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Watch 2022 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - Because He Came We Must Go

Charles Stanley - Because He Came We Must Go


Charles Stanley - Because He Came We Must Go
TOPICS: Evangelism

What is the greatest good that you can give to someone else? What's one of the most helpful things you can do for someone else? What's one thing you can do for someone else that will benefit them every single day of their life? What's one thing you could do they will never forget as long as they live? What is one thing you can do that will change their eternal destiny?

Well, that's what I want to talk about in this message. And I want you to turn, if you will, to John chapter twenty. And in the Gospel of John, toward the end of this book, he gives us an account of something that is so very significant, and this is one of those passages of scripture in which probably one of the most distorted, misinterpreted verses of scripture in the Bible. Of all the verses that are here, one of those most interpreted ones are here. Not only that, in this particular passage, two of the smallest words in the Bible are the most significant in this entire passage.

So, beginning in verse nineteen of John chapter twenty, here's what happens. "When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples came, or where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, 'Peace be with you'. And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples therefore rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus therefore said to them again, 'Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.' And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.'"

Now, let me give you a little background of what's happening here. This is Sunday of the resurrection, and this is Sunday evening. And these disciples are meeting in an upper room, probably the upper room that Jesus and they had been meeting at other times in their ministry. And they are having a secret meeting. And the reason this meeting is secret because they already know that Jesus has been killed by crucifixion, and they're wondering if they're gonna be next. This is why the Luke account says that the doors were shut, and implication is, you know, if you were afraid that somebody was coming after you, you simply wouldn't shut the doors, you'd lock the doors.

And so more than likely, the doors are locked and they are talking about all the things that have happened because they're not fully understanding what's really going on because Mary said she saw Jesus and Peter and John said they saw Him and some other women said they saw Him. And now, arriving on the scene are these two disciples who are on the road to Emmaus, and they said they were just walking along, talking about all the things that had happened and all of a sudden, here's this fellow who walks up and he begins to explain to them, helps them understand what really happened during the day. Then all of a sudden, they realized it was Jesus, and He disappears, so they come rushing back and Luke the twenty-fourth chapter says that they come up to the room. They knew where they were meeting, and they begin to share with them what had happened.

And so, Jesus suddenly appears, and whether He walked through a locked door or whether He just appeared, which He certainly had the power to do either one. And knowing their fear, He says, "Peace be to you". And of course, they at first, according to Luke account, they're frightened, they think He's a ghost. And so, to clarify not only what they think, but what people would think in generations to come, He showed them His hands. And then, if that were not enough, He said, "Do you have anything to eat"? And the Bible says that they gave Him a piece of broiled fish and He ate.

When somebody says to you, "Well, maybe Jesus did rise from the dead, but more than likely that was a spiritual resurrection". Well, you can just ignore that because spirits don't have physical hands that you can see and touch. And spirits don't eat broiled fish. Jesus bodily resurrected from the grave. So, in the course of His conversation of assuring them, He makes a statement that I want us to notice in this particular verse, in verse twenty-one, when He says, "Jesus therefore said to them, 'Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also, or so send I you.'" Very important you listen carefully, especially from this moment on. Listen to what He said. "As the Father sent Me, so send I you".

Now, in this verse, He uses two different words for sent. The first one is apostello, sent, listen, sent into the kingdom of God to serve the Father, under the Father's authority, and in submission to the Father's words and work. So that is the emphasis and that's the reason Jesus keeps hammering away at being sent by the Father, sent by the Father, sent by the Father. What is He doing? He is declaring the authority by which He is among men and doing the work He's doing and saying the things He said. That is, He came from the Father, sent by the Father. He is the Father's missionary to the earth.

Now, Jesus, look at this verse now. Then Jesus said, "As the Father sent Me, apostello, I also send you, pempo," whole different word. Why does Jesus use a different word than He used about Himself? Because the emphasis that Jesus is making in the first word is the authority by which He comes, which is God the Father. Settle that issue. Now the emphasis is on the fact that I'm sending you. I'm sending you. I'm sending you, sending you, sending. I'm sending you. And He says, "As the Father has sent Me". What does He mean as? "In the same fashion, in the same manner in which the Father has sent Me, I also send you. The Father sent Me. I'm under His authority. He is the ultimate authority. I am here by His authority. My words and work are by His authority. He sent me. Now I'm sending you. The same authority that sent Me, by that same authority I send you. So now, the emphasis on the fact we're sent."

