Summary: God isn’t suggesting you go. He has commissioned you to go.
August 7, 2011
Text: John 20:21-22
Subject: The Great Commission
Title: Whom Shall I Send? - Part 5 in the Great Commission Series
Today is the last message in our Great Commission Series. From Matthew’s gospel we have learned that the Great Commission involves making disciples. That requires building relationships with people in and out of church. From Mark we learned that we need to share the good news to every living creature with the expectation that when we do God will move in a supernatural way to confirm the word. And last week we learned that before we go we need to wait on the Promise of the Father – the baptism in the Holy Spirit – to be poured out on us for power. All three things tie nicely together in one thing – the Love of God. That is, the love He has for us, and that we in return have for Him.
There is rarely a Sunday School that goes by where someone doesn’t mention the fact that we are supposed to be witnesses. Yet, we all know that is the one thing that strikes fear in the hearts of most Christians.
Lieghton Ford, Good News is for Sharing, 1977, David C. Cook Publishing Co., Page 15.
In preparing for this book, I have talked to a lot of people, and the fear issue comes up front again and again. What makes people hesitate to share their faith? Here are some of the fears that have been mentioned to me:
- "I am afraid I might do more harm than good."
- "I don’t know what to say."
- "I may not be able to give snappy answers to tricky questions."
- "I may seem bigoted."
- "I may invade someone’s privacy."
- "I am afraid I might fail."
- "I am afraid I might be a hypocrite."
Perhaps the most common fear, however, is that of being rejected. A survey was given to those attending training sessions for the Billy Graham crusade in Detroit. One question asked, "What is your greatest hindrance to witnessing?" Nine percent said they were too busy to remember to do it. Twenty-eight percent felt the lack of real information to share. None said they didn’t really care. Twelve percent said their own lives were not speaking, as they should. But by far the largest group was the 51 percent whose biggest problem was the fear of how the other person would react! None of us likes to be rejected, ridiculed, or regarded as an oddball.
That brings us to where we want to be today. We want to wrap our minds around the call of the Great Commission in all the gospels in order to see what we can really do to take this message out into the world.
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.
Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
I. WHEN WITNESSING YOU SHOULD HAVE THE PEACE OF GOD. 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! When I was younger I had a difficult time asking people for something. For some reason I always felt that my asking was an imposition on someone else. I’m still that way in some respects. You may not believe it but I have always been a little bashful. It’s true. And I still am to a degree. I’ve gotten better about it. You all know what James the brother of Jesus said about asking. “You have not because you ask not.” On the other hand, there are some of you who are bold enough to ask about anything. The mindset of those people is this, “The worse answer you can get when you ask is ‘No.’ so it’s no big deal”. For some of us that “No!” is rejection and is something that is hard for us to take. Why do we take it so personally? Jesus said in Luke 10:16, “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” So when witnessing, people aren’t really rejecting you, they ultimately are rejecting God. So maybe you think that their rejection is your fault. Not true! Rejecting God is what people walking in darkness do. 2 Thessalonians 2:10, They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. John 15:18, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.’ OK, let’s move past all the talk of hatred and rejection, because Jesus says that those things are not from Him. He says instead of having fear, or being anxious about this we should be confident in who we are and what He has called us to do. “Peace be with you!” Where does the Peace that Jesus says is to be with us come from? Philippians 4:7 answers that question for us. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. That Greek word translated “peace” implies not just a lack of conflict, but also prosperity. In the KJV it is also translated in various places as quietness or rest. A couple of weeks ago a man showed up at our back door who was… let me say it this way… he wasn’t quiet as coherent as he would have been had it not been for the alcohol. He was being tormented by the enemy and didn’t know it. But I was able to sit with him and talk to him about his problem and about the Lord and in doing so I had such a sense of peace. I shared scripture with him and talked to him about what God would like for his life. He told me things that you would expect worldly people to say. “If I go to a church I don’t want to hear about money.” “I don’t want the preacher to tell stories or give his opinion – I just want to hear the bible.” And as I shared scripture with him and told him what he needed in his life he asked me this question, “Is your preaching like this?” I was sharing the word with him and I was doing it with such peace that it really got his attention. I would like to be able to say that he gave his heart to the LORD that day, but he didn’t. But God proved His word to be true in me that day. “Peace be with you!