Tag Archives: Evangelism

Evangelism Journeys: The Great Commission

Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV)

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.””

Matthew 28:18-20 is appropriately known as the Great Commission.  It is great due to magnitude, degree, and effectiveness of what is required. It is a commission because Jesus commanded a group of people (all of His disciples) sanctioning a worldwide mission to spread the Gospel. Within these three dynamic verses, there are six key components that are frequently overshadowed with major points of controversy. These six key components are listed below along with clarification of the controversy surrounding them.

Authority

In Matthew 28:18, God has given Jesus all authority of heaven and earth. This means that Jesus has the power to give orders, make decisions, and control over heaven and earth. Based upon this authority, Jesus sanctions the Great Commission.

 Fulfillment of Prophesy

Also in Matthew 28:18, we are able to see the fulfillment of prophesy. Daniel’s dream foretold of this time when Jesus would receive all power. Daniel 7:14 (KJV) states, “And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

 Worldwide Evangelism Mission Sanctioned

In Matthew 28:19, Jesus sanctions the worldwide evangelism mission.  Jesus itemizes the requirements for this mission.

  • † Proceed forward spreading the Gospel to all nations
  • † Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost
  • † Teach them to be adherents to all the teachings of Jesus

Mark 16:15, 16 (KJV) indicates that the disciples were to earnestly share the Good News.  This Scripture also highlights that everyone will not be receptive to the Gospel.  Faith come by hearing the message and the message is heard through the word about Jesus Christ. (Romans 10:17, KJV) Jesus charged all his disciples with this mission.  There are some who believe that the charge was for those with the gift, anointing, or has the vocation of an evangelist.  We all have the ability to share our testimony about how we have been transformed through our relationship with God.

Evangelism or witnessing about Christ should not stop at sharing the message or a “Sinners Prayer.” New Believers need mentors to provide guidance and godly counsel. Spiritual development is a process that will be different for each Believer and takes time.  In a previous blog post, I identified some requirements and characteristics of a True Disciple entitled, “True Disciple Requirements and Characteristics”. (Please read for more information on the requirements and characteristics of a True Disciple.)

Trinitarian Immersion Formula for Baptism

Jesus provides a Trinitarian immersion formula (“baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”) required for baptism. Baptism is essential because it unifies Believers with Jesus Christ in his/her death to sin and resurrection to new life with no condemnation.  It also symbolizes submission to Christ with a willingness to live God’s way and an identification with God’s covenant people.

Non-Trinitarian Believers reject this immersion formula because they reject the Triune nature of God by citing Scripture references of Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5, and 22:16.  While these Scripture References use in the name of Jesus Christ”, they are not used as an immersion formula but reference by whose authority they are operating under.  God gave all authority in heaven and earth to Jesus.  As the disciples began fulfilling the Great Commission they identify that they are doing so by the authority of Jesus Christ.

Triune Attribute of God

In providing the Trinitarian immersion formula for baptism, Jesus is also revealing an incommunicable attribute of God.  Although the terms “Triune” or “Trinity” are not in the Bible, these terms are used to describe an attribute of God.  God is one being who exist in three Persons namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit sharing a divine being. The unity of the three person is the “Godhead.” There are over 60 Bible passages that mention the three Persons together.

 A Reassuring Promise

Matthew 28:20 provides us with the reassuring promise that Jesus is always with us.  After sanctioning the mission, Jesus would ascend into heaven then send The Comforter, Holy Spirit, to reside in us.

Product Review: Pursuing Jesus

The “Pursuing Jesus” pamphlet is very similar to the “Following Jesus” pamphlet. “Pursing Jesus” is a revised, more contemporary version of “Following Jesus” geared towards appealing to the youth. The layout, format, and overall design is edgier and more colorful. The length is the same. While still scripturally based, there are less scriptures while maintaining scriptural references and has more of a questions and answers layout.

While I do appreciate that this has been designed with teens in mind, the graphic design and fonts used would not give you the impression of Christian pamphlet at first glance, but something that you would see to advertisement a secular Halloween flyer. The font used for headers appear as scratches in blood red color. The cover display a female face that is pale with wide horizontal stripe of red across the eyes and a wide vertical stripe that comes down the middle.

The same questions used in “Following Jesus” are used and sometimes re-worded in “Pursing Jesus.” As in the previous pamphlet, there are suggested scriptural references provided for memorization. As I have been seeking content for my Teen Sunday School class, I wanted to review both products. Initially, I believed “Pursing Jesus” was a continuous of “Following Jesus.” This is not the case they are virtually the same product. Overall, I prefer “Following Jesus” over the “Pursing Jesus” pamphlet because I like the layout, format, and overall design better for teaching. Both products are good for introducing New Believers to Christ. I would recommend it be used in small group settings to facilitate discussions about what it means to be a Christian.

Same-Sex Ruling Controversy

Over the last decade, the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgender (LBGT) community have continuously fought for the legalization of same-sex marriages nationwide. The opponents to this issue were many including the Church. The opposition to legalizing Same-sex marriages stems primarily from mainstream belief systems (Christianity, Orthodox Jewish Movement, Roman Catholic, etc.) that explicitly believe that the constitution of marriage is between man and women and homosexual practices are an abomination before God. Obviously, any legislation that could potentially infringe upon biblical foundations and fundamental beliefs would be cause for concern. For example, if the language of the law indicates that as a result of the ruling spiritual leaders could not refuse to marry same-sex couples because of their sexual preferences. The conflict would be state attempting to supersede biblical foundations.

