Engaging the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Great Commission

“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 always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. ”
(Matthew 28:18-20)

 

 

  1. The Sovereignty of the Commission

    1. The Power of the resurrection – Ephesians 1:20-23

    2. The Power of revelation – Matt. 11:27

 

The first thing we must realize before, and remember while, we go; is that we are not going in the power of our selves. If this were such then we would be feckless in our results. The primacy of this point is evident in that Christ sandwiches the command to evangelize between the great truth of His omnipotence. “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth… lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” God has told us that we are co-laborers with Him (I Cor. 3:9), and there are things we are responsible to do in evangelism, yet those things are fruitless actions unless they are done through the Power of Jesus Christ.

Not only is this a warning, but it is also a relief. For we are not responsible for the results of evangelism, only the propogation of it. (I Cor. 3:7) Noah preached obediently and saw no converts. Jonah preached begrudgingly and saw a national revival. What made the difference? It obviously wasn’t the speaker, for the one that should have been more effective was actually inneffective. What, or I should say, Who made the difference? The LORD! It is done through His power, and His power alone. We serve the Almighty God. Psalm 115:3 says that God is in heaven and does whatsoever pleases Him. We take comfort in the fact that God is sovereign and cares for His own. In the loss of a loved one, or through a tragic circumstance it is as a well in a dry place when The LORD assures our hearts that He is in complete control. But here, Jesus Christ makes a definite application to God’s power in the area of evangelism. Jesus prefaces the Great Commission with this great reassuring admonishment of , “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth…” He taught this same truth to the disciples after the confrontation with the rich young ruler in Matt. 19:24-26. Men are saved through the power of God, and that alone!

 

  1. The Responsibility of the Commission

    1. “Go ye…”

Now, in light of what has been said, do not forget that our Jesus did not stop there. This is where many a man has fallen short. They state, “Well, then. Salvation is of the LORD.” And they speak correctly. They recall, “It is Christ that reveals God to the hearts of men.” And they rightly remember this. But they conclude to this, and many other statements like it, that it must therefore negate any responsibility on their part. This, my friend, is where they are in grave error. They are correct in saying “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)” Yet they mustn’t forget the equally vital truth just three verses prior, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe on Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14)” God has ordained that it is through the preaching of His Word that The Holy Spirit moves on the hearts of men. As stated earlier, we are laborers together with God. As such, He has lain a part of the burden of evangelism upon us, as His people. This burden is delightfully light and yet dreadfully weighty. It is a sobering thought when one realized the responsibility that has been placed upon him. Paul, upon speaking of this very thing, cried out “Woe is me if I preach not the gospel!” (I Cor. 9:16) It is a fearful thing for one to realize how he has blatantly disobeyed God’s command. If it doesn’t frighten you, then you should take time to examine your heart. For God has not commissioned the angels to carry so great a message as redemption. God did not entrust the stars or planets to herald the great truth of Jesus Christ – the sacrifice for sinners. The only creature God entrusted with the great message of redemption that was born on the lips of Jesus Christ Himself is the vile sinners He came to save! This humbles me to think of the grave responsibility given me by my LORD! Oh, The grace of Almighty God! That He would change a vile wretch, and then commission him to proclaim the gospel to other God hating sinners is beyond my comprehension.

 

Not only does a fear of God motivate us to evangelize, but a love for Him does as well. The gospel is a wonderful thing to proclaim! It brings joy beyond description to my heart just to think of the truth that Jesus Christ shed His own blood for my soul! And to proclaim it to others, oh! To tell them that Christ receiveth sinful men! To tell them of the full forgiveness purchased for men through the shed blood of Jesus Christ! It is a wonderful thing in every sense of the word!!! I do not just share because I fear my LORD, I share because it burns within me, as a fire shut up on my bones. Spurgeon put it this way, “If a man doesn’t have a desire to see men saved, he can be sure he is not saved himself.” The sovereignty of verse 18 is not to discourage us from our responsibility, but rather strengthen us in it. “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore…” His Sovereignty lends even more weight to our responsibility to evangelize.

 

 

  1. The Substance of the commission

    1. Teach all nations

    2. Baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost

    3. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you

 

We are to teach all nations. But what are we to teach them? Mark 16:15 – the gospel. This is the good news of Jesus Christ; yet for the good news to be understood, the bad news must also be comprehended. We are to tell men of their Creator-God, of their wickedness and exceeding sinfulness against their Ruler. We are to tell them of the wrath of God that abides on the head of each and every one of them. They must first come to see this midnight sky, for only then can the light of the redemption paid by Jesus Christ shine in their eyes as it should. We do not only tell them of their lost and hopeless estate, but tell them of Christ – the sinless One who took on Himself the sins of men. Tell them of the One who knew no sin, yet became sin. Tell them of Jesus Christ, God’s Anointed, who bore the wrath of Almighty God for those very sins that were laid on Him; and was slain on a cross, shedding His life’s blood. How He was buried and rose again the thrid day, proving His power over death, hell, and the grave! Tell them of The Christ!!

But this commission doesn’t just stop at the salvation of the soul of a man. We are to baptize them. What we would call the first step of obedience. We are to help those quickened by God’s Spirit to identify openly with The LORD and His death, burial, and resurrection through baptism. Then we are to go on and teach them to obey all things whatsoever we were commanded to do by Christ. This is not something that is done in a 5 minute session. This is discipleship.

 

This is the Great Commission in a very, very small nut shell. It is a privilege to be a part of God’s Work. He has made us co-laborers with Him. He doesn’t need us, but chooses to employ us in His service. He has commissioned us to go and tell the world a message that is nothing short of an offense and a stumbling block. We are told by God that the preaching of the cross is foolishness to them that perish. (I Cor. 1:18) Jeremiah received a negative response to the message God told him to proclaim, and for a time, tried not to speak it. But he could not help but speak it. (Jeremiah 20:9) So it is with God’s child. His Spirit is in you, and you will burst if you don’t share it. Where is that fire? Is it in you? Do you desire to see men saved? Look! Ask God to show it to you! You may have to squint to see it, but is it there none the less? You may have had it once before, but that is not the question. Is it there now? If it has gone out completely, then it was never of God, for the fire of God’s Spirit within a man is as the fire on the altar “it shall never go out” (Lev. 6:13) Does it burn within your soul? Do you long to see men reconciled to God? Do you long to see God receive the glory due His name as men come to Him? If it is there, no matter how small the flame may be, rejoice! And seek God to blow upon the flames and to refresh your desire. If there is no flame, if there is no desire to see others repent of their sin and believe on Jesus Christ; then you must see if there is repentance and faith in your own life.

 

“Go ye…” Are you one of the sent? Or among those to whom they are sent?

 

May God, by His Holy Spirit, do a work.

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3 responses

  1. Very good!
    Thanks for word that spur us on.
    Richard

    April 2, 2008 at 5:59 am

  2. Susanne

    Thank you for this wonderful reminder. I have to keep in mind that the results are not up to me. I am to witness and it’s God’s working that will produce fruit. All glory and praise belongs to HIM. He alone is worthy. I am thankful for how He is working in lives even now. Though it seems to me quite often that there is nothing happening, I’m so glad God works in places that I cannot see. I enjoyed this post!

    August 5, 2008 at 4:11 pm

  3. Very inspirational and informative.

    September 24, 2008 at 7:01 am

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