Matthew 28:19-20 - Go therefore and make disciples of all the 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.
As Christians we are all called to evangelism, as Jesus commanded above. If we do not evangelize, we are not obedient to God's Word. Ouch. Does that strike a bit of conviction or anger? Do we ask, who me? Do we say adamantly, we are not taught this in our church? Or do we proclaim our own version of doing the right thing by saying I do plenty for the church.
The end of John 13 talks about a new commandment...that we love one another as Jesus has loved us and that we share this love with others so that all will know we are His disciples. A new command: love...and disciple others. That commandment addresses the issue of loving others and sharin Jesus so that they will also receive the blessing and salvation that only He provides.
But I don't like doing that. As Christians we are all called to do so. As the days grow more difficult our world will be in greater need of a hope that is bigger than any one man or any government or world power.
Sunday at the Superstition Foothills Baptist Church, Pastor Nathan Heller, new to the congregation, spoke a powerful word about evangelism.
If we truly walk with the Lord we should have no fear of death. Jesus is by our side. He has gone on ahead of us about 2,000 years ago to prepare a place for those who call Him their Savior. There's the point: we must go through Him. No other man, no other thing will get us there.
Pastor Nathan brought up the true story of a family in Tucson who called him to speak with their ailing father. They could not break through to him. He had not given His life to Jesus. Could he help? When he spoke with the man he rattled off all the different churches he had attended, all the money he had given them, how he worked in various ways for these churches...and when he got to heaven he would tell God all about what he did.
Pastor Nathan said he was so wrapped up in what he'd done he could not hear him speak. He wouldn't listen. Without first giving our lives to Christ, there is no hope for heaven.
In John 14 Thomas listened as Jesus talked about His leaving and preparing a place for them. Jesus told them that where He would be, there they would also be...and where He would go they knew and they knew the way. Thomas voiced what could very well have been the unspoken thoughts of the others: we do not know where You are going and how can we know the way? Remember, Thomas doubted again later when he needed to touch Jesus' scarred hands. Aren't there times we all doubt? We doubt even the Word of God and its commands.
Jesus said to him: I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (verse 6). He is the only way to heaven. He...not things. We are to lift our eyes up and seek God for the answers. He will hear and respond to a heart that is sincere. The time to do that is now before we have to answer to God. Better to be on our faces before Him now than to fall before Him later when we think we will be able to justify our lives to Him.
Whenever Jesus said "I am" He proclaimed He was God. I am the way, the truth and the life...No religion, no church, no human...nothing, but through Him. Let that sink in. It's the absolute truth. The only truth relying on. All other things, works, church beliefs are nothing. Only Jesus is the way. And we must seek Him, invite Him into our lives, trust in Him for all things. It's all about Him.
Awhile later the son called Pastor again and requested he try once more and again the old man rattled off all the things he had done. And a third time he was called to meet with him; the doctors said he would not last the night; they would give him a shot to control his pain but there was very little chance he would awaken. Pastor Nathan met with him again. He told him it was time to ask Jesus to become his Savior. The man's answer was: When I awake we'll discuss it. End of story.
The time is now. We do not know what tomorrow holds. We do not even know what this day and night hold. I know that I called on the name of the Lord and was saved. I know that there is a lost and dying world at our doorsteps. I know that there are many who don't hold to the truth of accepting Jesus by faith only. I know there are many who think they'll never be good enough. Well guess what, none of us, no matter how good we think we are, are good enough. No matter how we believe our church is the right one...it's about a one on One relationship with Christ and that's it! It's about giving up all we think is right and good and humbling ourselves before an all powerful God and giving of ourselves to only Him.
It is our responsibility as Romans 10:14 tells us: How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? We have a responsibility as Christ followers to let people know. Plant seeds that can be watered and that God can nurture and grow. Am I planting any seeds here?!
Romans 10:13 (Joel 2:32) - For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."