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

He is Alive!

Hes Alive

And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.  Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them.  “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen!  Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’”  And they remembered His words. – Luke 24:4-8

This past weekend I had a business trip and had the opportunity to have dinner with some friends that I hadn’t seen in a while.  It was a very enjoyable time, and the food was great.  One of my friends was interested in our recent trip to Israel.  So I spent some time going through a few pictures and talking about the trip.

He asked an excellent question to begin the conversation, wondering if this had deepened my faith.  One of the things about walking where Jesus walked is just that.  If you “believe”, and I mean really believe it can’t help but deepen your faith.

I told my friend that “belief” and faith are a gift of God, and I can attempt to prove things to people but without the gift it’s an intellectual belief and not an awakening of the heart belief that distinguishes the true believer from the false believer.  As James writes, even the demons believe…  (James 2:19)  So if we see that the demons believe, we must realize there is a different kind of belief.

This is the difference between life altering beliefs, and just “oh yes, of course I believe in god”.  The gift of God that comes through understanding His revealed will to mankind through His word.  Living and desiring obedience in all areas of your life.

I’ve been continually reminded, especially recently, of the way the human heart can deceive.  There is such a razor thin line between what most people will believe as obedience, and what God looks on as obedience.  This is the thin line between eternity in heaven or hell.  God is deadly serious about our obedience, not that it can save you, but it is the proof of your salvation.

As our conversation progressed through the evening my friend asked me an almost startling question.  It surprised me because I hadn’t even considered it.  He said to me, “where do you think Jesus’ bones are today?”  And then he told me about a National Geographic program that they thought they had discovered the bones of Christ.

Uhhh….  Wow, I really hadn’t considered that.

I told my friend that my worldview, doesn’t allow for that.   If I believe the Bible, which I do, the Bible tells us Christ is alive, and He is seated at the right hand of the Father.  He was crucified, and raised from the dead.  If we don’t have this, then we don’t have Christianity.  It’s just another dead faith like Buddhism, Islam or hundreds of other false religions.  They have no hope in anything other than their own righteous acts.

1 Corinthians 15:3-8 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.  After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.  After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.  Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. 

This is crystal clear!  We have eyes witness accounts that saw Christ crucified, Old Testament Scripture prophesied that He would die, prophesied that He would rise again and then we have over five hundred eye witness accounts of Him alive.   I have no opportunity in my life to believe anything other than this.  This is the truth and the cutting of God’s word.

If I disbelieve anything in the Bible, I disbelieve it all.  I can’t have it any other way.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

I hope in the substance of God’s word, and there is evidence of things that I personally have not seen, but it’s not a blind and ridiculous faith.  It’s not a faith that requires me to do things to obtain favor with God and earn my salvation.  It’s faith that by God’s good pleasure, He chose to save me, yet I must believe and I’m responsible not to suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).

All around us today are people that have some sort of an intellectual understanding and a surface level belief in a god, yet don’t know the One True God of the Bible in an intimate way.  This God must be believed to inherit eternal life, or the price of disobedience and disbelief will be eternal separation from Him and anything good.  A place of torment, where the God that poured out His wrath on His Son to pay for sin, will in turn be poured out on those in disbelief.

That’s what the Bible teaches and we can choose to ignore, disbelieve or whatever form of denial we might want to employ, but it doesn’t change that reality.  Why?

Because He is Alive!

Romans 8:34 Who is he who condemns?  It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 

If this is news to you please consider what the Bible has to teach us about God, if you are a believer He is there with the Father making intercession for you and me.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Kevin