Why do we share the Gospel message?
In society there are two kinds of people, those who cannot stay in the same place for any length of time and those who dread uprooting and moving to another house, or city. Most people cannot imagine what it would be like to move to another country. This is the way God has wired us, neither is good or bad. Which of the two describes you? And what is your part to play in the mission of the church?
Last week one of our church members left for Cameroon and in a few weeks a team will be following her. Why do we go to foreign lands? For most people this is illogical, crazy even wasteful. Some would say that if you are going to travel to a foreign land, at least go to an exotic location, but not an African village with no running water? There must be a compelling reason for us to go?
In Luke 24 we read Luke’s account of Jesus revealing his resurrection to his disciples. He is alive! As the disciples are talking, Jesus appears in the room. It must have been frightening, Jesus simply appears out of thin air! Jesus begins to calm their fears and shows them his hands and feet, the scars, the real skin and bones. The fact that Jesus rose from the dead changed everything for them, and it means everything to us. If he didn’t rise from the dead, the early church would never had started, and there would be no church and no hope.
Jesus proved that he was alive, by showing the disciples his hands and his feet, and allowing them to touch him. But what proof does the world around us have that Jesus is alive? The reality is that according to the word of God, the world needs to look no further than you and me to see evidence of the risen Lord. Our testimony should be one of a changed life, a different way of living. Let your story be known, so that people will believe in the risen Lord (see Colossians 1:27).
Jesus begins to teach them, he explains the scriptures to them, in that day the Old Testament was established and recognized. This is what Jesus had just done for the two disciples on the road to Emmaus as we read in verse 27.
As Jesus teaches them, he opens their minds so they could understand the scriptures, they were able to fully grasp Jesus in the Old Testament, what an amazing revelation that must have been.
Jesus goes on to tells them the wonderful Gospel message, verse 46; “He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.” Jesus shows them that the Gospel is prophesied in the Old Testament, this is it!
Jesus continues by declaring that repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name (Jesus’ name) to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. Matthew records this in what we call the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). This Gospel message, this message of salvation, is for all nations, every ethnic group and tribe.
The Great commission is not just for the disciples who were in the room that day, it is for all believers throughout all of history. It is not just for those who are trained as pastors and evangelists, or missionaries, it is for all who believe that Jesus Christ is Lord.
In verse 49, Jesus tells his disciples to wait, they were not yet ready, they needed one more thing. They needed to power of the Holy Spirit in order to go. Jesus knew that if they had gone out in their own strength they would have failed, they needed the Holy Spirit to lead in the mission.
We also cannot expect any fruit from the Gospel message without the Holy Spirit. We rely on his leadership and equipping as we share the Gospel message to the world around us. Note Jesus says, “be clothed”, be covered up with the Holy Spirit. Not just take a drink of the Holy Spirit, but be completely covered by the Holy Spirit, so that when you go, you will go in power. Just like being unclothed leaves one naked and vulnerable, without being clothed in the Holy Spirit, we are naked and vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy.
So we have the message, the Gospel of Jesus Christ – we have the empowering Holy Spirit – and we have the commission, the Great Commission. We have to go!
Where is God calling you to go? Your home? Your neighbor? Your workplace? The streets of the city? Maybe God is calling you to the ends of the earth. We highlight and celebrate the international missionaries, and that is good, but we need to remember that the missionary who is led by the Holy Spirit to reach his neighbor or co-worker is just as important and valuable in the Kingdom of God.
You may say, I don’t have the ability? Have you clothed yourself with power from heaven? Of course you don’t have the ability, but be clothed with the Holy Spirit, it is a promise of God that we need to pray for.
You may say, I don’t have the means? Who is it who is inviting you to go? The maker of heaven and earth, the creator and sustainer of all things? Where He leads you to go, He will provide.
If you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and savior, you are called to go.