I have heard the message from Matthew 28 on the Great Commission in different places, from different pulpits, from tracts, television, from different pastors, etc.? It is always accompanied with the sense of guilt. The last time I heard it was no different, but my response to it this time brought me to the Lord in prayer, to ask forgiveness for where I may have failed to share Christ, and for further help to be the witness He wants me to be.
As I hear the command, “Go,” the thought of going seems to be the last thing we are to do. In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus’ message was “Come, and find.” Before we can “Go” with any kind of witness we must have “Come” first to Jesus, in humility, to find rest for our own souls. We must know this rest that is in Him. We must first have been born of His Spirit and be fruit bearers of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and temperance.
The commission to “Go,” to make disciples, and teach them what they had been taught, was given to those who had been with Jesus; during His ministry, His suffering, His crucifixion, His resurrection and ascension. They were a motley crew until they knew without doubt who Christ was. They deserted Him, but were brought again to see that He indeed was the Son of God, the promised Messiah, the Savoir of the world.
I do not mean to say that the commission was to them alone; or to pastors alone. These were not the only witnesses of Christ and the good news of salvation; these were not the only ones who taught in His name. The point is that when we have first “come” to Christ, receiving the gospel, born of His Spirit we “go” wherever He leads us, whether to the mission field, or simply where He places us daily. We share what He teaches us in our daily living; He draws others to Himself through us.
Freedom from Guilt
What does God’s word say about guilt and fear?
In John 8:31-32 Jesus speaks to believers who are not true followers.
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
When the law of the Spirit of life in Christ sets us free from the law of sin and death Romans 8:2 the life in Christ is a new life in us, free from guilt.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
If we fear talking to others about Christ we need to be diligent to make our election sure. (1 Peter 1:10) Simon Peter in his letter to the early Christians reminds them that they have been given all things pertaining to life and godliness in the knowledge of God, the Father and Jesus Christ. Paul writes to the Philippians.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Holding forth the word of life.” Philippians 2:13-16
“So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13
Before we have the true sense of what it means to “Go” we must come and stay awhile with Jesus. We must sit at his feet to receive the good portion of grace and faith that is allotted to each of us. For some it is exciting to talk about a new faith. Discouragement can come when we hear the words, “I don’t want to hear it.”
Long term witness becomes our life as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We have the witness in ourselves of the truth of Jesus Christ. (1 John 5:10)
Witnessing to others of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is not something that is meant to be a dread or drudgery. Talking to others about Jesus Christ is our whole life because He is our Life. Christ in us is our hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27) It is who we are in Christ. Christians who believe, who are true disciples of Christ, those who are “the called” are those who have “come” to Christ and have studied Christ. We have been caught up in Him and taught by Him.
It is not a dread or fear to talk about what we love. The world naturally shares what they believe and love. And so do we; but supernaturally. It is not we that speak but the Holy Spirit of mercy and grace ~ the same truth that He spoke to us, and that brought us to Christ.
All that Christ means to us will out, to people we meet. We cannot hide it. The Word of God that is a light to our path and a lamp to our feet cannot be hidden.
When we rejoice in the Lord, making our moderation known to all men we are witnessing to the gospel. When we have any concerns we make our requests known to Him in everything, with prayer and supplication; with thanksgiving. And the peace that passes understanding keeps our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Let us, as His redeemed, continue to rejoice, request, rest, and remember that we were bought with a price; so that we would testify of His great salvation. Those who are His will hear, and by His Holy Spirit, come to Him.
“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
Let us understand what it means to be His disciple; to come to and after Him, denying ourselves, taking up our own crosses daily, to follow Him. (Luke 9:23)
Fill us Lord, with your fullness
that we may overflow with your grace.
Dear Father, thank you for showing us that this is not our work but yours; just as you spoke your word to us you speak it through us wherever we are. Thank you for making us your own that through us you call others to new life in Christ. Please continue to bless us with your fullness, bearing the fruit of your Spirit through us as your children. Speak through us today to someone in the wilderness who will hear and come to Christ. For those who cannot yet speak of Christ, fill them with your Spirit, with your truth. Give them the joy of your salvation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.