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.
12 thoughts on ““COME” and “GO””
Thank you, Fran! J and I were just talking about this last night. Love to you! Jeanine
Jeanine, thank you for reading and your comment.
Love you,too ~ Fran
This is so true. Before we can GO to a world that is dying to tell of His salvation, we need to COME to Him as the Living One. May the Lord make us like Mary in Luke 10:39, sitting at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.
Thank you for your comment.
Mary and Martha were in my thoughts as I was writing this article.
There are a lot of Marthas trying to serve without having spent personal quiet time with the Lord.
I enjoy your blog.
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Thank you, I enjoy your blog as well! It’s so true – for our service to the Lord we need to know His desire and preference so that we can serve according to it, instead of according to our own desire and preference.
And why do we come to him. Andreasnest?
It is by coming to Him that we cultivate a private, personal, and affectionate relationship with the Lord. In this way He can speak to us, infuse us with what’s on His heart, and impart to us a particular burden concerning the gospel. It may be a particular person He puts on our heart to intercede for (like Abraham with Lot) and when we sense that the time is right and that person is open, we may speak something concerning the Lord. Others that we know may not be open, so instead of speaking hastily we need to pave the way for their salvation through prayer. When we’re with them, we may not say anything, but Christ is expressed in our living and our care for them. Like Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the gospel at all times, use words when necessary.”
The “guilt” that is felt could be man-made by someone giving a sermon about this in a condemning or pressuring way. Or it could be our conscience bothering us of our lack in speaking about the Lord in our daily living. For sure, if the Lord is living in us, we WILL have a feeling and a sense to speak about Him without anyone needing to exhort us to do so. It is possible to dismiss this feeling within and not cooperate with the Lord’s inward operation in us, so this is why we need to come to Him. We can confess our lack, tell Him about our fears concerning this, ask Him who He would like us to speak to, etc.
We need BOTH aspects (coming to Him and going to others) in order to have a healthy, normal Christian life:
1) spending personal, private time with the Lord to be infused with His desire (so we can carry out things according to His desire)
2) cooperating with Him to share the good news of the gospel with others.
We shouldn’t over or under stress either one. And it’s possible that according to our natural tendency and disposition, we may favor one over the other depending on our natural tendency. To be healthy Christians we need both inflow and outflow, both receiving and giving.
Now that Christ is living in His believers, He has limited Himself to them. Through spending time sitting at His feet, listening to His word, we will be supplied to cooperate with Him in speaking concerning Him. If we don’t, who will?
Talking about the great commission, to many it sounds going against Christ’s command if we say – and I have said it elsewhere – this great commission in Matthew was directed at the Apostles alone. You struggled with guilt because you were not following through on what you describe as “Talking to others about Jesus Christ is our whole life because He is our Life.”
Are you sure that because Jesus is your whole life that talking to others is (should?) be your whole life? If this is so, when would there be time to “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life?” (1 Thessalonians 4:11) and other Christians virtues.
I made someone very cross when I said that before you obey the great commission ensure you have the great permission. I wrote about it here.
Thank you for your comments. I am humbled by your correction.
I agree that this command was to Jesus’ disciples.
The qualm I have with this being used in most sermons on evangelism is that layman cannot baptize disciples.
I used the word guilt as it applies to general congregations who hear their excuses addressed.
My reference to a life of talking about Christ was meant in application to general conversation, just as others talk about what they love.
I do not go out of my way, but speak of Him when God opens a door.
That does not happen very often, since I live a somewhat isolated, quiet life as a caregiver for my husband.
Writing is the means God has given in these latter years to witness of His grace.
I continue to pray for His leading that I speak and write the truth of our great salvation in Christ.
I don’t remember where I heard this but it is a caution; “Fear to tread, where God has not led.”
I enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for the link.
The Lord bless your ministry.
I value your approach very much. And “Fear to tread, where God has not led,” that’s a good one.
Related to this, I’ve also enjoyed this blog post from “Holding to Truth in Love” on Why It’s Important to Confess Your Faith in Christ to Your Friends: http://holdingtotruth.com/2013/09/15/confess-your-faith-in-christ/
Andrea, thank you for this link.
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