Now, somebody says, "Well, but now wait a minute. Who did Jesus say that to? Didn't He just say that to those eleven apostles"? No, He did not. Let's go back for a moment. Those eleven apostles were there, but they were not the only ones who were there. There were others there. And if you go back to Luke chapter twenty-four for a moment, and sometimes people say, "Well now, exactly where do you get that"?

So, let's go back there and find out. Look in Luke twenty-four for a moment. And you'll notice we've said that two on the Emmaus road, when they heard this, what happened? The Lord appeared to them. Scripture says in verse thirty-three, "They arose that very hour, returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them". And they joined the group that night and began to share with them what had happened to them. Now, with that in mind, let's look at this for a moment. Jesus did not simply say, "As the Father has sent Me so send I you," to a group of eleven or just that particular group, but He said it to all those who were there. Now, why? Because God only had, and still only has, one plan. He said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature".

Think about this, if He'd only said it to that group, Jesus knew some of them would not live very long. Some of them would not live very long. They would never live long enough to evangelize the whole world of their day. Those eleven people couldn't do that. He was not limiting it to them. When He said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel," He said, "As you go, make disciples of all nations". What I want you to see is this: you cannot limit what Jesus said. "As the Father has sent Me, so send I you". He didn't say that to stop at those eleven because the work would never have gotten done. He says, "As the Father has sent Me, so send I you. I'm sending you out to make disciples of all nations".

What is a disciple-maker? A disciple-maker is a person who shares the truth of the gospel, who shares the truths that Jesus has taught us, who shares the truths that the Apostle Paul and Peter and James and others have taught us. And we pass that on to others. That's what a disciple-maker is. That's what a discipler is. That's why He said, "Make disciples of all nations". He didn't simply say, "Well, you just go out there and do it, and when you finish, it's all over". And so Jesus says, "As the Father sent Me, I'm sending you". How many of us have ever sat down or stood by or rode with or walked with any other person and deliberately, willfully shared with them, told them what Jesus Christ meant to us and explained to them how to be saved?

Now, think about this. Some of you've been a Christian a very long time. Have you ever, in your whole Christian life, ever sat down with anyone with a Bible, or a gospel tract, or a book, or with nothing and said, "Let me explain to you how to become a Christian. Let me explain to you how to be saved. Let me tell you that Jesus will forgive you of your sin. Let me explain to you how to be forgiven. Let me explain to you how you can have eternal life". I wonder how many of you have ever sat down, walked with, simply stood with, somewhere, somehow, in some way, you deliberately, willfully, personally explained to someone else how to believe in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sin, and explained to them how they could go to Heaven.

Now, listen carefully 'cause this is gonna get real quiet in here. You may say, "Well now, you know, I've been a Christian a long time and I usher". That's not what I asked. "I sing in the choir". Grateful for every choir member. That's not what I asked. "I play in the orchestra". I love every one of them. That's not what I asked. "I tithe my income". That was not the question. "Well, I work in, in fact, I teach Sunday School". That's not what I asked. "I preach". That's not what I asked either. I'm simply asking a question. How many of us have sat down with somebody somewhere out there in our life and said, "Let me explain to you how you too can have the wonderful gift of eternal life".

You see, here's what we do. We're so used to it. We've heard so much gospel. We've heard so many sermons. We take so much for granted. We just... you know what? We can just walk by people. We can live around them, we can work around them. They can be our friends and we can talk about a thousand different things and somehow never stop to ask them the question: Have you ever trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? Do you know that you're going to heaven when you die? Have you ever been forgiven of your sin? Do you know that God has forgiven you? Are you assured of what's gonna happen to you when you die? If you were to die today, what would happen to you? Why don't we do that? Are we ashamed? Are we too busy? Why is it that we who hold such awesome, eternal truth, burning on the inside of us, how is it that we could not stop, not share the only message that'll get a person from this globe into glory? It's the only message that will get them there. We have a responsibility. What's our responsibility? Our responsibility is to carry on what those before us carried on.

