As of Feb. 25, 2006 there was an estimated 6.5 Billion people in the world and around 300 million of those are found in the United States. One survey I looked at called 50,000 people at random in 48 states and 80% of them claimed to be religious, but only 1.3 % of them claimed to be from the church of Christ while another 7.2% claimed to be just Christians. While it comforting to know that nearly 80 % claim to be God fearing people it sad to see that only few are members of the Lord’s church and only few claim just to be Christians and this is just in the United states. According to 2000 survey 33 % of the World claims to be Christian and we should know that most of those are really not Christians. This means that there are millions of lost in the United States and Billions of lost souls in the World. This just proves what Jesus said in,


Matthew 7:13 " Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  14 "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.


These statistics alone show us that there is a great need to reach out to the lost with the Gospel of Christ. Another reason we should be concerned about reaching the lost is found in The Great Commission.


Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."


Mark 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.


Luke 24:46 Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,  47 "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.


Earlier in Jesus’ ministry he sent his disciples out by twos on a limited commission to teach that the kingdom was at hand, but in the great commission he was commanding that his disciples, which includes you and I, to continue to preach the gospel to every creature and this is to continue until Jesus comes again.


There are at least 8 different things that are involved with the Great commission.


1. There is the authority of Jesus.


Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.


The Great commission is backed by Jesus authority and we are to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name, which means by His authority.


Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.


2. It commands us to go and not sit still. God never had in mind that we should simply wait for people to come to us or simply make plans to reach the lost. We are to go. Before the children of Israel crossed the Jordan, some of them wanted to stay where they were and make their homestead there. Notice what Moses says to them,


Numbers 32:6 And Moses said to the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben: "Shall your brethren go to war while you sit here?  7 "Now why will you discourage the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD has given them?


Moses was reminding them of their obligation to do their part to help in gaining what God had promised to them. So as Christians should we sit on the sidelines as our brother and sister is Christ battle against Satan as they try to teach the lost? The command is simply go and how we go is up to us, but what’s important is that we stop talking about it and we go and do our best to reach the lost.


3. The command is not just to go its but to go to every person of every nation. Now, this does not mean that you and I have to go different countries to evangelize, but it could include this. When it says we are to preach to every nation it also means every nationality or ethnic group. This is certainly possible here in America because we are made up of nearly every ethnic group out there. That’s why we need to begin right in here in Lone Grove with our door knocking campaign because there are plenty of lost people right here. There is close 3000 people in Lone Grove and there are only about 100 or maybe 200 New testament Christians out of that number. So, there is much work to be done right here in our own town.


4. It involves teaching or preaching. We must understand that Christianity is a taught religion because one is not born a Christian. It is up to us no matter where we go to plant the seed of the Word of God. If no seeds are scattered, then there will be no harvest. Even if we go on vacation to another country we can still sow the seed.


5. Jesus specifically states that the gospel is what we are to teach or preach to the lost. We have the freedom of how we go and by what method we choose to teach, but we must teach or preach that which God has given us in His word because his word is the power of God to salvation to everyone that belives Rom. 1:16. It is through the Gospel that God calls people to salvation 2 Thes. 2:14. Notice what Paul says in,


Galatians 1:8  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

So we want to make sure that we teach or preach God’s Word and nothing else because it has the information needed to be saved.


6. We should rejoice knowing that purpose of the Great commission is to save souls so that both men and woman can be saved from their sins. Jesus blood will wash away our sins Rev. 1:5, but this will not happen until the sinner hears the Word of God and obeys the Gospel plan of salvation. Again Mark 16:16 makes it clear that both belief and baptism are necessary for a person to be saved. Until a person obeys all of God’s plan of salvation they will continue to be separated from God.


When we see people turn to the Lord it is a time of rejoicing and it should motivates us to reach more lost people, but on the other hand when we think about those billions of lost souls in the world and how they have no hope should also motivated us to reach out to the lost.


