A look at “The Great Commission”
Matthew 28: 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.”
We are very familiar with what we know as “The Great Commission.” But as I look at this passage I see a command. Jesus has told us, the church, to make disciples. We are to evangelize the world. We are to be on mission. I remember discussing this with a preacher friend and he noted that the word “Go” in verse 19 should be translated, “As you go.” We aren’t to make any special trips to evangelize. Evangelism and discipling should be a way of life for the Christian. Telling others about Jesus is not an option. Being an ambassador for Christ is not a special calling (granted some are more gifted than others, but we are all commanded to share His love).
I remember sitting through seminars and workshops on how to share the gospel. I remember going out into the community in pairs to share Jesus door to door. I also remember the thrill of leading someone to Jesus as Savior. That joy was followed by the disappointment of hearing my partner practically requiring this new convert to come to our church and make their decision public.
I reckon some will say I’m not a good Southern Baptist here. Let me make one thing very clear and I’m apologizing to No person for the following statement. I am a Christian first and foremost. The ONLY reason I am a Southern Baptist is that the church where I am a member and I choose to worship is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. I will expound on this in another posting.
What I felt was important for this new convert was that they should make their decision public as soon as they could. But I didn’t see any reason to come to the church I was attending. If that person felt comfortable elsewhere and that church was a New testament Church, then that is where they should go.
While Jesus tells us to preach, baptize and make disciples, I don’t think he meant for the same person to be doing all these tasks for the same converts. I also realize that some of us are better equipped to preach or proclaim the gospel to others while others are better equipped to teach believers what it is to be a Christian. Under God’s leadership (remember, it is His Church) and individual may only be asked to perform one task for one person while he is performing another task for a different person. Let me remind myself that I must keep my focus on the LORD Jesus Christ and to always seek first the kingdom of God.
One reason I write these e-mails is that I am commanded to teach God’s people. It may be good to tell about our heroes of the faith: Wesley, Calvin, Luther, Augustine, Spurgeon, Edwards and others, but I must first tell about the architect and builder of my faith, Jesus of Nazareth. My boss is not the Deacon Chairman, My Sunday School teacher, the Pastor, or even the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. My boss, my LORD, is a Jewish carpenter. And He has commanded me to preach and teach. I intend to do that. And may I never get so caught up in how to do my job, that I forget to do my job.
In His Service and Through His Love…