|Rambling Thoughts What is the Great Commission|
|The Great Commission
I read something in a devotional by Rick Joyner which caused me to think about the verses in Matthew which we often call the Great Commission. I realize there are many and varied opinions as to just what the Great Commission is and how we should fulfill it. I am still thinking about it, but these are some rambling thoughts I had about it this week. I thought about all this almost two months ago and it has really stayed with me since them. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus says, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;" (Matthew 28:18-20 NASB)
I just wonder if we have often confused the good news of our salvation through Jesus sacrifice and resurrection with the message of the Great Commission. The gospel is so much more than my personal salvation. It is so much more than having my past, present and future sins blotted out. My redemption is so marvelous it is sometimes hard to see past that. I think if the church today is going to fulfill the Great Commission it has to see past it.
I see two key verses in this section of Matthew we have to look at to get a better grip on the Great Commission. One of them is Matthew 28:18 and that is the words "all authority in heaven and on earth" which Jesus was given and now still belongs to him. It belongs to his body. The believers Paul explains in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 we the body of Christ. Presently there is a very popular Christian song by Casting Crowns titled "If We Are the Body." The chorus goes something like this:
As I write these words they hit me hard. I know that I am not doing all these things as the body of Christ. I also realize that I am only a body part. I am not the complete body. I have "a" function as a part and not "all" parts. I may be the teaching words or healing hands, but not the going feet or reaching arms. Our pulpiteers sometimes imply, or even say, each of us should do and be all of the parts. Well, it just ainít so! Whatever each persons part they must be equipped to do that part to really be a disciple and not led to believe they are to do the function of every part. No matter how important that part may be. It may not be my function as a body part. I am a part. I just may not be that part.
If I look back in Matthew to what Jesus said in 24:14, another key verse, I gain a little more light on what our Great Commission consists of. He said this, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world." (Matthew 24:14 NASB) I may offend some to put it so bluntly but he didnít say go into all the world with the gospel of salvation, but with the "Gospel of the Kingdom." Some may not know that there is a difference. That is why the Great Commission given to us is not that we just make converts and try to teach them to make converts, but to make disciples, teaching them to do all that he has commanded and empowered us to do. Salvation and the New Birth is the first step, and the first step is the most important step in anything we do. We must, however acknowledge that the first step is just the beginning. As fantastic as it was when I, as a twelve year old boy, was born again at a Methodist Church Camp, I was a very long way from what God wanted me to be. I received very little help from the "church" in maturing to be more like Jesus. O, they told me many things I need to do or not do, but they were just rules to live by. These things donít build a relationship.
What is the responsibility of the pastor and the church to mature believers? Well, it is huge! It is the Great Commission. The believers themselves have the responsibility for sure. Many just do not really know what to do. So many believers, especially new believers, are suffering for lack of a vision. I believe the church should help them get a vision of their life as a fulfilled Christian life, and help them fulfill that vision. I certainly donít have any dogmatic answers; however I do see some things the church could be doing to help. First, most churches donít give believers much help in establishing a personal daily meeting with Jesus. I know some churches do, while others at most tell people they need to. Why canít the local church provide or at least direct believers towards books or programs or plans that will help them establish this daily relationship. Most folks simply donít know what to use during a family devotion time. One size doesnít fit all. A plan or program must fit and apply to different family makeups. A family with teenagers needs something different from one with elementary age or adolescent family members. The bible must be the core of any plan because Godís word is where the power to transform us lies. That said, it may be difficult or impossible for many parents to use just the Bible and make a family devotion and worship time that is interesting and helpful to all of the family. How wonderful it would be for every family with teenage children to sit around the kitchen table for twenty minutes or so with an interesting and meaningful lesson to work through together, or whatever age the children may be. And to do this daily or almost daily. I believe each local church has a responsibility according to the Great Commission to take this issue head on. The issue is getting each person involved in a daily relationship with God, whether it is in families or as individuals. As necessary as things like going to Sunday worship, small groups or mid-week services are, they alone can never make disciples of most people and thus fulfill the Great Commission.
These are some things I thought. What do you think? Does the church have a huge responsibility to help believers become disciples instead of converts?
Serving the King,
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