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  • Richard Mansel 3:49 pm on 2017-03-16 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Great Commission, ,   

    Threats to The Great Commission 

    As time and technology progress, we need to abandon our naivete and realize the threats before us. Complaining about the rise of persecutions is normal, but not very productive.

    In these times, courage is required to confront Satan and his forces. Yet, it’s worthless unless it’s combined with faith (Hebrews 11:6), perseverance (Romans 5:3) and the spiritual armament constructed by God (Ephesians 6:10-17). In addition, we must be wise, cautious and perceptive. (More …)

    • Ron Mansel 4:02 pm on 2017-03-16 Permalink | Reply

      Richard, good article. Ron

      • Richard Mansel 4:09 pm on 2017-03-16 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you so much!

    • Karen 6:08 pm on 2017-03-17 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent article! Things do seem to be in a “no turning back” mode right now. I pray for wisdom.

  • J. Randal Matheny 6:20 am on 2016-11-24 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Great Commission, Greek grammar,   

    Not ‘as you go’ 

    The brethren often pick up bad habits from the denominationals. Here’s one: Saying that the “Go” of Mt 28.19 means, “as you go.” It appears to be a justification for not going into all the world as a defined mission for the church.

    Except that it’s all wrong.

    When an aorist participle is followed by an aorist imperative in narrative literature, it almost invariably piggy-backs on the force of the imperative. That is, it is translated like an imperative because the author is trying to communicate a command. — The Great Commission or the Great Suggestion? – Daniel B. Wallace

    I don’t often say something is a must-read. This one is.

    • Eugene Adkins 8:05 am on 2016-11-24 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve heard that interpretation used several times as well. I mostly just let it go (perhaps I shouldn’t) because it seems as if, in most cases, it wouldn’t do any good to talk about it.

      • J. Randal Matheny 8:15 am on 2016-11-24 Permalink | Reply

        Send them the link to this article.

    • Wes Dawson 7:32 pm on 2016-11-24 Permalink | Reply

      If the “go” here is imperative as you claim then it would require every single Christian to go into the whole world personally. We could not send missionaries and could not do the work through others. My Greek references indicate that the word translated “go” in the King James is better translated “Wherever you go in the world” or “As you go”. I do not find a “denominational” source for the better translation but a better understanding by modern Greek scholars of the original text.

      • J. Randal Matheny 2:54 am on 2016-11-25 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Wes. As I mentioned in the email group list, please share your Greek references with us, so we may learn.

  • TFRStaff 7:34 am on 2013-05-09 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: church mission, , Great Commission   

    The Main Thing 

    I have a sermon that I have titled “The Main Thing Is To Keep The Main Thing the Main Thing. I picked the title up from someone else, it is not original with me. [The phrase comes from Steven Covey, Ed.] I heard a gospel preacher once say that evangelism will keep away the problems many churches have. That may not be entirely true, but evangelism can keep us from becoming bogged down in the dozens of inconsistencies that creep into the lives of even faithful Christians.

    Run with me through the Bible and see how evangelism always comes to the forefront of everything in the church. Jesus defined the process of evangelism for us in Matthew 28:19. We are to make disciples (the KJV uses the word “teach”). Two processes are involved in this making of disciples. The first is to make them Christians by baptizing them (obviously they must believe and repent). Then we are to teach them the precepts of Christian living (teach them to observe all that Jesus says). This is evangelism. Paul uses these same two concepts when talking about the miraculous gifts and the offices God placed in the early church (Ephesians 4:11-12). All of God’s effort was for the work of ministry and the perfecting and edifying of the saints.

    Jesus summed up all the work he did when he said, “The son of man is come to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). That was the main thing in His life. The virgin birth was to save souls (Galatians 4:4-5). The name Jesus brings evangelism to the front, “for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The sermon on the mount kept evangelism in the forefront. We are to let our light shine so that men will come to “glorify your father…” (Matthew 5:16). We are to lay up treasures in heaven (6:20), seek first the kingdom (6:33), seek the truth to find salvation (7:7-8), enter the strait gate (7:13) and do to others as we would have them do to us (lead us to salvation) (7:12). Before He ascended into heaven, the only commission he left behind was the great commission to save the souls of men—the main thing.

