Thursday, May 11, 2017

Fulfilling the Great Commission V

Because Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, we have been commissioned to go to the entire world and teach them about him and what he requires, in essence teaching people how to obtain citizenship in his kingdom, with all the rights and privileges that accompany that citizenship.  Unfortunately, like many illegal aliens today there are people who demand all the rights and privileges, while refusing to accept the responsibilities of citizens, starting riots and assaulting the citizens.   Because of this Christ finished the Great Commission with the promise. “…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen,” in Matthew 28:20

When we go out to reach the world, we are not going on our own.  Acts 1:8 tells us, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  If we have the Holy Spirit in us we have the full authority of God behind us in our efforts to reach the world, and they will see us as his representatives, no matter where we go. 

It is crucial that we understand the power and authority comes only through the Holy spirit, and not from our human abilities and intelligence.   In I Corinthians 2:1-5, Paul stated, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.  For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.  And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:  That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” 

When we begin to depend on human eloquence, educational degrees, preaching skills, or motivational psychology, we put the focus on human things rather than on the Holy Spirit. I Corinthians 1:17 warns, “… but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” John 6:44 tells us, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…”  When we substitute any of these other things for the Holy Spirit’s power, we hinder his working in people’s lives.  I Corinthians 4:20 warns, “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.”

For far too long, the church has depended on Evangelists and soul winning programs to win people to Christ rather than depending on the power of the Holy Spirit to lead them.  As a result much of our effort has been wasted, offending many people unnecessarily, and giving others a false hope because they have no understanding of what is truly necessary. 

Many have said we need to witness to every person we meet, but in MatthewI7:6, Jesus said,  “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”   There are some people who are not willing to hear what
God has to say.  In Acts 16:6-10, the Holy spirit actively prevented Paul from going to certain groups.  “Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.  And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.  And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.  And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.” 

The Holy Spirit knew who was ready to receive the gospel at that time.  Later he would lead them into Asia and the other regions, but they were not yet ready.  When we let the Holy Spirit lead us, we will be reaching out to people who are ready to listen, rather than trying to force them to listen.  If we are to accomplish the purpose of the Great Commission, we need to go depending on his leadership and power rather than our human intelligence or feelings. 

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