The Great Commission

 

I think the number one thing the world needs now is to hear the truth about Jesus. Not some watered down Jesus, not some sissy Jesus, not some bully Jesus either. The world loves a sweet lie and will gather people around to say what they want to hear. But what they want to hear is probably not what they need to hear! The Bible warns us about this very thing.

*†† (2 Tim 4:1-4 NIV)In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: {2} Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. {3} For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. {4} They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

 

All religions are plagued with myths. Last week we learned about the Jewish myth of the lamp that burned for eight days on one day worth of oil. Many other religions are founded on mythology. But surely our religion, the religion of Christ, is free from myths. Sadly it is not. We have the myths associated with Christmas: Santa Clause, Christmas trees, December 25 as the birthday of Jesus, and the three magi. Certainly there were magi but we donít know how many and they never visited the manger. There are the myths associated with Easter: bunnies and eggs, and even the name Easter is the name of a pagan goddess. And the list can go on and on. But does it matter? Letís see what he Bible says.

*†† (Jer 10:1-5 NIV)Hear what the LORD says to you, O house of Israel. {2} This is what the LORD says: "Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them. {3} For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. {4} They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. {5} Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good."

*†† (Ezek 8:15-16 NIV)He said to me, "Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this." {16} He then brought me into the inner court of the house of the LORD, and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men. With their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun in the east.

But you say, we donít worship trees or the sun. True but you have learned the ways of the nations!

 

Now that brings me to the great commission. The great commission is all about teaching and preaching. It is the primary command to the people of the Lord. Are there other things as well? Certainly! But the other things are secondary the good news of the Kingdom is primary. News of the Kingdom will lead us to Jesus and Him crucified. It will convict us of our sins and cause us to become the men and women we should be. ďWhoever believes and is baptized will be saved.Ē Letís read about it.

*†† (Mat 28:16-20 NIV)Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. {17} When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. {18} Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. {19} Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, {20} and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

*†† (Mark 16:15-16 NIV)He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. {16} Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

*†† (Acts 28:30-31 NIV)For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. {31} Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

*†† (Rom 10:12-15 NIV)For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, {13} for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." {14} How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? {15} And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

 

Now that I have laid the foundation I will talk about our congregation and our outreach. I think we have been missing the mark somewhat. We started off pretty good about five or six years ago. But slowly we have drifted away from our outreach and our calling. We became more and more like the churches around us. Godís people have always had that problem. We are Godís people and we are not all that different from ages gone by. Israel always tended to follow after what they were exposed to by surrounding peoples.

 

When we began, our outreach was to bring news and scriptures that would inform people and encourage them to live a life as a Christian. We wanted to be a positive influence on our community by exposing people to the truth of Godís word and by exposing them to true history. We knew if we were going to see a change in our community we needed to see change in the people that make up the community. People want change but what they need is Godly change. Not all change is good. We started with a series of radio broadcasts that consisted of 70 one-minute spots on KAJO and KLDR. Each spot went something like this.

 

This is pastor Ralph Orton for The Church of God 7th Day. America is a great country. But, why has God caused us to be so blessed? Itís simple; we were founded by Christians, for Christians on Christian principles. We hear about separation of church and state as if God doesnít belong in the public forum. But, letís hear what great men from our past had to say about Church and State!

 

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports . . . And let us indulge with caution the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion . . . Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious principle." President George Washington

 

or asWilliam Penn put it

 

Men must be governed by God or they will be governed by tyrants.

 

Always remember, the first amendment provides for: Freedom of religion not freedom from religion!!

 

This is pastor Ralph Orton. Want to learn more? Call me at 479-2440. Or visit on the web at Sabbath Fellowship of Grants Pass.org

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We followed this up with seminars that debunked evolution and the Big Bang theory of creation. The responses we received were encouraging.

 

But somewhere along the way we decided we should be feeding and clothing people even though people were already being fed and clothed. We became like the people around us. It really hasnít worked out very well. So today I am proposing a change or perhaps I should say I am proposing we return to our original vision. Let me explain.

 

We will continue to have meetings and movies and events but our outreach will change from food and clothing to getting the message of Godís Kingdom on the air to thousands of people. We will talk about fundamental things and doctrines that distinguish us from the mainstream churches. We will talk about the history of our nation and why it is important to know the truth of our foundersí vision. It was a Godly vision. We will offer free literature and tracts to those interested in learning more. Our events will return to seminars rather than Vacation Bible School and Independence Day barbecues. In other words our focus will be to inform people and lead them to Jesus through truth.

*†† (John 17:15-19 NIV)My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. {16} They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. {17} Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. {18} As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. {19} For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

 

I will be preparing scripts for these radio broadcasts and checking on the cost for various times of the day and various length of broadcast options and share what I learn with you. The money will initially come from our building fund. But hopefully the broadcasts will be self-sustaining and if they are we will consider going to more stations. The people that respond will have made an important statement that says, ďI am interested in God, Bible and Country.Ē They will be people that want to cut through the haze of feel good messages and distorted truth. They will be people that are open to looking with eyes wide open and not afraid of what they find. They are people that we can welcome into the fold and expect them to help in getting the message of Jesus and the Kingdom delivered to a world that has lost its mooring.

It is important to care for the poor and the widows and the orphans and that work is being done and sometimes to the detriment of the recipients. Too often they need a hand-up but receive only a handout. That is, they become trapped in a continual state of dependency. But with God those that are set free are set free indeed!

*†† (Luke 9:25 NIV)What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

 

The word of God is more precious than silver or gold. What better to give than Godís word and how better to give that word to thousands than though mass media? So I propose we regroup and return to our original outreach of getting the message to the multitudes via radio and seminars. Perhaps we can expand to papers and billboards. Every journey begins with the first step. I invite you to join me and letís make this journey together. Letís step out in faith.