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Archive for the ‘The Great Commission’ Category

 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
– Matthew 9:37-38 (ESV)

Jesus expects us to have compassion on the sight of those who look like sheep without a shepherd.  He also wants us to be discerning about what it takes to the reap the harvest of souls throughout this world.  He knows that our hearts cry out for the very souls of the poor and needy, the ones who do not accept the Lord as Savior and those who never heard His Word.

The Lord has an expectation of us as believers.

He wants us to be more:

  • Ready: The Lord stated the bounty of the harvest.  If we are to harvest souls, we need to be ready to reap.  Our readiness will determine how much and how well we reap what has ripened in its season.  He expects us to be ready.
  • Responsive: The Lord points out that the laborers are few.  In the right season, you will be expected to be responsive.  The appropriate response to the harvest is to get to work and pray.  Work with what the Lord has provided you in your spiritual gifts and resources, but also be sure to pray to the Lord of the harvest for the help that you need for the harvest.  Work and pray as part of your response to the Lord placing you in position to respond to the plentiful harvest.
  • Reliant: The words of Jesus make sense.  We are expected to work in the midst of the harvest.  However, we are also expected to pray and rely upon the Lord of the harvest for who He will send our way and into the harvest.  We cannot simply rely upon what we have in our hands or heads and on our hearts.  We have to rely on God Almighty for all the help that we need for the harvest.  He is the Lord of the harvest and has all things within His power.  We need to become more reliant upon Him throughout the season of the harvest.

 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
– Mark 16:15 (ESV)

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O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!- Psalm 34:8

The psalm shares how taking refuge in the Lord can cause one to be blessed.  In fact, it starts this particular verse with an intriguing invitation to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” It is an entreat, starting with “O.” It implores and beseeches the one who reads or hears it read to pay close attention to what is being said.  It calls upon one to open his or her ears and eyes to what is being laid out.

O taste and see. . .

In other words, the psalm writer is beckoning others to come and try the Lord out for themselves.  He doesn’t simply say for others to take his word for it.  He offers others the opportunity to taste and see about the Lord on their own.  He assures them that once they have tasted of what the Lord has to offer that they will see just how good He truly is to those who seek Him.

Beyond everything else, the psalm shares how taking refuge in the Lord can lead to one being blessed by the Lord.  You do not have to keep running around and looking here and there.  Run to the Lord.  Seek refuge in Him.  Go to the Lord.  Flee to Him.  Make haste and come unto Him.  He alone can bless you beyond belief.  God alone can bestow blessing upon you that surpass your own imagination.

Try to recall the last time that you invited someone to taste of the Lord’s goodness and see for themselves.  Offer the invitation to the blessing of a lifetime to someone who may be near and dear to you.  Share it with a perfect stranger.  Put it on your Facebook status.  Tweet it in a direct message to a friend.  You’ve already tasted of His sweetness.  Share it with someone else.

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25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. – Acts 11:25-26 (NIV)

Paul (Saul) and Barnabas went to Antioch on a mission.  Earlier, in verses 20-21, men from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and shared the “good news” and “a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.” Word of this reached Jerusalem and Barnabas, who was “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith”, was sent to Antioch where he encouraged the believers (vv. 22-24).  That’s when he went for reinforcements, seeking out Paul (Saul) in Tarsus.

The Book of Acts gives the Bible reader an account of the missionary journeys of Paul.  Barnabas, also known as “Son of Encouragement,” went to Tarsus and brought his partner to Antioch.  They spent a year there, teaching and discipling a diverse population of believers.  Obviously, they did some good works because the people were called “Christians,” followers of Christ.  At some point, their teaching and fellowship must have hit home with those with whom they shared the Word of God.

Think it through.  There were those who brought the Good News that sparked the movement among the people.  Barnabas stepped in and offered some support to the new converts.  After that experience, Paul (Saul) was brought in to assist Barnabas in discipling the people at Antioch.  That was teamwork.  The teamwork occurred in phases or stages.

We need to examine the example of these men further.  Our ministries need to do something similar.  There needs to be a team who can go into uncharted territory and break new ground with the Gospel.  They need to be able to share the Good News with fervor, winning hearts and souls along the way.  They need to return to the house of God, sharing what they discovered as fertile ground, so that others like Barnabas can come in and edify the new believers with words of comfort, gladness and encouragement.  From there, those encouragers can leverage their relationship with the believers and other evangelists and workers who can support and strengthen the believers.  That’s teamwork.

We need prayer warriors who can intercede on behalf of lost souls and those evangelists and missionaries.  We need workers within the ministry who are taught and trained, equipped to do good works beyond the confines of the house of God.  We need those who have the spiritual gift of exhortation, comfort, and other special gifts to serve in a variety of capacities in order to reach a dying world.

It takes a team who can work together to bring a community together in the name of Jesus.

5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.
– 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 (NKJV)



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We need to look at how we present the Gospel.  We need to be mindful of how we share it and spell out what it means to accept Christ as one’s personal Savior.

Yes, we can lead someone down the Romans Road, but it needs to lead them to the cross and to Christ.  That should be the main aim of our Gospel presentation.  Regardless of the format, whether  Bible study, revival, small groups, etc., our focus should remain pointing people to Christ.

