October 20, 2013


“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”—Matthew 28:19, 20. 

The imperative for the Christian is clear, if we are to believe what Jesus said at the end of Matthew’s gospel: we’re to “make disciples” from “every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,” as the King James Version renders Revelation 14:6.

There are some who assert our job is done, or at least well begun, if we merely sidle up to folks and become friends with them. Friendship is important, to be sure; we as Christians are to live peaceably with others, and Seventh-day Adventists have an obligation, based on our history and understanding of prophecy, to support religious liberty, which includes respecting others’ views and beliefs.

But what kind of friend would I be to someone obviously ailing if I withheld the only guaranteed cure? Every person we encounter is suffering from an “incurable disease,” namely sin and its consequences: “For the wages of sin is death,” we’re warned in Romans 6:23, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Ezekiel records a solemn charge: “When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood” (Eze. 3:18).

A true friend would warn me if I were about to walk off a cliff. Shouldn’t we be faithful friends in a sick and dying world?