It is called the Great Commission. It is considered the duty of all Christians as it was commanded by Jesus to His disciples and all who follow Him. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus told His disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Although today not every Christian actually baptizes others, the Great Commission to bring others to Christ is still important.
In today’s world in which we are told to “live and let live,” and to be respectful of what others believe, the Great Commission can be a challenge. Christians are concerned about being too pushy with their faith, of being labeled a “Bible thumper.” Such concern is, to a degree, warranted. The Great Commission doesn’t call for us to bring others to Christ by force. History has certainly seen enough of Christians trying to do just that, with less than satisfactory results for all concerned.
Even Paul, who was an enthusiastic evangelist and fulfilled the Great Commission wonderfully, would agree that we must not be too pushy about our faith. In his letter to the church at Colossus, Paul taught the early Christians how to spread the Gospel.
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:2-6.
First of all, we must pray for God to provide opportunities to share His grace, and for the right words to use. Second, our actions towards non-believers should be in accordance with God’s Word, they should be wise, so that an opportunity that God has provided is not lost because those non-believers see nothing worth listening to. Third, we must speak about grace, and everything else we talk about, with grace. Finally, we must “know how to answer everyone.” We do this by spending time in God’s Word and in trying to understand what we believe and why. If we cannot articulate why we believe in the grace of Christ how can we expect someone else to grasp what we are saying and believe it?
The Great Commission does not require each and every Christian to be converting people right and left, and taking them to the river to be baptized. But Jesus does ask us to sow seeds of His truth by what we say and how we act towards non-believers. I personally have never “led someone to Christ,” at least not that I am aware of. I have a friend who has done so numerous times, and I used to be jealous of her. But then I realized that some of us set the stage for the deal, and others are closers. I focus on doing as Paul teaches so that I can set the stage for someone like my friend to come along and close the deal when the time is right.
So whether you are a stage-setter or a deal-closer, do so with prayer, with wisdom, with grace, and with the knowledge of why you believe. Then you will be part of Christ’s Great Commission.