And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” – Mark 16:15.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 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.” – Matthew 28:18-20.
Notice the title of this teaching? GO, into the world. I admire those who can pick up and leave home and even loved ones behind for a season to go into the world. Just to be clear, I’m not referring to just Christian missionaries either though I have a very high respect for them. No, I’m referring to the everyday, average ‘Joe,’ no matter the gender or ethnicity or for that matter, nationality, that is willing to take what they have in the form of skills and gifts and share them with others.
Before I get to going to far ahead let me tell you of a pet-peeve I have. There are way too many ministries and churches today, what I like to call “brick and mortar” organizations, that camp within their four walls and they teach their congregation to “go out into the workplace and streets and where ever else you can find people and COMPEL them to come here!” Sorry, I can’t find that anywhere in my Bible or in any of the different translations that I use for study. Everywhere I look, I see Jesus telling those He has discipled to “GO INTO ALL THE WORLD!”
Now please don’t get me wrong. Not everyone can go to the next state, the next country or even the next continent, but that isn’t the point. Preachers are teaching their congregations, their sheep, to go out and gather sheep to bring them to their fold. In actuality, Jesus told the disciples to go out “as sheep among wolves” but to be “shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16).
Do you wonder why He said that? Because people love power and authority and they love it when others tell them how great they are. When Jesus sent disciples out to make disciples, He was sending them out to teach others to go out and do the same thing. That is how the Kingdom of God multiplies. It doesn’t happen in buildings that try to grow from two hundred people to five hundred and then to a thousand and so forth.
I have found over the years that sharing the Gospel of Jesus, not the doctrine of my church, made a greater impact in the lives of the people I worked with and associated with. Those I knew that already had a church to attend, I would encourage them then in the things the Bible says and often times they would admit, they hadn’t heard such a thing. I wasn’t trying to convert them, for they belonged to the Lord already, but those “sheep” I tried to encourage and inspire, maybe brought a little much needed joy into our lives.
We have so much more influence with those around us, where ever we are in the world and especially if we are new to an area or region, we want people to know we listen and understand and just maybe we can point them into the direction of where real help comes from; eternal and long-lasting help!
So for those of you who are already out there IN areas of the world that are new to you, what an amazing opportunity you have to do what Jesus commanded ALL His disciples to do and not just the Apostles; make more disciples by sharing with others the blessings found in following Jesus Christ.
I truly don’t begrudge churches that want to grow, after all, I’m a Pastor, but I respect them more if they are teaching their people to go out and do the work that Jesus said we can all do. No, we’re not all preachers or even teachers, but we can all share a story or tell of an incident in which the Lord helped us through. Remember this, Jesus made friends with the disciples. He reached a point where He didn’t call them students any longer but friends because He shared everything He knew with them. That’s what friends do.
The Bible says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly.” – Proverbs 18:24. If you want friends, you have to show yourself to be a friendly person. That’s what Jesus did. He was definitely not starchy and stiff like the Pharisees of His time! He enjoyed the company of people and especially those He chose as His friends.
When Jesus first met His soon to be disciples He said this, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19. That was the beginning of their training in following the example that Jesus set. Today, that hasn’t stopped being His call. When we follow Him, He WILL teach us to catch others and in turn we teach them and so on.
The truth of the matter is that the way things look in the world around us, His return is not far off. Will He find us sitting and warming a pew, maybe a couple of times a week, or will He find us “being about His Father’s business.” What business is that you may ask? Being true fishermen. But, truly fishing for men!
Those of you who are already out there in the world, have the battle for you in obeying the Lord is already accomplished. Now, you just need to be friends with those about you because friends share what they KNOW with their friends! Share Jesus!