Here is an example developed some time ago through Life Path Publications for offering salvation without strings:

Salvation: Study the Romans Road to lead someone to the cross. Romans 10:13
Offered: Without putting what is studied or understood into practice, we are negligent. Romans 10:14-15
Without: Drop those hang-ups about evangelism Matthew 28:19-20
Strings: Share the Gospel of salvation alone.  No pressure needs to be added upon the person.  Scaring someone out of hell is NOT the same as sharing the Gospel that will keep them from an eternity in hell. 1 Corinthians 2:2

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Evangelism is a lot like golf . . .

  • Nothing beats simply making solid contact on a consistent basis
  • The goal is to move forward with every effort
  • You can believe that you are in competition with others when you really aren’t
  • Some challenges are more forgiving than others
  • You had better consider the conditions before you make the wrong move
  • See that every challenge has multiple approaches

 

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For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
– Mark 10:45 (NIV)

Outreach is delivered best personally.  Jesus showed us a personal example of conducting outreach, demonstrating before delegating.  Jesus showed the way.

He called us to serve as ambassadors in His name.  He wants those who know Him personally to introduce others to Him.  He wants us to invite others to join us in union and fellowship with the Lord.

We ought to be one of the active ingredients in the recipe that saves souls.  Our connection with Jesus Christ should serve as a major factor in how we connect others to Jesus Christ.  We proclaim Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.  Since He is so good to us, we should readily share Him with others.

Download one of Life Path’s e-books today and let your light shine!

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 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip – John 1:45-46 (NIV)

“Come and see,” said Philip.

That was plain and simple.

He shared his personal encounter with Jesus with a friend.  His friend questioned the validity of Philip’s encounter.  Philip countered with: “Come and see.”

Imagine if we simply invited individuals to come and see.  Think long and hard about the last time that you simply invited an individual to join you for Bible study, prayer meeting, small group discussions or anything else related to church.  We evangelize through many methods and techniques, but at the core and essence of evangelism is the simple invitation for someone to just come on out and see what we are talking about as the church.

You don’t have to share a sermon or a special message.  Just invite an individual to come and see.

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For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.- Acts 4:20 (NIV)

The pressure placed upon the apostles of Jesus seemed extreme.  They had been escorted away from a crowd of willing believers who had just witnessed a bona fide miracle with the lame man at the gate.  They were taken before the Sanhedrin and questioned, then they were commanded not to preach in that name ever again.

Their response should similar to our own practice of sharing the Gospel.  We can’t help but talk about what we have experienced since our introduction and acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior.  You can’t help but do so.  They had seen and heard many things while abiding with Jesus during His earthly ministry.  They couldn’t help themselves.  They had to share about it.  They had to talk about what they had seen and heard.

You do the same.  Talk about what you know.  Talk it over.  Talk it out.  Talk it up.  Talk what you know.

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You have a testimony.  You should be able to share your testimony with others.  You have something to say about how the Lord came through for you and you need to share it with someone else.

Here are some simple strategies on sharing your testimony:

  • Be brief but bountiful
  • Keep it both real and relevant
  • Talk more about what the Lord did for you than what you did for yourself
  • Honesty is the best policy*

 

Two Minute Testimony Test

Test it out by talking it out.  Stand in front of the mirror and tell your testimony.  Time yourself.  What can you say in less than two minutes?

 

*Some time ago, hip-hop culture gave us the line: you ain’t got to lie to kick it.  Be honest about what happened.  Don’t dress it up to sound good.  Tell it like it is, just as it happened for you through the Lord.

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“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord…” – 2 Corinthians 4:5 (KJV)

“To be Christ like means to serve people wherever they are- to go where they are and bring Christ to them.”- Ted Haggard

We should evangelize everywhere.  Truthfully, we need to do so.  We should take the Good News, the gospel that speaks of Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, and the Savior.  That is our calling as Christians.

Where are we to take the Good News?

Jesus said we are to take the Word everywhere.  He said we are to evangelize everywhere.  If we understand the Word, then we must also understand how we must evangelize and take the Word everywhere.  The Word is carried forth by the believers of the Word, those led by the Holy Spirit.  True believers carry the Word in their hearts and on their tongues everywhere that they go.

“Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.” – C.H. Spurgeon

Does this mean that every single Christian is called to be a missionary?

Yes.  We are not all called to be missionaries in the same sense that we have seen others go on foreign mission trips to Africa and Third World countries, even China.  We are not all called to become Hudson Taylor or William Carey. 

We are called to be missionaries in the true sense of the word, carrying the Word of God with us everywhere.  We need to take the Word with us to all sorts of places throughout the world.  We need to take the Word of God from the sanctuary to the streets.  We need to serve the Lord by sharing the Word of God with those people whom we encounter and engage as go both to and fro.

I know that some Christians share that they only have friends who are Christians.  Let’s say that such a statement is true.  That still does not mean that Christians are not the only people who Christians interact with or encounter on a daily basis.  We buy gas, groceries and other items where we may find ourselves at Wal-Mart, Exxon or somewhere else.  Even though those other shoppers may be Christians, the believer is to be on the ready to actively share his or her personal beliefs and testimony along with the Word of God.

We are to evangelize everywhere we go.

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