The Church and the Great Commission

16 Jun

by Chaplain Jonathan

WHAT IS THE GREAT COMMISSION OF JESUS CHRIST?

Imagine Jesus, the head of the church, standing here with His nail scarred hands outstretched towards you, and saying the following words with an urgency of authority.

Matt 28:18-20 (NAS) “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19 GO therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'”

This is the great commission of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to the church.

Commission – Websters: an authoritative order, or charge; authority granted for a particular action or function, to authorize, send on a mission.

Sadly these are probably the most disobeyed verses in the Bible by a vast majority of  U.S.A.Christians.

What do we see from these verses?

  1. Jesus has legally taken back all authority that was sold to satan by Adam.
  2. In telling us to go, He has transferred that authority onto us.
  3. This instruction to go is to all believers and NOT just a select few.
  4. We are to make disciples and not just evangelize all nations. The Greek word literally means we are to enroll as a learner or pupil.
  5. Our field is the world and not just our community.
  6. We are to disciple them through the doctrines of Christ (e.g. baptism) and not just evangelize them.
  7. They are to be thoroughly taught in the foundation truths of the Word of God.
  8. We can do all this in the strength of the greater One who indwells and empowers us.
  9. ~With the emptiness and unanswered questions in many people’s hearts today, they are seeking for reality and truth – and are more open to receive Christ’s message than ever before – when it’s presented convincingly and powerfully.

Acts 19:20 (TCNT) “So irresistibly did the Lord’s message spread and prevail.”

WILL THIS WORK IN THE CHURCH TODAY?

Acts 10:34 (KJV) “Then Peter opened his mouth and said, ‘of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.'”

Any healthy local church can experience growth today if they will revitalize the secret of the early church  – equipping the saints to minister..

Ezek 37:10 (NAS) “So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them and they came to life, and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.”

In Ezek 37:1-14 the vision of the “Valley of Dry Bones” is a prophecy of the restoration of the church.

Restoration – Websters: to return something to its original condition.

As the Saints are  trained and released, the church will once again look like a mighty army as they were in the book of Acts.

Christ will only return when this restoration is complete.

Acts 3:20-21 (NAS) …and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you,

21 whom heaven must receive (and retain – Amp) until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

THE PRESENT SITUATION

We have heard much about the population explosion which has been increasing at a far greater rate than the church. Of the 6 billion people on planet earth, 2.7 billion have never heard the Gospel.

86,400 people are plunging into hell everyday, 3,600 every hour, 60 every minute, one a second.

The world has been multiplying while the church has been making additions. The only answer is SPIRITUAL MULTIPLICATION.

The 90% of Christians who are just basically warming the pews need to join in the ranks,

Eph 6:15 (NAS) “And having shod your feet with the PREPARATION of the Gospel of peace.”

15 (Knox) “…having your feet in readiness to publish the Gospel.”

This is a command for all Christians and not just for trained ministers.

Luke 10:19 (NAS) “Behold, I have given YOU authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you.”

You will never tread on serpents or scorpions unless you’re wearing your Gospel boots. The only way to kill the scorpion in the heart of a hostile sinner is to get him saved.

Many Christians are trying improve their walk by focusing on everything, except the most important thing, putting on their gospel shoes. Those who wear and use their gospel shoes will always have a heart close to the heart of God – they will never backslide – how can you backslide while you’re moving forwards?

Acts 1:8a (NAS) …but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses…”

Rom 1:16a (NAS) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes

Power – Greek: dunamis (doo’-nam-is): force; miraculous power; strength, ability; inherent power residing in a believer.

As the saints become equipped with the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Gospel which is the dunamis of God we will see an explosion of evangelism.

HOW CAN WE MAKE THIS REALITY?

You will never train a pilot by giving him 100 lectures on flying. Likewise, you will never train an evangelist by giving him 100 lectures on witnessing.

One on one witnessing is the most effective form of evangelism and a key to revival, but the saint  must first be trained and equipped.

WHAT WAS CHRIST’S FIRST AND LAST INSTRUCTION TO THE CHURCH?

His first instruction was:

Matt 4:19 (NAS) “And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you FISHERS OF MEN.'”

If you’re not a Fisher of Men are you following Jesus?

His last instruction was:

Acts 1:8a (NAS) “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and YOU SHALL BE My witnesses…”

Witness – Greek: martus (mar’-toos); a witness, by analogy a “martyr”.

God’s primarily purpose in anointing us is to do the work of the ministry – not so we can enjoy goose bumps on goose bumps. (Holy Ghost Pimples)

We can thus conclude that the church is a body UNDER ORDERS by Christ to share the Gospel with the whole world.

SATAN’S GREATEST DECEPTION

Imagine if our enemies could deceive our Defence Force that war was too dangerous – so leave the fighting to the generals. If that ever happened, our country would become an easy target for the enemy. That is exactly what satan has done in the church.

The members of the body of Christ have left the work of the ministry to the trained ecclesiastical generals and gone on AWOL.

2 Cor 2:11 (NAS) “…in order that no advantage be taken of us by satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”

11b (Moffatt) “…for well I know his maneuvers.”

We have to be able to out maneuver satan – God has a victorious plan for your community to be won for Christ.

THE TRUTH ABOUT WHO ACTUALLY DID THE EVANGELISING IN THE EARLY CHURCH?

Acts 8:4 (TCNT) “Now those who were scattered in different directions (Moffatt) went through the land preaching the Gospel.”

Someone said, “Well those who went everywhere preaching the Gospel were the apostles.”

Acts 8:1b (NAS) “And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; (TCNT) and it’s members were all scattered (NAS) throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, EXCEPT THE APOSTLES.”.

Acts 2:41b (NAS) “…and there were added that day about 3 000 souls.”

Acts 4:4b (NAS) “…and the number of men came to be about 5 000.”

Acts 4:20 (NAS) “…for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard.”

Acts 5:14 (NAS) “And all the more believers in the Lord, MULTITUDES of men and women, were constantly added to their number.”

Acts 6:1a (NAS) “Now at this time, while the disciples were increasing in number…”

Acts 6:7a (TCNT) “Meanwhile God’s word continued to spread; (KJV) and the number of the disciples multiplied (TCNT) rapidly…”

Acts 11:24b (Weymouth) “…and the number of believers in the Lord greatly increased.”

Acts 12:24 (TCNT) “Meanwhile the Lord’s message kept extending and spreading far and wide.”

Acts 13:44 (NAS) “And the next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of God.”

Acts 13:49 (NAS) “And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region.”

Acts 16:5b (Norlie) “So the churches…daily increased in membership.”

Acts 17:6b (Rotherham) “They who have thrown the inhabited world into confusion (TCNT) have now come here.”

Acts 17:6b (Berkeley) “These world revolutionists (NAS) have come here also.”

Acts 19:20 (TCNT) “So irresistibly did the Lord’s message spread and prevail.”

Acts 21:20b (TCNT) “…that the Jews who have become believers in Christ may be numbered by tens of thousands.”

The Bible has prophesied that the latter day revival will be greater than the former revival revealed to us in the above scriptures.

Hag 2:9a (KJV) The glory of this latter house (last day church) shall be greater than of the former (the early church), saith the LORD of hosts…

Eph 5:27 (NAS) …that He (Christ the groom) might present to Himself the church (the bride) in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.

Christ is coming back for beautiful, glorious, victorious bride. He will not have to sneak out His bride in embarrassment and shame.

Unfortunately, after the year 300 AD there started to arise a division between the clergy and the laity and the task of evangelism fell onto the shoulders of the minority of ministers, and 1000 years of Dark Ages followed.

to be continued

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