One day in downtown Philadelphia I visited a mall to spend some leisure time. Afterwards, I was outside on the sidewalk and noticed a very sad looking young man sitting on the bench. I went and sat by him and opened up a conversation about the Lord. He looked up at me and seemed really open to what I was saying. He acknowledged his state of depression and rehearsed some of the reasons for his hopelessness. He even described how he had attended church a few times somewhere, but that he didn’t have any relationship with God and felt the burden of guilt inside him. I assured him that if he would open up and allow Jesus to enter his life, the light of God would be on his soul and his future would brighten up. He believed the brief words I shared, and he prayed to receive Jesus right there. As soon as he finished praying and dried his eyes, he looked up at me and started smiling—even laughing a bit. He said, “I feel it. I got it. I’m okay now. Thank you so much.” And he jumped up from the bench and took off running down the busy sidewalk shouting, “I’m saved! I’m saved! I’m saved! I’m saved! Jesus Christ saved me! Whoo hoo!” He turned around once as he jumped up in the air, waved to me, and ran off praising and leaping with his hands in the air. And that was the last I ever saw of him.
All he needed was a sincere Christian to take a simple moment and share a simple gospel. And his life was changed forever. What motivated me to talk to him? Jesus’ last words.
Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved (Mark 16:15).
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations (Matthew 28:19).
Jesus’ entire ministry on earth culminated in these last words. Out of all the final things He could have said, this was it. The Lord Jesus did not say “Go ye and pray every day”, even though we are Christians, and we should. He did not say “Go be good and worship God”, even though we are Christians, and we should. Instead, he reiterated our work assignment. Yes, our spiritual work. And please don’t close the book because I mentioned it. ‘Work’ is not a bad four letter word.
I know we’re frequently reminded that first we are to be, rather than to do—that being precedes the doing. I get that, and I agree. We can’t let our busyness, even if it is for the Lord, cause us to neglect what comes first— being, abiding, living in Him. But we have to admit that the doing is a big part of life, and for the rest of our lives, we’ll be doing a lot of it. I believe Jesus wanted a say-so in our doing. And if we’ll just take his final words literally, we can have an immediate re-ordering of our priorities. Though there are many things that Christians can do and should do, what Jesus emphasized as His final command was the reaching out part we are to do outside—outside the assembly and outside our prayer closet. I believe it was because He knew how easy it would be for Christians to get so sidetracked with church activities and inside stuff that they would forget the lost world around them. Sharing Christ with the lost will keep your spirit tender before the Lord. And a church that majors on its people sharing Christ with the lost will also stay tender before the Lord.
Notice that if praying, praising, and worshipping were our only tasks, we could go to heaven and do that. The very day that we were born again, we could have been raptured up to heaven by God with His greeting of, “You made it! You got born again! Welcome to heaven! I’m so proud of you!” But, we weren’t, and He didn’t! He left us in the middle of this sinful world with one purpose: bring more with you. Two things we can do on earth that we can’t do in heaven are: sin and share Christ with a sinner. Don’t sin. But do share Christ with a sinner.
It is clear from Scripture that our Church family is of utmost importance in our life, and we must be dedicated to our fellow believers and our local church above all else, for it is the Body of Christ—Christ Himself. But if we think about it, we are outside the church assembly more hours of the week than we are in it. And while we are out, the Lord Jesus expects us to go after people. We have all been told to “Go.” Not necessarily “Go into full time ministry,” but rather, “Go to your neighbor, your friends, your people in your world.” We know that Satan’s ambassadors are going. We know that hell’s forces are going after the world to keep people dark and afflicted. So, if we don’t go, the world has no light, leaving hell to rejoice in its triumph.
It’s as if the boss of the company is leaving for a long trip. Before he leaves, he gives his administrative assistant one final, paramount instruction during his absence, “While I’m gone, be sure to mail this package. It is the main thing.”
“Sure thing, boss.”
After a long while, the boss comes back and asks for a status report on the company, “What happened while I was gone?” And the administrative assistant replies, “Well, I made many changes in the office here. I rearranged the cubicles, I finally cleaned up the filing system. And you’d be so proud, I didn’t let anyone into your office.”
“But what about the package? Did you mail it?”
“Oh, wait, here is the best of all. I instituted a once a week ‘happy day’ here at the company to keep everyone excited and entertained so they wouldn’t leave for one of our competitors. And I hung a pretty picture of you in the foyer so everyone would remember you.”
“But the package, did it get mailed?”
“Uh, well, I was kind of busy, boss. And well, uh, you know how difficult that postal office can be. And uh, well, I’m sorry, it seems I did a lot of good things, but not that thing. Was that the main thing?”
“Yes. That was the main thing.”
I believe that His final command is the one He wanted ringing in our ears until His return. I believe it is His top priority. The other stuff we do comes more naturally, so He knew we’d do some of it. His final words were not, “Be a good person, take care of your family, and go to church every week.” Rather, his final command was to address something that we wouldn’t naturally do. It requires some emphasis. It is the mission of the Church—our one assignment, and it should be the mission of the individual believer. It is a called a commission because it’s been authorized by another. Jesus has commanded it and delegated it. And we need an attitude about it. An attitude of personal soul-winning and world evangelism should be the heartbeat of every believer. Though there are many wonderful things to learn of God, to receive from God, and to do for God, we must be in synch with God’s heartbeat. We must take heed not to be sidelined with getting. You know, we have found great and precious promises that reveal things we can get from God, like salvation, joy, peace, healing, prosperity, success, and more. But if the Christian spends most of his time trying to get, there is a problem. Christians have been commanded to give. Getting always emphasizes ‘self’, but giving is the nature of God’s love, and it emphasizes others. When we turn into a giver of joy, of peace, of money, of goodness, of blessing, and yes—of salvation, we begin to match the rhythm of God’s heartbeat, which, if you could hear it, would thump … souls souls… souls souls… souls souls. It is the main thing. And it should be the main thing to every single Christian.
Chas Stevenson will help you discover what the Bible actually teaches about why bad things happen - and it will bring the true character of God into plain sight. You will see that God is not the causer of human suffering, nor does He passively allow it for some divine reason. These answers will bring relief to your soul and strengthen your faith.