THE GREAT COMMISSION

Jesus tells us to go out into the world, "teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:16-20). The English verb ‘to evangelize’ comes from the Greek word euangelizo, which means ‘to proclaim good news.’ It is employed in the New Testament to describe the proclamation of the Christian message to the world.

 

Telling other people about your life changing decision is really important too, this is called sharing your testimony. However, sharing your testimony can be a reason for your change of heart, but we must always accompany that with the gospel of what caused this change to begin with, "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect," (1 Peter 3:15)

 

I want to make it clear that we are not tasked to convert people, only God can save people, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."(Ephesians 2:8-9). So please don't feel like you need to know it all or change peoples minds by your own power. When we share our faith with others we are simply being given the honor to assist in Gods kingdom work. God can save people on His own, He doesn't need us, but allows us through obedience to bring Him Glory so we may see the fruit of His works.

 

We are seeking the lost that God has called out, not trying to turn unbelievers into believers,

Matt. 10:6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Matt. 10:7 “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

Sheep are a metaphor in the Bible for the children of God, those who by grace are saved through faith in Jesus. Both the Old Testament saints in Israel and the New Testament believer in the Church are called sheep. Unbelievers are commonly compared to goats. Jesus said their objective is to go to the lost “sheep" of Israel. Jesus doesn't tell these men to go to the lost goats of Israel and invite them to become sheep. Our objective is not to turn goats into sheep, because we couldn’t do that even if we tried. None of us have the power to bring faith to anyone…our best arguments are inadequate. The Lord is moving hearts by His Spirit, He’s preparing men and women to receive our message so that as we encounter them, salvation results. When we see that moment, we shouldn’t tell ourselves that we just turned a goat into a sheep, because that’s not what happened. What happened is we found a lost sheep. That’s how salvation works, and the entire Kingdom program depends on understanding that God is doing the real work. 

Mark 10:25 “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Mark 10:26 They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?”
Mark 10:27 Looking at them, Jesus  said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.

Jesus says, you’re right…if getting to Heaven depended on us, we would remain hopeless, but praise the Lord it doesn’t work that way. Understanding that this is our objective – going out to find lost sheep – changes everything in why and how we fulfill our calling. If you begin your work in evangelism thinking that you are responsible for turning goats into sheep, you’re likely to be overwhelmed. Immediately you’re wondering, do I have skill and knowledge to bring something to the point of faith?

My favorite picture of this process is that of a child being asked by his father to hunt for eggs on Easter

  • Think of those eggs as the lost sheep that our Father in Heaven has asked us to seek for the sake of the Kingdom

    • The child hunting those eggs isn’t producing the eggs by their search effort…the eggs are already there waiting, the child is simply trying to find them

    • So they search eagerly, fully expecting to find one around the next corner

    • The child is eager and excited to look, because she knows her father has placed the eggs in the yard to be found

    • There is no doubt the eggs are already there…the challenge is locating them

  • Likewise, we know our Father delights to bring all people to know Him, and He is at work by His Spirit preparing hearts to respond to the Gospel

    • These hearts are everywhere around us, like eggs hidden in our garden

    • And so like a child, we should be exited to search, to seek for the lost sheep knowing if we look long enough we will find them

  • And even better, you don’t have to be especially talented in the search process…you just have to be persistent

    • As I say, serving God in the Kingdom program isn’t a matter of ability…it’s a matter of availability 

    • And when you understand and embrace the biblical objective of evangelism – seeking lost sheep – you get a whole lot more excited about doing it

  • If you tell me I have to turn goats into sheep, I’m immediately discouraged because I’m forever aware of my spiritual limitations

    • But tell me I only have to locate the sheep that God has already prepared to receive the Gospel, then suddenly I’m saying, “I got this!”

    • Not because I feel any more competent than I did before, but because I suddenly realize that this impossible task didn’t depend on me

    • God was already doing the impossible for me…He’s just inviting me to join in His work so I can be blessed to watch Him saving souls

Finally, if they do not accept the message, Jesus tell the disciples to move on, "Matt. 10:14 “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet."  One person’s rejection doesn’t mean the message was wrong or that our method was wrong. It means we need to keep looking…we haven’t found our lost sheep yet. 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.(Rom. 1:16)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 

Romans 12:2

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