THE GREAT COMMISSION
The Great Commission – what is it?
“Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words,” (attributed to Francis of Assisi), is a unique way of putting it, I think., Just before He returned to the Father, Jesus put it like this: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8.
What’s the difference between witnessing and being a witness? Witnessing focuses on what a person says. Being a witness is about what a person is and does. I think that’s what Francis of Assisi meant. Don’t you?
A great many people have been put off by so-called believers because they have messed up their “talk” by their “walk”. What they say and who they are, are poles apart. Who will listen to someone who says one thing and acts in a completely opposite way?
Jesus spoke about two characteristics among believers that would convince the world of His coming more than any amount of witnessing has even done.
“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34, 35.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:20, 21; 23b.
Being a witness is much more difficult than witnessing because being a witness takes the power of the Holy Spirit. Preachers can preach and witnesses can witness because all they need is to speak and they don’t need the Holy Spirit to do that. But how do they live at home? How do they treat their wives? How do they relate to their children?
Will your wife, who has to listen to gracious words spilling out of your mouth at church when she had just been abused by you before you left home, hear your words rather than your actions?
Will your son or daughter follow your Jesus when you make Him out to be abusive, insulting, demanding or indifferent? How will your colleagues respond to your “witnessing” when you are dishonest, moody, ratty, unreasonable, unfair or explosive at work?
Only the Holy Spirit has the power to change us, to fill our hearts with His fruit – the kind of life, words and actions that look more like Him and less like our old selves and that protect love and unity at our expense.
That’s the kind of witness that has the right to speak!
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my new book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (copyright 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!