Let Us Dwell Together in Unity (Part 2): In The Great Commission
“How good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity!” – Psalm 133:1
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” – Mark 16:16
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Remember, we are better off together. Together, as one, Christians can change the world for the better through the love of Jesus Christ and God the Father. God has called us to be one, and He has also called us to carry His message to the whole world.
There are some dynamic preachers out there. I often listen to messages by some of my favorite gospel preachers. I’ll even listen to preachers who don’t believe exactly as I do, if they teach an encouraging message from the Word of God. Some of the big-name TV preachers have taught messages that have inspired me. Yet, I’m always discouraged at the end of their lessons when they tell their listeners that if they want to be saved to say a prayer and invite Jesus into their lives.
It’s not a biblical teaching that someone can pray to God and then be saved by their prayer. Yet so many people hear that false teaching and are misled into believing that they can be saved by praying. We live in a dying world; evil is rampant. People really need the Lord. And if we are going to help rescue souls from eternal damnation, then we must be unified in our teaching of the gospel to them.
If everybody’s teaching something different about how to be saved, then we are not unified and somebody’s teaching something that’s wrong. We have to teach and make disciples of men by teaching what Jesus taught – nothing more and nothing less. The person who believes in Jesus as Lord and is baptized will be saved; anybody who does not will be condemned (Mark 16:16).
We need to be on one accord about taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. People’s souls are at stake. When the Lord returns, He’s going to take “vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:8).
Christians have an obligation to share the love of God. It’s not just up to preachers behind the pulpit either. We are all commanded to teach the gospel – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If people don’t know the gospel, or if they do know but don’t obey it, then “they will pay the penalty of everlasting destruction, away from the Lord’s presence and from His glorious strength” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). And we know that that is not God’s will, for He “wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). So we must all have one voice in teaching people to obey the gospel.
The only way to obey the gospel – the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ – is to die, be buried, and rise again. Here’s what the Bible says: “How can we who died to sin still live in it? Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into His death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life. For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:2-5).
So it’s clear: to obey the gospel one must die to sin, be buried in baptism, and rise to newness of life in Christ. We have to teach what the Bible says on this, if we, together, are going to make disciples of men – not adding anything to it or taking anything away from it.
It’s easy to tell someone to just pray a prayer, but that’s not what Jesus taught us when He gave us the Great Commission. People who have been taught that have been taught incorrectly and have not obeyed the gospel. There’s more to do to be saved than just believing; even the devils believe and tremble (James 2:19). Some even teach that you don’t have to be baptized at all and that it’s a choice or an outward expression of an inward faith. That’s not what Jesus said in Mark 16:16 and it’s not what Romans 6 and 2 Thessalonians 1:8 teaches either.
People who have been baptized with a misunderstanding of this need to get the proper teaching and obey the gospel knowing why they are doing it. It happened in Acts 19:1-5. Even Apollos, an eloquent preacher, had to be taught the Word of God more accurately because he only knew of John’s baptism and not the baptism that puts one into Christ (Acts 18: 24-28). Baptism is not for sprinkling on babies; it’s not something to do just because your parents said to do it or because you want to “join church”.
It is so very important that we be united in carrying out the Great Commission of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that we do it the way He commands. We can make a major change for good in the world if we can come together as one on this – with the same mind and the same purpose.
“God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9). Let’s have a love for souls like God and win people for Jesus. Their lives will be better for it. Our lives will be better for it. May the Lord make us one.