Wednesday, August 24, 2005


The "Great Commission" is reported in two different ways. Firstly the command to go and preach the gospel, secondly to go and make disciples. Matthew reports it one way, Mark the other.

But really there is no difference between the two. There is no gospel without discipleship. Salvation is only available to those who would become disciples of the Lord.

Preaching, but leaving out the condition of discipleship, is NOT preaching the gospel.

I've read a lot of criticism of the use of a "sinner's prayer" to gain converts. Personally I have nothing against "sinner's prayers" - as long as it is made clear that this is only the starting point; a first step, an initial confession of intent that leads to action.
But all too often the sinner's prayer is merely the result of laziness.

There is more to establishing a potential saint into the body of Christ than a quick "drive through" approach to salvation, like serving up a fast food order.

It's too easy for preachers to justify their ministries by pointing to the number of hands raised, or decision cards filled out in response to an altar call.
But it's not enough to sow the seed and see it fall onto soil away from the path. Leading someone to accept the gospel message is only the first stage. There's still a lot of weeding and rock clearing to do until we can expect to see the seed grow to bear fruit.

The road to salvation is not a free and easy option. There is a cost to be counted beforehand. It is a pearl of great price that is not obtained cheaply. Is this the message being preached? Or is the message one of cheap grace, an easy salvation?

Salvation is NOT the mere crossing over from Unsaved to Saved. Salvation is a continual journey. Paul describes it as a race with a finishing line that needs to be our goal. We must complete what we have started. It's not enough to start.

For too long Christianity has been preached as the way to escape hell. The purpose of Jesus's sacrifice was NOT to save us from hell after death; it's purpose was to save us from sin and its effects in life. NOW!
As Reinhard Bonnke has said, " The gospel is more than a formula for getting to heaven when you die. The gospel offers life not a lifeboat".

Salvation from hell is merely one of the benefits of submitting ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus. But it is not a benefit that can be seen by an unbelieving world. The world needs to see changed lives. It needs to see a difference that shows the reality of a LIVING Jesus.

Relevant references:
Matthew 28: 19
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Mark 16:15
And then he told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.
16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.