- 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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.(Matthew 28:19-20)
We just heard in the reading that Jesus has given us a command – commonly known as ‘The Great Commission’ – directions that all Christians are to follow.
I am willing to bet that when we hear ‘The Great Commission’ we feel a little guilty. Why? Because on a daily basis we do not tell people about Jesus, baptize them or teach them to obey His laws. There are lots of reasons we don’t, but I would guess that none of us do that on a regular basis.
But it is a matter of life or death for people to hear the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness. We are generally rebellious or indifferent to God’s will and so we are destined to eternal separation from God’s love. But Jesus does not want anyone to perish; He wants everyone to come to everlasting life.
Jesus has commissioned each of us to share His Good News and “seek the lost.” He said,
- Go and make disciples of all nations(Matthew 28:19)
It is our greatest calling, then, to share the love and forgiveness He has given us with others.
Jesus Christ’s last command to the Christian community was to make disciples. This command, was not intended merely for the eleven remaining disciples, or just for the apostles, or for those in present times who may have the gift of evangelism. This command is the responsibility of every man and woman who professes faith in Christ as Lord.
- Men and women are truly lost without Jesus.
- He is in the Father and the Father in Him
- Our connection to God. Without Him, we cannot know God and have no hope of eternal life.
The people of the world are truly hungry for the gospel. Maybe God may lead you to some of your own family members, a neighbor or a co-worker, or a person you do not yet know. They are ready to hear the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness.
We have this commission from Jesus to go into all the world with the Good News. God wants us to witness because of the benefits He offers to those who receive Christ:
- They become children of God.
- Their bodies become temples of God.
- All of their sins are forgiven.
- They begin to experience the peace and love of God.
- They receive God’s direction and purpose for their lives.
- They experience the power of God to change their lives.
- They have assurance of eternal life.
God also wants us to witness because of the benefits we will receive – spiritual growth, prayer and dependence on Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
We learn to witness by practicing it – quietly with our friends and neighbors.
- We can practice telling people what God has done for us. Perhaps preparing by memorizing scripture – verses that mean a lot to you.
- We can pray for guidance and be confident that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will know what to do and say when needed.
- Finally, we can be awake and look for opportunities to share that witness.
The witness of our lives is very important too. Words are important, but they are empty if they are not words that come out of the way we are living. Actions speak louder than words; we must ‘walk the walk to talk the talk’. How do we do that?
First, we can tell the story. The love and glory of Jesus did not end with His death. By His resurrection, he conquered death. What better proclamation can we make to the world than that?
Secondlyto share wealth – not only monetary wealth, but also our time and talents. The saying ‘They will know we are Christians by our love’ is so true. We can spread love and kindness to counteract the world’s greed and violence.
Thirdly, we can work to heal divisions. The world is ravaged over things that further hatred between peoples. At the local, state, federal and national levels people fight about things that, in the big picture, have very little meaning. Each of us needs to work within our community and our world to help mediate those differences and bring people together.
Fourthly, go beyond your comfort level – reach those you normally would not talk to. Never miss a changed to tell everyone you see about the love of Jesus and how belief in Him has changed your life.
Jesus said ‘GO!”
The love of Jesus Christ for us, and our love for Him, requires us to share Him with others. And Jesus measures our love for Him by our obedience to Him.
GO!, with the power of God and the Love of Christ.
GO! show people in your lives the goodness and greatness of God.
GO! tell them with you lips the way God has taken care of you.
Know that God’s Spirit is both with you to help with The Great Commission – and that He is with you until the end of the age.
Delivered at In The Garden, Trinity Episcopal Church On Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 19 June 2011