By Rev. Idowu Animasawun
Evangelism and missions are efforts made by Christians in obedience to the command of Jesus Christ to preach the salvation message to people in our immediate environment and beyond. There is no doubt about the fact that its impact on the hearers depends also on the lifestyle of the preacher.
It could therefore be corrected to some extent that the failure of the church to impact significantly on our society is due largely to the questionable way of life of many Christian witnesses.
Therefore if the gospel (that is the power of God unto salvation – Romans1:16) will begin to save people and deliver them from sin and its vices, we must all live according to the precepts of Christ our Lord, following in His footsteps.
“9. For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.
10.Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:
- As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children”
“:18. And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,
- Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
- And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,”
In the above quoted scriptures, the Apostle Paul explained the need for hard work, holiness and humility which are prerequisites for any evangelist willing to be effective.
He also made known how temptations of diverse forms continually came his way but a witness of the gospel prone to temptations that he must prepare to overcome. It must also be noted that anyone that will witness Christ to people must have compassion. Matthew 9:35-38. May God give us this compassion for lost souls and make us instruments for depopulating Satan’s kingdom, and populating the kingdom of our God. Amen.
- By Rev’d. Idowu Animasawun
“Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you’re not saved yourself, be sure of that!” -Charles H. Spurgeon..
- Text: Matt. 28: 18-20. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen”.
Let me first and foremost say here that the great commission is not an option. It is a command which must be obeyed by all who believe in Christ. It is the core-subject in the Christian Curriculum. As we used to say in our school days “fail in English, fail in all”; we can boldly say in the Christian ministry. “Fail in evangelism fail in all”.
- The most astonishing truth in this commission is that the One who sent us i.e. Jesus Christ, gave us an assurance that all power in heaven and earth has been given unto Him and He is always with us every time and for eternity. ALL means All. That power covers the whole universe. It is this scripture alone that propelled Dr. David Livingstone of old to win 2,000,000 (Two million) souls in Africa, against all odds that he faced during his work in fulfilling the great commission.
That feat was accomplished without any of the modern gadgets we use for evangelism nowadays viz. microphone, speakers, vehicles, etc. He was trekking for most of the time and when he no more had the strength, the natives (his disciples) were carrying him on a local bamboo stretcher from place to place; still witnessing for Christ. WHAT A SACRIFICE?
- Truly Jesus said all power had been given to Him, yet there are some other powers that we have to contend with in the process of fulfilling this great commission. The Bible says in Jeremiah 10: II, “But the LORD is the true God, He is the living God, and an everlasting King: at His wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide His indignation. Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.” (I like the way the Word of God states what will happen to other gods or powers – they will perish.)
So, anywhere we go in fulfilling the great commission, we have with us this incomparable power from our Lord Jesus Christ to subdue all other powers as long as we remain under His authority. The Kingdom into which He commissioned us to invite people to is indescribable.
Daniel 7: 13-14 says, “I saw in the night visions,and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom; that which shall not be destroyed.”
To have a revelation of this wonderful kingdom and still refuse the Master’s command to bring people there is a capital offence. How? In Proverbs 24: 11-12. We read,” if thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? And He that keepeth thy soul, doth not He know it? and shall not He render to every man according to his works?” It means by not doing anything to rescue them, we are supporting Satan who is taking them to the slaughter house.
- Jesus our Commander-In-Chief
In the military, the commander-in-chief has all military authority and no soldier can disobey him. Disobeying him will result to either court marshal, imprisonment, summary dismissal or even summary execution because to disobey him is seen as mutiny.
The Commander-in-Chief in the military normally does not address the whole battalion when passing orders, rather he addresses the officers. However the officers are divided into two major groups.
- The non-commission officers (N.C.O.) and (2) senior and junior officers who are commissioned.
Some of these officers are generals and some are Majors, Captains, Lieutenants, etc. The commander-in-chief only addresses the generals. The generals will then pass the orders to the junior officers and down to the non-commission officers though the junior officers have to make sure that the non-commissioned officers carry out the instructions of the commander-in-chief or else he will be in trouble. Likewise the junior officer or the non-commissioned officer who disobeys the general can also be summarily dismissed or executed. One thing we must note here is that there must be no breaking of the rank or else there will be problem.