7. Jesus has promised to always be with us. It should bring great comfort to realize that Jesus is always going to be there for us. This means we are never really alone. This same principle was taught in the OT as well. When Joshua was taking the place of Moses as the new leader God tell him this,


Joshua 1:9  "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."


These words from God had to have been comforting to Joshua especially since he was about to take on a very challenging leadership role, which involved fulfilling the land promise given to Abraham and at the same time keeping the children of Israel focused on serving God. Well, in the same way, we should be comforted by the fact that God is always going to be there with us not matter what. So, when we start feeling alone and discouraged about teaching others we need to remind ourselves that Jesus is there.


8. The Great Commission is a never ending obligation because we are to reach out to the lost until the end of the world. Every generation must take on the task of teaching every nation and every creature because every generation will have many lost souls that need to hear the wonderful message about Jesus.


In the OT, Isaiah asked God how long he should preach to the house of Israel, God response was,


Isaiah 6:11 … "Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, The houses are without a man, The land is utterly desolate,


God was letting Isaiah know that he need to keep preaching as long as there was someone still left alive and that is the same thing we must do today.


We cannot deny that God wants someone to teach the Gospel to the lost. But whose responsibility is it? Its not the government, or public schools of social clubs. No, it is God plan  that every Christian teach the Gospel to others. It is our duty and privilege to do and we shouldn’t lie to ourselves and think that others like the elders, deacons or Bible class teachers should be the one that do it. We have to stop treating the great commission like its an optional matter.


Sometimes we get so involved in other activities that we leave no time for reaching out to the lost. Almost 2000 years has passed since Jesus first commanded the great commission and it just as valid today as it was then. Some accept this responsibility in the church and other do not, but it doesn’t matter how many people try and avoid it or make an optional matter because The Great Commission is still in our Bible’s and it is a command that has not changed.


So the question is not, “Does the Lord want His people to teach the gospel to the lost?” Instead, it should be, “What are you and I going to do about getting the gospel to all people everywhere?


I would suggest when it comes to evangelism we must have a mind to work. The story of Nehemiah illustrates this very well. Nehemiah was leading the Jews to rebuild wall around Jerusalem and Neh. 6:15 say they completed the wall in 52 days. This was great accomplishment, but how were the Jews able to do this so quickly, even though they faced great opposition during this time?


First of all Nehemiah was a great spiritual leader. Second, God blessed these Jews through providence. Third, the major reason they were able to do this was because of the work ethic of these Jews.


Nehemiah 4 gives us some good information on what happened during their effort to rebuild this wall.

First, they accepted the reality and magnitude of the great task. Nehemiah told the people,


Nehemiah 4:19  "The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. 


Notice he did try to deceive the Jews into thinking this was going to be something easy, he told them the truth. This is going to be difficult and hard and its going to take a great amount of work. Even before he made this statement they had managed to build the wall up half way. But how did the Jews manage to accomplish this even though there was great opposition? The answer is found in,


Nehemiah 4:6  So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.


Notice there was no secret formula and it didn’t take  some famous motivational speaker to get the Jews fired up to accomplish their goal because the people had a mind to work. This is why they had been progressing at a fast rate on building that wall. These Jews saw a need for work and so they put their hearts into it and made it reality.


This is the same mentality we need to have today as we began to follow the command of the great commission. Its not an easy task and the worker are few, but we must have mind to work if we every hope to be successful at caring out the great commission.


Nehemiah 4 also teaches us that these Jews had to overcome some negative feelings about their work. As they continued to work on the wall the opposition never went away and when physical and metal fatigue set in some said,


Nehemiah 4:10  The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall."


In this statement there are 2 things are true and 1 thing that is false. It is true that they were getting fatigued from all their labor and it was true that there was a lot rubbish left over from the originally wall, but this was just more inconvenient than anything. But it was not true that they were not able to build the wall. They had just lost the their will to work and they had developed the I can’t do it mentality.


