The Great Commission

BY PGF
3 months, 2 weeks ago

Daniel saw the vision of the Ancient of days commissioning the church, handing it to the Son of man with His army of witnesses, His Christian Soldiers, to conquer the world that all people should serve Him.

“13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” – Daniel 7:13-14

From the moment the church was birthed, Jesus declares that through His death, burial, and resurrection, He has been given the keys to bind hell and death.

“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” – Revelation 1:18

Satan is a defeated foe; Christ binds evil that the world will be overflooded with the knowledge of the glory of God (Habakkuk 2:14) by the spreading of the Gospel (Acts 1:8) that all people should serve Him (Daniel 7:14).

All people are subject to Christ, but some, a precious too few, are citizens of the Kingdom of God, building His domain that all enemies be made His footstool. When you got saved, you were to have abandoned your pagan kings and kingdoms; EVERYTHING about you should have changed; do you not hear Him calling His sheep, feeling the gentle pressure of the drawing and calling to serve your new High King? This is hard for folks saved in their youth, with so many years of cultural Churchianity ingrained in them. You must fight to overcome the world for Jesus Christ that you might be a son of God (Revelation 21:7).

There is nothing defensive about the Great Commission. Its offense, all the time, taking the field in the name of our High King and attacking the gates of hell relentlessly (Matthew 16:18), submitting yourself to the will of God (James 4:7).

Jesus has provided the practical instruction for His followers to carry out this deputation.

“14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” – Mark 16:14-16

“18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 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

The Great Commission is relatively simple.

  1. You tell lost people about Jesus.
  2. You teach converts all that He commands (the Word of God).

Both distinct missions seek the growth of the body of Christ. Soul-winning aims to grow the number of true converts, while discipleship seeks the development of individual believers in their depth and breadth of maturity in Christ. You are supposed to be on the battlefield taking the world one new convert at a time, teaching the nations all that Christ commands.

Standing Orders are those given to soldiers in the absence of their commander. They are what you are supposed to do until you receive new orders. The Great Commission is our standing order; it’s the church’s mission. It’s what you are commanded to accomplish by the Captain of your salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ, until His return. With Acts 1:8, these are the last words of our Lord Jesus, and these are His standing orders.

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” – Acts 1:8

We assure you that if you set about to accomplish this, the Lord will immediately and miraculously bless, prepare, and anoint your efforts! All of you who are saved were saved through the hearing of the Gospel under this commission. If any of you claim salvation and don’t continue in the work of carrying out this commission, you fail your brothers, and you fail Christ.

Acts 1:8 does not directly cross-reference the Great Commission verses in the Gospels, but it’s Jesus telling His disciples that the start of the mission is nigh, and the Holy Spirit’s arrival is imminent. They were to start witnessing right away after Pentecost, and they did. God added to the groups of believers popping up in and around Jerusalem as they spread the good news. And then the Gentile (Roman Soldier) Cornelius and his house got saved (acts 10), and the Gospel took off. After that, the disciples began to teach the converts and start communities of believers while seeking to expand the reach of the Gospel to the entire Roman Empire. God created new groups of believers who were instructed to change everything about their lives away from their pagan historical past, following after Christ being salt and light and righteousness. They turned the world upside down, and that’s what we’re supposed to be doing, changing whole civilizations by making them Christian.

“Matt. 28:19 – μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη (NA28 – Nestle-Aland, 28th Edition Greek New Testament). The first word here, μαθητεύσατε, means “make a disciple of or a follower, which involves instruction or teaching.” The last word is ἔθνος ethnos (from which we derive our English word “ethnic”) and can mean multitude, company, people, but in the broader application, as here, means all nations or peoples. Jesus wanted (and still wants) the gospel to be taken to the entire world and “every creature” (Mark 16:15).” – Roger L. Leonard.

Literal translation: disciple-make all the people/nations

Go and make disciples of all the people of the nations (every creature) that Christ may subjugate every man to His kingdom. The job is to conquer the world in the name and power of Jesus Christ. Nobody is coming to save us. Our Lord commands His disciples to overthrow the world by the power of God, the Holy Spirit in us, wielding His sword, which is the word of God through proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is not hyperbole; it is your God-ordained duty in service of the One who saved you from the wrath and death and hell you deserve and has given you eternal life. Acts 1:8 and Mark 16:15 and Matthew 28:16-20 are clear enough; these are our Standing Orders.

We are all made witnesses for Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit in us. This mission is unto the ends of the earth. This is put forth to instruct us what our job is in the Kingdom of God while we work toward His return. Conquer the world because He’s coming back, not despite His coming back. Every soul on earth must needs hear the Gospel. It is not a limited ministry in any sense. Father God wants us to tell all people the Gospel of the finished work of His Son on the cross, making and training converts.

Once you believe, you become a witness for Jesus Christ, the witness being a legal term for which you will be held to account at the Judgment. If you know that you are supposed to tell people about Jesus, and you are, then failing to do is a sin.

A witness is someone that testifies as to the veracity of the facts. A witness for Jesus Christ testifies of Him. Discuss with every creature the atoning death, the resurrection, how He saved and changed you and has blessed you, how He is the Son of God, the only way to the Father (John 14:6) that sinners may be forgiven entering into eternal life.