Now, listen carefully. That doesn't mean that because you're a Christian, God is sending you to Russia, China, Brazil, or Africa. No. It doesn't even mean that He's going to get you out of the United States. It doesn't even mean He's going to send you to some other state. But here's what it does mean: that you and I are accountable to God and we are responsible to Almighty God for, listen, for the sphere in which we live. And listen, for that sphere of influence that we have and that geographical location which He has placed us and the influence with which He has given us the privilege of being able to exercise and for the impact that we can have on others who are in the circle of our responsibility. God is not saying that I'm sending you necessarily to some other nation. But because you and I are believers, we are accountable to Him for truth.

Would you and I not agree that all of us, He says, will be judged according to our works? What are our works? Our works are what we do. And He says we will suffer loss for what we fail to do. We have a responsibility. We hold eternal truth in our heart. There is something burning in the soul of a person who understands who Jesus is. How could we ever keep to ourselves the single message that transforms a person's life? How could we ever keep it to ourselves? Where do you start? You say, "Well, where in the world would I start"? I'll tell you where to start. Dad, here's where you start. You start with your children. Mom, you start with your children. It starts in my family. It starts in my home. And then it goes as far as God will give me direction.

Listen carefully, that commission, that commission must be interpreted according to the Word of God, but also on the basis of God's personal will and purpose and plan and scope for your life. Therefore, none of us can escape. On the other hand, none of us can say, "Well, you oughta go here, and you oughta go there". Listen, the only person who can send somebody to the mission field is Almighty God. The only person who can send any of us is Almighty God. My purpose for preaching this message is not to send anybody anywhere. It is simply to say I have an obligation.

The Bible says that Jesus said, "As the Father sent Me with a very clear mission, sent Me with a spirit of a servant, sent Me with a simple message, sent Me with authority, sent Me in the power of the Holy Spirit, so send I you". And so, when we think in terms of who is responsible, I'm responsible, you're responsible, We all have different responsibilities. We have different spheres of influence. Now, when you joined this church, let me remind you of something, when you joined this fellowship, here's what you did. You became a part of a local body of believers whose responsibility has been given to us clearly, whose sphere of influence goes beyond this street, this city, this nation, to every single nation on the face of the earth. God does not open doors of opportunity for me to peer into them. He does not open a door of opportunity for me to observe what's on the inside.

When God opens a door of opportunity, the issue is will you or will you not obey Him? Will you go or will you not go? You and I have awesome opportunities, and therefore God will judge each of us according to what we did with the opportunity we have. Every single believer is indwelt by the Spirit of God. Every single believer has the message of Christ. And every single one of us is indeed responsible for sharing that within the scope and within the bounds that God has given to each of us. He gives different people different vocations in life. And a person in that vocation, listen, no matter what God has called you to do, some of you work in ministries and you have responsibilities in those ministries. And some of you work in the area that the world would call some secular vocation.

Listen, if you're a child of God, nothing is secular in your life, nothing is materialistic in our life. We are the sons and daughters of God indwelt by the Spirit of God and Christ is our life. He is everything to us and everything about our life is to center around Him. We are, listen, we are the living, walking, spiritual beings who are placed here and left here and indwelt by Christ here in order to make an impact on the world in which we live in the sphere God has given us. Dad, you start in your home. Mom, you start in your home doing what? Instructing those children in the ways of God. Why is the church oftentimes so weak? Because parents, they grow families and they say, take 'em to Sunday School, "Listen to preacher, listen to the Sunday School teacher".

Listen, the person who has the greatest impact, the person who has the, listen, the longest-lasting influence in the life of a child is that father. If you are not there, you still have a terrible, terrible impact upon that child. If you are there, godly as a father, godly as a mother, teaching and instructing them, it matters no difference what other influence is out there, your influence is going to last the longest and have the greatest impact. Therefore, where do we start? We start at home. Son, here's what this means. Sweetheart, here's what this means. Here's what God is saying. And what happens? Every father is a discipler. Dad, listen, you cannot afford to fail to be a discipler in your home.