I tried to explain all the above for us to know the seriousness of the Great Commission.
- The truth that must guide us. (Let me say here also that I deliberately avoid using the word “fact” because facts can either be changed, manipulated, disproved, argued, questioned or become history but truth is constant and cannot be changed. Jesus is the only Truth, as well as His word.
Malachi’ 2:1-6 (for the priests) John 1:14; John 8:31-32, 14:6 etc.) Heaven and earth may pass away etc. (Below are some truths);
a.) Jesus is undoubtedly and unarguable our Commander-In-Chief. (It is only in Christendom or the body of Christ that I see soldiers who blatantly disobey their Commander-in-Chief with levity and still call themselves Christian soldiers. It is apathetical as well as apological.
b.) In the Christian ministry, the General Overseers are the generals. In the army the general who commands a division oversees that division, he is directly under the army chief of staff.
Likewise, in the Christian ministry, the General Overseers is directly under the command of the Holy Spirit who is our Chief of Staff, but unlike the army, our own chief of staff will never betray Jesus who is our Lord and Commander In-Chief. They are co-equal and work perfectly in order. I pray God to give us understanding. Amen.
We can see this in operation in Acts 13: 1-4:“Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus”.
When the first missionary team in the New Testament were being sent out, the teachers and prophets were ministering to the Lord but the Holy Spirit gave the order. Note also that the prophets and teachers sent the missionaries away but the Holy Spirit sent them forth. Sending away is different from sending forth. One may forget the person he sends away but the One that sent forth Cannot forget the person He sent forth. Even if the person that sends away do not forget; they are limited as they cannot physically be with the sent ones always but the Holy Spirit is always with them. (See Acts 13:8-12, an account of Paul’s encounter with Elymas the sorcerer).
- The General Overseer must be very close to Jesus in order to feel and know His heart beat at any given time. They should have no time for the mundane things of this world, (2 Tim. 2:4-5). Sin must be alien to them, (2 Tim. 2: 19).
The Pastors are the commissioned officers and they take orders from the General Overseers. That is why it is very important that the General Overseers must pass across to the Pastors exactly the mind of Jesus both in soul winning and the kingdom’s work. He must neither allow the flesh, nor politics and such things to influence him when passing down orders, from the Holy Spirit, our Commander-in-Chief.
- The workers are the warrant officers – Warrant Officers I & 2 in the army are the ones between the commission and the non-commission officers. They must be vigilant and disciplined. They occupy vital and strategic positions in the army and are feared and respected by both the commissioned and non-commissioned officers. They are called (R.S.M.) Regimental Sergeant Major which is an important office in military operations. Similarly, the Christian workers are vital in fulfilling the great commission. They are the mobilizers.
- The congregations are the Non-commissioned officers – They are the workforce. They do most of the work but they must be mobilized, challenged and encouraged.
We are all involved, the rank must not be broken. I Chronicles 12:32-40 gives various examples of the workforce as – Prayer warriors, foot soldiers, administrators and those who will give money and materials to support the work. Everyone is involved.
lf you and your church are not involved in fulfilling the Great Commission, let me say unequivocally (loud and clear) that you are living in total disobedience to Christ and I will liken you to two organizations;
- A football team that can dribble, juggle, demonstrate and manipulate the ball to the admiration of many fans but refuse to score goals and at the end of the game receives no trophy. Will that team make it’s sponsors happy? Of course no. Yet that is what we are doing in many of our churches, etc. etc. Most of our messages only appeal to people’s emotion. Most of our messages in church are the same as we preach on crusade grounds and that is why our church members are not growing spiritually. They remain spiritual babies causing a lot of damage to the body of Christ.
Hebrews 5: 13-14 says, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness:
for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil”.
- A battalion of soldiers with sophisticated weapons but all they do is that every morning, they clean and polish their weapons, do some drilling in the barracks and never go out to confront and plunder the enemy. The devil is not moved by their actions as long as they do not come out to attack him and rescue his captives, (Isaiah 14: 16-17).
If we must fulfill the great commission, these are some of the prerequisites we must have and without all of these our evangelism works will suffer and God’s Kingdom shall not be populated as it should be:
(a) You must be born again and genuinely converted with the sole aim of being like and living for Him, (Rom. 8:29).
