Saturday, February 9, 2019 -
God has clarified many things to me since I’ve been stuck in prison, divine truths from Scripture I see portrayed in the human lives surrounding me here. In a sense, I am having a true Sabbath’s rest – days spent primarily studying God’s Word, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to me because I am no actually taking the time for Him, and praying – although my prayer life somehow seems shallow and inadequate.
I have developed a huge burden for the souls of the lives around me, and have realized many here believe they are Christian but are not. Either they at one point prayed a prayer, but never truly prayed it in their heart, as their lives never changed, or they are “hereditary” Christians.
When one truly accepts Christ’s redemption for their sins, they must repent of their sin and accept His Lordship of their life. This results in a radically changed life.
Now, I know this is a life-long transformation, yet too many merely seem to think of their “salvation” as a “get-out-of-jail-free-card,” or an “insurance” policy to avoid hellfire. Yet nothing in their lives seems to change – ever!
This grieves me more than ever. Salvation is not just a ticket to heaven! Much of it has to do with a misinterpretation of Christ’s Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20, or a lack of understanding of it. In verse 19, the Greek only uses one imperative verb, and it is not the word “go!” In fact, we are never commanded to go. The imperative verb is disciple, or teach. A more literal translation should be, “as you are going, make disciples.” We are not commanded to make “leaders,” as Richard Stearns says in his book, Unfinished, but disciples. Disciples who are taught to observe ALL Christ commanded us (v. 20)! I am discovering this is a very tall order, as I’ve been placed in the midst of a huge number of lost men, including a great number who believe they are not lost.
Stearns takes it a step further to say that this is the reason for our existence, and I agree! It is why Jesus chose to leave, giving us the Holy Spirit, in order to establish and build the kingdom of God (His church) on earth – something impossible to do unless we make disciples. Not only is this the mission and purpose of the church as a whole, but it is the purpose and mission of the individual life of every true believer in Christ. It is the critical thing Jesus spent three years training and equipping His disciples to do. And just as their lives, ultimately nearly all given in martyrdom, changed the known world, turning it upside down, so should ours! The Great Commission was their marching order.
The gospel provides us with a changed and different worldview which should touch everyone and everything that surrounds us and makes up our lives! It is revolutionary! Attitudes, influences, behavior, habits, decision, and relationships should all change! We must be different!
But with it we must guard against complacency that comes from a comfortable, entertainment-based, self-centered lifestyle that neglects the only purpose God has for our lives, to make disciples wherever we go! And with that comes the admonition to feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, be hospitable, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and prisoners (Matthew 25:35-36).