Summary: The Great Commission involves doing. The church cannot think that it can be a spiritual stronghold in a lost world without putting its faith to work.
July 10, 2011
Text: Revelation 3:14-22
Subject: The Church – Part 1 of the Great Commission Series
Title: Checking Your Heart – Examining Your Deeds
I am beginning this morning a series on the Great Commission. You all know what the Great Commission is right? It’s Jesus command and His plan for making the church the dynamic world force that He intends it to be until He returns.
But did you know that each Gospel contains its own version of the Great Commission. We’ll be going over each one in the next few weeks to see what it says but also to see the focus of the Great Commission in each gospel.
Real quickly let’s look at them.
Matthew 28:18-20, 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew wrote his gospel to the Jews. That is why it was important for him to include the part about obeying Jesus’ commands. Following the commandments is important to the Jewish mindset.
Mark 16:15-18, 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Mark’s gospel was written to the Romans and is a gospel of action. Jesus call here in these verses also is a call to action. Look at the action words included. “GO”, “PREACH the good news”, “BELIEVES and is BAPTIZED”, “DRIVE OUT demons”, “SPEAK in new tongues”, “PICK UP snakes”, “DRINK poison”, “PLACE THEIR HANDS on sick people”. Mark connects preaching with supernatural events that accompany it.
Luke 24:49, 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Now since Luke also wrote the book of Acts you have to include Jesus’ words From Acts 1:8 with Luke, 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Luke’s emphasis here is upon the anointing of the Holy Spirit through the baptism in the Spirit that is a necessity for sharing the gospel.
Finally let’s look at John 20:21-22, 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit…” Jesus identifies His sending believers out into the world with two things: 1) He recognizes the connection with the Father sending Him to earth with His sending disciples out… 2) By breathing the Holy Spirit into them He is stating that He has the same authority that the Father had when he breathed life into Adam at creation. The Father and the Son both have the authority to breathe new life into mankind. And that is what the sending is about – bring new life to a dying world.
Now, I want to fast forward to the book of Revelation Chapter three. You know, for the better part of four hundred years after the ascension of Christ the church did just what Jesus told it to do. It is said that had the Roman Empire not declared Christianity to be the official state religion of Rome in 380 AD, that in another one hundred years the whole world would have been evangelized. Once the persecution stopped the spread of the gospel slowed. In Revelation three I want to focus on what Jesus said to the church in Laodicea. Some believe this church is representative of the last days church leading up to the Time of Jesus’ return.
I want to look today at what Jesus is saying to this church and allow you to see if the Holy Spirit is wanting to make changes in your life that would continue the work of Christ on earth till He returns.
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.