As You Go…

A look at “The Great Commission”

11-14-13

Matthew 28: 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

We are very familiar with what we know as “The Great Commission.” But as I look at this passage I see a command. Jesus has told us, the church, to make disciples. We are to evangelize the world. We are to be on mission. I remember discussing this with a preacher friend and he noted that the word “Go” in verse 19 should be translated, “As you go.” We aren’t to make any special trips to evangelize. Evangelism and discipling should be a way of life for the Christian. Telling others about Jesus is not an option. Being an ambassador for Christ is not a special calling (granted some are more gifted than others, but we are all commanded to share His love).

I remember sitting through seminars and workshops on how to share the gospel.  I remember going out into the community in pairs to share Jesus door to door. I also remember the thrill of leading someone to Jesus as Savior. That joy was followed by the disappointment of hearing my partner practically requiring this new convert to come to our church and make their decision public.

I reckon some will say I’m not a good Southern Baptist here. Let me make one thing very clear and I’m apologizing to No person for the following statement. I am a Christian first and foremost. The ONLY reason I am a Southern Baptist is that the church where I am a member and I choose to worship is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. I will expound on this in another posting.

What I felt was important for this new convert was that they should make their decision public as soon as they could. But I didn’t see any reason to come to the church I was attending. If that person felt comfortable elsewhere and that church was a New testament Church, then that is where they should go.

While Jesus tells us to preach, baptize and make disciples, I don’t think he meant for the same person to be doing all these tasks for the same converts. I also realize that some of us are better equipped to preach or proclaim the gospel to others while others are better equipped to teach believers what it is to be a Christian. Under God’s leadership (remember, it is His Church) and individual may only be asked to perform one task for one person while he is performing another task for a different person. Let me remind myself that I must keep my focus on the LORD Jesus Christ and to always seek first the kingdom of God.

One reason I write these e-mails is that I am commanded to teach God’s people. It may be good to tell about our heroes of the faith: Wesley, Calvin, Luther, Augustine, Spurgeon, Edwards and others, but I must first tell about the architect and builder of my faith, Jesus of Nazareth. My boss is not the Deacon Chairman, My Sunday School teacher, the Pastor, or even the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. My boss, my LORD, is a Jewish carpenter. And He has commanded me to preach and teach. I intend to do that. And may I never get so caught up in how to do my job, that I forget to do my job.

In His Service and Through His Love…

Steve (Hoss)

 

Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross

Without the shedding of blood…

11-13-13

Keep me near the Cross

How is salvation possible? True, we strive to keep God’s law. We follow the teachings of Jesus. Is that what saves us? Some people would say so. I mean if you are a good person and you do what God says in the Law and go to church and tithe and take part in visitation and such, Is that what its all about?

I admit, a Christian should show all those attributes and then some but I ask one question… What about the cross? If following Jesus’ teachings is enough, why did He have to go to the cross? We have to remember something. All have sinned. All fall short of God’s Glory. We need forgiveness for our sins and that requires a blood sacrifice. Scripture tells us that there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.

Salvation is not by things we do physically, not by our good works, but by our humility and acceptance of what Jesus did through his sacrifice, his death, the cross. One must accept the work of the cross to receive salvation. No amount of good deeds is going to do that for us.

Every Major world religion has people doing good works. But only Christianity has the Cross. Good works is not enough. That can be a tough pill to swallow. We all know nonbelievers who put Christians to shame with their good works, but they will not be in Heaven. I hate to be so blunt, but we must speak the truth. It hurts and it tends to alienate folks. It ain’t politically correct. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating, Jesus was not politically correct and as His follower, I don’t need to be either.

Our faith is all about the Cross and what happened at Calvary. Our salvation was purchased there. It isn’t simply obedience, but it is faith and acceptance of what the LORD did on that hill. One constant prayer should be, “Jesus, keep me near the cross.” When we focus on the Cross, we focus on the LORD. We realize that since He died for us, we need to live for Him.

In His Service

Steve (Hoss)

The Church

From November…

11-12-13

The Church

Matthew 16: 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” … Jesus replied, 18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”

Notice something here; Jesus said He would build HIS church, not the church. It is not my church, or your church. The church belongs to the LORD Jesus Christ. Actually, His church is much more than the local congregation where we attend bible study and worship.

The Church, The Bride of Christ, is made up of EVERY person who has confessed and repented of his/her sins. Denomination is irrelevant. Whether one is Catholic or Protestant, has no bearing. There is only one common denominator… Has that person received Jesus of Nazareth as LORD and Savior?

The Church is much more than the meetinghouse we attend together. WE are the Church, not the building. And since we are the Church, we need each other. We need to be with one another as often as we can. We need to support and encourage one another. That simple fact that we need one another is plenty of reason for us to strive to be at the church building every time the opportunity presents itself.

But, our individual ministry does not stop with the people who attend worship with us. Jesus has a plan for the whole Church, and we are a small part of that body.

Just as a small part of your body has an effect on the body as a whole, what we do as individuals affects both the local church and the Universal Church. That is not always a good thing. What we must remember is that nonbelievers watch what we do and how we behave. When we begin to think we run things within the church, we are making a huge mistake. Jesus is the head of the Church, even on the local level. Not the Pastor, not the Deacon chairman, not the Sunday School director, not the treasurer, not the worship leader… Jesus is the head. It is HIS Church.

We must never think we have the solution or we know what is best for the Church. Our LORD knows that and when we follow His leadership, there is no need to look toward a human leader, and we will know what direction to go, because He guides our paths. If you feel people are not following you, take a moment to think, and remind yourself of who the leader is.

My church doesn’t stand a chance, but the Gates of hell will NEVER prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ. And FYI, those saints include saints for all time.

 

In His Love

Steve (Hoss)