Making God Known
Key Facts and Ideas
"The Orthodox Church is not only for one nation, one civilization, one continent. It is like God Himself, for all and for every place." (Patriarch Ignatius IV, February 6, 1987)
The often quoted "Great Commission" at the end of St. Matthew's Gospel is often misunderstood so let us take a look at it now. Jesus commissions his Church, you and me, to a great task:-
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. [Matthew 28:18-20]
We notice that:-
The authority belongs to Christ. This means that we must not only obey this command but realise also that we speak with His authority.
The task is to "make disciples" ... "baptise" ... "teach."
The task is accompanied by a promise ... that our Lord will always be with us ... by implication, to help, guide and strengthen us in this task.
The Orthodox Church knows no distinction between clergy and people in this task of witness. ALL are called to it without exception. Witness can be by word, by deed or simply by presence but a Christian without a witness is a Christian in name only. If witness is by word some basic principles must be observed:-
Our lives must back up what we say. If we are not repenting, consecrating, denying ourselves, obeying God then we have absolutely no right to speak.
It must be God's word to that person not ours. He knows what that persons needs.
We need to pray about what to say to whom, when and where and in what manner. Even when we have an idea about the "right word" we can still speak inopportunely.
We need to ask God for strength and wisdom in the opening of our mouths. If we don't do that we shall surely fail.
We need to know when God would have us close our mouth and listen. How can we offer a timely word if it is not in response to an actual need to know?
"If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." [Romans 10:0]
How would I speak of the resurrection to someone who asked?
1. Orthodox Evangelism by Phil Thompson
2. How do Orthodox Christians Evangelise? by Fr. Joseph Huneycutt
3. Parish Renewal by Fr. James Kordaris
Your Own Questions Answered Here