Affirming Our Commission (Romans 1:1-17; Matthew 28:1-20)

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South African news portal, News24.com, recently published the following article, entitled “Heaven ‘not for Christians only’,” concerning comments made by Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Heaven is not only for Christians, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has warned.

Tutu was the guest speaker at the Alliance of Civilizations awards ceremony, presented by the Spanish embassy in conjunction with the University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town on Monday.

“Most of us think God is a Christian, but if you think that God is going to tell the Dalai Lama ‘you’re a good person, but sorry you’re not a Christian’ then (I say) rubbish.

“We’ve conveniently forgotten that Christians burnt witches at the stake. It wasn’t pagans responsible for the Nazi genocide–it was Christians,” Tutu said.

He said it had also been claimed that apartheid was supported by the scriptures and the symbol of the Ku Klux Klan was a cross.

Tutu sounded a warning against a simplistic classification of good and bad.

If Desmond Tutu is concerned about being separated from the Dalai Lama for eternity then he can be assured, by the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, that he need not worry.

Jesus categorically stated, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). In other words, heaven is for Christians only. It is not for those who say that they are Christians and then in works deny the claim (e.g. witch burning, Nazis, the Klu Klux Klan, apartheid architects). Rather, heaven is for those who repent of their sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who believe the revelation of God in Jesus Christ will go to heaven. Even those, like Tutu, who call God in Christ a liar can repent and be saved. But those who die in this state of unbelief will end up living forever under the wrath of God, not in heaven but rather in hell. Thus, Christ-blaspheming archbishops face the same eternity in hell as do Christ-rejecting Dalai Lamas. And it is right for churches to make this gospel-consistent, dogmatic statement. May God help us if we ever fail to do so!

As we proceed in this study to a consideration of the final clause of BBC’s new church covenant, we need to focus on that which finally binds us together: the gospel of God. And thus we must affirm our Christ-given commission: to practise, to protect and to propagate the gospel; and not merely any gospel, but rather the gospel of God (Romans 1:1). Our church covenant (which is a summary confession of what the Bible describes as a Christian and thus what membership of a local church looks like) calls for us to affirm the following:

We will work together for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry in this church, as we sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines. We will contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations.

This is a gospel-centred affirmation and it captures the essence of the responsibility of the local church to be “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). That is, it attests to the church’s responsibility for the stewardship of the gospel. And the fact of the matter is that if the Anglican Church had taken this biblical mandate seriously over the past century and a half, had they heeded the calls of J. C. Ryle and others, they would never have such a blasphemer as Desmond Tutu for an archbishop.

But while this latest attack upon the truth by Desmond Tutu may cause defensive bile to rise in our hearts, let us be careful to recognise that if our own local churches do not continue to faithfully, passionately, devotedly and circumspectly guard that with which we have been entrusted, then we too may one day be churches over which the word “Ichabod” (“the glory has departed”) will be appropriate. If we fail to passionately guard the gospel of God, it is not too much to imagine that some Desmond Tutu may stand behind the pulpit of our church and blaspheme our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as he proclaims, “Peace, peace,” when in fact there is none. We, in this generation, are being called upon to affirm our God-given commission regarding the gospel. To the degree that we fulfil this, to that degree the next generation will be guarded from the Tutu-like apostasy which lurks in contemporary Christendom.

But let me not only state our responsibility negatively, but positively as well. After all, the Great Commission is to be carried out offensively more so than defensively. That is, our commission, which we have received from Christ, is premised on the great encouragement that Christ will conquer the nations. It thus gives to us wonderful inducements to propagate His truth, motivated by His promised purpose, power and presence. Yes, we, Christ’s church, have all that we need to make a God-centred impact on our world, and thus we must, with heartfelt joy and faith, affirm our commission: the Great Commission.

Matthew 28:18-20 is the mandate of the local church. We are to make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ in all nations. We are to seek to win people to Christ and then we are to teach them to faithfully follow Him in every sphere of life. The result of this is that more and more biblical local churches will be founded and thus more light will be manifested which will bring glory to our heavenly Father. That, in a nutshell, is our commission; this is what we must affirm to do as local churches.

