Let’s Take the Great Commission from the Top, Part 3
In this, our third installment of this series, I would like to go into more depth regarding the specifics of the Great Commission as outlined in Matthew 28. You can read part 1 and part 2 at these links to catch up, if you’re just joining us with this part 3.
It seems that too many Christians – in my opinion – have it wrong. In fact, I used to be one of them and it took me some time to realize that I had adopted a wrong view of my role as a Christian in society. My coming away from that view took time, happening gradually. Looking back, I remember how many of the issues that bombard us daily became a lightning rod for my angst and frustration with the way things were going in society. It’s really no different from today except that I see things differently now.
I routinely viewed people who had a more “liberal” view of things politically (“leftists”), as enemies since they appeared to stand against the truth of God’s Word. At one point, I even ran for local political office believing that it was my obligation to help “clean” things up. Looking back from my current vantage point, I realize that I was far more concerned about the state of society than whether or not the lost of this world heard the gospel or embraced salvation.
Today, so-called Christian leaders attempt to brainwash Christians into thinking that they aren’t doing enough – not praying, working, or doing whatever is necessary to change society – and because of that, the state of society is somehow our fault. In reality, the world is simply being the world; evil, corrupt, clearly following Satan’s lead and we Christians are not responsible for that. We are responsible for fulfilling the Great Commission.
So the eleven disciples went to Galilee to the mountain Jesus had designated. When they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted. Then Jesus came up and said to them, ‘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 the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ – Matthew 28:16-20
We previously pointed out that at this point in Matthew 28, Jesus had already been crucified and raised from the dead. Appearing to the 11 apostles (Judas had already killed himself), He gave them their marching orders in what is referred to as the Great Commission. He noted that since being raised from the dead, He now had full authority over all things – in heaven and on earth. This included Satan and his demonic hordes. It also included all people and all of Creation. In fact, there is nothing that does not fall under Jesus’ authority.
We talked about the fact that there are folks who – though they may be well-meaning – have it terribly wrong because they seem to think and teach that it is the responsibility of true Christians to establish Christ’s Kingdom on the earth before He can return physically to this earth as King and Ruler. In another series on Dominionism, we tackled that issue and found it to be severely lacking, biblically speaking. This belief system called Dominionism (Christian Reconstructionism, theonomy, etc.), simply does not appear to be taught in the Scriptures without allegorizing certain passages to mean something they do not mean.
The fact that in the above passage from Matthew 28, Jesus draws attention to the authority He has over all things before He commissions His apostles is very telling. It sets the tone and underscores the responsibilities of His followers and the authority with which we carry out His commission, which has absolutely nothing to do with changing society and everything to do with presenting truth to people so that they can embrace salvation.
The Great Commission itself is made up of two parts.
- make disciples of people from all nations, and
- teaching these disciples to recognize Jesus’ Lordship
Let’s break this down. In order to make disciples, communication must be established. This is largely and mainly done through talking with other people. Jesus is saying, that we are to go (or wherever we go), throughout the entire world (all nations) and preach the gospel of good news, the only truth that can save people from eternal damnation. Communication is also done through the way we live our lives. People want to see reality. They want to see words backed up by our actions because how we actually live is much closer to truth than what we merely say.
As I pointed out in the previous part 2, two youth ministers were caught up in a FBI human sex trafficking sting. I’m sure during the week and while they worked with kids, they said what sounded very biblical. Their actions in front of others probably also coincided with what they preached and taught. In fact, they might have been seen as very caring men who showed an earnest concern for the kids in their charge. However, if the allegations against them turn out to be true, then it was all just a front that allowed them to be around children because of their prurient interests in them. Eventually, in what they both thought to be the shadows, their true beliefs came to the surface and fortunately, law enforcement was on hand to take them into custody. They lived and spoke one way when people were watching, but when they thought they could get away with it, they lived their secret lives. Fortunately, they were caught.
Jesus commissioned His apostles to move into the world to make disciples of people from all nations (literally, wherever they go). Through talking, living, and being a true Christian, the truth of the gospel will come to the surface and God will use those words and actions to bring the lost to Himself. Many commentators believe the early persecutions that occurred not long after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension was God’s way of moving His disciples throughout the known world and beyond. Those who were able to flee persecution did so and started churches where they ended up, thus moving the gospel to new lands.
Once a person becomes a Christian (having been made a disciple), the obligation is to do the next thing. New converts were to be baptized and taught what it means to be and live as a Christian. Being baptized with water does not save a person. It publicly signifies to whom that person is affiliated. This should be done publicly as a testimony to all that the new convert to Christianity is claiming association with Jesus (which is why one is baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), to separate them from other religions, sects, and cults that existed then (and now).
Once that new convert becomes a Christian by being born from above (John 3) and is baptized publicly in the Name of the Trinity, the second aspect of being a Christian begins. From that point onward, they are to be taught what it means to be a believer in Jesus and how that translates to daily living in all areas.
After the four gospels, we have the book of Acts, which is a record of the birth of the Church and its establishment. It shows how the Holy Spirit moved among people in those very first days as the Church was birthed and established. There was a bit of a honeymoon period with many miracles, but eventually, the daily “grind” of living kicked in as persecution took hold and increased throughout the Roman Empire. This is something people often fail to recall, the amount and level of persecution.
In what we might call “good” times or “bad” times, persecution or not, Christians live, don’t we? Irrespective of the ebb and flow of society, we still have a job to do whether someone in authority has thrown us in jail, has a sword to our throat, or when persecution appears to be absent and life seems to just go on without so much as a hiccup. Our job as a Christian does not change because of our circumstances. It remains the same, but I would not hesitate to state that according to the historical record, it would seem that whenever persecution comes to the fore, more people tend to brought into the Kingdom.
Christians too often spend their days bemoaning the problems in society. We have lost sight of the fact that Satan is still allowed to reign over many aspects of society. This is so because of God’s purposes and plans, not because He expects us or is waiting for us to move out. The spiritual battles that we are to enter into are on behalf of other people who do not know Him as Savior and Lord. The “warfare” is done through prayer.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens (Ephesians 6:12 NET).
These struggles are against the devil’s schemes (v. 11) as he attempts to maintain mastery over other people so that they cannot embrace salvation. We are to prayerfully struggle against his schemes against us because he wants us to fail and fall all the time. Somehow, this has changed to believing that we are to struggle powerfully and prayerfully over the devil’s schemes with respect to society.
Next time, we delve more deeply into the Great Commission and we’ll also discuss why the world seems to have a penchant for hating Christians!
Entry filed under: christianity, Cultural Marxism, Emotional virtue, eternity, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: Acts 2, christian living, great commission, make disciples, matthew 28, pentecost.