    Consider that the apostles always kept the main thing the main thing in the book of Acts. When they had received the miraculous gifts on Pentecost, they did marvel in them. They immediately went to the business of preaching. When they healed the lame man, they used it for a chance to preach (3:12). When they were arrested and threatened for preaching, they preached to the council (4:8). When Ananias and Sapphira were struck down by God, they used the event to add more believers to the Lord (5:14). When murmuring began, they appointed servers and gave themselves to ministry and prayer. When Stephen died for preaching and persecution arose the church went everywhere evangelizing (8:4). Saul, the persecutor, straightway became Saul, the preacher (9:20). So it continues throughout the record of Acts.

    In the epistles, there can be no question that evangelism stayed in the mind of the writers no matter what else was happening in the church. The gospel is God’s power to save (Romans 1:16). Even when disputation arose in the church, the solutions were evangelistically oriented(Romans 14:13, 23; 15:1). Even church discipline was for evangelistic purposes (1 Corinthians 5:5, 7). Paul’s sober-mindedness and his obvious zeal was evangelistic (2 Corinthians 5:13-14). Paul fought against Judaizing teachers to save souls (Galatians 5:1-9). The testing of our faith is to save our souls (James 1:2-4). Our new conduct apart from sin may influence former friends to obey the gospel (1 Peter 2:11-12).

    Over and over again, everything in the Bible turns to the purpose of saving souls—evangelizing. Let’s follow the example and keep the main thing the main thing.

    Mike Glenn

  • J. Randal Matheny 2:17 pm on 2012-11-17 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Great Commission, human plans   

    For the gospel’s sake, not many 

    Reading about the dedication of many brethren to the gospel is just amazing, like this story out today on BNc.

    Not many Americans nowadays, and probably not many Brazilians either, would be willing to put themselves out terribly for the gospel’s sake like the poor farmers in the story.

    That reminds me of a tweet yesterday by brother Hud Griffin.


    Are we too pampered to get out of our recliners and away from our HD wide-screens? Apparently, that tweet is something of a motto for Hud. In case you don’t recognize the Bible reference in the hashtag, it says, “For if I preach the gospel, I have no reason for boasting, because I am compelled to do this. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”

    On his Twitter account, Hud said he had two Bible studies yesterday. Let’s imitate his faith. I’m grateful for examples like his and the ones above.

    Great Commission Evangelism

    Whatever your hurdle, you can jump it

    This is what it’s all about, people. Getting the gospel to others, no matter the hurdles, be it transportation, typhoons, or missing your Duck Something TV show.

    • Visitors to BNc from India and the Philippines say the site is blocked. Seems our server goes overboard to avoid hackers. Protection is one thing, killing the client is another. Much like Mayor Bloomberg prohibiting people from donating food to homeless shelters after Hurricane Sandy, because the food might not be healthy, eh, Richard? So he’s going to let them starve? Sounds like our web host.

    I don’t pretend to understand the specifics behind the practice, but I do understand that when decent folk, people in the church, can’t access a site designed for them, that somebody’s not doing their job right. So looks like we’ll rethink our web host when renewal time comes up.

    • I’m finding out that I’m not the only person who doesn’t like to be surprised with changes, implemented without consultation, that affect me. Often, just knowing ahead of time takes out the sting. If a course of action will have an impact on someone, letting them know about it beforehand—not to mention requesting input—is a gesture of basic respect.

    • Frustration can sometimes be a feeling of being let down by someone who takes a different direction or none at all, or who doesn’t come up to expectations. Often it’s our own responsibility because of bad or high expectations. But there were times that Jesus, Paul, and others expressed disappointment that people weren’t where they should have been spiritually. See, for example, Mt 17.17, Jn 14.9, 1Co 3.1ff or Hb 5.11-14. These disappointments were expressed, too, as a means of giving the slow or recalcitrant a little push in the right direction. We tend to be too hands-off, maybe?