But what, specifically, does this affirmation require? In this study I will identify and expound three ways in which we will be practically and joyfully equipped to affirm our commission.

By Faithful Stewardship of the Gospel

The affirmation that we make is that “we will work together for the continuance of an evangelical ministry in this church.” We are committing to take seriously our responsibility as a local church to wholeheartedly embrace our Christ-given responsibility to His commission. And this commission is solidly rooted in the gospel.

The word “evangelical” in our covenant is a word which of course refers to the gospel: the good news of what God has done for us in Christ Jesus. The Latin term evangel means “gospel” and thus our affirmation is that we will endeavour to maintain a gospel-centred ministry. And for anyone who understands why the church exists this will come as no surprise. In essence, the church exists because there is a gospel. Again, the gospel is the good news of what God has done, and what He has done is to save a people from their sins. He has called out of the world those whom He has chosen and He has placed them intimately within the Body of Christ thus forming the church. In other words, the only reason that there is a church and thus local expressions of that universal Body is because there is a gospel. Those whom God has chosen have been called out from the evil world system of unbelief, and have thus been “separated unto the gospel of God.” In other words, believers are converted by a gospel ministry and they are thus to continue in a gospel (“evangelical”) ministry.

The local church is, by virtue of being separated by and unto the gospel of God, responsible to maintain a gospel-centred ministry. We are accountable before God to be faithful in this ministry. We are responsible to maintain a ministry of gospel integrity. And this is often easier said than done.

The gospel has always been under attack, as a brief reading of the epistles will clearly substantiate. One thinks of the Galatian heresy that threatened to divide and dismember the infant church (see also Acts 15). There were those who sought to teach that one had to be circumcised (to become a Jew) in order to be saved. Paul labelled such legalistic nonsense as “another gospel” and he pronounced God’s anathema upon any who would so pervert the true gospel. As one author has commented, the gospel has always been crucified between two thieves: those of legalism (one must do something to be saved) and license (it doesn’t matter what you do after you are saved). In our day and age, perhaps it is this latter tendency towards antinomianism which is the biggest threat to the gospel. But regardless of the form of the threat we must be committed as a church to be faithful to guard the gospel. This is what our covenant calls for.

The apostle Paul exhorted pastor-teacher Timothy to “guard” what had been committed to his trust (see 1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:14). Paul was well aware of the attacks that had come upon the evangel and he knew full well that these attacks would continue long after he had left this earth. Thus in his closing correspondence with his disciple he warns him to stay faithful to the gospel.

Years earlier Paul had exhorted Timothy to make sure that the church there in Ephesus maintained a gospel integrity by ensuring that they preached the true gospel (1 Timothy 1), that they pray for the success of the gospel (1 Timothy 2), that they have only biblically qualified leadership in the church which would in turn protect the integrity of the gospel (1 Timothy 3), that Timothy be careful to stay morally and doctrinally faithful in accordance with the gospel (1 Timothy 4), that the church minister faithfully to one another in light of the gospel (1 Timothy 5), and that the church be sure to guard against covetousness and rather to be generous for the cause of the gospel (1 Timothy 6). Paul’s passion was that this church, which he had founded on his second missionary journey, would continue to have a faithful evangelical ministry. And his concern must be ours.

But before looking at the practicalities of this we need to ask why it is so important. And the reason is actually pretty simple: because the gospel is the primary means through which God is glorified.

Again, the gospel is the good news of what God has done for us in Christ Jesus. The gospel is the marvellous message of His work in spite of what our works have earned for us (Romans 6:23). Thus as God exercises His sovereign, saving grace to hell-deserving sinners He is the one who gets all the credit. But when men tamper with the gospel (in any shape or form) then God is robbed of the glory that is His due. It is for this primary reason that we must be faithful, regardless of the cost, to live separated unto the gospel of God. We must earnestly “work together for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry.” To fail to do so will eventually open the door for a man-centred message which both robs God of His glory and fails to do any good to men.

The apostle Paul understood that the ownership of the gospel was God’s, that the objective of the gospel was the glory of God, and that the subject of the gospel was the Lord Jesus Christ. He knew that the Father was glorified by the Son’s work on Calvary and thus he was very careful to let the Romans know that the message he preached was “concerning his Son.” If the Romans had any other message that they had received as the gospel then they had been deceived, for the true gospel centred on what God the Father had done for His people through the work of His Son.

