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Lesson One • Reach
Pastor Chuck Lindsey

Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15 NKJV).

  1. Who was He talking to?

 

Think about it for a moment. Put yourself there. Who was He speaking to? It is pretty clear that He was not talking to religious organizations (Pharisees or Sadducees). He was not speaking to a brand of “church” or even to key ministry leaders and their programming. Jesus was talking to individuals. He was looking into the eyes of each and every person standing there and “commissioning” them individually. He was asking each of His followers to personally go into their world and (as Matthews account says it), “Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” It was not a corporate strategy, it was His mission passed on to each person individually. His mission was to “seek and to save that which was lost” and He laid that on His followers right there, that day, and it was to be their mission, and our mission until He returns.

  1. What difference does it make whether Jesus was talking to a group or individuals?

 

Over the years, I have seen a general misunderstanding in the church regarding this Great Commission from our Lord to “go into all the world.” My pastor used to say that the “Great Commission” should be called “the Great omission” because so few actually do it. So few are sharing the Gospel with lost people. However, I think for many, and maybe you, it is because we have misunderstood Jesus’ words to us.

There are three misunderstandings of the Great Commission.

Misunderstanding #1: “I have to go into the whole world and preach the Gospel.”

  1. What stands out to you in this statement?

 

That is not what Jesus said. He did not tell individuals to become world travelers or missionaries in order to share the Gospel. That is a misunderstanding and is completely overwhelming. The idea that you or I need to go into the whole world to try to share the Gospel seems an impossible task. Actually, it is impossible. That is not what Jesus was telling us to do. Jesus was saying, “Go back into your world and as you do, share the Gospel with the lost people in your path.”

  1. Who does this include? Think for a moment about who is in your immediate sphere of influence.

 

Do your spouse and children know Christ? Start there. From there, think about your parents and family members. Do they know Jesus? That is a good start. Which of your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and classmates do not know Christ?

  1. Make a list of these people and start praying for their salvation.

 

Misunderstanding #2: “I have to be a preacher to preach the Gospel. I have to be a pastor, missionary, evangelist, or on a church staff to do what Jesus is saying here.”

  1. What stands out to you in this statement?

 

No! Again, think about who Jesus was talking to. He was not talking to “professionals” (whatever that means!). He was talking to normal, regular people, like you and I. What this means is that this “mission” is not for the elite, “Navy Seals” of Christianity, it is for us. Ephesian 4:12 tells us that the pastors and leaders are commissioned by God to “equip God’s people to do the work of the ministry.” What this means is that the “ministry” is not a church job or the description of a professional “minister,” instead it is a description of the daily life of God’s people as they are trying to carry out the mission to “Preach the Gospel to every person.” Hear that again, the “ministry” is the “mission” that Jesus has sent you and me on personally. It is to reach the lost people in our lives.

Misunderstanding #3: “The church will do that! My church will hold events and do things that preach the Gospel.”

  1. What stands out to you in this statement?

 

This was not Jesus’ only design for sharing the Gospel. When we understand that Jesus was giving His mission to individual Christians, then this kind of thinking does not really make sense. It could never be a church or an organization’s job to do this for me personally.
 
I often think about it this way: my grandfather does not (at this point) know the Lord. He is not saved. He is a car guy. He loves cars and builds race cars. Several years back, a church nearby held a car show and my grandpa went to it and brought one of his race cars. He pulled into the parking lot, parked in his designated space, popped the hood, and sat in a camping chair for the next six hours as people passed through to admire his car. Now, I might be tempted to think, “Yes, finally! Someone is doing something to reach my grandpa! Finally, an event that interests him and that he would come to! Maybe he will be saved.” Now listen, I certainly thought some of that, and I quietly prayed throughout the day that He would be impacted and come to saving faith in Christ. Yet, I have shared the Gospel with my grandfather many, many times and I know that reaching him is my responsibility, not the church. Think about how tragic it would be if I never personally shared the Gospel with my grandpa and was waiting for an event that appealed to him, only to have him sit in a lawn chair in the parking lot of the church for six hours and go home unchanged! The same is true for any of us.

If we misunderstand this mission from Jesus, then we will wait for some event or some moment that our lost family will “come to” to try to reach them. Doing this we will waste a lot of precious time and we will likely be very disappointed. The truth is so much better. The Lord has sent us and will give us all we need to reach them.

  1. What church outreach event do you like most?

 

  1. How can this event supplement individual outreach?

Our Lord demonstrated all of this continually throughout His earthly life. When Jesus spoke, He was never really talking to the crowds, He was always talking to the individuals within the crowd and He was always available to the one person who needed Him. To see it, look no further than the midnight meeting with Nicodemus in John chapter 3. It was a secret meeting, under the cover of night, but was exactly what Nick needed to ask his questions. Jesus met him there, was patient with him and his lack of spiritual understanding, answered and asked questions, and clearly cared deeply for the man. Then Jesus shared the Gospel with him one on one and a life was forever changed.

10. What strategies can we learn from this Bible story?

Can I encourage you to start with your “list?” Begin to pray for the lost in your life. Then look for opportunities to share the hope you have with those you know and love. Trust Him for their reception to it and the changed life. He has called each of us!

 



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