Vol. 12 No. 5 May 2010
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
Just prior to the Lord’s Ascension and exaltation, He gave His disciples specific marching orders (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:47). These orders were not difficult in the sense of what we are to do—“Go.” These orders were not difficult in the sense of where we are to go—“into all the world.” These orders were not even difficult in the sense of what we are to preach—“the Gospel.” There is nothing difficult at all about the Great Commission! In fact, it should be viewed as a joy and a blessed privilege for us to do our Lord’s bidding. Local congregations have the wonderful opportunity of carrying out these marching orders in a varied host of ways.
First, we should carry out these marching orders with our mouths. When Philip met a man of Ethiopia who did not know God’s plan, “…Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35b). Philip’s pious life and godly conduct alone, although quite admirable, would NEVER have led the eunuch to Christ. Lives becoming of the Gospel (cf. Philippians 1:27) are necessary in order to cause others to see Christ, but to learn of His way, we must open our mouths. It was written of Peter, when he stood at the house of Cornelius, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said…” (Acts 10:34a). Christians, we must open our mouths in carrying out the Lord’s marching orders!
Secondly, we should carry out these marching orders with our means. Truly, “[e]very good gift and every perfect gift is from above…” (James 1:17a). Included in these ‘gifts’ would certainly be the bountiful blessing of money and financial resources with which God has so richly blessed us. The early disciples understood the importance of using their means to carry out the Lord’s work, for it is written of our first century brethren, “…for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need” (Acts 4:34b-35). In particular, Barnabas was mentioned by name as one who used his means to support the Lord’s work (cf. Acts 4:36-37). How many missionaries, preachers, schools of preaching and small isolated congregations struggle financially because of our failure to use our means in a generous way? It takes money and financial resources to carry out the Lord’s marching orders. Christians, we must open our wallets and use our means to carry out God’s plan!
Thirdly, we should carry out these marching orders with our motives. There is a unique principle carried throughout the Scriptures; whatever we do must be done to the Lord’s glory (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17; 1 Peter 4:11). Motives do really matter. I can set out to do good things religiously, but if my motives are anything other than to glorify my Lord, they are wrong! Our ultimate goal in carrying out Christ’s commission is to bring honor and glory to His high and exalted name! It is not about “numbers” for the sake of numbers. It is not about “programs” for the sake of programs. It is not about “works” for the sake of works. Every number “we” gain, every program we pursue, and every work in which we engage should all be centered and focused upon our Lord! Our motive for anything and everything religiously should be for the sole purpose of glorifying our Lord (Romans 11:36; 1 Peter 5:11; 2 Peter 3:18; et al).
The marching orders have been given. Now it is up to you and me to carry them out in our everyday lives. What about you? Will you use your mouth, your means and your motives to “[g]o into all the world”? Please do; eternity is at stake (cf. 1 Timothy 4:16)!
It is not uncommon in our country for people to judge their position in life by their possessions. Whether it is the kind of car they drive, the size houses they have, or the size of the televisions in their living rooms, many people use these things as signs of their prosperity and blessings.
However, what does the Bible say? Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Jesus says our treasures, those things that we value most, are to be in Heaven. We are not to base our value or success on the level of possessions we have accumulated on this earth, but instead on how we have prepared ourselves to serve the Lord. With what are we more concerned, physical possessions or eternal blessings?