Acts 1:8 with Mark 16:15 are the commands of God that make us the tip of the sword of the Gospel we are to wield at every soul on earth, giving them a stark choice under the threat of wrath and death and hell, or salvation unto eternal life in heaven with Christ Jesus. This is their choice, and telling them is the duty of every Christian; showing every soul, whosoever, and howsoever you may meet them, that our King saves.

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15

We are to show by opening the Scriptures that Christ died shedding His blood to cover the sins of the lost sinner, that He was buried, and that he rose again on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Although not called to be a Preacher proper as from the pulpit, every believer is called to share the Gospel and win souls to Christ. The Holy Spirit of God convicts and saves the lost sinner; you are His witnesses, His messengers of the good news of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Don’t confuse the Gospel of Peace with anything other than peace in Christ Jesus. It’s not a feeling or how to get along with the lost world. The glad tidings are the resurrection of Jesus Christ fulfilling the promise of the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world that salvation by faith in Holy God through the cross and the blessing of eternal life in His Son had come to all who would only believe. That’s the good news.

Simple does not mean easy. Jesus trained His disciples for years and gave them the Holy Spirit. Nobody but God will be on your side if you decide to take this on unless you are blessed to be around a very mature and seasoned (well-salted) group of believers. This is why most Christians shy away. They don’t feel supported; there is no sense of having a team to carry out the mission of Christ with singleness of purpose.

We put some thought into structuring a group of believers for this two-part commission; reaching the lost and building whole communities centered around Christ. Seeing the fruit of the American Churches, they are lost in a sea of endless activity to no avail. They leave a wide wake of a form of godliness, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory while losing ground to the workers of iniquity year after year.

Suppose you have the rare and distinct blessing of being in a mission (not missions) oriented group of believers with regular purposeful soul winning and training that grows the believers. In that case, it’s your duty to replicate this effort. Under this commission, use all resources directly to support this tip of this spear mission ordained by Christ Jesus. All believers must share the Gospel and help the soldiers returning from battle by uplifting them and encouraging them while ministering among the saints. Tell every soul the Gospel; this is a direct order of Holy God, and teach each other how to be Christ-like!

If only the Churches were places to get instructed, uplifted, encouraged, and prepared. Suppose churches were a place to share battlefield tactics, prayer, and partnering for practical strategies; other serious men and women would want to be part of the success. People love to win. We should prepare each other to re-enter the battlefield for another round of wielding the Gospel at the sons of men who are living in the kingdom of death and hell in this world.

It is your duty to make men and women competent Christians. The greatness of the Great Commission is also not to be reduced or watered down. Teaching converts is the natural follow-on conclusion to winning the lost sinner to God, as it was always God’s plan to have fellowship with them. Even if the new converts are not the ones you are teaching, both jobs need to be done. Sometimes you win a soul to Christ and never see them again, but that’s no excuse for not doing this work. Sometimes you teach an infant, and as they grow, they move away to follow God’s plan for them. You’ve done your part. It’s work; although a blessing to fellowship, it’s not a social hour. The great commission is the work in support of making yet more converts to the way, the truth, and the life of Jesus Christ by training up the young, not of age but spirit, in the way that they should go (Proverbs 22:6) so that they too can share the Gospel of Jesus Christ while living and growing in ever-expanding and multiplying Christian communities forsaking sin and rebuking the workers of hell.

The hard part is building the communities of believers. The Covid shutdowns proved that. We can count on very few people, but this is very likely due to the lack of a team approach. Christianity in America is hyper-personalized with no sense of a larger mission or single team. The Great Commission is that mission; to tell every creature of Christ in a way that they may choose to live or die while we build centers of support for new, growing, and seasoned Christian men, women, and families.

We are not to be snatching brands from the fire when we make believers; we are supposed to be making a new soldier; all power and authority having been given to Jesus Christ on earth for the discipleship of all nations. The command is that we, faithful followers of the way, take every aspect of society and claim it in the name of our King, including recreation, social, corporate, government, trade, etc. Adding by the will of Holy God; Peoples, Nations, Countries, and Kingdoms, making them all, every last one, disciples of Jesus Christ is what God has intended by this commission.

“Teach all nations – The word rendered “teach,” here, is not the one that is usually so translated in the New Testament. This word properly means “to disciple, or to make disciples of.” This was to be done, however, by teaching, and by administering baptism…Jesus broke down the partition wall, and commissioned his disciples to go everywhere, and bring the “world” to the knowledge of himself.” – Albert Barnes.

“As the numbers of converts increase, this providentially leads to the subsuming under the authority of Christ whole institutions, cultures, societies, and governments.” – Ken Gentry.

“Christianity should be twisted in with national constitutions…the kingdoms of the world should become Christ’s kingdoms, and their kings the church’s nursing fathers…do your utmost to make the nations Christian nations…Christ the Mediator is setting up a kingdom in the world, bring the nations to be His subjects.” – Matthew Henry.

It’s on the test, folks!

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” – 1 Peter 3:15

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 10:32-33

Who do you love, Jesus or your lost friends? Jesus or your lost social media buddies? Jesus or your lost family? Who do you love, Jesus or your lost Churchianity?


Comments

  1. On May 5, 2022 at 1:48 pm, Chris in Nanuet NY said:

    Thank you continuing these articles/posts.

    When everyone you believe you know departs your side, by faith alone, Christ will always be there to comfort and console and guide your next move.

    Amen.

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