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Only death to self results in life, Greear tells students during GO Week

J.D. Greear speaks at Union Sept. 15 during GO Week. (Photo by Victoria Stargel)
J.D. Greear speaks at Union Sept. 15 during GO Week. (Photo by Victoria Stargel)

JACKSON, Tenn.Sept. 16, 2010 – God’s people should ask him to show them how to leverage their lives for the purpose of the 1.8 billion people in the world who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ, J.D. Greear told Union University students Sept. 15.

“(The Great Commission) is the last thing Christ said to us and it is the agenda for every single Christian on earth — that we leverage our lives to be a part of it,” Greear said.

Greear serves as the pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, N.C., a church that has set a goal of planting 1,000 churches out of its congregation in the next 40 years. He visited the university to speak in G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel during the annual Global Opportunities Week for students. GO Week highlights mission trips and other opportunities for students to serve in the surrounding community.

Greer told students he believes most people are under the same mistaken impression that he once held – that if God wants them to assist in fulfilling the Great Commission, he will impart a specific word about where he wants them to go. While in college, however, Greear’s view of the Great Commission was altered while he read his Bible one morning.

“Suddenly, I got a sense of what it really meant for 1.8 billion people to live on our planet who have never even heard the name of Jesus,” he said. “And as the weight of that sat down on my soul, it did not make much sense for me to sit around and ask God what he wanted to do with my life. When you’re looking at the fact that there are that many people who don’t know Jesus, it rearranges your priorities all together.”

Greear encouraged the students to remember that the unsaved are individuals not unlike themselves.

Before giving his disciples the Great Commission, Jesus had a conversation with the apostles in John 12:20-24 that Greear called “extremely significant.” In John 12:24, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

Through this word picture Greear said Jesus was telling his followers what it would take to fulfill the commission. Greear said the passage includes a choice, a promise and a motivation.

Believers have a choice of either living a self-contained life for their own benefit, or they can begin to view their lives as something to be shattered and poured out for the glory of God, he said.

“It is only in death to yourself that life comes out of you,” Greear said, adding that surrender to God comes with a promise that he who does so will “bear much fruit.”

Greear concluded by reminding his audience that the motivation for dying to self does not come out of a need God has for his people. Instead, Christians are motivated to do to others what Jesus did for them.

Audio from Greear’s message is available at www.uu.edu/audio/detail.cfm?ID=494. He will speak in chapel again at 10 a.m. Sept. 17.

By Samantha Adams (’13)

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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