First of all, Pastor Chris with Evangelism Coach has posted a simple yet thoughtful article that reminds me that God is sovereign in evangelism. It is entitled: God - the Evangelist. It is worth reading - especially if you think that your the one doing the evangelizing!
now for my post...
I had the privilege of leading the Wednesday Bible study at my church the other night in the absence of our pastor. God had laid upon my heart to teach on the Great Commission. I believe that it is very important to remind ourselves of the basics every great now and then - as we have a tendency to complicate things.
I found myself drawn to verse 18 in Matthew 28 and taught primarily from that verse and the first few words of verse 19. "And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore...""
When Jesus talks about authority in this verse, he is not referring to His authority as King of kings and Lord of lords. (See. Colossians 1:15-17, Ephesians 1:20-23, Philippians 2:9-11) Rather, He is referring to his authority as the mediator between God and man for salvation. (See 1 Timothy 2:5 and John 5:22-27)
Keep in mind, this was not too long after His death, burial and resurrection.
After reminding his disciples of this authority, he said to them, "Go therefore..."
“Jesus came close to them… and made this astounding claim. He spoke as one already in heaven with a world-wide outlook and with the resources of heaven at his command.” (Robertson’s Word Pictures)
Do we recognize the authority that Jesus has passed on to us as his followers - to go and spread the good news? Do we recognize - and draw upon - all the resources of Heaven that he has passed on to us as his witnesses?
I like to think of it this way...
My dad used to love to watch western movies and TV shows. I remember the plot line sometimes involving the local sheriff rounding up a posse of men (white hats) to go and catch the bad guys (black hats). After the sheriff had gathered the men together, there was a solemn swearing in ceremony.
It was then that the sheriff would deputize these men therby passing his authority on to them. In so doing, he made these men equal to himself in the eyes of the law. They would then tear out of town on horseback, ride to the bad guy's lair, shoot it out and arrest the bad guy. They would ride back to town, turn him over to the sheriff and justice would be served.
As witnesses for Him, Jesus has made us a part of his posse! He has deputized us with his authority to go out and round up sinners. Our Job is to bring them to Sheriff Jesus. But instead of justice, they find in Him infinite mercy.
Jesus told the disciples (and us): "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Every time we announce the good news of Jesus Christ, we are using the keys to the kingdom. Not that we have any authority to remit the sins of those that we witness to. But, we open the doors to the kingdom so that Jesus can welcome them into his salvation by faith. Knowing that you have been given the authority of Jesus and all the resources of heaven, shouldn't it be easier to spread the good news of Jesus Christ? I'll let you decide...