The Great Commission is not an Option

Impact Initiatives pastors praying for South Asian tribal woman.

Author: Pastor Guillermo Novoa

Guillermo Novoa is a life long friend to Impact Initiatives founder, Roberto Chavez, and pastor and friend of Impact Initiatives President, Steve Cervera. Guillermo serves as a consultant to Impact Initiatives.

Introduction

At the heart of the redeeming message of Jesus Christ lies a calling that resonates through the centuries, transcending eras and cultures: The Great Commission. This mandate, recorded in the Gospel according to Matthew 28:18-20, was not just a specific charge for Jesus’ disciples two thousand years ago but remains an imperative call for the Church today. In a world convulsed by darkness and sin, the task of making disciples emerges as a living light that dispels shadows. In this article, we will explore the importance of The Great Commission and its direct connection to the task of making disciples in the dispensation of grace, the final phase of the Church of Jesus Christ.

The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20

The mandate of The Great Commission is not a suggestion but a divine order given by Jesus Himself. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus tells His disciples, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 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, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” These words encapsulate the essence of the church’s task: to go, make disciples, baptize, and teach.

Connection with the Dispensation of Grace

We live in a unique era in the history of redemption: the dispensation of grace. This period, characterized by the special manifestation of God’s love and mercy through Jesus Christ, demands a comprehensive response from the church. In the dispensation of grace, The Great Commission stands as the divine tool to proclaim the good news of salvation to a lost and dying world. It is a call to be ambassadors of the Kingdom of God in the midst of darkness and sin.

Comprehensive Commitment

Obedience to The Great Commission cannot be superficial or occasional. Jesus did not say, “Consider the possibility of going,” but “Go and make disciples.” This mandate requires a comprehensive commitment from the church, from leadership to every member. Making disciples involves more than merely increasing the number of believers; it entails guiding others into a deep relationship with Christ, teaching them to obey His commandments, and live according to His Word.

Additional Bible Verses

The Great Commission is not an isolated concept in Scripture. Other Bible passages reinforce this imperative call. For example, in Mark 16:15, Jesus says, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Additionally, Acts 1:8 highlights the power of the Holy Spirit to be witnesses of Jesus throughout the world.

Proclamation and sharing the gospel are our responsibility. It has been given to us. Each Gospel in the New Testament ends with a version of the Great Commission. The resurrected Lord Jesus gives it to His disciples and implicitly to us. Mark 16:15-16 states that the mandate is to preach the gospel to all creation. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Luke 24:47-48 reveals an important prophecy of Jesus: “…and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem,” with an assertion that acts as a command: “And you are witnesses of these things.”

Historical Testimonies

The history of Christian mission is marked by brave men and women who obeyed The Great Commission. Among them is Hudson Taylor, a pioneering missionary in China. His life exemplifies total dedication to the call of making disciples, regardless of challenges and difficulties.

It was Taylor who said, “The great commission is not an option to be considered but a command to be obeyed.” These were his words, and his enthusiasm for spreading the message of salvation reflected this conviction. Taylor was known for his sensitivity to the lost and zeal for evangelization. No other missionary in the nineteen centuries since the apostle Paul has had a broader vision and carried out a more systematic plan of evangelizing a wide geographical area than Hudson Taylor.

Conclusion

The Great Commission is not just a pious suggestion but a divine mandate that defines the identity and mission of the church in the dispensation of grace. In a world convulsed in darkness and sin, the church must embrace this call with comprehensive commitment, being ambassadors and witnesses of the Kingdom of God. In doing so, we fulfill God’s eternal purpose of reconciling humanity to Himself through Jesus Christ. May this call resonate in our hearts and guide our actions as we move forward in the crucial task of making disciples in all nations.

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