In Mark 16:15, Jesus charges his followers by saying to them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” This is a command that is just as applicable as the command in the next verse, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.”
There are certainly numerous commands that we readily follow and defend.
In Luke 13:3, 5, Jesus informs us that unless we repent we will perish. All will follow that command if they want to go to Heaven.
Luke 22:29 provides the setting for the institution of the Lord’s Supper. “Do this in remembrance of me” is a command to partake of the Lord’s Supper.
We rightfully defend the communion of Lord and serve it every first day of the week according to Acts 20:7.
We mightily profess that we have Apostolic example in the New Testament for giving of our “means” found in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2.
We treasure the fact that the music of the early church was without instrumental accompaniment and no command given authorizing the use thereof.
But for some reason we have a disconnect when it comes to our responsibilities to follow the Great Commission.
I am in the fourth decade of serving God with my life as a Gospel preacher. I have seen numerous attempts to motivate Christians to evangelize and thereby comply in fulfilling the Great Commission.
The Lord’s church has used motivational speakers, seminars, workshops, lectureships, video’s and much more to educate and equip the Lord’s Body and prepare them to render obedience to the simple command to “go.” However, we have not addressed the real problem:
WE DON’T WANT TO GO!
Although we are grown men and women, it seems our reaction to evangelism is the answer of a five-year old: “You can’t make me.”
We live in a country that has instilled in our education that we have freedom to choose. Liberty gives us that freedom. Though independence was a rallying point in this nation’s history, we must remind ourselves that we are Christians first and we belong to Him. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 informs us of that fact. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Paul describes the position that the Christian has in relation to accepting God’s wonderful gift of salvation. No one has twisted his arm or forced him to sign a contract he had not read. Every sinner knew what he was “signing up” for. Our obedience to Jesus and our promise to serve Him faithfully until death was the beginning of a life-long, voluntary SLAVERY.
YOU WERE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE.
Could the slave pick and choose which command to obey or to refuse? This would have been unthinkable! When God gives us a command we have no choice but to obey it. Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that the child of God seeks to please the Father.
2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 reminds us of the coming judgment on all who are disobedient. “ And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”
Apathy, “absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement. Lack of interest or concern for things others find moving or exciting.” (Dictionary.com)
It is my opinion that preachers and other church leaders have been guilty of a lack of preaching in this area. If one does not follow all the teachings and commands of Jesus then that one has simply failed to follow Him. How can we say that we are truly His followers and yet we do not serve Him in evangelism? How can we ever sing the song “All To Jesus I Surrender,” when we clearly are lying as we mouth the words?
In John 10:26-30, Jesus said, “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” His sheep follow Him. Won’t you?
Paul Kirkpatrick is a minister for the Warners Chapel Church of Christ in Clemmons, NC.