    • I mentioned somewhere that I was writing up some notes for an unlikely autobiography some remote day in the future. One of my jottings in that compilation is that, if there is a title I might aspire to some day, it would be that of poet. Among the many lines carved into a gravestone (buried here, I won’t even get a little plaque) which I would not be unhappy with is one like this, “Here lies a poet.” (More …)

  • Richard Mansel 9:19 pm on 2012-10-01 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Great Commission, , ,   

    Sermon on the Apostles 

    In August, I preached on a lectureship in Hinesville, Georgia on the subject of, “What is an Apostle?” I covered the meaning of the Greek term, looked at Jesus as an apostle and made application to us today in the Great Commission.

    The Hinesville congregation has been so kind to put our lessons online. If you have any interest in hearing me preach, you can follow this link and hear my lesson. I pray you are edified, as a result.

  • Richard Mansel 4:02 pm on 2012-08-06 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Great Commission, ,   

    Perfect Description of Evangelism 

    Few secular quotes could ever express the frustrations of evangelism better than this one. We try and spread the gospel but you cannot accept salvation if you will not believe you are lost. That is why we face so much anger and disinterest in the lives of those we meet. Somehow we have to help people see their need for Christ but it will always be an uphill battle.

    “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. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

    And there is nothing more heartbreaking than that.

  • J. Randal Matheny 3:35 pm on 2012-03-06 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Great Commission, ,   

    ‘All donors have agendas’ 

    missions“All donors have agendas,” writes Patrick Brennan. And so they do. No one gives money without seeking some return, some benefit, some recompense. It may come in the form of mere satisfaction at helping another, with no strings attached. Or the donor may seek influence, power, manipulation. And who hasn’t bought something just to get rid of the seller, the return being the restoration of peace?

    Beyond the small amounts and the small returns, donors usually seek to further their own vision of how the world should work. And how the recipient ought to work. This principle is true of churches as well.

    Some churches have the Lord’s agenda of teaching the gospel of truth to the lost. But sometimes that agenda is soft, subject to budgets, elder or preacher projects, or majority wishes. Even then, mission funds can serve to assuage guilty consciences or be a badge of a successful church worn on the front page of the weekly bulletin.

    Then again, more and more churches with businessmen for elders are looking for more bang for the buck, more baptisms per dollar. You dunk the natives, and they’ll plunk down the bills. Not a few mercenaries play that game with the calculating churches.

    Some missionaries, in a rush to the field and in a crunch for funds, accept support from progressive churches, thinking that their money won’t talk or make demands. But if anyone has an agenda, it is progressives.

    Some years back, one missionary wife confessed that she and her husband were concerned that their new sponsoring church was more liberal in some areas than they were. She didn’t know how they were going to deal with that.

    They dealt with it by allowing liberal doctrine to influence them, so that today their congregation is the most liberal in the country and pushing progressive ideas among the churches. How liberal? Recently, people were dancing in the aisles during the Lord’s supper.

    All donors have agendas. So they contribute to support-seekers, drop others along the way, until their funds find the field and the personnel that matches their vision.

    The challenge in all this is for churches and missionaries who have Jesus as Lord of the mission to find each other.

    For the greatest Donor of all has his agenda, too: the salvation of the world and eternal life for all, through the proclamation of the gospel of God.