(b) You must be crucified, (Gal. 2:20). Only a crucified person can preach a crucified Christ.
(c) Your own will and mission must be juxtaposed for His own.
(d) We must keep the first and second commandments i.e. Loving God and our neighbour as ourselves. We must have compassion on those without Christ, (Matt. 22: 36-40; Lk. 10:30-37).
Without our love for God and Kingdom matters coupled with love and compassion for the lost souls, fulfilling the great commission will be impossible.
FULFILLING THE GREAT COMMISSION
When we say the great commission, we are talking about soul winning, evangelism and missions.
In order to fulfill these three aspects of the great commission, and in addition to being thoroughly born again, crucified and exchanging our own will for His own, the following must as a rule be added. Our final resolve must be “Let thy will be done 0 Lord.”
- Love – John 3:16; Song of Solomon 8:6
- Compassion – 9:35-36; Lk. 10:33-36
- Wisdom – 11:30; Gal. 2:2
- Hard work and endurance – John 4:4-6; 2 Tim. 2:3
- Living by example – Phillip 4:9. There was this story of a Christian witnessing to someone and because of the character of the witness the man being witness to said “your character speaks so loud that I cannot hear your voice.
Evangelist Billy Graham said in one of his books and I quote”. If you loose money, you loose nothing; If you loose your health, you loose something. But if you loose your character, you loose everything.”
6.Holiness/Personal Revival – Holiness is a must for someone that will fulfill the great commission. Lack of holiness is making Christian witnessing very ineffective. The unholy soul winner will end up in hell.
- Study:- (2 Tim. 2: 15.) – “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God. A worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
8. We must be diligent in soul winning. Prov. 12:27. To be diligent means that we must just not be a starter but also a finisher. You may be a hard worker and yet you may not be dilligent. We will finish well in Jesus name.
Jesus began well- Matt. 3:13-15 and finished well- In. 17:4.
Submission and a good accomplisher – Lk. 12:50 – He was determined, straightened or single minded to face the insults from family, friends and many others. He was also aware of the pains of crucifixion on the cross and the greatest of all, the temporary separation from God He will have to pass through when carrying the sins of the whole world on the cross, – My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.’ – Mark 15:33
- Humility: Jesus is our role model. Phil. 2:5-9. God gives grace to the humble Jas 4: 10 humility will make us to succeed in our ministry. If we refuse to humble ourselves, then God will humiliate us but if we humble ourselves, He will lift us up. I Pet. 5:5. He will give us more open doors because He knows we will be His good ambassadors.
- Grace: We must depend solely on the grace of God. I Cor. 15:9-10
- Prayers: Matt. 12: 29-30; Jer. 1:10. This is the foundation of all the works.
The Gains of fulfilling The Great Commission
- God is glorified. John 17: 13
- Peace will reign in the world. 1 Tim. 2: 1-2
Every year the United Nations declare an international day of peace, yet there is no peace in this world and there can never be. Instead there are wars, poverty, earthquakes, kidnapping, armed robbery and all sorts of catastrophes because the world leaders to a large extent have rejected the gospel of peace brought by Jesus Christ. Lk. 2: 10-14.
- We will reign with Christ in the millennium. Rev. 20:4. We shall be among the ruling class during Christ’s millennium reign. All Christians are citizens of heaven (ultimately ……..) but there is a difference between being a citizen and belonging to the ruling class.
- Our prayers shall be answered positively. John 15:16.
- We will possess the heathen for our inheritance. Ps. 2:8-9
- We will be delivered from our enemies so that we can fulfill our God given part in fulfilling the great commission.
The Consequence of not fulfilling The Great Commission
- We shall be living in disobedience to our Commander-in-Chiefs order and that alone is dangerous. Obedience is better than sacrifice. (I Sam. 15:22)
- We shall loose our heavenly crown of righteousness which is for those expecting the second coming of Christ only the fulfillment of the great commission will bring Him back. (2 Tim. 4:6-8. Matt. 24: 14.
- God will require the blood of the lost souls from us. Ezk. 33:7-9 and we in turn may loose our own soul.
Meditate on all these. God bless you
Acts 19:6-10,” And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
And all the men were about twelve.
And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.