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The Great Commission Is Not Optional


Calling all believers!  Calling all followers of the Lord Jesus Christ!  1 John 2:3{TNIV) tells us,"We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands."  That does not mean we get to choose which of his commands we want to keep and give lip service to the others. 


The last command Jesus gave is referred to as the Great Commission.  Great refers to its importance.  A commission is a formal assignment.  That's correct. Jesus gave us an important assignment, or as it might be referred to militarily; he gave us our marching orders in Matthew 28:19-20(TNIV}. He commanded us, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."


That doesn't mean that everyone of us is called to travel to faraway hostile nations to share the Gospel.  It does mean that we are all called to cross the street to speak to our neighbor and to share Jesus with others we come in contact with in our daily lives.


In 2 Timothy 3:12(TNIV), it says, "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."  Nik Ripken in his book, "The Insanity of Obedience" says, "...the easiest way to avoid persecution is to be silent with our faith, but that is not a choice we can make without denying Jesus' hold on our lives.  So we are left with a clear choice: we can be faithful to our calling and deal with the persecution that will inevitably come or we can avoid persecution by ignoring or disobeying Jesus' instructions to go and make disciples."  Do you want to deny Christ or obey him?


Nik doesn't stop there. These next words of his are even more blunt; "...we came to realize that believers could be unwittingly complicit with the persecutors by simply refusing to share their faith...It was a startling thought to realize that the persecutor's use of violence to inhibit the faith and the believer's refusal to speak openly of Jesus yield the same result.  In both cases, people are denied access to Jesus.  ...When we witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we identify with those in chains.  When we refuse to witness, we identify with those who place the chains on the followers of Jesus."



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