We would do well to realise that ideas have consequences, and destinations as well. Let me explain.

Many years ago I preached verse by verse through 1 John and one major truth came to the fore: belief affects behaviour. I can well remember the impact that this truth had upon one particular church member. He saw this truth clearly and it made a profound impact upon his life. He saw that indeed ideas have consequences. What we really believe is manifested by how we really live. This principle is fundamental for us to grasp and it will help us to understand why we see the alarming trends that we do in today’s church.

If we tamper with the gospel message (in any way) then we will make it less than it is. Perhaps you are familiar with the concept of the Midas touch? We humans have the sinful, selfish touch. Thus whenever we tamper with that which is God’s, we always pollute it with man-centeredness. That is, in someway we always make it about us. And so it is with the gospel. When we seek to tweak it in order to make it more palatable to the lost we always end up centring it on us rather than on God in Christ. The result is that man is glorified, God is removed to the peripheral and the lost individual remains in his sin–only now he is “twofold more the child of hell” than before (Matthew 23:15). Yes, ideas have consequences and thus the church must protect God’s original idea concerning the gospel if she will experience true conversions and will see God glorified as Christ is honoured.

But let us also note that ideas also have destinations. That is, a good and honourable (because truthful) idea will lead to good things. Conversely, a bad and ignoble (because untruthful) idea will lead to more and more bad things. Such is the case of much of the church (at least in the West) today. How is it that a guy like Joel Olsteen can have a multimillion dollar ministry, a church of 25,000 congregants, a worldwide television audience and the esteem of millions of professing Christians? Precisely because ideas have destinations and the syrupy, sappy, superficial and unscriptural message that has plagued evangelicalism for decades has led to the sad state of affairs that believers can’t even recognise the true gospel any longer. The result has been the proliferation of self-esteem “gospels” which are embraced by the average churchgoer hook, line and sinker.

Unfortunately fallacious, because human-concocted, ideas about the gospel have sapped the vitality and vigour out of the life of many a church. Many church members, vast numbers of them, have not “worked together for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry” with the result that their churches have departed from the faith. May this never be true of us! Our destiny (destination) is being determined now. If we consciously choose to stay faithful to the faith once delivered to the saints then we will be God-centred and thus meaningfully relevant for generations to come.

We need to grasp this fundamental fact: The church is the product of a specific message. And thus this specific message is concrete. It is a fixed message, which gives direction to our ministry. That is, we have a specific message which gives shape to a fixed and specific ministry–an evangelical one. Everything that we believe and do must be shaped by the gospel. Thus, if we get the gospel right then we will be in a healthy position to get the rest right. But if we get the gospel wrong then we will go wrong everywhere. Our ministry, our methods and our motivation are intimately connected to our stewardship of the gospel truth. If we are not faithful stewards of the gospel then we may put the emphasis upon the wrong syllable and thus have man-centred ministries, methods, messages and motives. Ah, but if we have worked together to have a faithful evangelical ministry then our motivation will be God-centred. The consequences will be honouring to God and helpful to us. Among other benefits, this faithful stewardship of the God-centred gospel will help us to persevere, especially when the results of our evangelical ministry are not always what we would expect or desire.

At this point it might be helpful to note that our covenant emphasises an evangelical, not evangelistic ministry. Obviously, we are committed to an evangelistic ministry but this will be a natural consequence of our working together for the continuance of an evangelical ministry.

As the church grows in its understanding of and appreciation for the evangel then indeed we will be motivated in our evangelism. But if we ever lose the vision of the true evangel then what we call “evangelism” may indeed be anything but the propagating of good news. Again, we must be growing in our amazement concerning the glorious gospel of God. And this will be seen in the centrality of the role that it plays within the church. And this is the point of the next phrase in our covenant: “as we sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrine.”

Again, this covenant reminds us that the church is separated unto the gospel of God and that we need to continue on in this devoted separation. But how can this be done? How can the church faithfully work together to ensure that we continue to protect and propagate the evangel? Let’s look at some specifics.

