February 20, 2023

“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.”

-Matthew 28:19

I pulled my vest out the other day, just to clean the leather and ensure my patches were still sewn on tight, as I look forward to the upcoming riding season.  While I was inspecting the vest, I became fixated on a single patch, a very simple 1x3 patch with three letters and two numbers.  Very few people know the significance of those three letters and two numbers, but they mean so much to me and to my family.  The thought of that patch led me to think about the two tattoos on my right forearm, one a cross with a blue sash draped over it and the other a masonic square and compass over a field of the American flag.  Again, two things that don’t have much meaning to many but mean so much to me and to my family.  

You see, the patch simply says “CJM32,”  in honor of my nephew.  CJM are his initials and 32 was his number that he wore when he played baseball.  My nephew died, tragically, on January 17, 2021 at the age of 17.  The last words I spoke to him were something along the lines of “See you later, knucklehead,” at a Christmas gathering just a few weeks prior.  The tattoo of the cross, with the blue sash, is in honor of my grandfather who served as sheriff in a rural community, here in Kentucky.  He was killed in the line of duty, long before I was ever born, but his blood flows in my veins.  I can only imagine the last words that my grandmother, my father, my uncle, and my aunts spoke to him when he left for work that morning.  The other tattoo is in honor of my maternal grandfather.  He was a freemason and a veteran, serving in the U.S. Army and fighting in the Korean War.  My last words to him were shared the night before he died, and I can only pray that he somehow heard my words.  I held his hand and I poured my heart out to him, told him all he meant to me, and shared every memory that I could conjure with him.  I wanted him to know just what an impact he had had in my life.  How his love and kindness led me to Christ, through his own demonstration of faith. 

Last words have such an impactful meaning to us all, we never know when those last words will be spoken, but sometimes we find that those moments may cause us grief and regret because they weren’t the words we truly wanted to be the last ever heard by our loved ones.

Jesus had a similar moment, with last words, that have propelled the Church forward for 2000 years.  We know these words as the Great Commission and they are found in Matthew 28.

“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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 28:16-20

There was, however, a problem with this plan.  The plan relied on man to spread the gospel.  Don’t misunderstand, the 11 remaining disciples were utterly faithful to Christ, so you can guarantee that they began spreading the gospel to anyone and everyone that they encountered, but not everyone who heard the gospel believed or chose to continue sharing the gospel.  

What stopped others from sharing the gospel?  Was it fear?  Was it a lack of love?  Was it unbelief?  Or perhaps a combination.

Consider your own experiences, as a follower of Christ, how many times has God placed someone directly in your path and you have squandered the opportunity to share His Holy Word with that person?  Did you even realize you had missed the chance?  If you did realize the moment was gone, did you question yourself about what stopped you?

Let’s flip that question around because we all haven’t always been followers of Christ and there may be a few here today who don’t yet know Him.  How many times have you been around a believer and they failed to talk to you about Christ?

As Christians, we must be bold, we must live out the words of Romans 1:16

 “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe.”  

-Romans 1:16

Four words, so much meaning.


Simply put, we should seize every opportunity to share the gospel, demonstrate our sincere love for our fellow man, and live out the last words spoken by Jesus to His disciples. Without love, we place an insurmountable obstacle between ourselves and a genuine connection with the other person.  In 1 Corinthians chapter 13, verses 1 through 3 Paul writes 

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”  

-1 Corinthians 13:1-3

We can be the most intentional and consistent evangelist in the world but if we do not have love then Paul says we are just a noisy gong.  Our heart isn’t where it should be.

How many times have we passed up a “good enough” opportunity while we wait for a “perfect” opportunity.  It isn’t just cowardly on our part, it’s borderline foolish.  The truth of the matter is that sharing Christ with others will ALWAYS be inconvenient, there will be something less than perfect about the situation.  The Devil gets his moment to whisper his two favorite words…”not now.”

Admittedly, I have squandered many gospel conversations because of fear, but I have been more diligent in addressing those fears over the course of this past year.  I have stepped out of my comfort zone and I have found myself sharing the gospel with total strangers, and every single time it gets easier and more exciting.  

The words of the Great Commission were some of the last recorded words of Jesus Christ, prior to his ascension.  These words had meaning, they ignited a fire in those 11 disciples, and the Gospel began spreading like wildfire and it continues to this day.  Are you doing your part?

Don’t let fear stand in your way, let your love guide you and share with someone the most important and life changing truth that they will ever hear. What if the last words you ever speak to that person is about the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

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