Summary: The message explores the mandate and mission process of the carring out the Great Commission.
The Great Commission
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! (W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, p. 215.)
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 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. (Leadership, V. 1, p.55.)
There is a tremendous urgency when it comes to carry 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". We need to begin focusing on the story of the Gospel now.
1. All Authority in Jesus
D.L. Moody and once spoke with a woman who didn’t like his method of evangelism. "I don’t really like mine all that much either. What’s yours?" She replied that she didn’t have one. Moody said, "Then I like mine better than yours."
But by whose authority do we carry out this mission? What right do we have to disrupt others lives? What makes our beliefs more important and unstoppable?
Jesus gave us the authority and ability to us. Like Jesus we can now make disciples, we can now baptize. It is by His authority and will that we do all we do.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Of all the gifts" in scripture, all of the talking about God’s power in our lives, of all the references to the power of the Holy Spirit, one passage tells us why we are filled by the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8 says the "power" is for witnessing.
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.
Why is it that we don’t witness to others? Let me share some statistics with you. Why people don’t witness: 1. 90% have failed in witnessing attempts in the past 2.The are biblically illiterate 3. They leave it to the professionals 4. We shouldn’t impose our faith on others. (Ron Hutch craft, Wake Up Calls, Moody, 1990, p.30)
So what is the first step in carrying out the Great Commission?
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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
"Where ever you go" should be the understanding today. Our daily business takes us too many places and most of those places have people. There is where the "go" command is fulfilled. There is nothing magical about a move or a plane ride.
A young man enlisted, and was sent to his regiment. The first night he was in the barracks with about fifteen other young men, who passed the time playing cards and gambling. Before retiring, he fell on his knees and prayed, and they began to curse him and jeer at him and throw boots at him. So it went on the next night and the next, and finally the young man went and told the chaplain what had taken place, and asked what he should do.