By Serving Together in the Gospel Ministry

This is implied throughout this particular stanza (actually, throughout the covenant), but I want to highlight the phrases “we will work together” and “as we sustain [this evangelical ministry].” The guarding of the gospel is a corporate affair. We all need to serve together in order to sustain the gospel. Each member is important to the whole and we each need to do our gifted part in order to keep the gospel central.

Thus, we each need to accept our responsibility to be proficient concerning the gospel, to be passionate about the gospel, to practically live out the implications of the gospel and to be involved in propagating the gospel. And as we serve together in the gospel, as we serve as those who have been separated unto the gospel, then we will fulfil this responsibility.

By Sustaining a Gospel Ministry

The words “as we sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines” give some practical ways by which we will protect and propagate a gospel ministry. Let’s look at these.

“As we sustain its worship”

The ministry of BBC is evangelical, which means that it is rooted in the gospel of God. Thus, it aims to be God-centred. It aims to exalt God and to humble man. It aims to be joyfully passionate about God’s gospel. It aims to help believers to grow in their love for the gospel of God and it desires to see sinners be converted “unto the gospel of God.”

What then is essential for this to be a reality? I would suggest that the foundation for this is laid in corporate worship. If we go wrong here then we will go wrong everywhere. We must seek to have God-centred and thus gospel-centred corporate worship if we expect to protect and appreciate and propagate an evangelical ministry. And thus we must covenant together to sustain such worship.

Was this not the underlying problem which brought about so much trouble in the life of the Corinthian church? It was precisely because they had failed to sustain a gospel ministry that they went wrong in many other areas. That they were straying from the gospel is apparent in the opening chapter of Paul’s first letter to them, in which he highlights their esteeming preachers higher than they were esteeming the Saviour. In chapter 15, he has to relay the gospel foundation of the resurrection of Christ. He has to, literally, remind them of the gospel. They were in fact setting aside the gospel.

Note some of the tragic results of their losing sight of the gospel. They were divided, they were boasting in sin, they were suing one another, they were arrogantly despising the less mature in the faith, and they were using spiritual gifts to exalt themselves rather than exalting Christ. In a phrase, they were not sustaining the church’s worship and thus neither were they sustaining the church’s evangelical ministry (see 1 Corinthians 14:23-25).

BBC, we need to give our heartfelt support to the gospel-centred worship of BBC. We need to strive to keep our worship focused on God, not on man. We must guard against the temptation to alter our gathering so as to ease the guilt of sinners. We need to sustain gospel-centred worship so that seekers can truly be helped.

In our day churches are abandoning the gospel in favour of a man-centred therapeutic message, and people are flocking to these churches. Will you? Or rather will you continue to sustain the biblical worship of a church that has a truly evangelical ministry?

We would do well to realise that a church faces the temptation to be demoralised as believers flock to large, flashier churches, who offer bigger and better programs. But if your local church is gospel-centred, you’d be wise to sustain its worship. Among other things, this implies that you will attend! Let us encourage one another in the gospel by congregating with one another around the gospel.

“As we sustain its ordinances”

Another means by which we are to work together for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry is by faithfully sustaining a biblical observation of the ordinances. Specifically, we must pay heed to the commands of Christ to baptise those who profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and to regularly observe the Lord’s Supper. We are to faithfully dine with those who have been fully dipped!

The proper observance of these biblically mandated ordinances is necessary for our continuing a gospel-centred and God glorifying ministry. For instance, let’s examine the issue of baptism.

If we abandon the practice of baptising converts and embrace the practice of infant baptism then I can assure you that our gospel ministry will be damaged. I know that this is sensitive ground but nevertheless where the Scriptures have spoken, we have no right to speak in contradiction. The Bible does not teach infant baptism; it does however categorically teach believers baptism. And when the church properly exercises this ordinance then it is thereby protecting itself from adding goats to the fellowship and tares to its field. It is a fact that the practice of infant baptism has resulted in bloated church memberships and has opened the door for much leaven of unbelief and nominal Christianity to permeate the Christendom.

