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 of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. – Matthew 28:18-20
What is the message to us as a church in the GREAT COMMISSION? Three things:
1. We are to focus on the AUTHORITY of Christ
First, he is at the right hand of God.
“All authority is given me” (v.18).
He is not merely ‘in heaven looking down.’ Rather, he is now in a position to exercise power in the world and history. He is spreading his kingdom-authority in the world through the ministry of the church.
God is at work in the world, and He wants you to join Him. This assignment is called your mission, and it is different from your ministry. Your ministry is your service to believers in the Body of Christ, while your mission is your service to unbelievers in the world. God created you for both.
Your life mission is both shared and specific. One part of it is a responsibility you share with every other Christian, and the other part is an assignment that is unique to you.
Our English word "mission" comes from the Latin word for "sending." Being a Christian includes being sent into the world as a representative of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."
Jesus clearly understood his life mission on earth. At age 12 he said, "I must be about my fathers business," and 21 years later, dying on the cross, he said, "It is finished." Like bookends, these two statements frame a well-lived, purpose-driven life. He completed the mission the Father gave him and all authority has been given to him and so we are to submit to that authority and fulfill his mission.
Jesus, our authority, said:
"Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you."
This Great Commission was not given to pastors but to every follower of Jesus.
Note that these words are not the Great Suggestion. Your mission is mandatory, not optional, if you are a part of Gods family. Jesus said, "Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God."
You may have been unaware that God holds you responsible for the unbelievers that live around you. The Bible says, "... you must warn them so they may live. If you don't speak out to warn the wicked to stop their evil ways, they will die in their sin. But I will hold you responsible for their death." You are the only Christian some people will ever know and your mission is to share Jesus with them.
Although it is a profound responsibility, it is also an incredible honor to be used by God. Paul said, "God has given us the privilege of urging everyone to come into his favor and be reconciled to him." Your mission involves two great privileges: working with God and representing him. We get to partner with God in the building of his kingdom. Paul calls us "co-laborers" and says, "We are workers together with God."
Jesus secures our salvation, puts us in his family, gives us his Spirit, and then makes us his agents in the world. The Bible says, "We're Christ's representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them. We're speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he's already a friend with
2. We are to focus on the GOSPEL of Christ
Second, he is in the ministry of the gospel. “Go and make disciples” (v.19). As the gospel is preached, it changes men and women into disciples. This life-changing ministry is intimately connected to the risen Christ. (All authority is given me, therefore go…)
In Ephesians 2:17 Paul goes so far as to say to the Ephesians that
“Christ came and preached...to you” (Eph 2:17)
though the physical incarnate Christ never went to Asia Minor. Paul means that in the preaching of the gospel, Jesus comes to us.
The word GOSPEL means evangelon or “good news”. It was an old term meaning the very best life changing news you could imagine.
This is why we must be urgent about our mission. Jesus said, "All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, because there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end."
The clock is ticking down on your life mission, so don't delay another day. Get started on your mission of reaching out to others now! Well have all of eternity to celebrate with those weve brought to Jesus, but we only have our lifetime in which to reach them.
Your Mission Gives Your Life Meaning
William James once said,
"The best use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it." (William James)
“He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to keep that which he cannot lose”. Jim Elliott
The truth is, only the Kingdom of God is going to last. Everything else will eventually vanish. Knowing that, why would you give anything else a higher priority?
Paul said, "My life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus the work of telling others the Good News about God's wonderful kindness and love." If you fail your mission, you've wasted the life God gave you. On the other hand, if just one person will be in heaven because of you, your life cannot be considered a failure.
You weren't placed on earth to do nothing or just live for yourself. God invites you to participate in what he's doing in the world. Whenever you see God at work, its an invitation to join him.
Gods timetable for history's conclusion is connected to the completion of the commission we've been given.
Today, theres a growing interest in the second coming of Christ and the end of the world. When will it happen? Right before Jesus ascended to heaven the disciples asked Jesus this question, and his response was quite revealing.
He said, "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
When the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus quickly switched the conversation to evangelism! He wanted them to concentrate on their mission in the world. Jesus said, "The details of my return are none of your business. What is your business is the mission Ive given you. Focus on that!"
3. We are to focus on the COMMUNITY of Christ
Third, he is in the community of his people. “Surely I am with you.” (v.20). When the risen Christ says, “I am with you”he uses a second-person plural. The risen Christ is with ‘you-all.’ This is not promise to the individual Christian, but to the community of believers. In Luke 24, the disciples on the road to Emmaus only discerned Christ ‘in the breaking of the bread.’ Luke is probably drawing a reference to the Lord’s Supper. In the corporate worship of the church, Christ comes into focus. In the ministry of Christians to one another, loving, serving, confronting, comforting one another, using the spiritual gifts from the hand of the risen Christ—we experience his presence.
Lastly, he is waiting for us at the end of history. “I am with you...to the very end of the age” (v.20). The old KJV translation says, “I am with you unto the end of the world.” To the English reader that may seem to have a spatial reference; (i.e. “I’ll be with you no matter where you go in the world,”) but actually the word has to do with time. Jesus is thus promising to be the ‘happy ending’ of the world’s history and our personal history. Christians move out into a violent world as agents of peace, into a broken world as agents of reconciliation, into a needy world as servants of the poor. We do so knowing that it is God’s will to eventually end all war and division, all poverty and injustice. The resurrection of Christ assures us that God will redeem not just souls but bodies, and will bring about a new heavens and new earth. As the risen Christ, he stands not just with us in our present time, but he waits at the end of history to heal and renew everything. That is his promise. Therefore, we will not fear.
How do we do this together? Our church is on mission in major, impactful ways.
We have 15 different teams in all parts of the world.
We are supporting Mark and Ann Hall in Cambodia, Tommy and Kendra Crabtree in Ethiopia, Tyler and Bethany Van Riper in North Africa, Ben Buchannan, one of our young singles went on a mission trip to Armenia last year and now he is there as a missionary. There are many more examples. IN addition to our world missions, we are supporting orphans here at home and globally through our Karis ministry that encourages, adoption, foster care and other DHS partnerships like Care Portal and the House of Healing started by our church members Neil and Kathy
But our missions efforts don’t stop there, we are helping to plant churches like Living Stone church in Denver and BridgePoint Church at the West Tenth campus. In adding we are helping to train thousands of pastors around the world throug the Global Action ministry.
Our community groups are on mission in our communities and globally as well. Here are suggestions for how you can get plugged in:
Go on a trip this year. Get involved in a community group and plan something great.
Jesus said, "More than anything else, put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well." The secret of being blessed by God is to participate in his agenda for the world - to be a part of what he is accomplishing on earth.
Instead of praying, "God bless what I want to do" pray "God help me to do what youre blessing!" Each morning pray "Father, I know youre going to doing some amazing things in the world today, and Id like the privilege of being included in some of them."
Fulfilling the mission you were made for will require you to abandon your agenda and adjust to Gods agenda. David prayed, "Turn me away from wanting any other plan than yours." Your mission begins the moment you say "yes" to God in obedience, faith, and love.
Can you think of any valid reason to prevent you from making that commitment? The Bible says, "Give yourselves completely to God--every part of you--for you are back from death and you want to be tools in the hands of God, to be used for his good purposes." Why dont you pause and commit yourself to this purpose for your life right now?
- What does it mean for my life to be on mission?
- Why is it important to see the authority of Christ in my life?
- What does the Great Commission say that I should do with my life?
- Why is it important to participate in the great commission with others?