

Ancient Synagogue

Can you imagine how the arrival of the Christ turned their world upside down?  Especially those He called to be His disciples.  Ordinary, common fishermen would learn from Him and then go into the world to spread Christianity across the planet.

How amazing!  What kind of a plan was this?  Just like Paul would have never considered how God would use him, neither could those fishermen imagine they would become fisher’s of men.

Kevin