Listen, if you don't disciple your children in the things of God, mark this down, the devil's crowd will disciple them in things that will destroy and wreck and ruin their life for all eternity. You've gotta get that one down in your heart. If you don't disciple your children, the world is full of discipleship. Watch the television. What are they doing? The television, all the things that are on TV that are doing what? Sending, listen, sending truth, sending error, sending it mixed, so that they cannot discern what is right, oftentimes, what is wrong. What are they doing? Programming the mind. To disciple someone is to program their thinking, to program their thinking that Jesus Christ is the center and the core and the heart and the soul of their very being and life is, listen, life is to emanate from the person of Jesus Christ. I am responsible to God. You're responsible to God. Whatever influence He's given you, wherever you are, as the Father sent Me, so send I you. I cannot escape that.

Now, I can tell you how oftentimes we overlook things. Now, I just confess my own fault at this point. And I told you this story before, but not in this context. I can quote Matthew twenty-eight, the Great Commission. I've preached many, many, many sermons on it. And you know what? I did what most people do. As you go, make disciples of all nations, teaching them, baptizing them, observing all these things. I'm with you all the way. I knew all those words. I've translated that in Greek. I know all about what that says.

But you know what? One day in a prayer meeting up in the Georgia mountains, while we're praying, I'm reading the twenty-eighth chapter of Matthew, verse eighteen, nineteen, twenty. "All authority's given to me in heaven and earth. Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. And lo, I'm with you all, teaching them to observe all the things that I've commanded you. And lo, I'm with you all the way. Even to the end of this age," all of a sudden, wham! To what? I found myself asking the question: God, did You really mean that? How does that apply to me? It was in that instance of a verse of scripture that I'd read all these years.

The reason In Touch is in every single country in the world is that God had to hit me between the eyes and make me realize He wanted to do something that I never even thought about the possibility that He could do. I wonder how many times you've read a passage that God had something to say to you and you and I just read right over it? I give you that illustration to say you can do it. And so, when we come to this verse of scripture and He says, "As the Father has sent me, so send I you," what does that mean? Here's what it means. That in your scope of influence, in your sphere of influence wherever it is, here's what He says. He says you're to be there as a servant. You're to be there with a simple message: that God loves those around you. He will forgive them, and He'll give them the gift of eternal life. You're to go and to live where you live and to go where He sends you by His divine authority, the authority that you know that God put you there.

Listen, don't ever go anywhere, listen carefully, don't ever go anywhere to some mission field simply because there's a need. Did you know... listen carefully. Now, some folks won't understand this. You don't go because there's a need. You know what, if I go somewhere because there's need, I would never leave Atlanta, Georgia. There's enough right here in this city to keep everyone of us busy the rest of our life, we'd never get the job done. You do not, listen, you do not go because of need, you go because you, listen, the Spirit of God so works in your life that you feel sent. You cannot stay at home. You have to go. I can help get the Gospel out there by preaching and teaching and giving and praying, just like you can. You can do it by sharing your faith or teaching, singing in the choir, playing in an orchestra, serving the Lord in different ways. And all of this is part of getting the message of the Gospel to people. But I didn't want you to miss one of the most wonderful things in life.

And that is the wonderful privilege you have of sitting down face-to-face with someone and saying, "Let me tell you how to trust Jesus as your personal Savior". There is something so overwhelming about watching that happen or watching people walk down an aisle and say, "Today, I want to trust Jesus as my Savior". All of us have an awesome responsibility, and the issue is simply this: Am I willing to go wherever God wants me to go? And I want to say again to fathers and mothers: I can tell you where to start. You start with your children and then see what God does through you and through your children as a result of your faithfulness to Him.

And Father, we bless You and praise You and know that we never have to be ashamed of the message we have. And I pray today in Jesus's name that many people who watch, I pray, Father, in Jesus's name that many people who listen, I pray, Father, today for people who are seated here, have never trusted Jesus, that this'll be their day. For those in whose life You've been stirring and churning and working, to break them out of their material or physical or personal security, to break them out of that so you can do something dramatic in their life, awesome in their life, that today they'll be willing to say, "Yes, Lord, here am I, send me," is my prayer in Jesus's name, amen.
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