Summary: MY316 is a 5 week Small group study put out by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma that we did at our church. It's a study that focuses on evangelism. I preached 5 sermons that went along with each weeks study.
“GREAT COMMISSION OR GREAT OMMISSION?”
When he was the pastor of the Methodist church in Scarborough, William Sangster had an eccentric member who tried to be a zealous Christian. Unfortunately, the man was mentally deficient and usually did the wrong thing. While working as a barber the man lathered up a customer for a shave, came at him with the poised razor, and asked, "Are you prepared to meet your God?" The frightened man fled with the lather on his face!
George Sweeting, in his book The No-Guilt Guide for Witnessing, tells of a man by the name of John Currier who in 1949 was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Later he was transferred and paroled to work on a farm near Nashville, Tennessee. In 1968, Currier’s sentence was terminated, and a letter bearing the good news was sent to him. But John never saw the letter, nor was he told anything about it. Life on that farm was hard and without promise for the future. Yet John kept doing what he was told even after the farmer for whom he worked had died. Ten years went by. Then a state parole officer learned about Currier’s plight, found him, and told him that his sentence had been terminated. He was a free man. Sweeting concluded that story by asking, "Would it matter to you if someone sent you an important message -- the most important in your life -- and year after year the urgent message was never delivered?"
We who have heard the good news and experienced freedom through Christ are responsible to proclaim it to others who are still enslaved by sin. Are we doing all we can to make sure that people get the message? Nineteen out of every twenty who become Christians do so before they reach the age of 24. After 25, only one in 10,000 After 35, only one 40,000 After 45, only one in 200,000. After 55, only one in 300,000 After 65, only one in 500,000 After 74, only one in 700,000. There is a tremendous urgency when it comes to carrying out the Great Commission. One of the reasons our children and youth are vital to this church is because they are ripe for the gospel. They have not become "set in their ways". With that said, we need to begin focusing on the story of the Gospel now.
Before His ascension, Jesus issued what has come to be called The Great Commission. A “commission” is “an authoritative command; a directive; a command.” When Jesus spoke these words directly to His disciples, and indirectly to us, He was giving the church her marching orders. He was telling exactly what He expected us to do in His physical absence. The disciples took the Lord’s command seriously. They went into the world and shared the Gospel of Jesus and thousands upon thousands were saved by the grace of God. Their message was so powerful and their witness so effective that their critics accused them of “turning the world upside down”, Acts 17:6.
That was then, and this is now! What was given as The Great Commission has turned into what some have labeled The Great Omission. When something is “omitted”, it is “left out, undone, neglected”. Instead of taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth as the Lord commanded, the modern church won’t even take the Gospel to the end of the street. Consider the following: 95% of all Christians have never won a soul to Christ. 80% of all Christians do not consistently witness for Christ. Less than 2% are involved in the ministry of evangelism. 71% do not give toward the financing of The Great Commission.
These statistics are sad because they reveal the true state of the modern church. We are satisfied to be saved, but we are not motivated to see others come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Somehow we have come to believe that the end of our responsibility is to come to church a couple of times a week, pray when we can, read the Bible every now and then, and live a life that is slightly cleaner than the world around us. We have forgotten the truth that Christianity is a militant, activist faith. Our calling is not to endure to the end; but to storm the very gates of Hell. Our orders are not to sit by while the world drops off into Hell; our orders are to go into the world and tell them the glorious news of a crucified and risen Savior Who specializes in saving souls, and in changing lives and eternal destinies.
While the church has pulled the covers of complacency and apathy over her and has fallen into the deep slumber of self-satisfaction and comfort the world has continued its headlong plunge toward Hell. Even while we sleep, the door of evangelism in America is closing. Do you realize that several years ago it was announced that 50 colleges and universities were closing their campuses to evangelical Christian groups. They didn’t want these Christian ministries to share the Gospel. They would be allowed to operate on campus if they would sign a pledge promising not to attempt to evangelize the students on campus. A Christian ministry that cannot and will not share the Gospel does not deserve to bear the name Christian!