After the Supreme Court ruled in favor of legalizing same-sex marriages and marital benefits, many were quick to voice their opinions via social media and the pulpit. Most of the comments that I read on social media or blog sites ranged from the same-sex ruling would usher the beginning of Armageddon to condemning the LBGT community to hell in the lake of eternal fire. These comments also including misquoted Scripture references and demonstrated the ignorance of the writers. Since the Supreme Court’s rulings, virtually every worship service I have personal attended, the pastor or preacher will reiterate that the institution of marriage was designed and created by God for “Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.”

One of the biggest problems that I have seen is the alienation of the LBGT community. Spiritual leaders address sexual immorality with a constricted focus on homosexuality. I believe that this sends the wrong message. It would appear that all sexual immorality would be exclusive to those who indulge in homosexuality. Spiritual leaders need to ensure a full comprehensible teaching on sexual immorality to their congregation. It is also important that congregations are taught how to evangelize and witness effectively to all people. Evident by some of the posts on social media sites, there is a lack of knowledge and compassion. There are many willing to condemn but who is willing to evangelize with love and without judgment.

If we are God’s representatives on earth, we should model His example. Jesus ministered, healed, and evangelized to the ten lepers, Samaritan women at the well, the blind beggar, the woman with the issue of blood, and many more. The people that Jesus helped were the people that everyone else discarded, they were considered the outcast, and they all needed healing. Before anyone of us knew Christ, we needed to be healed, delivered, and set free. So why is it that we lack compassion towards others? Shouldn’t we be a reflection of God’s love, mercy, and service to his people? Is God seeking us?

Product Review: How to Share Your Faith – The Plan of Salvation

The “How to Share Your Faith – The Plan of Salvation” pamphlet provides a roadmap through the Plan of Salvation. It examines the elementary components within the Plan of Salvation and clarifies the roles of the Godhead and Ambassadors for Christ. I believe this helps novice evangelist obtain a healthier outlook when sharing the Gospel. The Good News is properly defined, supporting Scriptures are provided, and diagrams illustrate biblical principles brilliantly.

There is emphasis on spreading the Good News while being mindful to present the message without judgment or condemnation. It also does not suggest fear or emotional tactics such as the “fire and brimstone” methods. It explains that Ambassadors for Christ will only be effective when spread the Gospel through God’s love. This is key because there are many people who seek to spread the Gospel but it is going on death’s ears because of how they are presenting the message.

Overviews of the fall of man, Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, and God’s ability to make all things new delivers simplified message to share with others. It promotes the use of spiritual disciplines for continuous spiritual growth so that we may be used as Instruments of God and God’s Promises.

This is a good introductory pamphlet on “how to share your faith effectively.” It would definitely be beneficial to people who have a passion to evangelize and witness yet lack experience and understanding. I believe it would be a great point of reference and quite beneficial by utilizing simplified explanations of the biblical principles.

True Disciple Requirements and Characteristics

What makes us true disciples for Christ? True discipleship is more than acknowledging God, being baptized by water, identifying ourselves as Christians, and attending worship services religiously. Jesus made this clear to the mixed multitude of followers in Luke 14:25-35. Not everyone that followed Christ were true Believers or Disciples. It is evident through the Scriptures that Jesus wanted people to be aware of the requirements. He was not seeking enthusiasts, fascists, or groupies who falsely identified themselves as His disciples. Jesus was specific about the requirements.

True Disciples will…

  • Love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds (Matthew 22:37; Luke 14:26-27; John 14:15)
  • Study the Scriptures for teaching, reprimand, improvement, and training in morality which will equipped us for every good work (II Timothy 3:16-17)
  • Possess faith in God (Hebrews 11:6)
  • Assist in spreading the Gospel (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 19:9-10, John 8:31)
  • Acknowledge that we are not exempt from enduring affliction, persecution, and suffering (Matthew 10:24-25; Luke 14:27)
  • Pursue Christ (Luke 14:27)
  • Be productive, fruitful (John 15:8)
  • Teachable (John 14:26; John 6:60-66)
  • Live our lives characterized by love (John 13:35)
  • Worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24)

In Psalm 15, David asked God, “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?” David was making inquiry to what characteristics were necessary to be Citizens of Zion. This Psalms identifies five important characteristics for the Citizens of Zion. The Citizens of Zion will be…

  •  Psalms 15:2 ~  Sincere about their relationship with God and be blameless in their Christian Conduct. Obedient to all ordinances and commandments of  God.
  • Psalms 15:3 ~  Those who avoid speaking evil (gossiping and backbiting), and are careful not to cause harm to anyone.
  • Psalms 15:4 ~  Values and respects virtues and godliness, but despises wickedness and does not envy their possessions.
  • Psalms 15:5 ~  Philanthropists who freely gives to the poor within their ability. They will not accept bribes or be a party in extortion.

When we compare the requirements with the characteristics, we are able to see how they align with one another. In knowing the requirements and characteristics, do we still say “Yes”? If we examine our personal relationship with God, are we meeting His expectations? Are we sincerely striving to be the true worshippers that God seeks?