Good News, Bad News

Today I have good news and bad news. Reminds me of the defense attorney who said those same words to his client…

“First the bad news… Your blood test came back, and your DNA is an exact match with that found at the crime scene.” “Oh, no!” cried the client. “What’s the good news?” “Your cholesterol is only 180.”

The bad news is that there is so much discouragement that has seeped into the church. The Bible says in, “1 Thessalonians 3:2, “We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith,” All of us need some Timothy’s to encourage us during these difficult times.

It seems that all the negative stuff in our culture (down economy, political polarity, skepticism, etc.) has somehow flowed over into the life of the church. Some Christians and churches are acting as if the battle is over and we lost!

We can’t allow the cynicism of our culture to influence the church. Vance Havner said,

there’s too much of the world in the church and not enough of the church in the world!

Amen to that! These are challenging times no doubt, but we must not forget our mission and the One who gave us the mission. Our God can do anything. Mark 10:27 says, “Jesus looked at them and said,

With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.

The power of the Holy Spirit is not diminished because the stock market is down!

The truth of God’s Word does not change regardless of whether the Republicans or the Democrats are in office.

The Gospel is still changing lives today.

The church needs to rise above all the negative, discouraging factors in our world. One way we accomplish that is to refocus on the Great Commission given in Matthew 28:16-20.

Oswald Smith said, “Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.”

The Great Commission is not only what we do, it is who we are.

We may debate the “How” of the Great Commission, we may disagree on the specifics in terms of methodology, structure, or the particulars, but we should never doubt the “Why.” Jesus told us to penetrate the entire world (all nations) with the Gospel. We can vote on it at state and national meetings, but it will not make an impact on the lostness of our world unless the members of our churches (me and you) become Great Commission Christians! We’ve got to get it in the DNA of our people.

Bill Purvis said, “The greatest sin in the Church is not the sin of commission, or the sin of omission, it is the sin of No-Mission.” Maybe that is why so many churches seem to have such a negative attitude, they have forgotten their mission.

In the Great Commission Jesus said clearly “make disciples” and that is the bottom line for the church. It is how Jesus measures a church’s success. Not in budgets, or the size of your buildings or parking lots, or the programs, but in disciple making.

I believe every Church can be a Great Commission Church. Regardless of your size or location, your church can make a difference for the kingdom and impact your community and the world for Christ by making disciples.

Evangelism is the beginning component of the Great Commission and the process of making disciples, but not the end. The Great Commission does not say “make converts” but “make disciples!” The starting point is leading someone to faith in Jesus, but then spiritual growth begins as the person “follows Jesus” and becomes a mature disciple. The eventual outcome is that each new Believer will disciple another person, and then that person will disciple someone, etc.

Let’s refocus on fulfilling the Great Commission by allowing the Lord to use us as we witness to our neighbors, work associates, family members, and the divine appointments that God gives us each day as we encounter people.

Be encouraged…I read the last chapter…we win!

Keep the Son in your eyes,

Mike James

One Comment

  1. Mike,
    You are right on! If more churches would remember what we are called to do the world would in fact be a different place. We need to remember it is not about us and our comfort, but about bringing people into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and helping them grow in that relationship – but we cannot give out what we don’t take in.

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