MESSAGE TITLE: HEARING AND OBEYING THE GREAT COMMISSION: What is missing in contemporary Christian ministry and practice.
TEXT(S): Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:6-8; 2 Cor. 5:17-20; 2 Tim. 4:5b.
One great revelation about The Church of Pentecost’s theme for 2016 is my personal conviction that God has brought it with His intention to rebrand, reposition, and uplift this Church to become a model world-class one to impact generations if our Leaders, Officers and members will pay closer attention to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission (Mark 12:28-31; Matt. 28:19-20).
With due regards to the theme of the Church for 2016, we all agree to the basic fact that the Bible is the authentic voice of God proven from the creation of the earth and man.
God’s voice reveals what He likes and dislikes pertaining to our walk and relationship with Him. It also tells us what we must do and must not do with regard to our behavior and His assigned work or mission for His redeemed people. Failure to obey any of these requirements of God’s voice is sin and waywardness.
Hearing and obeying the voice of the Lord with reference to the first three chapters of 1 Samuel may seem to demand moral discipline at the expense of the Great Commission given to the Church by Jesus Christ (2 Tim 4:5).
Jesus Christ in Mark 12:28-31 revealed the foundation for Godly character, ministry to God, the Church, and fellow men. This foundation is love for God and fellow man. This love comes from the saving knowledge and faith in Christ Jesus and obedience to His word. From the knowledge, faith, love and obedience to God and His word comes forth the various ministries to God, the Church, and to the world.
The three major identifiable ministries of the New Testament Church are:
1.0 Ministry to God which we call Worship (John 4:23-24; Psalm 100).
2.0 Ministry of edification within the Church (Acts 2:42-47;
Rom. 12:1-2,6-8; 1 Cor. 12:7-11, 28-30; Eph. 4:11-16).
3.0 Ministry to the world-Evangelism (Mark 16:15-20; Matt. 28:18-20;
2 Cor. 5:18-19).
The contemporary Christian Church is performing creditably well in the first two major ministries but poorly in the third, Evangelism.
This attitude of the contemporary Church look selfish and inward-looking, a sin that made Israel fail as a covenant people of God.
God has provided the Church with everything we need for life and godliness, and ministry. These comprise all the spiritual blessings in Christ in the heavenly places (2 Peter 1:3; Eph. 1:3): They include the gift and gifts of the Holy Spirit for empowerment, immunities and tools for Evangelism (Preaching and witnessing about Jesus Christ, Soul-winning, Discipleship, Church-planting, plus financial support for newly planted Churches and missions).
The Church is powerless and toothless whenever it relaxes on the Great Commission (Evangelism). God ceases to bless us and the Church when we stop evangelizing.
The Church of Pentecost has witnessed rapid and phenomenal growth due to the founding fathers’ commitment to Evangelism and Missions work. From 1953, when the Church parted ways with the Apostolic Church, UK; CoP, has grown from 10,000 to 2.2 million members in Ghana alone with 13,000 congregations. The number of Ministers has grown from 13,940 adult members in 1953 to an overall total membership of 2,208,509 as at 31st. December, 2015.
The Church is also established in 90 Countries of all the six continents of the world with an overall worldwide membership of 2,612,618 including Ghana.
What has contributed to the dwindling zeal for evangelism in today’s Church must engage the attention of all ministers, Church Officers, and members in order to sustain the healthy growth of this great growing Church. I will personally list some factors for our group discussion latter by Evangelism Ministry Leaders at the various levels:
1.0 Complacency- The growth of our Church in membership, and material and infrastructural aspects can be one major cause for laxity in evangelism.
2.0 Lack of Visionary and Spirit-filled leaders at the local Assemblies to lead in evangelism. An Assembly can operate a whole year without any outreach evangelistic programme. Such leaders do not have any vision for Church growth.
3.0 Materialism- Church members and some leaders have become self-centered and inward looking thereby disobeying the supreme command and task of Christ to His Church (Matt. 28:18-20).
4.0 The logistical type of prayers in the contemporary Church and individual members does not focus on winning the lost for Christ, hence the apathy for evangelism and soul-winning.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS (RESOURCES AND TOOLS) FOR EFFECTIVE AND FRUITFUL EVANGELISM IN OUR GENERATION?
Jesus Christ our great Master did not begin His earthly Ministry and mission until He satisfied all the requirements for effective ministry and mission work.
From the Gospel of Matthew chapter 3:13-17, we find Jesus Christ Himself traveling a long distance from Galilee to the river Jordan in Judea to be baptized by John the Baptist. When He fulfilled that requirement, the Holy Spirit came to settle upon Him like a dove, visible to all at that particular time, and a voice from heaven came: ” This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17) ESV.
Then after the baptism according to Matthew’s account in chapter 4, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil after He had fasted for Forty days in prayer.
The above requirements fulfilled by Jesus Christ Himself before starting His earthly Ministry must be fulfilled as a solid foundation for effective and fruitful Evangelism which is the heartbeat of God.
1.0 You need to be saved, born again, through the knowledge and faith in Jesus Christ (John 6:28-29,40) to precede water baptism by emersion (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 2:38-41).
2.0 You need to be baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit as a second requirement (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4)
3.0 You need to daily study, meditate and be filled with the word asyour powerful tool for evangelism (2Tim. 2:15;3:15-17; Col. 3:16)
4.0 You need to pray with occasional consecrated fasting (Acts 13:1-3)
5.0 You need to stand firm in faith, prayer, the word of truth, and perseverance to resist the devil’s tests, and temptations within oneself and from without. Effective and fruitful ministry requires testing as newly manufactured vehicles are tested before their use.
6.0 Like Timothy who grew to be a powerful Evangelist, you need a Paul to father and mentor you for effective and fruitful ministry.
7.0 Finally, one powerful tool in our generation for effective and fruitful Evangelism and discipleship is the use of the various media platforms to share the message of the gospel which is free, and can reach every corner of the globe at the fastest time ever discovered. I believe the use of the social media platforms for evangelism has come in fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24:14 which reads: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations,and then the end will come”.
Contemporary Christians cannot be too busy nor too lazy to ignore and neglect this great opportunity to preach the good news of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, cost free, to the perishing world on all the social media platforms. Let us therefore prepare to work hard, as a team, to fulfill the Great Commission in our time and generation for we have no excuse to fail Jesus Christ’s command.
I have said in one of my Apostolization presentations that: “A servant who is not committed to hearing and obeying his masters voice has no business in the home, which calls for his being fired”.
The Church of Pentecost cannot risk disobeying God’s voice to go and make disciples of all nations through preaching the gospel in every locality she is established. Hence this week is earmarked for Soul winning on person to person basis, dawn broadcasting and as the Lord God the Holy Spirit will direct the various Evangelism Ministry Leaders in the Area, Districts, and Local Assemblies.
On this note, I declare the Area Evangelism week officially opened. May God the Holy Spirit who moved Apostle Peter to preach powerfully to bring 3,000 souls on the Day of Pentecost to Christ, anoint and empower you to do exploit in winning 10,000 souls this week for Christ.
Presented by Apostle Emmanuel Achim Gyimah (Area Head, Kaneshie, Accra)
AT EVANGELISM MINISTRY WEEK PRESENTATION TO LEADERS ON MONDAY, 16TH MAY, 2016 AT KANESHIE CENTRAL AUDITORIUM.