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Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Great Commission

Image courtesy of Kanate,

Matthew 28:19-20 are probably some of the best-known verses in all of the Bible.
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 alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

And, many times, we don’t stop to think about the context, what these verses really mean. There’s some rich stuff here! 
  • Who said these verses? We know it was Jesus. (16)
  • To whom? The eleven disciples. Why eleven? Judas had hanged himself, and there wasn’t a replacement as yet. (18)
  • Where? On a mountain in Galilee. (16)
  • Go ye therefore. (19) What’s the therefore there for? What goes before it? Immediately before it is verse 18, And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Jesus is speaking to His disciples and tells them first that He has been given all power. The word for power means authority. So Jesus has been given all authority from whom? The obvious answer is God the Father. Why is this so important? It is the whole backdrop for the Great Commission. Because God gave Jesus all authority, Go ye therefore. This is a reminder about whose work we’re doing, who we rely on, who we answer to. He is Jesus, God in flesh, resurrected.
  • and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (19). This part of the verse is talking about teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ—his death, burial and resurrection—because people are very obviously believing and getting baptized. In the early church, there were no unbaptized believers. They believed and then were immediately baptized. Also, we see something important here. Who’s supposed to be taught the gospel? All nations. This is the cause for missions. Reach the world—all the world—every country, tongue, and people. The gospel is for everyone, everywhere.
  • Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you (20). This is what is commonly called discipleship. It is teaching God’s Word—all of it, Old and New Testaments—to new Christians. Jesus says to teach people to observe everything He had commanded His disciples. Well, we don’t exactly have a record of everything that He said to them on hillsides, along the road, and in upper rooms. But, we do have the assurance that His Word—all of the Bible—is what He wants us to know. The Bible says Jesus is the Word. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men (John 1:1-4). All of the Bible is inspired. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). So, when we teach the Word, it needs to be all of the Bible.
  • and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (20). The Great Commission begins with the authority of Christ and ends with the promise of His presence. He is with us always, forever. The phrase unto the end of the world means forever. It’s ongoing. What a blessing! Jesus Himself promises to be with us forever!
  • Amen. = So be it.

Practically speaking, the Great Commission commands us to:
  • Go under Jesus’ authority.
  • Go to all nations—everyone on the earth.
  • Teach them the gospel and baptize new believers.
  • Disciple believers. Teach the Bible.
  • Be conscious that Jesus is with us always. 

This is the outline for missions, and it’s the outline for our life purpose as believers.

If you are not a Christian, you need to know the gospel: that Jesus died on the cross as a substitute for you—for your sins. That he died, was buried, and rose again three days later.

If you are a new Christian, you need to get Bible teaching. Get grounded in the Word.

If you are a more mature Christian, you need to be discipling others.

And, there’s always the need for missions. Go into all the world. All the world. Reach the unreached.



Please share your thoughts.