Pastor-teacher Mark Dever made the observation (on a recent trip to South Africa) that non-evangelistic Baptist churches eventually die while non-evangelistic paedobaptist churches have the potential continue for centuries with a veneer of life. Why? Because Baptists require a credible profession of faith for church membership and paedobaptist don’t. Thus in the first case, a non-evangelical Baptist church will pass off the scene (which is a good thing!) but a non-evangelical paedobaptist church may continue on for generations. And that is a very bad thing!

If we will guard the gospel together then we must be committed to the biblical practice of believer’s baptism. And the same is true regarding communion, the Lord’s Supper.

A proper (biblical) observance of the Lord’s Supper will go a long way in helping us to continue a faithful evangelical ministry. The Lord’s Supper points us to the gospel in a very profound way. When we gather around Communion we are literally “preaching” (“declaring”) the Lord’s redemptive death until He returns (1 Corinthians 11:26). Thus, though the Scriptures do not dictate how often we should gather around the Table, surely every second week (as we do in our church) is not too often? In fact, is it often enough? As a member of a local church you are expected to obey Christ by partaking of this meal.

“As we sustain its discipline”

A church which abandons church discipline is one that has practically abandoned the gospel. You cannot be a congregation separated unto the gospel of God and at the same time reject the Word of God. In fact, since the good news to which we have been separated includes the glorious truth that we have been freed from the power of sin, how can we not then expect holiness from church members?

It is on the basis of what the evangel has done for us that calls us as a church to take seriously the matter of church discipline. We will never continue to have a faithful evangelical ministry apart from consistent, compassionate, thus biblical church discipline. And each of us must sustain this commitment.

First, some would argue that to exercise church disciple will actually hurt our evangelical ministry, for who would want to join a church where people are confronted for their sinful behaviour? After all, life is a lot easier when there is no accountability. Perhaps, but it is also a whole lot more painful. In the face of such criticisms we need to keep in mind that in fact we are not looking for recruits. We are desirous for God to add to the church those whom He is saving (Acts 2:41). Those who desire to continue to be saved will love to be a part of a church that disciplines. God is the One who told us to discipline and God is the One who builds the church and thus we must be faithful to Him. As we guard the integrity of the gospel we will no doubt see the Lord add to our numbers and will experience His presence in a profound way (see Acts 5:1-15). Let us work together to sustain the discipline of the church that we might sustain the gospel integrity of the church.

Second, discipline in the church is a congregational, not merely an eldership function. That is, the church has the final say (under the Headship of Christ) when it comes to participating in discipline, including, excommunication. Our church recently adopted the practice of uttering “amen” upon the exercise of excommunication, as well as in response to one who repents and desires to be re-admitted to the fellowship of the church. Again, our affirmation is a commitment to “work together for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry.” We must each take responsibility for this.

Third, the elders are given the responsibility for ensuring that there is discipline in the church. Several Scriptures point to the responsibility of elders to lead and to the responsibility of the flock to follow (see Hebrews 13:7, 17; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 20:28; etc.). Shepherds must biblically lead and the flock must biblically follow. Failure in either of these responsibilities will lead to a failure in our stewardship of the gospel.

“As we sustain its doctrines”

A church that takes the evangel seriously is one that will also take seriously the entire corpus of Scripture. Since the Bible is the story of the gospel all of its doctrines are in some way connected to this good news from God. And thus when it comes to major doctrine (“those things which are most surely believed among us”–Luke 1:1) we must stand together on such biblical teachings. If we let any of these slip then we are jeopardising the gospel and undermining our desire to maintain a “faithful evangelical ministry.”

For example, if we abandon the doctrine of the inspiration of Scriptures then we lose all reason to believe the gospel. It will merely be one of numerous religious messages. If we reject the doctrine of the deity of Jesus Christ then we are left without any good news seeing that the gospel is “concerning [God’s] Son.” If we deny the substitutionary atonement then we are left without any gospel. The same could be said regarding of many doctrines. Thus it is essential that we affirm that we will stand together for these doctrines. And let me add that we must be committed to also studying together.

For us to stand together and sustain the doctrines of the church, we must know what it is that we say that we believe. This is why it is so important that we spend time together being grounded in the truths of God’s Word. How can we proclaim with conviction a message which we ourselves are unsure of? The answer is, we can’t. Neither can we defend a doctrine of which we are uninstructed. We must learn together if we will stand together for truth.

