After Jesus was resurrected, he appeared to his disciples. His appearance to His disciples was to commission them to carry out the work that God has entrusted to them to do. What was their specific task? Matthew tells us Christ's disciples were to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus was teaching his disciples in Matthew's gospel, as well as Luke's account in Acts, they were not to look to themselves but to point others to Jesus the Messiah.
Jesus tells his disciples that they were to be outward focused, not inward. He tells them that they were going to be given the power of the Holy Spirit to be faithful witnesses for him. They were charged to be μάρτυs (martys), from which we get our English word "martyr." This word, "witness" means "one who dies for his faith." This was the common price of being a witness for Christ. The disciples were to be witnesses of Christ as they told the truth of the gospel. The disciples of Christ had given and are still giving their lives as witnesses for Christ today through death. The Lord's disciples were called to go and give themselves for the sake of the gospel, and the call is the same today.
As Christ's disciples today, we are to be witnesses of the gospel by giving ourselves in our homes, communities, nation, and world. And the glorious thing is that God, the Holy Spirit, has empowered us to fulfill this command. Jesus gave his disciples 3 locations of where they were to be gospel witnesses:
1. The disciples were to be witnesses in Jerusalem.
The disciples were to be witnesses of the gospel at home first. This can be described as their physical homes and community in which they lived. Many want to carry the gospel across the ocean, while never carrying the gospel across the street. However, as Christ's disciples our witness begins at home with our own family, then extends to our neighbors and those in our community.
PHBC has had the privilege to be an effective witness in our community. The question is will you be a witness in YOUR Jerusalem. Saturday, April 8th PHBC will hit our streets to knock on doors to pass out gospel bags. Saturday, May 13th, PHBC will have a booth set up at the Strawberry Festival passing out water, gospel bags, and engaging people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The question is; Will you be a witness in your Jerusalem? Will you GO?
2. The disciples were to be witnesses in Judea and Samaria.
The disciples had the awesome privilege of being witnesses at home and, at the same time, they were also to be witnesses in Judea and Samaria. They were to preach the gospel of Christ at home and be actively extending it to the surrounding regions--even to Samaria.
You and I have the privilege of being active in spreading the gospel in our surrounding area. The Lord has granted us several opportunities to help church plants here in Tennessee and in the United States. PHBC will travel to Syracuse, NY again to help Christ Is King Baptist church complete door-to-door evangelism. We will hit the streets passing out gospel tracts and invitations to their weekly gathering. The question is: will you be a witness in YOUR Judea and Samaria? Will you GO?
3. The disciples were to be witnesses to the ends of the earth.
The disciples were to be gospel witnesses in Jerusalem (home), Judea and Samaria (nation), and to the ends of the earth (Rome). The disciples were to preach the gospel and to eventually end up in Rome where the gospel had never been preached.
PHBC had the privilege to take the gospel to the nations. We have been called to be witnesses to the ends of the earth. By God's grace, we have a gospel presence throughout the world through our IMB missionaries and Bro. Barry Carpenter. However, God has called the local church--His disciples--to be witnesses to the ends of the earth.
Plans to go to the Philippines and Mexico City are being made for 2018. Will YOU be a witness to the ends of the earth? Will you GO?
God has called every believer to be a witness for Christ. This means every believer is a missionary. I understand God doesn't call everyone to physically GO. Yet, God either calls you to go into the well or to hold the rope. This means that you would either go or support those who are willing to go through prayer and financial support.
As your pastor, I have purposed for PHBC to be evangelistic and mission-minded when it comes to taking the gospel to our Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. I want every member at PHBC to experience the blessing, privilege, and joy of taking the gospel to the lost world, whether that be here in Orlinda, Syracuse, or even the Philippines.
May we not focus upon ourselves at PHBC, but upon being gospel witnesses to those in our community, nation, and the world who have not heard the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.