AWAKENING: The world's No. 1 need
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) -- Research suggests that only 11 of every 100 people in the world claim Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. About 50 percent of the world's population presently has no realistic opportunity to hear the Gospel and the percentage is growing. Every minute, 120 people are born, likely to live their entire lives and never hear the name of Jesus, not even once.
What is the greatest need in the world today? Awakening! We need to see an awakening of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the earth. We must go places we've never gone to, talk to people we've never talked to, and share Jesus where His name has not yet been spoken. Our last great hope in this world is to experience an awakening of the Great Commission.
Consider three brief questions that I believe must be answered if we are going to meet our world's greatest need:
1. How should we define the Great Commission?
It really is a clear vision: Tell every person in the world about Jesus Christ and make disciples of all nations. The challenge is getting people to realize that the Great Commission is about more than going "over there." It is also about reaching people "right here." It is not an either-or for Christ-followers, but a both-and!
In fact, Jesus shows us in Acts 1:8 the progression of how we are to fulfill the Great Commission. "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Jesus starts where the listeners were and moves farther away. Notice it is not progressive in a chronological sense. He never uses the word "then." We are not intended to go here then there, but here and there. We are to be witnesses for Jesus locally, nationally and internationally, all at the same time.
This is the missional vision model we have adopted at Cross Church where I pastor: "Reaching Northwest Arkansas, America, and the world for Jesus Christ." The Great Commission is the task of reaching every person in the world with the life-changing power of the Gospel and helping them grow in their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. How can I see my church awakened?
We need to see a major global spiritual awakening in the church of Jesus Christ. We need a global spiritual shaking to occur all around the world. In seeking the catalyst for this spiritual movement, we need to:
-- Wake up to the need itself. The world has seen too long what the arm of the flesh will do in and through the church. We need the world to see what God will do in and through the church. Business as usual has to stop and stop immediately. We need to experience a mighty spiritual movement of God.
-- Prioritize prayer. When we pray, it demonstrates that we are depending on God. When we do not pray, it shows we are depending on ourselves. Prayerless worship services will develop prayerless churches. Prayerless churches will operate in the power of the flesh, rather than the power of the Spirit.
-- Act on fulfilling the Great Commission NOW. Yes, this is our NOW moment. We can no longer delay in capturing our communities with the Gospel or proclaiming the Gospel to the ends of the world. Spiritual awakening will occur when the church is doing Gospel work. Acts 1:8 affirms that spiritual power is commensurate with our commitment to taking the Gospel to people and places where the Gospel has never been before.
3. How can I make the Great Commission more personal to me?
One of the reasons many churches do not have an emphasis on the Great Commission is that the members and leadership of those churches are not personally committed to it themselves. Each Christ-follower must own the Great Commission! To awaken the Great Commission personally, we each need to ask ourselves three questions:
-- Do I know Jesus intimately? Developing an intimate relationship with Jesus will create a deep desire to fulfill the Great Commission. It works the other way too. The more passionate you are about the Great Commission, the more intimately you will know Jesus.
-- Do I love Jesus passionately? There is no better way of becoming passionate, intimate Christ-followers than through prayer and the Word of God. Despite our best efforts, awakening the Great Commission will lack its full effectiveness if we do not follow biblical principles and cover everything in prayer. Pray for a personal rediscovery of your passion for Jesus and a Great Commission awakening will surely follow.
-- Do I share Jesus constantly? Knowing Christ intimately and loving Him passionately will always lead to sharing Him with others. These three ideas are inseparable. To know Christ is to love Him; to love Him is to share Him.
Never has there been a better time to live than today. While we might bemoan the events occurring in the world today, we need to see these moments as God moments. This is a special defining moment for the church to become awakened spiritually, resulting in an awakening of telling every person in the world about Jesus Christ and making disciples of all the nations.
I am believing God for a global spiritual awakening. This is our last great hope!
Ronnie Floyd is senior pastor of Cross Church (crosschurch.com) in northwest Arkansas, with campuses in Springdale, Pinnacle Hills and Fayetteville, and the author of a newly released book, "Our Last Great Hope."