Sins We All Commit Without Knowing They Are Sin (pt 3 of 4): Apocity.
Even though it has been six month since my last post, I desire to continue with the series where I left off. I endeavor to be more regular in the future.
Today we will briefly look at another sin of omission, a sin that is committed by not doing something. This sin falls under the umbrella of sins of disobedience, because we have an explicit command to do something and by not doing it, we disobey the Lord.
What is the sin under discussion today? It is the sin of not evangelizing. There is a word that I would like to use as a name for this sin. George Alvarado coined the term in his small book “Apocity: the Great Omission.” Now, as a disclaimer, I have not read the entirety of the book, though I have read part of it, so I am not necessarily endorsing the book. However, he coined the term “Apocity” in the book and I rather like the term. The first part of the word comes from the Greek word “apo” meaning separate, apart, or away. The second part of the word comes from “cite.” This word has different connotations today, but according to Alvarado, the history of this word has definitions meaning “to set in motion,” “to call, invite” and “command”, which is essentially what we are doing when we are evangelizing. We are calling people to something, we are seeking to set them in motion spiritually, commanding them to repent to trust Christ. When we bring “apo” and “cite” together, we get the word “apocity” meaning that we aren’t calling, commanding, or setting things in motion. This therefore is an excellent word to describe not evangelizing.
Can it be rightly said that not evangelizing, or apocity, is a sin?
Matthew 28:18-20 says, “18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (NASB)
I would like to make just a few observations about this verse.
First: All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus. I make a note of that just in case you thought that maybe you did not need to listen to or obey the Lord of the universe. He’s in charge. Our responsibility is to obey.
Second: The main controlling verb in this passage is the imperative command “make disciples”. This is the command that Jesus gave to us. This command was issued to be followed and obeyed by all those who claim to be Christians. This command was not just for the disciples and it is not just for pastors and missionaries. It is for all believers of all generations of all ethnic groups and of all ages. We are to make disciples. That is the command.
Third: The word “Go” in the original Greek is actually a participle, not a command itself. If it were to be translated with that in mind, the verse would say something like “While going make disciples” or “as you are going make disciples”. The implication is that you do not have to go to the ends of the earth, crossing cultural, geographical, or ethnic boarders to fulfill the command that Christ gave us. You are to make disciples “as you are going” or “as you go about your life”. Wherever you are, whatever it is you are doing, you are to be making disciples.
Fourth: As we make disciples, we are to see to it that they are baptized. Why? I think it is because it is important for new believers to make a public confession of their faith in Christ before the world as an act of identification with the church.
Fifth: As we make disciples we are to teach them all things Christ has commanded us in His word. We are to be faithful to continue to build into the lives of those who respond in repentance and faith to the Gospel.
Finally, Christ gave us a command, but he did not give it and then say “good luck!” and leave us to our business. No, He gave the command then gave us a tremendous promise: “lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” Christ has promised to never leave us. So even though we are commanded to do something that can be difficult and nerve racking, Jesus promised that He would be with us every step of the way.
To disobey this command is to commit the sin of not evangelizing, the sin of apocity. I know I have been guilty of this sin more times than I can count. In fact just the other day I was riding with a coworker of mine to go fishing and in my head the thought came in: “I should talk about Jesus with him” and yet I kept my mouth shut. I sinned. I committed apocity. I commit this sin far too much.
What are we to do? Well, for one thing, we need to repent. This is indeed a sin because we are rebelling against a direct command of the Lord. Let’s call a spade a spade. This is sin. Let us seek the Lord’s forgiveness. Secondly, we need to be making disciples! We need to be evangelizing! When we are prompted to share the Gospel we need to open our mouths and speak truth! This is a non-negotiable aspect of our calling as Christians.
For those that perhaps have not done much evangelism or are very uncomfortable with the concept, there are resources available to help you overcome any obstacles you may be facing. If you would like information on these resources, feel free to email me at Chipchase@ifcamce.org, or feel free to contact us here.
 Alvarado, George, Apocity: The Greatest Omission, Evansville, IN: Gospel Tract Planet, 2013. pg 9.