As I looked at the “Great Commission” that our Lord Jesus Christ left us as His Church I began to ponder …. are we making disciples as Jesus commanded, or are we distorting the truth? You remember the Great Commission, don’t you? If you’re a Southern Baptist most of you have heard it when a local missionary wants to increase “Cooperative Program” giving. The Commission states:
Matthew 28:18-20 …. 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.
Note first of all that the Great Commission starts and ends with Christ. He begins “All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth”. Jesus Christ alone has the power. I have no ability to save anyone, nor should I ever seek to save anyone. The power of salvation is in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is His Holy Spirit that convicts the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8). It is the Gospel of salvation that is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes – to the Jew as well as the Gentile (Romans 1:16). A person is not saved by “getting their life straight”, but by recognizing they need Jesus like a sick man needs a doctor. A person is saved not by works of righteousness, but according to God’s mercy, which He abundantly sheds on everyone who will through Christ Jesus (Titus 3:5-8). The power to save is not invested in mere mortals, but in the Person and work of Christ. We who are His merely present His person to the lost. God does the rest.
The Great Commission tells us to understand that the works is Christ’s – then to GO. “Go ye there”. We go to work. Go to our homes. Go to our neighbors and our friends. We go to those we are around daily. We start in our families, then move outward to our communities. What do we do? We save no one – Jesus didn’t ask that of us. We “teach all nations”. We teach what we know. We teach people of all colors. We are not prejudice in our teaching, but share what we know with all people. What do we teach? Do we teach Deepak Copra and the New Age “There are many ways to God” nonsense of Oprah Winfrey? No. We teach them to OBSERVE – to DO – all things that Jesus taught us. We do not compromise – we teach. We do not teach our opinions, but the message of Christ. We teach the truths of the Holy Scripture without shame. Those who hear and make a sincere choice to be saved become followers of Christ. Those we baptize in water and continue to teach them. Soon they, too, GO and TEACH.
In our world today I believe the Church in most instances has dropped the ball. In some Churches the Christians give so that others GO, but never do they tell others the things of Christ. This is not what Jesus commanded. In some Churches the Christians GO – taking people to Christian Concerts, Festivals, Feeds – entertaining goats but never TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE as sheep should do. This is not what Jesus commanded. In some Churches that which Christ commanded and taught has been so watered down that there is little difference between a Christian Church and a Secular Clubhouse. This is not what Jesus commanded.
When people are baptized in the NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit in many Churches today this is little more than a public bath. “In the Name” doesn’t mean just to say “Jesus”. The phrase “In The Name” speaks of authority. It is like the policeman who shouts, “Stop in the name of the Law”. This is authority, and water baptism a willing surrender to authority. Whose authority? The Pastor? No! The Church? No! To Jesus. Until we as Christ’s Church understand that the Great Commission begins, continues, and ends with Jesus, we will not see America restored. Until the average Christian in America understands that all power is given unto Jesus, our nation will continue to rot from within like a bruised banana.
Christ is Lord, and to Him every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess to Him (Romans 14:11). He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1 Timothy 6:14-15). We as Christians need to start Discipling and stop Distorting.
For America’s sake.