We live in a lazy age. The church cannot afford to be so. We must have those in the church who labour in the word and in doctrine and who can then help others to be competent in their understanding of the Scripture. That is why the membership of the local church needs to gather to glean from those who have spent much time in the Scripture. But it is also incumbent upon the membership to study for themselves. If we grow flabby intellectually then we will do so devotionally because we will do so doctrinally. We must affirm that we will have a muscular Christianity which means that we will be mentally (and morally) sound when it comes to doctrine.

Before moving on let me mention that this covenant affirmation does not assume, nor does it require that we will all agree on the finer points of interpretation. (I have said this so often that I am almost weary of repeating it.) But what it does affirm is that there are clearly some truths that we embrace and thus errors that we firmly reject. Thus, there is a doctrinal agenda that we are acknowledging and none should feel that they have the right to rock the boat when it comes to our distinctive doctrinal position. We must sustain what is commonly believed among instructed believers and with charity we must accept agreeable disagreements.

By Financially Supporting the Gospel

The next phrase of our affirmation that we will briefly examine states: “We will contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor …” In other words, we will put our money where our mouth is.

It can be assumed, if we will be committed to an evangelical ministry, that this will be reflected in our financial stewardship since “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). If we treasure the gospel of God then we will be compelled by this love to spend our monies in ways that will be consistent with the gospel. How, specifically, does this work out?

First, since the gospel is all about grace, those who experience this grace will become gracious in their giving. Hence, if we are truly evangelical, we will be committed to reaching out to help our brothers and sisters who are in need. Our experience of grace will move us to express this grace in helping to meet the expenses of those who have also experienced this grace, as well as towards those who need to experience this grace. We will be transformed increasingly into those who are grace-givers (see 2 Corinthians 8). As the gospel continues to take central and compelling place in our lives we will find ourselves increasingly committed to meeting the needs of those within the household of faith.

Further, as we grow in our commitment to an “evangelical ministry” we will also find ourselves more and more concerned about the things that matter rather than things that are merely matter. We will cheerfully contribute to the expenses of such a gospel-driven ministry. As our grasp of the gospel increasingly informs our lifestyles we will be more and more like our Saviour who “though he was rich, yet for [our] sakes he became poor, that [we] through his poverty might be rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

By Fruitfully Sending the Gospel

Finally, if we faithfully fulfil the above affirmations then we will indeed be used of God to “spread the gospel through all the nations.” And the result will be to the glory of God.

As we grow in grace and thus as we increasingly continue to have a gospel shaped ministry we will be increasingly committed to get this gospel to the ends of the earth. In fact, if we are not committed to such a world vision then we have no right to claim that we have a “faithful evangelical ministry” here at home.

BBC is blessed to have a world vision but the challenge that faces us is to continue to grow in our commitment to such a vision. As we grow in our appreciation for and love of the gospel we will be increasingly called upon to send more and more of our own to establish faithful evangelical ministries elsewhere; and this will require much more money. But this is no problem for those who love the gospel. Those who are passionately committed to an evangelical ministry are those who seek first the kingdom of God and thus faithfully lay up treasures in heaven.

At the end of the day the motivation for such an evangelical mindset is the glory of God. This is what all of our covenantal affirmations are about.

Our affirmation regarding our conversion is unto the glory of the God who has saved us through His gospel. Our affirmation of our calling is for the purpose of our living in such a way that we walk worthy of our saving God. Our affirmation to care for one another is for the purpose of our church bringing honour to the Chief Shepherd who loves all His sheep. Our affirmation of our confession is that our continuance in the faith will bring honour to the One who makes sure that we do persevere. Our affirmation to fulfil our commitments is so that others will see that we are happy in Christ thus redounding to His glory. And finally, this affirmation to be faithful to our evangelical commission is that we might spread the glad tidings to all peoples that they might be glad in our glorious God.

May God give us the grace to so adorn His gospel that His name will be hallowed. And may the insults of an unbelieving world be drowned out by the joyous shouts of those who have been saved by the gospel of God. Yes, heaven is only for Christians, and those who are committed to a faithful evangelical ministry are not ashamed to say so. Let us boldly affirm our evangelical commission.