As Christians we need to avoid this type of I cannot do it mentality when it comes to the Lord’s work, because we can. Do you remember when Moses sent out the 12 spies to the Land of Canaan and 10 of them came back and said,


Numbers 13:31  We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we."


They had the wrong mentality as Proverbs 23:7  For as he thinks in his heart,  so is he. But Caleb and Joshua had the right mentality and Caleb expresses this for to hear in,


Numbers 13:30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, "Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it."


You see Caleb understood,


Numbers 14:8 "If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, 'a land which flows with milk and honey.'


In this same way, we should have a positive attitude about reaching out to the lost realizing that Jesus promised that He will be with this all the way as we take on the challenge of this work. With His help, every one of us can fulfill the great commission. We may get tired, discouraged and be ridiculed, but the work of teaching the lost and leading them to Christ must go on.


We also learn in Nehemiah 4 that those outside the Jewish nation were doing their best to interfere with the work that was going on in fact their goal was to,


Nehemiah 4:11  …cause the work to cease.

It was a great accomplishment to have the wall half way done, but there was still a lot of work to do and many difficulties to overcome, but it would not be impossible to finish the work. So, Nehemiah told his people,


Nehemiah 4:14  Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses."


They had to keep focused on building that wall and reminding themselves that God would be with them and he would bless them. The same is true for us today. As we take on the work of spreading the good news, we must not fear that task or have a fear of failure or fear the opposition who doesn’t want us to succeed. Jesus never said that teaching and preaching to all nations would be easy, he simply commands to go and get the job done.


After Nehemiah had made this statement to his people, notice their response.


Nehemiah 4:15 And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. 


You have to love what the Jews did here. Their work had not changed, but all of them returned to back to work. They were unified all working together for same purpose. We too must be unified in our work to reach the lost. When we all have the same goal, great things can happen for the cause of the Lord. Notice what happens next.


Nehemiah 4:16 So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah.  17 Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon.


Notice some of the workers did one thing, while other did another. Some even did one thing with one hand and worked with another. They were doing everything that was lawful so they could continue their work. In similar way as we work together to reach the lost, some workers can do one thing while others do another. We shouldn’t be afraid of be flexible in our approach to evangelism as long as it doesn’t break God’s command. The point is that we need do what we can to reach the lost and to protect ourselves as we battle our opposition.


We have seen that the Jews at that time had a mind to work. Notice what verse,


Nehemiah 4:21  So we labored in the work, and half of the men held the spears from daybreak until the stars appeared.


Nehemiah had planed the work and the Jews had agreed to do the work. They first talked about working and then they did the work as labored to build the wall.


Evangelism takes both planning and doing so we must do more than just plan because at some point we must do the work. Coming up in couple weeks is our door knocking campaign and the plan is to handout flyers to invite people to our Gospel meeting and try to set up bible studies. The plan is in place but now it is up to you have a mind to carry out that work, not for me, but for God.


Did you notice how much time the Jews put in to building the wall? They started at the rising of the sun and worked until the stars appeared. That is a long workday, but they were willing to work that long because they believed in what they were doing.


How bout you? Do you and I believe enough in seeking and teaching the lost that we are willing to put in long hours for the cause of the Lord? Sometime we like to claim that we will, but do we really?


In the song “When the Roll is called up Yonder” do you remember what that song exhorts us to do? It says, “Let us labor for the Master, from dawn till setting sun.” That exactly what the Jews of Nehemiah’s day did in building that wall. So, how much time are we willing to invest in reaching the lost?


There is no way to get around our responsibility to teach the lost and there is no secret formula, short cut or magic trick to getting the work done because evangelism requires hard work and it always has. It is an enjoyable work and it definitely worth it, but it is still work but we must be willing to have a mind to work. So, the only way the seed of the word of God is going to get spread is if you and I choose to roll up our sleeves and get to work by obeying the Jesus’ command.


Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."