Brought Low

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The Great Commission is not just a to-do list item. It is not a command that can be obeyed in the same way as taking out the trash or paying our taxes. It can’t even be done as someone might deliver a letter. We might be tempted to think of it that way.

For example, someone might think, “God wrote this message and I am commanded to deliver its contents to the lost. So in obedience I will go out like a postal worker and deliver this message to them, and in so doing I will have fulfilled my duty to the Great Commission.” But if we thought of it that way we would be missing something pretty important.

In John 20:21 Jesus said to His disciples, “As the Father has sent me even so I am sending you.”

And in 2 Corinthains 5:20 Paul wrote, “We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

Did Jesus come to us as a courier making his delivery without passion or prejudice? What does it mean to be sent as Jesus was sent? What emotional force is there behind that word “implore” that Paul uses? When we step out in obedience to the Great Commission we don’t just bring the message of Jesus, we are also called to bring His heart and His concern for the object of that message.

As a church we need something more than a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps harangue to go and do more. We need something more compelling than another to-do list item. We need new passions and desires to go with this command and a vision for its fulfillment that will stir a longing in our hearts. If we, as a church and also individually are to persevere and endure patiently over the span of years in our efforts to win lost souls to Christ, we need to be given a heart to go with the command. We need this more than technical proficiency or courage. It is a relatively easy thing to point out how important it is for Christians to share their faith. It would also be relatively easy to teach the mechanics of how to witness to the lost, what scriptures to share, what strategies to employ, and how to defend your faith. However, how do you teach what is most needed- urgency, desire and a loving concern?

For those who truly long for the lost, sharing the Gospel rises in their throats as naturally as song in a bird. What is needed most is not greater awareness of the command, or of its importance, or the urgency of the need, or to provide answers to the many how-to questions associated with the command to be an evangelist. What is needed more than any of those things is a desire to go with the command.

Christianity is not about behavior modification. God is not satisfied if we outwardly keep His commands but inwardly resent them. Christianity is about the miraculous birth of new desires within us that will then show up in a transformed life, and as we study the story of Naaman this Sunday in 2 Kings 5:1-19 it is my prayer that the Holy Spirit would fill our hearts with a passion for sharing our faith with lost people. And that this desire would compel us to pray for them, be a blessing and a help to them and to seek opportunities to share the good thing that we have found in Jesus with them. A Bible teacher can teach principles and concepts but only God can give a passion for the subject. Please join me in praying that God would stir us up to His great cause as we study the story of Naaman.