Most of us are fully aware of the “Great Commission” passage of scripture found in Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV) And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” After all, we are part of the Alliance family!
We have realized that the message of the gospel has given hope to us. We know this because we have heard and responded to the gospel by faith. We also know that many people around us have yet to know the saving power of the gospel in their lives. Without this gospel, people are on the road to eternal separation from God. Without Christ, people are dead in their sin. I believe most of us understand this.
What I have seen from Christians concerning this reality are three types of responses:
-separation and disconnect
-over-commitment to every ministry opportunity
-intentional prayerful waiting on the Holy Spirit’s leading
Let me explain each one.
Separation and disconnect. Some believers receive the gospel for themselves and pull away from any and every connection to those who do not know Christ. It’s not that they do not care about the lostness of man, but they feel God will handle it and they must stay away from sinners on the whole. After all, they wouldn’t want to say anything that might offend someone.
Over-commitment to every ministry opportunity. This may be the other extreme. These believers jump in “all the way” with every opportunity that comes their way. After all, “we must be busy doing the Lord’s work!” Many times they are so focused on ‘the mission’ they miss times for real ministry in the lives of people.
Intentional prayerful waiting on the Holy Spirit’s leading. I believe this response should be the ‘norm.’ Let me explain. If we consider the first two responses, they seem to represent two extremes. One is more ‘fearful’ and one more ‘zealous’. I believe that the Holy Spirit is always working. I believe the church is Christ’s. I also believe that God is completely sovereign over all creation. I would thus think it would be of great importance for those who have come to faith in Christ to “seek, listen, and obey” the Lord. We are to make disciples, but only the Holy Spirit can truly reveal the truth of the gospel to anyone.
You see, separation and over-zealousness miss the real point. They are more driven by personal desires, than the Spirit’s leading. As believers we must live in constant awareness that people around us need the gospel. But we also must be aware that we cannot save anyone or change anyone. Thus we must have a constant awareness of the call on our lives – ‘make disciples.’ But we also must be intentional in prayer and wait on the Spirit’s leading as to when and how we should proclaim the gospel. We do not know what He is already doing in a person. We do not know where He is in the work. Seeking, listening, and obeying Him is the best way to be used of Him. It’s His work, not yours.
I came across this article that illustrates the point: Go and Make Disciples: But First, Stop.
May we each be making disciples – as we go. May we join HIM by seeking, listening, and obeying.
Walking with you,