Watering the Tulips
September 18, 2013
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” – Matthew 28:19
A preacher friend recently said, “We’ve moved from making disciples to building churches”. Without a doubt, he is correct. The entire missionary effort today seems to be backwards from what Jesus instructed us to do. When commissioning His church, Jesus said, “Go…and make” and yet we’d rather sit and wait. It seems our missionary zeal has died. Disciplining has been replaced with recruiting, at best. The Gospel has been replaced with worldly gimmicks. And our discomfort in sharing the message of Christ has led us to merely invite people to church. Then sadly, we’ve convinced ourselves that a simply “come to church sometime” is fulfilling our instruction to “make disciples of all the nations”. In this, we have critically erred.
Two times we read where Jesus told the disciples that they were to be “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17). If the Holy Spirit inspired this to be written twice, it must be important. Each of us…every believer…is called to be a fisher of men. We are called to plant seed. Now, lest any of us become conceited, we have no ability to make seed grow – that is God’s business. Paul says the same when he wrote, “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:5-7). Yet, even a casual reading of the Book of Acts will reveal that Paul spent His life sowing the Seed of the Gospel.
These days, missionary work seems to be done in reverse – by pretty much everybody. Jesus said, “…you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Yet oddly, we want to reverse the order most of the time. Most of us these days are willing to send missionaries and dollars to foreign lands but unwilling to do anything locally where the Lord has planted us. Then, when our churches dry up, we wonder why. Is it possible we are not following the instructions of Jesus very well? I do believe so. Paul said, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6). Most of us are proving this verse to be true every day – we are sowing sparingly and, as a result, we are reaping sparingly.
Not only that, even the idea of local missions is confused today. The local church is not to be “gimmicky” by drawing people in with worldly attractions. Our focus must always remain on Calvary’s cross. Yet, this “gimmick gospel” which we see so much today is just the fruit of a bigger problem. Most believers think their job is to merely get somebody to church so the preacher can share the Gospel with them. This is why we often see gimmicks. But, we ALL are to be witnesses for Christ. We all are to be fishers of men. We all are to be making disciples! God’s means to reach His own is the message of the Gospel (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:21). If we’d put aside the gimmicks and do what God has called each of us to do, we may be surprised by the results.
So, what is the hindrance? Why are we so unwilling to do what God has plainly told us to do? Simply, it’s uncomfortable. It gets us out of our comfort zone. If we can ever come to realize that the power to save is not in us, it will give us great courage to go forth. When the Holy Spirit empowers the Gospel message, lives are changed (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). The power doesn’t abide in us, but in Him. So, child of God, “Go therefore and make disciples…”. It is your calling and it is your duty. But, oh what an honor God has bestowed on us that we are given the opportunity to share the message of His Son with a lost and dying world!
Watering the Tulips is brought to you by Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Northport, AL. For more information, please visit www.sovereigngrace.net. “Your App to the Gospel” is available in iTunes, Google Play and the Windows Phone Marketplace. Please download it today.