Thursday, November 29, 2012

Be Ready, Get Ready, GO

              Have you ever been walking at a state fair or maybe out somewhere and you see someone eating what looks like the most delicious treat, and immediately you want it. You see it, you want it, and you seek it out until you find it? That is what our lives in Jesus Christ are to be like. Our lives should reflect the greatness and the beauty of Jesus in such a way, that no matter where we are, who we are or who sees us, it should stir in that person a desire to seek out what we have for themselves.
                This coming weekend, our church is putting on a Fall Outreach. It is the heart of those who have poured into this outreach that many will come to know and see Jesus and want Him in their lives. As I was praying and pondering on the upcoming event, a scripture passage came into my heart.
                “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 things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20
                Jesus had called His disciples to Himself and gave them a mission, most of us Christians know this to be the Greatest Commission, and it is the greatest of them all. This is not only our mission, it is our calling. We have all been called to Jesus and He tells us to go and make disciples, teaching them in the ways of the Lord. We have all been called to reach the lost for Jesus Christ. But too many times, I fear, we get caught up in getting them into church rather than into the Kingdom.
                As we walk this life, we are faced with people everyday who need Him, who need to see Jesus. We have been given the most delicious treat of all, Jesus Christ, and others need to see that and want Him for themselves. I have never been much of an evangelist; in fact, telling people I do not know about Jesus is difficult for me. I am more of the “bring them to church” type, and let the Pastor do the rest. But that ought not to be so in our lives. Jesus has called me, and you to “Go” and make disciples of all nations. This was not a suggestion handed down; this was a command to all of us.
                Outreaches are great opportunities to do this, but when our focus is more on increasing our numbers at church instead of increasing the Kingdom of God, we need to take a step back and rethink our heart motives. Jesus tells us to “Go” and go means exactly that- Go. Do not waste one moment, one opportunity to tell others about the love and grace that you have been given. The word “Go” means “as you go about your journey”. As we walk out our lives on this earth with Jesus, we are given opportunities to share what we have with those who we encounter. They may not want it or see it right away, but if we are faithful to what the Lord has commanded, then eventually, in His timing it will come to pass, and they too will see the love that Jesus has for them. We should live in such a way that our very walks should cause others to come to us and say, “I want what you have.”
                Making disciples is more than just doing an altar call every Sunday. Making disciples means that we are spending the time that is necessary to teach these new babes in Christ about Him, through our words as well as through our actions. We can all invite someone to church, and it will increase your church’s member list, but that is not what Jesus called us to do. He called us to go and make disciples. He tells us to gather those who love Him and teach them the things that we have learned in our walks. Our lives as Christians are not singular. We are not alone nor are we walking alone. We are a part of a bigger picture, we are part of a Kingdom-we are part of a body that spans the entire world.
                “The mission of every believer in Jesus Christ is to communicate to the world who Jesus is and to extend to all His offer of salvation and spiritual refuge. Jesus has commissioned all believers to go to the most distant and remote points of the earth- as well as to their neighbors next door- to reach the lost with the gospel message of redemption and reconciliation. We are to make the Savior known.” (Women’s Study Bible, NKJV) Going doesn’t mean that we have to pick up and move to some remote corner of the earth and teach little kids songs about Jesus, but the going means to start where we are and show Jesus, teach Jesus, tell about Jesus right where we are.
                We are to “go” which implies action; it means that we are to make ourselves available to every opportunity presented, to show forth the grace and love of Jesus Christ that we ourselves have been given. The bible tells us that we are to “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2) It also tells us that we are to be ready to always give an answer for the hope that is in us, (1 Peter 1:5) be ready to GO, wherever and whenever the Lord says.
                If we focus on getting people to come to church rather than coming to Jesus, then we have missed the meaning of the mission Jesus gave to us. If we lead them to Jesus, and they accept Jesus into their hearts, they have become a member of the family- even if they choose to go to a different building to worship Him. Our purpose and goal is to gain souls to the Kingdom of God, not get people to come to our church to boost our numbers. Let us be ready, get ready and Go, wherever and whenever the Lord says “GO.”
                I pray for all that read this blog today that we would focus more on getting people into the Kingdom than getting them into our church. May the Lord God show you His heart for the lost, and may we be ready, in season and out of season to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. May our lives be lived so fully in Jesus Christ that others who see may seek out and find Jesus for themselves. To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen.