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Friday, September 7, 2012

Yes, It Is about the Numbers

I have been guilty of trying to emulate just about everything that Jesus did. That is wrong. i am only to do the works of Jesus that He has called me to. That sounds strange doesn't it.

Jesus' main mission was to be the Savior. Yes, He taught. Yes He raised the dead, healed the sick and walked on the water. If  I am to do everything that Jesus did I would have to do all those things to. I see so many preachers who preach that very thing but I have never seen them strolling on the Sea of Galilee. Why is that?

Jesus is the Savior. He is the Son of God. He is God's only Son which is a relationship that I do not have. I have God's love. I am His son but I am not God as Jesus is God. I do not have the wisdom that Jesus has. I am not capable of understanding the whole world at one time as Jesus does. I cannot manipulate the physical laws because I am not the God who created them.

But Jesus said that I, as His disciple, would do the things that He has done and, in fact, greater things than He has done. How can that be? What is more than raising the dead or using your ability to create to feed thousands? I can't fathom that.

So, the things I do cannot be greater in each category. They must be greater only in scope. You see, Jesus only preached in a very small country. Jesus must have been telling His followers that what they (and we) would do is see the gospel go far beyond what He saw when He walked on the earth. We would see His few followers turn into millions. We would see the whole world turned upside down by His message.

Too often I hear someone say that my goal in reaching people is all about numbers. They see that as an impersonal gospel. They point to the fact that many left Jesus because He preached a gospel that would change their paradigm. They exclaim that Jesus was a failure if it was all about the numbers. Somehow they think that anyone who is preaching to a small number of followers is being more spiritual than those who preaches to thousands. That means that Jesus lost His spirituality at times, doesn't it?

That couldn't be farther from the truth. The Bible records numbers so often it should make us realize that numbers matter a great deal. There is a whole book called Numbers. A tithe is about numbers. The miraculous feeding records numbers. At Pentecost the numbers baptized were recorded. The Great Commission is tacitly about numbers because you can't continue to reach people without increasing the numbers.

Most people who say its not about the numbers are doing so because they want to make something they are doing extremely spiritual when it may be nothing more than a failure to do what God has called them to do. They ignore the scripture that says that we will do more than Jesus did on earth.

Have there been people who reached no one for a period of time? Yes, of course. Did that last forever? No. Their complete obedience to Christ was rewarded with numbers of followers. Sometimes these followers came after they died but they were long dead.

So, I count the numbers and pray for one more every week. I hope I never say it is not about the numbers. Each number represents a soul. Each soul who comes to Christ for salvation changes eternity. Jesus has promised me that I will do greater things that He. I must be obedient to see those things done.
In my obedience I continue to tell the gospel story. I keep baptizing new believers. I keep counting those who are saved, discipled and reaching others.

Is it all about the numbers? No, but in the end the numbers are there. We exist to give God glory, thus we bring people to Jesus.

Jesus said:

John 14:12 (NIV)
12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

John 15:8 (NIV)
8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 

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