Summary: Before we can carry out the Great Commission we need the power of the Holy Spirit.
July 31, 2011
Subject: The Great Commission Part 4
Title: Wait Before You Go – The Spirit’s Role in the Great Commission
This is part four of our five part series on the Great Commission. Today we are going to focus on a couple of different aspects concerning Jesus’ call to go into the world and preach the good news. So far we have heard from Matthew’s gospel that Jesus says to go and make disciples of every nation. One interesting note here is that Jesus didn’t say, “Go and make disciples ‘in’ every nation.” He said, “Go and make disciples ‘of’ every nations”. His intention was that every nation on earth would be a Christian nation.
Mark was concerned about preaching the good news to every creature with an emphasis on the things that we should expect to happen on the supernatural plane when the gospel is preached. So even today, as I preach God’s word we should expect God to confirm that word with signs following.
If you remember, Matthew was written to Jewish Christians with the focus on discipleship and obedience to the things Jesus commanded. Mark’s focus was on action – git out there and git ‘er done.
Luke focuses on three aspects of sharing the gospel.
1. He focuses on the real meaning of the gospel message.
2. He focuses on an important necessity in the life of the one who is sharing the gospel – waiting
3. He focuses on the power that will come to those who wait.
I had a friend tell me once that he didn’t have to witness. God had not given him the gift of evangelism – referring to the ministry gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4, apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher… Jesus’ command to the church is for the whole church and not just for a chosen few.
Leighton Ford wrote about an episode that took place in his ministry.
I was speaking at an open-air crusade in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Billy Graham was to speak the next night and had arrived a day early. He came incognito and sat on the grass at the rear of the crowd. Because he was wearing a hat and dark glasses, no one recognized him.
Directly in front of him sat an elderly gentleman who seemed to be listening intently to my presentation. When I invited people to come forward as an open sign of commitment, Billy decided to do a little personal evangelism. He tapped the man on the shoulder and asked, "Would you like to accept Christ? I’ll be glad to walk down with you if you want to." The old man looked him up and down, thought it over for a moment, and then said, "Naw, I think I’ll just wait till the big gun comes tomorrow night."
Billy and I have had several good chuckles over that incident. Unfortunately, it underlines how, in the minds of many people, evangelism is the task of the "Big Guns," not the "little shots."
Lieghton Ford, Good News is for Sharing, 1977, David C.Cook Publishing Co., Page 67
Read Luke 24:44-49
Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
This morning I want to show you that each of you have been commanded to GO! And God has given you all you need to be a true witness for Christ.
I. TO WITNESS YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THE TRUE MEANING OF THE GOSPEL. Let me begin with verses 44-45, 44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. If you are going to share the gospel you must allow the Holy Spirit to bring revelation to you. The best way to do that is to place yourself in a position where you can hear the Bible proclaimed. Notice that I said, hear the bible proclaimed. That is what the word “preach” really means. I have been in churches and listened to preachers who read a passage and then maybe tell a nice little story to accentuate what they just read, and when they were finished I didn’t know any more than I knew before they started. But real preaching, a real proclamation of the scriptures opens the scriptures so that the hearers can understand the meaning and then are able to apply it to their lives. That is why it is important to connect yourself to a local church. Now having said that let me add this. I work really hard at trying to break down the scripture for you so you can grasp the deeper meaning of it, but it is the Holy Spirit who teaches you. You may hear my words but it is the Spirit that gives you that “AHA” moment! 1 Corinthians 2:9-13, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. So what is the message of the scriptures that Jesus is trying to get across to the disciples? He is opening the Old Testament scriptures to show them what the prophets had said about Him. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 1) The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day… Paul wrote to the church in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 2:2, For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. The basic message of salvation – Who Jesus is and What Jesus did. Jesus died on an old rugged cross for your sins and was raised to life for your eternal life. 2) and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name… The conditions of salvation are this - you must come to Jesus for forgiveness of your sin… there is no other way to come to salvation. Acts 4:12, Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Now look at that other word that is mentioned there – repentance. The Greek word that is translated “repentance” means a couple of different things. First, it refers to the feeling of guilt for one’s actions. Unfortunately many think that repentance is simply feeling sorry for your wrong actions. In fact many who think this way aren’t really sorry for their actions – they’re just sorry that they got caught. Second, and repentance is not real without this, it means to make a total reversal of your previous actions; to think differently about what your life is and turn away from it. Feeling sorry is just the beginning, but true repentance is completed when you turn from that sin and make a conscious decision that you will not go there again. Sharing the good news involves helping others understand this. 3) preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. It’s not a difficult message, but it is difficult to accomplish. I prayed long and hard about this, trying to figure out why so many a reluctant to share the gospel with others. Why is it so difficult for Christians to witness? Is it because we are concerned about what others will think of us and if so, why? Think about this. If I asked you why you witness, or at least why you think you should, a large percentage of the church would say, “because Jesus commanded us to…” Let me go at this in just a little different way. When you look at the trial and the beating and the cross of Jesus what do you see? Many of you have seen the movie, “The Passion of the Christ”. The most often heard comment that I hear about the movie is about the suffering and pain that Jesus went through. And those comments are true. What I don’t often hear is the motivation behind the sufferings of Christ. It was not as much about us as it was about who He is and His very nature – it is about His love. If you got a picture of Jesus on the cross in your mind and looked into His eyes do you see the pain, or do you see the love? Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Now back to witnessing…If we were to focus on the love that Jesus has for us as the motivation for witnessing instead of just focusing on the legalism of following His command alone, wouldn’t we be more likely to want to share our faith? … repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. That lines up with the command in Matthew and Mark to GO!.