By Pastor Bill Rowe
“18And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘19Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20, NKJV)
The other night, Fonda and I were talking about end times prophecy. Specifically, we thought about the Rapture of the church and the Tribulation that will follow. Our thoughts went to our children and grandchildren. We realized that when Jesus Christ returns for His church, those who do not know Him as Lord and Savior will not go with Him. Instead, they will remain here where evil will have no restraint.
We asked, “Will our children and grandchildren be with the Lord, or will they remain here to face the evil?” That is a horrifying thought! It’s horrifying because we know that, no matter how much we love these dear ones, there are no free passes to heaven for those who do not believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. And it’s horrifying because we know that we hold the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the key to heaven for all who are lost.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
We thought about our efforts to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them. How do we communicate the love of God to our children and grandchildren? How about our neighbors? What about the stranger? Have we shared the key to heaven with them? Have we shared the gospel?
Are you a “holy presence” for your family?
Maybe your family is like ours. Whenever our family members have a spiritual crisis or a spiritual question, they call on Fonda or me to help them deal with the crisis or to help answer the question. We are a “holy presence” within our family; they turn to us for “God questions.” But after the Rapture, to whom will they turn? Witnessing Christ to my loved ones must be a matter of highest priority for me. Could my willingness to disciple my family and friends be their key to heaven?
The Prophet Isaiah wrote something that challenged me:
“He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him.” (Isaiah 59:16)
Isaiah is speaking of God interceding with the Lord Jesus Christ to bring salvation to those who would believe. A principle you and I can take away from this is that God is looking for people to intercede in the lives of the unsaved. Christians must introduce the Lord to those who don’t know Him; we must share the good news of Jesus Christ with them, and teach them “to observe all that the Lord has commanded,” lest they perish forever.
It’s been asked before: “If not you, who? If not now, when?”
Are you a witness for Jesus Christ? Are you making disciples? Are you the intercessor that the Lord has assigned to introduce Him to your loved ones? Will the Lord wonder that “there was no intercessor” when your loved ones stand before the Great White Throne? O, Lord, let it not be so!
Hitting the mark of disciple-making
So often we lose focus of the Lord’s commission to the church, which includes every single Christian. We offer so many non-essentials of the faith in an attempt to draw in non-believers. We try to wow people into faith in Christ, and that is missing the mark of the Christian life.
The late Dr. Fred Dickason said, “It’s our job today to make disciples, not the demonstration of miracles.”
We offer Christ as the great problem-solver everyone needs. Need a job? Jesus is the answer. Need your family restored? Jesus is the answer. Poor? Unhealthy? Jesus is the answer! And so on. To our shame, we neglect to ask the most important question, the question that everyone must answer with a resounding “Yes!” Do you need eternal life?
When I think of our precious, sweet daughters, I desperately want them to know that God loves them and will save them. When our grandchildren come to mind, I can’t imagine them not being in heaven with Fonda and me. So what will I do about it?
I want to challenge you today to share Jesus with one person you love, and with one person you have never met. Share the good news that God loves them even though they don’t give Him a thought in the busy lives they lead. Share the truth that a Man named Jesus died for their sins so that they might receive the gift of eternal life.
I often make excuses for failing to “evangelize.” But evangelism isn’t the goal here, simply sharing the saving message of Jesus Christ is the goal. How can we recommend a pizza joint without hesitation, but have so much trouble recommending the grace of God? Share Christ and pray that God opens hearts. You’ll be surprised at who will be in heaven with you.
The only free pass to heaven is through the Lord Jesus Christ. You have the key to heaven for those you love; don’t keep it to yourself.