“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
            This text seems well worn. Missionaries use it to stress the importance of taking the Gospel to foreign lands. Pastors recite it to impress upon their flocks the importance of reaching people for Christ. This is right and proper, however, if we are not careful, we will miss the fact that we have a commission to preach the Word and disciple men and women for Christ.
            Paul instructed Timothy this way, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2Timothy 4:2).It is easy to be distracted by social issues, political agendas, and ungodly trends. It is, however, important to realize that the answer to the ills of society is the preaching of the Word.
            Do we really believe our preaching will change the world? It certainly did on the day of Pentecost when   thousands were pressed into the kingdom of God.
            We are not instructed to preach about the Word, what we think about the Word, or how we got the Word, but we are to preach the Word. Social, political, and moral issues are at a low ebb, however, preaching about them will not change them. If we preach the Word and people get saved, they will begin to live right, and all the other issues will begin to change.
            How a church can become distracted from the Great Commission can be illustrated by the following story. In Russia in the fateful year of 1917, the year of the Revolution, the Bolshevik party was boldly, efficiently, and ruthlessly carrying out its plans for revolution, overturning the oppressive government of the tsars and putting into place another tyrannical regime characterized by the atheistic philosophy called communism.
            At the very same time, on the very same day, the largest Christian denomination in Russia was holding an all-day meeting. The meeting was filled with harsh, vindictive conflict, all centered on one divisive issue.
What was the issue? Was it how the Christian church would respond to the new government that was coming
into power? Was it how the church would carry out its mission under the oppression of atheistic rule?
            No, the issue was the candles of the sanctuaries of the Russian churches! The church was bitterly divided over whether they should be eighteen or twenty-two inches tall!
            The world needs the Gospel! Candles may not distract us today, but, most of the time, it is something just as unimportant. It may seem gigantic in our eyes, but in eternity it will not even be remembered.