What is the Great Commission?
The Barna Group recently wrote an article detailing a study which showed that a large portion of the church could not answer the question “what is the Great Commission?” This is a huge challenge for modern day Christianity. The Great Commission refers to the instructions that the resurrected Jesus left to the church in how they (we) should commit our lives to the world in which we live. He says in Matt 28:18-20
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Other accounts of the Great Commission can be found in Mark 16:14–18, Luke 24:44–49, Acts 1:4–8, and John 20:19–23. Jesus instructed the early church to continue to spread the Gospel beyond His ascension to heaven (Acts 1) and to make disciples of all nations. The word nations here is “ethnos” which means tribes or multitudes of people. Jesus ushered in a new covenant between man and God in which all people, regardless of race, gender or stature had the opportunity to accept the gift of salvation. It was up to the church to deliver the news to the nations.
The Great Commission simplified
The Great Commission is simply this. It is a command from Jesus to spread the good news that God loves them. Believers should be telling everyone that with Jesus that they can have eternal life. Eternal life isn’t a free pass to all of humanity, it is a gift. It is a gift that we need to share and also one that needs to be accepted by those who hear about it. Eternal life cannot be earned by good deeds. It is by God’s Grace alone, through belief in His Son, that we can overcome physical death and live forever with God. Like the early church, it is our duty to share this truth with the world. It is an amazing feeling to share the Gospel with someone and to witness them accept the gift of salvation.
But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:5
This is not, however, where the Great Commission ends. In fact, it is only the beginning of the journey.
The next step is to make disciples. Discipleship is the process in which a person learns what it means to be a Christian. A Christian is defined as a believer in Jesus Christ and His teachings. As believers in Christ, we also strive to live our lives as He did. This takes work, commitment and sacrifice. Often what we want to do is contrary to what Jesus commanded. We are to commit to our own discipleship so that we may remain true to the calling of a Christian.
By this we can be sure that we have come to know Him: if we keep His commandments. 1 John 2:3
As the church, we are here to encourage one another on our journey to be more like Jesus. Find someone who you trust and understands the Word of God. Study with them. Learn from them. Be accountable to one another. Next, be willing to share what you learn with others. You will encounter people that are ready to accept Christ and embark on the journey of getting to know him. Once that happens, commit to walking that journey of faith with them. A person that commits to discipleship lives a rewarding life. It is exactly what the early church did by duplicating themselves through commitment to one another. Sound of Heaven has a 12 week discipleship program where Christians come together for one to one study of the foundational principals of christianity. We have seen some amazing testimonies where Christians of all experience levels have benefitted from working together to draw closer to God. The Great Commission turned the world upside down in the first century and is just as relevant today. Everyday a new generation is born that needs to know the love of God. We the church will always be here to share the Good News.