Jesus Last command, our First Priority (Reach) – Mark 16: 15 – 18

February 20, 2022

Romaine Park Church Service – 13/02/2022, Nick Booth:- Jesus Last command, our First Priority (Reach) – Mark 16: 15 – 18

I want to speak about a third priority that we hold to here at Romaine and really, every church and every disciple of Jesus should also. That is the priority of sharing the good news. On our simple Vision statement, we state it simply as Reaching Others.
There are many things that we do now that we will do much better in heaven and within eternity. Things such as:-
Worship – heavenly worship will be incredible and we will wonder at why we worshipped with such lack of passion whilst on earth.
Word – we will have access to the best bible teachers, even the guys who wrote the very Scriptures that we study. Imagine Paul telling us what he meant but most incredibly, we will have Jesus, the word of God himself to teach us Prayer/ communion with God
Fellowship ; Sin and selfishness often get in the way here, but when Christ comes, our sinfulness and selfishness is done away with.
I reckon that there will even be the most incredible Family time. Every generation, meeting family members that we never knew… It’ll be bigger and better than we have even yet begun to imagine.
Now, I believe that all these things are very important to do now. They are Vitally Important – but there is one thing that we do now that we cannot do in eternity and that is what I want to speak to you about today.
This one important task of the church and of the believer that we cannot do is Reach the Lost (to Evangelise). That task, that responsibility is actually given to every believer, and is to be done in their generation and to theirs and future generations wherever they may have an impact upon them.
Strangely, we often spend more time praying to keep sick saints out of heaven than we do in praying to see unbelievers find Christ and gain heaven? I am not saying that praying for the sick is unnecessary or unimportant, but like with the last couple of weeks’ messages, eternity needs to be our priority.
Just yesterday, I was asked to write down my favourite scriptures – Interestingly, and they surprised me somewhat – I wrote down John 14:12, Romans 10: 14 – 17, Psalm 51:13
I’ll quote just the second 2. Feel free to look up the 1st one.
Romans 10: 14 – 17
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
Psalm 51:13
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
A huge priority for us as believers needs to be helping other people know about the good news of Christ.
Can I speak openly with you saint, It really saddens me when there is a Sunday that goes by without people surrendering their lives to Christ. I love Church, I love being a Pastor to God’s people – but there is a huge part of me that really wants to see ours and other churches grow because I want to see Hell get smaller. I love it when people to give their lives to Jesus, when they have their lives turned around, their families get put back together. When people get off drugs or alcohol and even see their lives gain meaning and purpose beyond just the immediate things of making money, having a good family and hopefully leaving a legacy in this world of some kind.
Don’t get me wrong, this life matters… it really matters, it is a great gift from God, but Oh, how I want people to know that there is more to life in the now, there is an eternity that God invites us to spend with Him. It starts in this world and continues throughout the New Heaven and New Earth, when redeemed humanity is with God himself throughout all eternity!
Nothing in our present experience can even begin to compare to that.
Well, Today, can I open God’s word today from Jesus Last command. You see, I think that His last command ought to be our first priority.
This passage is one of two in the Gospels that we often refer to as the Great Commission. Today, I want to look at Mark’s version in Mark 16: 15 – 18
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Over the years, Romaine Park has been exceptionally good at sending and supporting those who go to the world to preach the Gospel. It is phenomenal that our region of Tasmania has punched so well above its weight in world missions. I praise you for this, I really want this to continue. Some of those people such as the Prestons, who went from Ulverstone, the Hovendens who went and remain in PNG from here in Burnie. We can’t forget Andrew and Marie Ferguson who are serving so faithfully again in Mexico. (Please keep all these workers in your prayers.) in fact, lets stop right now and prayer for them.
Church, make no mistake – our prayers and our financial support makes us co-labourers with them in their works and you and I gain a reward as partners in the harvest. Can I encourage each of us – next week we will be collecting our Missions offering – please come prepared and if you would prefer – you are most welcome to give online (just make a note that it is for missions or for the feeding program).
But here is the thing and I know that many of you already know this, going into the world isn’t just going to another country (that part is really important), but it starts by going into our schools, our families, our work places and our neighbourhoods. This should read “as you go”. So, like I have encouraged over the years – please let’s be busy with taking the message of Jesus’ Love wherever we possibly can, wherever we go.
I was really encouraged last week when I heard about a young lady, a family member who surrendered her life to Christ! I can’t wait for us as a church to do the next part of this scripture and baptize her. Just a few weeks ago – we baptised 3 members of one family – and there might be another 1 or 2 from that family to be baptised soon too. Baptisms are awesome… they are such a celebration – we as the church family get a visual reminder of what Jesus did and what he will do for us. He died and he rose again – we as believers follow Jesus’ example of water baptism and obey him and we identify with Him in his death and resurrection. We declare publicly that we are followers of Christ, that our old life is dead and buried with Jesus and that we are raised to new life (God’s gift of eternal life) when we come up out of the water!
