How We Can Connect with Our Community 

Mark 16.14–18

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • September 20, In the year of our Lord, 2015


  1. The Great Commission 
    1. Do you not find it interesting
      1. that the message of the Bible explains God’s love for us, and
        1. that He wants us to spend eternity with Him, but
        2. that He leaves us here to live out the rest of our lives?
      2. Yet, we have to qualify for that eternal, unsurpassable experience.
        1. This is what the message of salvation does.
        2. It shows what the problem is
          1. that prevents us from entering heaven, and
          2. it shows us how to remove that obstacle.
    2. Yet, if He went to such great lengths to save us,
      1. sending His blessed Son to die for our sins,
      2. why does the Father not just take us directly to heaven
        1. as we come up out of the water of baptism?
        2. Why do we have to stay here?
    3. Ephesians 2 provides part of the answer.
      1. Notice that Paul talks about how we are saved,
      2. then note what he says about us after our salvation,

        8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Eph 2.8–10).

        1. Salvation is not of ourselves, but
        2. it is the gift of God.
          1. Now we can give a gift back to God.
          2. He remade us in Christ Jesus
            1. for doing good works, and
            2. one of those good works is
              1. telling the world the message of salvation
              2. so that they too can enjoy the hope of heaven.
                1. That is the gift we give
                2. to God and to our fellow man.
    4. In the next chapter, Paul explained what the church is to do,

      8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him (Eph 3.8–12).
    5. The Lord has a hand in what the church does,
      1. as Acts 8 shows when He used an angel and the Holy Spirit
      2. to connect Philip the preacher with the Ethiopian treasurer.
        1. The Lord certainly works behind the scenes, but
        2. He wants us to carry the message to the world.
    6. Why do we have to do it?
      1. Why does He not do it Himself?
      2. He could do it Himself, but
        1. we are His servants, and
        2. servants do as their Master wishes,
          1. even if the Master is capable of doing it Himself.
          2. Do we expect Him to do everything?
            1. Why can’t we do something?
            2. We should be glad to show our gratefulness toward Him;
              1. thinking of the indescribable blessing we have
              2. of working with Him to tell others about Him,

                9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building (1Co 3.9).

                1. We have the incomparable privilege of
                2. connecting people with God!
  2. The Unexpected Results of a World Bible School Ad 
    1. Earlier this year, brother Joel Coppinger of World Bible School was with us,
      1. reporting on the work of this ministry.
      2. During his presentation, he surprised us with something.
    2. Typically, the work of World Bible School
      1. has been in Africa, India, Eastern Europe and
      2. many other far flung places of the Earth.
    3. He said that they chose a new nation and
      1. advertised on the Internet in this new nation, and
      2. it shocked them—and me— to see the results.
        1. 50,000 people
          1. in the first three months of 2012,
          2. requested a Bible correspondence course.
        2. Can you imagine 50,000 people saying
          1. that they want to learn more about the Bible?
          2. That was shocking enough, but
            1. the real shocker in my estimation was the nation they chose.
            2. It was The United States of America!
              1. We have persuaded ourselves
              2. that no one wants to study the Bible in America and
                1. that is not true.
                2. It just takes
                  1. more effort to find them than it used to, and
                  2. more money.
    4. Listen to a confession from Psalm 116,
      1. that applies to us, for
      2. we often make general statements about people,

        11 I said in my haste,
        “All men are liars.”
        (Psa 116.11)

        1. We do the same thing when we say
        2. that no one wants to know about the Bible.
          1. True, some people will never desire the Scriptures, but
          2. with others we may just need to find new ways of reaching them.
  3. Connect 
    1. Brother Coppinger told us about Connect.
      1. Connect is part of World Bible School’s web site.
      2. We create our own unique address.
        1. When people click on it,
        2. it takes them to the WBS web site.
          1. They put in their information, including their address, and
          2. select whether they want to do the lessons online or
            1. have the lessons mailed to them.
            2. Then a teacher is assigned to that person.
      3. Let me demonstrate how it works.
    2. We will have acquired workers here within the congregation, and
      1. you will get assigned to that person, and
      2. grade their lessons and work with them.
    3. I have no idea how this shall go over in Josephine County.
      1. However, we should be ready with plenty of workers,
      2. just in case we have more people than I can handle.
        1. Truly, I would just like to run things, and
        2. let you do the teaching,
          1. although I obviously would be available
          2. for any assistance that you might need.
    4. If you are interested,
      1. please take a piece of paper from the back of the pew in front of you, and
      2. put your name and “Connect” on it.
  4. Hear the Great Commission

    14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16.14–18).

    1. Just as the disciples then,
      1. so there will be disciples today,
      2. who just will not believe that we can do anything.
        1. They will have a defeatist attitude.
        2. They will criticize almost anything that you do.
    2. However, listen to the Lord.
      1. He is the One who came up with the Great Commission
        1. of going into all the world and
        2. preaching the Gospel to every creature.
      2. It is not for us to decide whether it or we will be successful or not.
        1. We just plant and water, and
        2. wait for Him to give the increase.
          1. If He does not want us
            1. going to a certain location, or
            2. going to a particular person, or
            3. evangelizing with the method we have chosen,
          2. He will stop us and redirect us.
    3. We may do precisely as He wants, but
      1. people still have to believe and be baptized.
      2. If they do not believe,
        1. that does not mean we have failed,
        2. although the doubters will think that their suspicions were right.
    4. Verse 17 and 18 show
      1. that mighty forces will array themselves against us, but
      2. we shall prevail.
    5. Mark then shows that when the disciples did what the Lord commanded,
      1. He worked with them and
      2. they did wonderful things,

        19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen (Mark 16.19–20).

        1. How many people have been saved because
        2. they did as the Lord told them to do?
          1. They also changed the world in every way for all time.
          2. They changed it politically, socially, artistically, and so on.


  1. Rededicate yourself to follow the marching orders of the Lord.