bits from bob....
Although we most often focus on the Great Commission as Jesus' mandate to carry the gospel into the world, there are in Scripture two additional commissions that deserve our attention and should seize our efforts. In Mark's gospel, we have the Great Commission at 16:15-16; the Limited Commission at 6:8-11; and what I like to call a Great Commission at 5:19. "Go into all the world...go into the region near you...go to your own family."
The Christian who takes seriously these mandates will not only make every effort to touch the physical family with the gospel, but will recognize in the church a spiritual family with missing members.
Many who leave the church do so for reasons other than a lack of faith. Certainly some do lose faith, but many more are broken by broken relationships, lost through lost self-esteem, devastated and embarrassed by financial difficulties, gone because no brother or sister went to save (James 5:19-20). It matters not whether the reasons are real or perceived. The result is always the same--fallenness and lost relationship with God.
As we continue to reach out with the gospel to baptize more and more into Christ (God bless you for your efforts), let us not forget our God-given responsibility to restore the fallen (Gal. 6:1-2). Let us lovingly, sensitively reach out to heal bruised and broken relationships, let us affirm worth for all made in God's image by birth and recreated in God's image by the new birth. Let us speak the truth in love. Then as multitudes return because the spirit of Christ is obvious among his people here, let us welcome with open arms all who will be God's.
To all who contact those you know who have left God's spiritual family and encourage them to return, a special "thank you" in advance. God will bless your efforts.
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