Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
(Matthew 28:19-20 ESV)

            We saw, in last week’s post, that God draws us to faith through the preaching of the Word.  He sends people to proclaim the gospel that we might hear, believe, call on the name of the Lord, and receive his salvation.  And this makes clear to us the importance of evangelism.
            As I look back, I can see how this played itself out in my own life.  I remember how, as my fourth grade Sunday School teacher shared the gospel, I saw my need for salvation.  I remember how I was brought to the understanding of what Jesus had done for me.  And I desired the blessing he’d provided by his sacrifice.  It was at this point in my life when I was brought to faith in him.
            The same is likely true of you.  And this is true whether you came to faith as a child or as an adult.  Even if you can’t pinpoint the exact day or moment, you likely remember those who proclaimed to you the Word of God.  You likely realize that it was in this way that you were brought to faith.  It may have been your parents, your pastor, a Sunday School teacher, or a family friend.  But someone brought to you the Word of God, giving you the opportunity to hear, believe, and receive salvation.
            We find in Scripture that God has called us, as his people, to carry the gospel to all men.  We see in the above passage that we’re called to make disciples of all nations.  We see in Mark 16 that we’re called to proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.  And this tells us that we are those, sent by God to preach his Word, that others might hear and believe.
            I think you’ll agree that this is a high calling.  And because it’s a high calling, it’s something that we must not take lightly.  If we fail in this task, we’re denying mankind the opportunity to hear, believe, and call on the name of the Lord. 
            Most of us recognize that this is God’s calling on our life.  However, few of us are faithful to this call.  We go about our day to day lives, keeping our faith to ourselves.  No matter how involved we are in the activities of the church, we’re unwilling to establish relationships with unbelievers and to share with them the good news of Jesus.
            We don’t want to believe that, by our failure to reach out to the lost, we’re denying them the opportunity to receive salvation.  We insist that God can use others to accomplish this purpose.  We insist that others are more gifted in evangelism.  We do everything we can to shift this responsibility from ourselves and to place it on others.
            While it’s true that some do have the gift of evangelism, this doesn’t remove the responsibility from the rest of us.  This is a calling that Jesus gave to not just a few.  It’s a calling he’s given to his church.  And, as the church, we must carry it out. 
We also insist that God can work in other ways to draw people to faith.  And we do, sometimes, hear accounts of God revealing himself to people in miraculous ways.  We’re reminded of the way that Jesus appeared to Saul as he was on the road to Damascus and, ultimately, brought him to faith.  However, this is the exception and not the norm. 
            We are God’s plan for reaching the world for Christ.  We are the ones who are called to proclaim his Word, that he might draw them to faith.  And, as those who understand our need for Jesus, as those who have received the grace of Christ, it only makes sense that we would share the heart of God for the lost.  It only makes sense that, like God, we would desire the salvation of all people.  It only makes sense that we would want them to receive the same blessing God has given us. 

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