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Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore 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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20
There was an article that came out in USA Today last week that was very disturbing. Maybe you saw it too. “The title is Nation’s largest Protestant group faces ‘decline’”. Now I’m not one to jump to conclusions based on an article in a newspaper, but there is something true about the data listed in this article. The article states several things that jolted me into a reality. Some of those facts are: – Baptisms fell to their lowest number in 60 years among Southern Baptists – This is a trend. And the trend is one of decline. – In 2010, Southern Baptists baptized 332,321 people, or 17,416 fewer than in 2009. – This marks the eighth time in 10 years that baptisms have declined and the lowest number of baptisms since the 1950s. It goes on to mention the reasons for such a decline. Among these reasons are 2 serious problems that I see as a Christian in today’s world. The 2 reasons that are listed are: 1. They “have lost their enthusiasm for evangelism — the practice of bringing new people into the faith.” 2. They “love to talk about evangelism as long as someone else is doing it.”
Now if you’re a Southern Baptist, the article I’m writing today is NOT targeted at you. I believe if this study were to be performed on Christianity as a whole, we’d see some of the same data, accompanied by some of the same mindset. It is disturbing.
Christianity is not the same as other religions. We don’t force people to join and threaten people’s lives if they convert to another faith. (Yes. This happens.)
We don’t follow the teachings or lifestyle of a man who walked the earth and never raised from the dead.
We don’t believe in converting through violence.
We believe there is ONE God, who sent ONE Man, who died for MY sins, and we can reach Heaven by way of ONLY this ONE Man.
We know Him as Jesus Christ.
As Christians, it’s time to get up, find the passion that once lived in us, the passion that doesn’t die. This passion is what we’re called to claim. This passion is what we’re called to share. This passion is a passion in the God of ALL God’s. He lives in us. He works through us. And He has called us to a Commission.
He Was Given The Authority (Matthew 26:18)
He has been given ALL authority in Heaven and on Earth. We can be sure that He is who we should be following and sharing with others.
We Were Given The Commission (Matthew 28:19)
Do we believe Jesus when He said He has the authority? If we do, then we have been given a Commission. THE Commission. The Great Commission. It IS Great too. It’s great because we are able to share the Good News with our neighbors. It is great because it’s a great responsibility. And it’s great because the enormity of the job. It’s NO SMALL task. It’s an enormous job, duty, and privlege. If we believe and obey, we must take this seriously. We must do it.
The World Is Given A Choice (Matthew 28:20)
This verse says we must teach them to obey everything that has been taught to us. This means we must teach them as well. We can’t make the choice for them though. We plant the seed. God produces the harvest. How many times have you heard that? It’s true. But another thing is true. If there aren’t any seeds being planted, can there be a harvest?
What a wake up call this is.
Is Christianity on the decline in our world?
Is there a loss of Jesus Christ in our culture?
Will we see this same study done in another 10 years to see that Christianity is all but eliminated in the homes of our nation?
Thankfully, that study has yet to be performed. So the results are still out for discovery.
It can be written right now though. The foundation can be laid for a serious revival in our nation, in our communities, in our homes, and even in our hearts.
P.S. If you would like to read the article that I am referring to, you can read it here: Article About Baptism Decline