What Is the Great Commission
We’ve had many upheavals in American society lately. The highest court in our land has decided they would redefine God’s institution of marriage, this same court has been making law for years instead of interpreting it, economic chaos is present throughout the world as governments manipulate currencies, and few people today seem to believe that there is any absolute truth in the world anymore. What are we to do?!!!!!
I have good news. There is a solution that should sound familiar to those who have a church background. It is called The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Let’s take a look at this commission that was commanded by our Lord Jesus before He ascended back to heaven. All authority in heaven and on earth is given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with always, to the end of the age (ESV). Many Christians think of the Great Commission strictly in terms of telling people God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life. There is some truth to this statement, but it is incomplete. Partial truth can be more damaging than outright lies. John 3:16 tells us that God loved the world so much that He sent Christ to die the death that our sins deserved. It is a wonderful verse about God’s love. However, go down twenty more verses and you will read that whoever does not obey the Son (Jesus) will not see life but will have the wrath of God abiding upon him (John 3:36). The Bible presents us with God’s holiness and His mercy.
Going back to the Great Commission let us see how we are to impact our world and what we are to teach those in it. First of all, Jesus proclaims that He has been given all authority He is the One we follow. He is the One who determines what is true and what is false. He has given us the command to go and to disciple by teaching His truth. We are to listen to His voice as presented in His Word and not follow the whims and passions of this world.
Our Lord Jesus has authority and has sent us on this Great Commission. He has told us to go, but what are we supposed to do when we go? We are to make disciples of all nations. How do we do this? Making a disciple is not the same thing as holding evangelistic campaigns. Those events had great success years ago because we lived in a land where people, even nonbelievers, had some knowledge of Jesus and some knowledge of the Ten Commandments. Today, many are truly unaware of God’s holy standards and how they have violated them. They do not see themselves as sinners who need to repent and turn to Christ. I recall an evangelism video that featured teaching and demonstrations by Pastor Ray Comfort in which he would go out to the beach area to witness. He would strike up a conversation with people and then share the gospel. There was one young couple with a young child playing on the beach. Ray engages them in conversation and at one point asks them how long were they married before they had children. They responded that they were not married. Ray quickly responds, “That’s fornication. It’s a sin against God.” The young couple responds that they did not know that. Ray’s correction to this young couple was not shared in a harsh manner. He did not fuss at them. He informed them. They did not seem to be offended. They truly had no idea that they had sinned. Ray’s response opened the door for him to share the gospel. Most of us will not likely respond as Ray did, but we must let people know that they are sinners in need of God’s grace. The Ten Commandments are a great place to begin. People today have some knowledge of these, or at least they have heard of them. If they are honest they will have to admit that they have broken at least one of them. Such an admission gives us an opportunity to share why it was necessary for Christ to die on the cross. We are told that if we fail in one aspect of God’s law we’ve broken all of it in His eyes (James 2:10). If those to whom we encounter will admit that they have sinned against God, then we are free to offer the remedy, salvation by means of the Lord Jesus.
Another aspect that we must seriously pursue is the making of disciples. Who has God placed upon your heart as someone in great need of the gospel? Do you know believers who are weak in their understanding of what it means to be a parent, spouse, or employee? Pray and ask God to lead you to those that He would have you disciple and mentor. Seriously consider striking up a friendship with these and make plans to disciple them. This can be done by meeting with them at lunch or breakfast, or having them over to your home once or twice a month. Ask them to join you for a time to read a book and have times of discussion and relaxation. You might start with book on parenting, time management, finances, or any other need that your friends seem to desire help. Find materials that present a gospel application to these needs. Discipling is not a quick process, but over time God will change hearts and draw others to Him. Those that we disciple will not only hear God’s Word coming forth from us, but they will also see us put God’s truth into action. Ministering in this way will keep us accountable as we pursue holiness in our daily life. We do not have to be trained teachers in order to disciple. Discipleling is leading others - nonbelievers to the Savior and believers to follow Him by growing in holiness.
Our world is in chaos because of the sinful inclinations of its citizens. Christians have been changed by the grace of God and need to boldly, yet lovingly call others to submit to the claims of King Jesus – the perfect and holy King who gave Himself as the Perfect Sacrifice to pay the sin debt that all humans owe. If we do not know what the Bible teaches then we will be ineffective in making a difference in our world. Let us endeavor to faithfully teach the whole counsel of God in our daily encounters. Let us remain aware of the many hurts, pains, disappointments, and struggles of those in our community and within our congregations. May we be compassionate and demonstrate a spirit of love and understanding to those who are suffering. However, it is imperative that we go beyond mere sympathy and present the Word of God as the remedy for all ailments. Sometimes God’s Word will soothe. At other times it will sting, but it will bring healing.
Will you join me in being intentional about obeying Christ’s command to carry out the Great Commission? You might feel frightened or inadequate, but our Lord concluded his command to go with the comforting words that He is with us to the end of the age. His Holy Spirit empowers us to do the work. We do not have to try to talk others into trusting Christ. If we will be intentional about discipling, modeling, and teaching His truth as we are empowered by His Spirit we will witness glorious, positive change in our own lives and in the lives of those we encounter each day.