“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”-Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)
Oftentimes, I believe that we think the Great Commission is easier than it actually is. Specifically, I believe that we think witnessing is easier. In our society, especially today, people want to stay isolated. Breaking someone out of their normal routine or schedule can be difficult. Afterall, we do not want to come off as rude or annoying, so, the Great Commission gets whittled down to simply “come to my church on Sunday…if you want.”
If we are honest enough with ourselves, we all have said this at some point and considered it true witnessing. But, I want to share with you today that the Great Commission is a “go and tell” mentality and command, not a “come and see” one. Look again at Jesus’s words. “Go therefore…” and then “teaching them.”
Now, there is nothing wrong with inviting someone to church. In fact, we should be doing that. But we cannot stop there! That alone is not witness or sharing faith! What message of the Gospel is being conveyed when we say to our co-worker or friend, “hey, you should check out my church on Sunday morning, we are going through a new series”? Answer: none! What we are essentially doing is “safe evangelism.” This is where none of the responsibility is on me to share the Gospel. Rather, it is on the person to first attend the church, and then on the pastor to share the Gospel. If the person chooses not to come, or does not like what he or she hears, then I tried my best, and it’s not my fault. I witnessed after all.
I don’t think we are actively thinking in this manner, but that is what is happening if our view of the Great Commision and witnessing get shrunk down to just inviting to church. Instead, we ought to be intentionally sharing the message of Jesus with other people. We need to be going to them first, then bringing them to us. The responsibility is on each one of us to go and tell someone about the Gospel. Share with them the beauty of Jesus, where you were before Christ, and where you are now. Yes, absolutely invite them to church, but do not just do that. The Great Commission is so much more than that. Jesus is commanding His disciples in Matthew 28:19-20 to actively go out and be telling everyone about Jesus.
My hope and desire for Christians is that we focus our efforts on, first and foremost, “going and telling,” so that the door to “come and hear” can be opened. As Jesus said in Matthew 9, “…The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;” The work is not over yet for us. Each and every encounter we have with someone, we need to be obeying the Great Commission. An invite to church here, or a “how can I be praying for you” there is a beautiful way to open the door, but do not just leave that door open! Step through it and begin saying, “Let me tell you about Jesus Christ.”