Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and God the Son), was put to death on a cross by his enemies. But he did not remain dead. God the Father resurrected him from the dead on the third day. And then Jesus showed himself to many people for 40 days before he ascended back to heaven to be with God the Father. But before he ascended back to heaven he showed himself to his eleven remaining disciples several times. This was one of those times:
“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.’”
Do These Words Apply to Us?
Some people believe these words were intended just for the eleven disciples of Jesus (only eleven remained after Judas killed himself). But I see no reason biblically to say that this only applied to them and not to all of Jesus’ disciples from that time forward. For all who follow Jesus with their lives are his disciples, for we can’t be believers in Jesus and not be his disciples. For Jesus said if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and self) and follow (obey) him (Luke 9:23-26).
Also, all of us who belong to Jesus are to be proclaiming the excellencies of him (God/Jesus) who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. And we are all to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth in living the Christian life by example and by sharing the gospel message with others. All of us, when we believe in Jesus, and the Holy Spirit indwells us, are his witnesses. And we should all be leading people to forsake their sins and to follow Jesus in obedience to his commands (New Covenant).
[1 Pet 2:9; Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18]
So, if we are following Jesus Christ with our lives, and thus we are now his disciples, I see no reason biblically or morally to exclude ourselves from these instructions to the Lord’s disciples. And the instructions are not to just give out some quick and easy “how to believe in Jesus” tract, or to just share with them a simple gospel message absent of the full story and then to walk away, but it is to make disciples of Christ of people of all nations.
So, how do we do that? Well, if we talk with people face to face, and if we share the full gospel message with them, and if they make the choice to believe in Jesus Christ with their lives, then we should make the effort to try to follow up with them to see how they are doing and to share with them the Scriptures which teach us how we are to live as followers of Jesus. For many people make false professions of faith in Jesus that go nowhere.
For me, I am not in a position right now to be talking with people face to face long enough to present the gospel to them in person, but I will do so if I am given the opportunity. The ministry the Lord has given me is in writing and in sharing the gospel message in this medium with people I may never meet face to face, at least not until we get to heaven. But my responsibility is still the same, not to just give them a “quick fix” (diluted) gospel message, but to tell them what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
And it is also to teach them the consequences of not following Jesus with their lives, and to let them know that if they choose to continue in their lives of sin, and to not to walk in obedience to the Lord, that they do not have forgiveness of sins, nor eternal salvation nor eternal life with God. For, so many people are being deceived these days into believing that they can be saved from their sins and go to heaven when they die while they continue in deliberate and habitual sin on this earth. That is not biblical!
Tell Them the Truth
So, we need to be those who are telling people the truth of the gospel, not just that Jesus died on that cross to forgive us our sins and to give us the hope of eternal life with him, but that he died on that cross so we would die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. We need to tell them that Jesus gave his life up for us on that cross so we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who died for us and so that we would now honor God with our lives (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15,21; 1 Co 6:19-20).
And we need to tell them that, although our salvation is a gift to us from God, the gift is not freedom to keep living in sin while claiming Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The gift is deliverance out of our slavery (addiction) to sin so that we can now live holy and godly lives in the power of God, to the praise and glory of God. We need to tell them what is required of us if we are to be one of his followers and of the consequences to our lives if we do not follow him in obedience but we choose to go our own way, instead.
But we also need to share with them the joys of serving the Lord both now and for eternity, for it is a joy to walk with the Lord in obedience to his commands and to live holy and righteous lives pleasing to him. No matter the hardships that come along with that, there is still peace and joy in serving the Lord and in knowing that you are making a difference in other people’s lives for eternity. And there is joy and peace in not being in bondage to sin but in being slaves to God and to his righteousness.
And one day we will know the joy of our salvation complete when Jesus returns to take his true followers (disciples) to be with him for eternity. And we will know the joy of eternity with our Lord and the fellowship of the saints of God who have gone before us and who will go with us to meet our Lord. But please know that not everyone who professes the name of Jesus will go to heaven. Only those doing the will of God will be with him for eternity.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10]
I Can Only Imagine
Song by Bart Millard
I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk by Your side
I can only imagine
What my eyes would see
When Your face is before me
I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the Son
I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever, forever worship You
I can only imagine, yeah
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