The excuses we have for not sharing the good news of Jesus are endless.
Here are just a few examples. Do any of them ring true for you?
We could continue for several pages, but I will spare you. When I read through this list, there are at least a couple of excuses that ring true for me. I am guilty as charged. Why do we make these excuses?
Before we look at the "why" behind each excuse, let's review Jesus' last words to his disciples before ascending to heaven, the "Great Commission." (*Note - the heading above this passage in your bible does not read "The Great Suggestion.") When discussing the concept of evangelism, it is vital to fully understand this passage.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:18-20
A few quick observations on this passage:
1) Audience - Jesus is speaking not only to the 11 disciples, but to all of His followers for all of history to come, including you and me.
2) Authority - Jesus just claimed that every ounce of authority in heaven and earth is His and no-one else's. There is no person, no force, no status, no government, no anything more powerful than our Lord Jesus. So, He deserves to be obeyed, right?
3) Command(s) - Jesus says "go." He does not say "stay...here inside your safe little comfort zone." The mission is risky, and will cost us everything, perhaps even our lives. He also says "make disciples." He does not say "make converts." This is an important distinction.
4) Relational Stewardship - Instead of stopping after the declaration, Jesus commands us to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And, He commands us to teach them to observe (obey) all that He has commanded. This is not a one-and-done kind of deal. Making disciples is a life-long commitment to stewarding our relationships lovingly and strategically.
5) Promise - Jesus ends this commission by promising we will not be alone in our efforts. He will personally be with us always until the end of the age, equipping us, encouraging us, pushing us, and redeeming us.
Unfortunately, there are some things in our hearts (and in the world) that are constantly building blockades against our efforts to share our faith with those who do not yet know Jesus. Let's go back up to our examples of excuses. You might not like what you are about to read, but at the end of each "why behind the excuse," there is a link to a passage in scripture or another resource that you may find beneficial.
Evangelism is the foundational Core Value upon which all of IDES is built. It is essential to our mission worldwide--everything we do revolves around sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with those who have not experienced His love. We cannot accomplish this mission without you.
I pray this blog has been an encouragement to you, and that the scripture passages and resources linked above will continue to lift you up throughout this week.
-written by Chase Cotten, Media Director at IDES