SBTS chapel live blog: Remembering the grace of God: A question — are we too tough to do the Great Commission?

Communications Staff — March 24, 2009

Preacher: Chuck Lawless, Dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth.

Text: Luke 22:31-34; 54-62

Before Lawless’ sermon, Danny Wuerffel shared a testimony as a part of Missions Emphasis Week at Southern Seminary, March 23-27.

Testimony: Danny Wuerffel, executive director of Desire Street Ministries; 1996 Heisman Trophy winner as quarterback of the Florida Gators.

Wuerffel said he was blown away by poverty and injustice in the streets of New Orleans during his career with the Saints. Wuerffel said he expected such poverty in third world countries, but not right down the street from the Superdome.

Wuerffel said the Lord began to open his eyes to the poverty that was around him in New Orleans, a reality that is not limited to that city. Wuerffel saw this reality.

Wuerffel began to see God’s heart for the poor, for widows, for ophans, for the disenfranchised. It is important to God that His people care about these things as well.

Desire Street Ministries is a family of urban ministries in seven different campuses in the southeast. They minister to poverty-stricken areas and are based in Atlanta.

Sermon: Remembering the grace of God: A question — are we too tough to do the Great Commission?

The Great Commission is a great task. We will accomplish it one person by one person by one person. One broken person living in the grace of God so much that you can’t help but tell others about it.

How do we fulfill the Great Commission?

We must remember that Jesus prays for us

Jesus tells Simon Peter that he prayed for him (v. 32). Satan demanded that he be able to sift Simon Peter and Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail. The Jesus that allows Satan to sift Peter is the same Jesus who prays that Peter’s faith will not fail. Peter struggled, denying Jesus. But Peter’s faith did not fail. And it did not fail because Jesus prayed for him.

Jesus sliced Peter’s overconfidence in two and He may need to slice our overconfidence in half as well. Every one of us in this room is one dumb decision away from falling. And overconfidence puts us dangerously close to falling.

So what is our hope?: Jesus prays for us. When we know that Jesus prays for us, that He intercedes for us, we know that we can stand in the confidence of His righteousness and not ours. When we stand in His strength, we know that we can share the Gospel with whoever He points us to. We can do this, because He prays for us.

We must remember that overconfidence leads us to failure and missed opportunities

Peter is overconfident: ‘I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death,’ (v. 33). Peter does not pray, but instead sleeps because he is weary (in the Garden of Gethsemane). Overconfidence and weariness together are dangerous.

Peter claimed that he would go with Jesus and yet he denied Him, three times. Peter missed three opportunities to share about his faith in Jesus, to share that he was a follower of Jesus.

When life is about us, we operate in our own strength and when we think more about ourselves than Jesus or others, we miss opportunities for evangelism. Overconfidence leads to missed opportunities to do evangelism.

We must remember that Jesus uses broken people to do the work of the Great Commission

Peter learned just how far he could fall and how quickly it could happen. Peter was learning how God’s love could trump his rebellion. Peter was learning just how much he needed the Redeemer. Jesus has prayed Peter into brokenness and repentance. Then Peter is ready to be an evangelist. That is how it happens.

We evangelize best; we accomplish the Great Commission best, when we recognize how needy we are and how great God’s grace is. One reason we don’t fulfill the Great Commission is we get over grace. We forget about it. But God’s plan remains the same. He uses broken people who are on their faces before the Father. Jesus lifts us up, forgives us, and tells us to go take the Gospel to the people of the world.

We must do the Great Commission God’s way

Lawless recounted the story of playing whiffle ball with a boy in his neighborhood. The boy missed pitch after pitch after pitch from Lawless, finally became exasperated and said, ‘You are doing it wrong.’

God does not adjust his pitching to our swinging. We must do the Great Commission his way. We must carry it out one person at a time, one life at a time, with one broken, forgiven person taking the Gospel to people in need of the Gospel, one person at a time.

Are you ready to become a pastor, counselor, or church leader who is Trusted for Truth?

Apply now for summer or fall studies

Classes begin in June & Aug.