And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
As I was leaving the hospital after a visit to see a patient not too long ago, I saw a lady getting out of her car. She had her hands full including a McDonald’s sack and a drink. The receipt blew out of the sack and she started for it as I did, but both of us decided that the wind was faster than we were and we both let the receipt disappear in the wind. I spontaneously remarked, “If that had been money, you would have had it.” We both laughed and we continued on our way. However, there was some truth in that statement. We do what is important to us. The receipt had simply not been that important. If it had been a five or ten dollar bill, there might have been a sprint by one of us to catch it.
WE DO WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO US AT THE MOMENT.
Three things that cannot be reclaimed:
- A lost opportunity
- The spoken word
Several years ago there was a popular song titled, “Tomorrow, Tomorrow.” That seems to be our thinking many times about doing what God has explicitly told us to do. Tomorrow, tomorrow.
NOW IS THE TIME TO WIN SOMEONE TO CHRIST. TOMORROW MAY BE TOO LATE.
Born in Scotland, John Geddie was brought by his parents to Nova Scotia, Canada in 1816. He began ministry as pastor at Cavendish on Prince Edward Island. In 1846 he went as a missionary to New Hebrides (now the island nation of Vannatu), where he served for over twenty years. When, after twenty-four years of toil, he answered his Lord’s final summons and left the earthly scene, December 14, 1872 a tablet, prepared in Sydney, was placed behind the pulpit of the church in Anelcauhat where the beloved missionary so long had preached. On it was the following inscription:
“In memory of John Geddie, D.D., born in Scotland, 1815, minister in Prince Edward Island seven years, missionary sent from Nova Scotia to Aneiteum for twenty-four years. When he landed, there were no Christians here, and when he left there were no heathen.”
Always share your faith – and sometimes you can use words. We are never at a loss for words. So if we are to witness we need to speak up NOW. Someone’s eternal destination is at stake. If it is at all possible, and it is in most cases, turn the conversation toward God. It used to be that witnessing meant going door to door. Now we have phones, blackberries, twitter, Facebook so we are really out of reasons not to witness.
I honestly do not believe that anyone wants to see another person go to hell, but we fail to be the witness we are called to be because of a multitude of reasons. All of them probably invalid. You could say the reason you do not witness is that you are out of peanut butter. It makes as much sense.
2 Corinthians 6:1-2 – We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Jesus at the age of twelve in the temple told His earthy parents that “He must be about His Father’s business.” That was His example to us.
We too “must be about our heavenly Father’s business.” We simply have other priorities and we must realize that “NOW is the day of salvation, NOW is the acceptable time.” We so often think of that statement as pertaining to the sinner and it does, but it also pertains to us, the witness, the Christian, the follower of God. We have a mandate from Jesus Himself to do so. The sinner needs to turn from their sin, but the Christian needs to be the witness.
In the text, Jesus was speaking to His disciples. I ask you, are you and I a disciple? Then we must get busy. Be obedient. Do what it says. There have been no exceptions listed anywhere in the Bible to not be included in this command as far as I know. In fact, within this command is also your biblical degree. Did you know that you have a PhD? Christ gave all His followers a PhD. Therefore you are equipped to do what He said.
Now I suppose you want to know what that degree means. Your PhD stands for PREACH – HEAL – DELIVER.
Let me ask you another question. When was the last in-depth conversation you had with someone about their eternal soul?
New York City – 1985 (young man on the street who had never heard the story of Jesus Christ.)
The responsibility to win the lost is clearly within your expertise and you are responsible to fulfill the great commission as much as anyone else. That is exactly what Christ called all of us to do. Not just the pastors and teachers, evangelists, deacons, Sunday School teachers, etc. We all have been given instructions to GO AND WIN THE LOST. If the church took that command serious, there would not be an empty seat in any Bible believing church. The command He gave was all inclusive. For you and you and you and you and you and me.
Matthew 9:37-38 – Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Acts 28:30-31 – Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.
Harold Wilmington of Liberty University said of Paul the Apostle, “Everywhere he went he was either causing a riot or a revival.”
John 20:21 – So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
Luke 10:2 – Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
Jeremiah 8:20 – The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!”
Let me ask you a question: How many would want to raise your hand and say, “I’ll be responsible for not witnessing or not praying and therefore send two, five, ten or twenty to hell?” When you think of the great commission in that way, we find that it is a really awesome responsibility, not a suggestion.
Is Christ’s return imminent? All we have to do is look around. Signs are everywhere.
If we really believed Christ’s return is as near as we profess, we would be busy praying, equipping ourselves and going forth with power and authority to win the lost. Time is wasting.
WIN THE LOST…
Souls are crying, men are dying. Won’t you lead them to the cross?
Go and find them, help to win them. Win the lost at any cost.
Go out and win, rescue from sin; day’s almost gone, low sinks the sun.
Souls are crying, men are dying. Win the lost at any cost.