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Summary: Jesus gave those who believe in Him the Great Commission. Jesus told those who believed in Him to copy His example. If Jesus’ #1 priority was to seek and save that which was lost and we claim to be followers of Christ, what then should be our priority?

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REVIVAL 2003: FREEDOM

FREE TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL

MATTHEW 28:16-20

INTRODUCTION

READ MATTHEW 28:16-20 = “16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)

Anyone who’s been in church for any length of time or has been through a Sunday School class can tell you that this passage of Scripture is called the Great Commission. It is mentioned in Mark 16:15 in a simpler manner, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel.” And even though we call this the great commission we should actually call it the Great Command. Jesus wasn’t suggesting that we do anything that He described, but He was commanding us to do it. Jesus was commanding that His followers continue in the work that He began which was to “seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

The entire reason Jesus Christ came to earth was to seek and to save!

The reason Jesus healed the sick and restored the paralyzed was to seek and to save!

The reason Jesus taught what He taught and spoke in parables was to seek and to save!

The reason Jesus fed thousands with miracles and provided for them was to seek and to save!

The reason Jesus invited men around Him and taught them was to seek and to save!

The entire reason Jesus Christ died on the cross was to seek and to save!

Jesus gave those who believe in Him the Great Commission. Jesus told those who believed in Him to copy His example. If Jesus’ #1 priority was to seek and save that which was lost and we claim to be followers of Christ, what then should be our priority? If God’s Word says that we’re to imitate Christ, as it does in many places in word and in the description of deed, what then should be our priority? Our priority as Christians should be the same as Christ… to seek and to save that, which is lost. In looking at this Great Command of Jesus, I want us to first understand the lost, know what we can do for them, and look at our commitment to the lost.

I. WHO ARE THE LOST?

I suppose if we are to change the way we think and act and we are to be concerned and burdened for the lost, we must find out exactly who the lost are? I want you to know that the word that we most often read in Scripture, ‘the lost,’ means something very specific and carries with it a meaning we do not normally use. The word ‘lost’ in Scripture has with it the meaning of useless, to perish, to declare that one must be put to death, and is used as a metaphor of those who endure misery in Hell for eternity. Overall, this word ‘lost’ means to perish 33, to destroy 26, and to lose 31. In Scripture, being lost means a whole lot more than not being able to find your way. In Scripture, being lost means so much more than wandering off. To be lost, means that you are endangering your soul with eternity in Hell. To be lost, means that you are useless to God. To be lost, means that on the Day of Judgment, you have no place to go but down.

I want you to be able to identify people in your life who are lost. I want you to be able to explain what lost means and why it is not such a good thing to be. I want you to understand their attitudes and where they come from. I want you to know that people who are ‘lost’ are not Christians. Being ‘lost’ means:

* You agree with Friedrich Nietzsche (www.slogans.net) who said, “In Heaven all the interesting people are missing.” This means that they like their life and the sin that they are in. It means they feel that Jesus or God would cramp the kind of life they want to have. It means they have lived their life with their own ideas and in the manner they have chosen without any help from God. Perhaps they feel religion is boring or archaic or a crutch.

* You agree with Peter O’Toole (www.slogans.net) who said, “When did I realize I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself.” This means that ‘lost people’ are the ultimate authority on everything in their life. They chose what is right and wrong. They make all decisions. They decide to be God and mold their life in their image.

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