That is powerful stuff right there – it isn’t just symbolic, it is an outward display of what God does inwardly in us when we give our lives to Christ.
– Now, today’s passage also comes with a warning – people who reject the saving message of Jesus will be condemned.
I don’t like to spend lots of time on talking about Hell – but we can’t ignore it. It is clear that Jesus believed in Hell. He preached about hell! He died to save us from Hell as well as the hell of a life that so many people live when they try and do life without him.
Friend, Jesus Saves! He saves us from Hell and He saves us to something and for something. He gives us eternal life, he brings us into relationship with God the Father through the Holy Spirit and he then commissions us to spread the good news. How could we not want to?
– What stops us? Here are a few things that get in my way.
Fear of others might think of us? I get that. It’s not nice not to be liked. We all want and need friends… Maybe you’ve seen people or you might have even been that person, who in our excitement about Jesus felt like we’ve offended people and stopped people from coming to Christ.
Listen, I believe that we are more likely to hurt people by not letting them know about Jesus’ love than we ever are by telling it to them too often. I actually believe that God will use any genuine effort to reach people on our part because the Holy Spirit is actually more interested in bringing people to Christ than we are.
Fear of not knowing what to say! – That is a big one and its one that we can do something about. We have set up an opportunity for people to grow in this area from this Tuesday night. For the next 3 weeks, the Billy Graham Association are going to be teaching a Christian Life and Witness course here at Romaine Park at 7pm. Please do come along and grow in your faith, in your knowledge and in your ability to share your faith with others. It is one thing to not know, but it is quite another to deliberately stay in that place of not knowing.
Don’t forget that if you are not feeling confident in sharing – you can invite your friends to church, to youth group, to coffee group or social club and we will invite them to Jesus on your behalf.
Sometimes we get scared that we won’t have the answers to the questions that people might ask us!
I get that, but can I just let you know, the most effective and persuasive argument that we have is our experience (often we call that our testimony). “This is what Jesus did in me and this is how He changed my life”. Our testimonies are so powerful because they are real and relevant.
Now, Jared tells me that he really likes apologetics – that means how to give good answers to people’s real questions about the faith. Well, I am sure that Jared would love to help you learn some of this. I am sure that he could put you onto books and websites. And I reckon that He would love to support you in that any way possible. Nicholas and I are definitely able to help you with that too…. But this is a passion for Jared so I reckon we might have to get him to teach on it sometime in the next year or so.
Sometimes we fear that we can’t prove what we are saying is true!
I’ve got great news for you! You don’t have to…I don’t have to either – that is the work that the Holy Spirit has reserved for Himself! He convinces the world of sin, righteousness and Judgement. He reveals that we are away from God and He reveals the Love of God to us so that we come to repentance. He is even the one who tells us when we are saved.
God at times confirms his word – our preaching with Signs following! Signs show the way!
Healing is one thing that God does through his people to reveal that he is true Just this week, we had a very important prayer need for a brand-new baby. The report was that the baby had a blocked bowel. Now, none of us could get to the hospital to pray for the baby by laying a hands on the baby and praying – oh but many of our church members prayed. We prayed because we love the family. We prayed because we could imagine how we would feel in this situation. The baby was transferred to Hobart and news came back, when further tests were done that there was no blockage, that the baby was eating and passing movements. There was more than a few hallelujahs and praise Gods being offered for this answer to prayer.
Maybe you think that it was just a coincidence – maybe you are right! But we pray and we get lots of coincidences in our favour! I guess eternity will really show. Friend, It is better to pray and have no answer than to not pray and ensure that we have no answer!
I’ll pray, even when my faith is little or when it seems impossible. I will reach out to God for the needs of people, because I know that it isn’t my job to heal, just like it isn’t my job to save someone… It is the work of the Holy Spirit through people who will obey Jesus’ last command. Can I encourage you, put yourself in the place where God can use you to bring someone to Him! In the place where God can use you to bring healing.
As always, Can I encourage you to pray for your friends, your neighbours, your family members to come to Christ. It is a great idea talk to God about your friend before you talk to your friend about God. That prayer might be a 5 second prayer, a 5 minute prayer or you might even be praying for them for 5 years or 5 decades. But our prayers prepare the soil of someone’s heart to be receptive to the seed of the Gospel being sown.
At this moment, can I ask everyone here and online, “what would stop you from coming to Jesus today”? What is more important than entering into a relationship with God, having your sins forgiven and knowing where you will spend eternity? Would you pray to receive Christ today as your Lord and saviour. Let’s pray

Dear Lord,
I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself only. I am sorry, and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and I give my life to you. From this day forward, help me to live every day for you and in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you.

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