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    • Mike Riley 6:40 pm on 2012-03-06 Permalink | Reply

      Randal, I really appreciate your article about “Why the church stops growing.” I agree 100% about not investing in church buildings as well as training future preachers “in-house” instead of sending them to preaching schools. Churches of Christ used to do that many eons ago, but I guess progress got in the way! (:

    • Joe Palmer 9:45 am on 2012-03-07 Permalink | Reply

      While I don’t disagree. I find it funny that you not only a progressive church having an agenda. Conservative ones do too, and perhaps not all their beliefs are right either. One of the things ministers have to deal with is the marriage of the minister/missionary and the congregation. Being a minister is not like going to look for a job at a factory or a bank. You have to consider does this leadership reflect my beliefs? Will they allow me to teach what I believe. Recently I went into an elders meeting and declared I was going to preach on a particular subject. I was prepared to resign if they told me no. Fortunately for me they accepted me teaching on the subject despite the fact that we all didn’t agree on it.

      • J. Randal Matheny 9:48 am on 2012-03-07 Permalink | Reply

        Joe, how did you miss my point? The whole article states that all donors have agendas, whether they be right or wrong.

    • Joe Palmer 10:21 am on 2012-03-07 Permalink | Reply

      I didn’t miss your point. I just took special note of this sentence. “Some missionaries, in a rush to the field and in a crunch for funds, accept support from progressive churches, thinking that their money won’t talk or make demands. But if anyone has an agenda, it is progressives.”

      You singled out progressives as more so than conservatives to have agendas. Labels are always tricky. I am progressive in some areas and conservative in others. If you are to the left of me I am conservative and to the right I am a progressive. My church was recently questioned by a potential member because a more conservative congregation had made him afraid of us. We allegedly had 30 year old elders. The reality is that church chooses not to have a kitchen or eat in the building so we are progressives to them. Some of my members aren’t comfortable with another church who uses members who are miked to help improve the singing. They are to some progressives.

      I don’t think I missed your point, and I do agree with it. I just think your example displayed some of the ways that you think. Not that it is wrong. We all have to be aware of our own bias. I have mine too.

      I was thinking this morning of writing an article, “Should we Change Beliefs?” Perhaps you will let me share it on here. It is really a discussion of if and when we should change beliefs and the reality that all of us have beliefs that need changed even if we don’t recognize them, because none of us can possibly be 100% right.

      • J. Randal Matheny 10:29 am on 2012-03-07 Permalink | Reply

        The paragraphs above the one the sentence you mentioned refer to all churches. Perhaps you’re not aware of it, but progressives in the sense it’s being used today refer to those who basically discard doctrine of any kind. And they are agressively spreading their own doctrine of non-doctrines among us. They’ve called themselves change agents for years. So I don’t accept that I have an unhealthy bias for pointing them out specifically.

        If you write your article, send it to me, and we’ll look at it. Obviously, we don’t agree to publish material unseen.

      • Eugene Adkins 9:25 pm on 2012-03-07 Permalink | Reply

        Hello Joe,

        This is a little of topic from the original post so I was going to send you a private email but I could not find one attached to your avatar so I decided to ask you a couple questions in this forum; that is, if you would not mind answering them.

        One – When you said, “Some of my members aren’t comfortable with another church who uses members who are miked to help improve the singing” what exactly do you mean when you say “improve” the singing?

        I ask this sincerely because I have heard of other things being done/introduced into worship services on the basis of it “improving” the worship before, so I was wondering how exactly does this “improve” one’s worship, or are you looking at the “miked up singers” solely as a “singing improvement” as you originally stated?

        Two – Who is this “improvement” meant to benefit?

        Thanks for your time if you chose to reply.

    • Joe Palmer 11:30 am on 2012-03-07 Permalink | Reply

      I am not aware of people labeling themselves as change agents. I am aware of people labeling others as change agent and I agree that some are. Perhaps I am uninformed in that I didn’t know we had such a precise definition of progressives. I hear people use it to describe anyone more liberal than they are.

      • J. Randal Matheny 11:32 am on 2012-03-07 Permalink | Reply

        Progressives is a self-applied label of those who want to change radically what is taught in the church. Yup.

  • Richard Mansel 9:40 pm on 2011-03-20 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Great Commission, have not heard,   

    What About Those Who Have Not Heard? 

