Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Great Commission - Part 1

Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)
One of the greatest responsibilities the Lord Jesus Christ has left to the church is to go and make disciples of all nations. This is not just the responsibility of the pastors, evangelists, teachers and preachers but of every Christian saved by the grace of God. This is not an option but a command. Hudson Taylor, a sacrificial missionary to China, rightly said, “The great commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed.” 


Not doing what we should is as serious as doing that which we shouldn’t. Omitting this Great Commission is as sinful as committing adultery and murder! In saying this I am not bringing condemnation but a challenge to all so that we would repent and take the task of discipleship as seriously as it was intended of the Lord to be taken by us. Most of our convictions are overruled by minor issues while being desensitized to that which is greater. For instance, if an average Christian of our day fails to attend a Sunday service once or twice he feels extremely guilty; however, he doesn’t feel an ounce of guilt for living a life for years without discipling anyone. Why is it so? There must be something terribly wrong with our present day church system.

Christian Life and Ministry
To many believers, Christian life is no more than offering a daily word of prayer, reading the Holy Bible (frequently or occasionally), attending Sunday service, singing songs together, listening to a sermon and giving offerings. The thought of discipling people commanded by Jesus Christ never occurred in their mind. In fact, this is unknown and even untaught to many. Believe me, it will be quite a strange question to many Christians if they are asked, “Are you making disciples?” This does not at all exist in their dictionary.

Besides, even the pastors and preachers are neglecting this Great Commission. To some, ministry is no more than preaching from the pulpit or perhaps praying for those who request or sometimes visiting houses. Generally, there is no personal discipleship happening on a relational level. I hear some ministers say, “I go to preach in various places; I baptized so many people and I planted so and so churches.” Seldom do I hear them saying, “I discipled these many people.” Jesus didn’t say, “Go and preach every Sunday to the people and have good services”; He said, “Go and make disciples!”

Arise and Go
Being an itinerant teacher, man of prayer and a miracle worker, Jesus still took time to personally disciple. He made disciples and taught His disciples to make disciples. He knew this is God’s way of bringing His kingdom on earth. God is seeking for disciples and disciple makers, not for church goers and mere preachers in the church. If a survey is taken today, I suppose, 95% of the Christians, including the pastors, will be found neglecting the great commission. What a pathetic state the church is in! Oswald J. Smith hit the nail right on the head when he said, “Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.”

Dear Christian, you are not called to settle down as a passive believer in the pews. You are God’s priest and His mighty instrument to impact the world (Matt. 5:14-16; 1 Pet. 2:9). Therefore, rise up, go and make disciples for Christ. You don’t need a special calling (for you are already called); you don’t have to have a formal training (for you can learn without necessarily going to an institution); you do not have to leave your job or studies (for you have to support your family, yourself and the needy)—to fulfill the great commission. Remember, the command in the Great Commission passage is not "go" but to "make disciples." Therefore, wherever you are and whatever you do—you are God’s witness to fulfill His commission.

Dear pastors, make disciples and encourage your people to do likewise. Desire that your people would do greater works than you. Have an attitude that you would descend and they would ascend. I urge you in Christ not to control and lord over their lives but as a servant and facilitator assist them to be used by the Holy Spirit. If the pastors encourage the people on making disciples as much as they motivate them to attend Sunday service, the church will be on fire for God.
(To be continued.....)

“The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed” – Hudson Taylor, a sacrificial missionary to China.

"Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist."
-- Oswald J. Smith.

“The Great Commission was given to every follower of Christ”
-- Rick Warren.

"I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light" -- John Keith Falconer 

"People who don't believe in missions have not read the New Testament. Right from the beginning Jesus said the field is the world. The early church took Him at His word and went East, West, North and South." -- J. Howard Edington 

"In our lifetime, wouldn't it be sad if we spent more time washing dishes or swatting flies or mowing the yard or watching television than praying for world missions?" -- Dave Davidson 

"Missions is not the 'ministry of choice' for a few hyperactive Christians in the church. Missions is the purpose of the church." -- Unknown 

"The Bible is not the basis of missions; missions is the basis of the Bible" -- Ralph Winter, U.S. Center for World Mission 

"The mission of the church is missions" -- Oswald J. Smith 

"Only as the church fulfills her missionary obligation does she justify her existence." – Unknown 

"The command has been to 'go,' but we have stayed -- in body, gifts, prayer and influence. He has asked us to be witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth ... but 99% of Christians have kept puttering around in the homeland." -- Robert Savage, Latin American Mission 

''Go ye' is as much a part of Christ's Gospel as 'Come unto Me.' You are not even a Christian until you have honestly faced your responsibility in regard to the carrying of the Gospel to the ends of the earth." -- J. Stuart Holden

"The best remedy for a sick church is to put it on a missionary diet." – Unknown

"The Church must send or the church will end." -- Mendell Taylor

"We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God." -- John Stott 

"Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ. It remains an abstract idea, a myth which has a place for the Fatherhood of God, but omits Christ as the living Son. … There is trust in God, but no following of Christ." – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God"
William Carey, who is called the father of modern missions. 

"The great mark of a healthy church is not in its seating capacity but in its discipling audacity" Stephen David C.

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