Jump Start # 2449
Mark 16:15 “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
It’s getting close to election time. Political signs are in yards. Our mailboxes are stuffed with postcards telling us why one candidate is better than another. Political ads fill commercial time on TV. And, behind each candidate, whether it’s for a local office or all the way up to the presidential office, there is a team of PR people, a network of fund raisers and experts in planning, writing speeches, and arranging public appearances. There is a whole team behind every candidate.
Now, we look to our verse today, the spread of the Gospel message into all the world and we notice a completely different plan. Jesus mapped out the direction they were to go. First, Jerusalem, then Judea, then Samaria, then unto all the world. The book of Acts shows that plan fulfilled. The Holy Spirit would reveal what was to be said. The apostles were witnesses to the resurrected Christ and had the power of miracles to open the closed eyes of an unbelieving world.
But, how differently the spread of the Gospel was as compared to running a political campaign. The flow of money wasn’t there for the apostles. They didn’t have a network of people printing and running their stories to the press. They didn’t have front men who were arranging interviews and setting up private fund raising dinners. There were no signs in the yards. There were no bumper stickers on chariots. There were no flyers be posted on buildings or things being mailed to individuals. No TV. No internet. No texting. No Twitter. No Facebook. You’d think that God would have delayed all of this until these things had been invented, but He didn’t.
Imagine what would have happened had God given a miracle to every person in the first century. Every disease cured. Every hardship fixed. Every broken heart mended. Every person had at least one problem taken care of. The entire world would have flocked to Jesus and the entire world would have believed. It was within the possibility of God. He could have done that. But He didn’t.
No PR men. No massive budgets. No behind the scene team of workers. Just the apostles, with the few miracles that they did and their voices was enough to spread the message of salvation into the known world. And, with this we must see how God believed in the power of voice, conviction and truth. The combination of those three were enough to turn a world upside down as some claimed. And, it is those same three elements, voice, conviction and truth, that you and I have available today. It is those same three items that turns a sinner from his ways to the grace of Jesus Christ. It worked then and it still works today.
We get ads all the time from church growth experts who want to sell a program that is guaranteed to increase the membership of your church. Those fads and gimmicks probably work. They may increase the size of a congregation, but nothing will make a disciple of Jesus other than the preached word from a convicted heart that is built upon truth. Jesus did not tell the apostles to go into the world and make megachurches. He didn’t say fill the buildings. His desire was to have disciples, hearts that belonged to Jesus. Those who were willing to change, learn and become. A lot of folks go to church on Sunday but they never have changed, never will change and on top of that, they don’t have the desire to change. They are convinced that if you sprinkle a little religion on top of their lifestyle, that’s all that matters. Jesus knew differently.
This plan of going into all the world and preaching the Gospel was first experienced by the demon possessed man. He was cured. He wanted to follow Jesus. The Lord told him to go report to your people what great things the Lord has done for you. Voice, conviction and truth. He didn’t have to sit through thirteen weeks of a class to learn how to do evangelism. He didn’t have an arm full of tracts to pass out or even a few sermon CD’s to give to others. He had, what the apostles had, what you and I have, a voice, conviction and the truth.
Tell your people what great things the Lord has done for you. Could you do that? What has God done for you? Do you recognize it? Where would you be today had it not been for Jesus? I thought about that the other day while driving. I’m so blessed. I have a great family. We love each other. We talk all the time. Everyone is busy in the kingdom. How that story would be different if I wasn’t a Christian. I wonder if I would be an alcoholic. Living where I do, there seems to be more bourbon than there is oxygen. How easily it would be to get addicted to that. And, that would have been just the beginning. The booze likely would have led to a divorce. Nasty, painful and ugly are three words that follow divorce. My kids likely would be messes as well. I wonder how many relationships I would have flown threw by now. I wonder if I would have had a serious disease because of drinking and running around. I expect I would be bitter, miserable and never understanding the power of forgiving others. I definitely would be selfish. Pride would be high on my list of achievements. The people I know and love wouldn’t know me and without their impact in my life, I would be all the worse. And death, would scare me.
What has God done for me? He has changed my life. He has given me hope, peace, salvation and a future. He has driven the fear of death out of me. He has given me confidence, joy and surrounded me with the greatest people on the face of the earth—His people. He has filled my heart with His word. He has changed my thinking. He has rewired the way I look at things. He has given me a reason to serve others. He has led me to take my eyes off of myself and to see good in all people.
What has God done for me? He has made me who I am. And, with voice, conviction and truth, the world was shown Jesus Christ. This is what God sent the apostles with. This is what the demon possessed man had. And, this is what you and I have. We can invite our neighbors, tell our friends and share with our families what God has done for us. It’s not about the church. It’s more than which church one ought to attend. It’s about Jesus Christ. Open your heart and open your eyes and see the goodness of God in your life. Answered prayers. Grace. Forgiveness. Better attitudes. Opportunities. Contentment. A home awaiting you with Him.
“Well, I’m not any good at personal evangelism,” you say. God says, “go tell your people what the Lord has done for you.” You can do that. You ought to do that. If you can’t think of anything, then it’s time to stop and count your blessings.
Go into all the world…what a simple plan. It still works today!