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Missions 101

The Priority of Evangelism

Dec. 21, 2011By: Ben StaffordAuthor Bio

Jesus' last recorded words on earth were to followers, and they were a command to spread the good news.

"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 28:18-20 ESV).

"He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8 ESV).

Books, sermons, and sermons on those verses could probably fill volumes upon volumes.  What do the specific words mean, what does this look like in practice, who does this truly apply to, and the questions could go on and on. 

One thing is for sure:  These words of Jesus are indeed a great commission.  The priority of discipling all nations is not to be ignored, taken lightly. The book of Acts is the story of the apostles living in obedience to that command.  

Amidst the depth of these verses, and the hectic busyness of our lives, and the thousands of other verses in the Bible to abide and live, do we truly prioritize these last words of Jesus?  Amidst the soccer games, bible studies, hikes, music, writing, do we remember that He is with us to the end of the age and we have received power with the Holy Spirit?  

The command is simple, priority high, and power ours. 

***

This is post two in a series started here.

Post three in this series will examine what evangelism is.

Ben Stafford is the Director of Short-Term Ministries, overseeing the logistics and vision of all the short-term trips as well as representing TLI to students, teachers, and other organizations. Before joining TLI, Ben was the Director of Programs at the Foundation for Economic Education where he oversaw the educational events geared towards high school and college students. His work primarily involved strategic planning, managing, and measuring the department’s resources and results, bringing the programs department to a new level. Previously, he worked as a research intern for two summers at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. He still teaches students of all ages about business and economics on the side.

Ben graduated in 2008 from Hillsdale College with a degree with Economics. He enjoys real food, barefoot runs, playing classical guitar, climbing mountains, and international travel. More than all these, he echoes the sentiment of Jonathan Edwards in that God’s purpose for his life is that he have a passion for God’s glory and that he has a passion for his joy in that glory, and that these two are one passion.

He currently resides in Atlanta, GA where he is actively involved with the saints at Perimeter Church.

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