The Great GO is a powerful and undeniable part of our Christian walk, but it would be incomplete without the other half of the story, the other side of the coin. Let's start back in Matthew 28:
"Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising 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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'" (verses 16-20)
Before Christ gives the Great Commission, he gathers back together the group of guys who had followed Him during His time on earth. All of them (minus Judas Iscariot, who had betrayed Him) were gathered together. The believers and the doubters both heard His call to step out. And, as we know from the rest of the New Testament, that's exactly what they did.
Many of them paid the highest price for obeying these words of Jesus. It's believed that the first of the disciples to have been martyred for their faith was James, the brother of John.
Whilst early church records are patchy, we know that John (the author of the Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John) lived the longest and was believed to have lived into his nineties. John, one of the 11 who had seen and heard incredible things with his own eyes and ears was also the author of Revelation. Scholars believe that he wrote this book at the very end of his life.
He finishes up the book of Revelation, and the Bible, like this: "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let the one who hears say, "Come!" Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. (Rev 22:16-17).
One of those to hear firsthand the call to 'go' is the one who tells us of Christ's call to 'come'. Admittedly, John wrote a lot of things on a lot of topics, but I don't believe you can truly fulfil the call to 'go' without first listening to the call to 'come'.
In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah has a similar message. He says "Woe to me" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty." Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" He said, "Go..." (Isaiah 6:5-8)
Before Isaiah could obey the call to 'go' he had to recognise the reality of his situation; the reality of his heart situation. He had to recognise that without coming before the Holy God and acknowledging his lack, he wouldn't be able to 'go'.
That is an incredibly freeing message! If we're honest, the call to go is intimidating. It asks a lot of us. The call to come does just the opposite, it reminds us that we aren't strong enough, pure enough, talented enough. The Holy Spirit, the church, Christ all call us to come.
When was the last time you did this? When was the last time your identity as a believer was defined by something other than what you 'do for him'? Let us remember that as a believer, a follower of Christ, the call to go is non-negotiable. That said, if we only obey the call to go without the call to come, it will always be a failed project.
Today, let me encourage you to listen to the call to come, to take a moment to ponder the One who calls you, and to spend time in worship. Let's not step out thirsty and unclean, but rather refreshed and forgiven.