    A complex issue is whether people who have not heard the gospel will be saved. I wrote  about this six years ago on Forthright. I began the first article:

    The question is often asked, “will those who have never heard the gospel be saved?” We want this to be true because it seems so compassionate and loving. Yet as Christians we must look past our feelings and to the Bible for answers. What we find may not be pleasant, but Scripture is always our authority in religious matters (1 Corinthians 4:6; 2 Timothy 3:16,17). Paul wrote in Romans 10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (NKJV). Accordingly we ask, if someone has not heard the gospel or have a Bible then how can they be saved?

    The argument I humbly made in the second article was that it seemed to me that the implications of this issue are the most crucial to consider. To say that people can be saved without hearing the gospel creates a second plan of salvation, that being ignorance.

    Likewise, we should ensure that more people do not hear the gospel because if someone does not have access to the gospel, they cannot possibly be lost. Once people do have the gospel, then they can be saved or lost. Hence, the safest path would be ignorance. In other words, we would save more people by refusing to preach the gospel to the world, despite the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)!

    I have no idea how that can possibly be justified Scripturally.  I can’t see how those who have not heard can be saved by what I find in Scripture. To say this is not because I have a hard heart and I want people to be lost. I must go by what Scripture says (Colossians 3:17). Emotional arguments cannot supersede God’s Word.

    Two further considerations:

    First, Judges 2:10 says, “When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.”

    If people can be saved by ignorance, then this passage would be blessing rather than a sign of apostasy. In a spiritual sense, ignorance would truly be bliss.

    Second, heaven is a place that is completely geared toward glorifying God (Revelation 4). Yet, if people who do not hear the gospel will be saved, then there will be countless numbers of intelligent adults entering heaven who’ve never heard of Jesus (cf. John 14:1-6; John 10:14).

    I offer these as ideas toward an answer on this difficult subject.  Above all, I am eager to learn. What do you have to offer?

    • Stephen R. Bradd 10:06 pm on 2011-03-20 Permalink | Reply

      2 Thess 1:9,10 is definitive on this matter. One must “know God” and “obey the gospel” or be lost–forever. The ignorant will be lost, though they will be beaten with fewer stripes (so to speak) than those who know better and fail to live for Jesus (Luke 12:47,48).

      God cannot do just whatever He wishes IF that involves violating His revealed word–He is faithful (even when we aren’t–2 Tim. 2:13).

      • Richard Mansel 10:08 pm on 2011-03-20 Permalink | Reply

        I know God cannot violate Scripture, as I said. That caveat of mine was not meant to distract from my overall point. It can be excised.

    • Jon Zirpolo 10:07 pm on 2011-03-20 Permalink | Reply

      I have thought on this subject for such a long time. Through my studies I came to the same conclussion you did. Its been a tough pill to swallow but it also made me realise the importance of our command to “Go…” (Matt 28:18). Especially when we sing that song “You never mentioned Him to me.”

      I often use this example when Im talking to someone about the necessity of baptism as it relates to salvation. Often I hear that, “well, what if they are in a place where there is no water? Will God condemn them for not being dunked in water?” My response is to replace “baptism” with “hearing the gospel.” No honest Christian can say that someone can enter Heaven without faith in Jesus (Heb 11:6)

    • Kevin Beard 10:24 pm on 2011-03-20 Permalink | Reply

      I agree with your thoughts completely, Richard. The problem people have with accepting the truth about this is that they are examining it with human wisdom instead of God’s wisdom. One thought I would add is that we must understand what causes people to be lost, and that’s sin. If all people have sinned, then all people are lost, regardless of whether they have heard the gospel or not. As long as they stay in sin, they stay lost. But the only way out of sin is through Christ, which can only be accomplished through the gospel.

  • Daniel Haynes 2:29 pm on 2010-06-09 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Great Commission,   

    If we are going to join God on his mission, we have to recognize that we are missionaries … wherever he places us – just like the first disciples.

    Ed Stetzer & David Putman, Breaking the missional Code, p. 3
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