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.”
I feel like we take this passage for granted many times. Its the Great Commission, a John 3:16, a widely known passage. But I feel like we don’t quite get it (we being Christians in America). So I want to break it down a little:
- “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” is a bold declaration that Jesus is God! I don’t know about you, but I always skim right past this part. This is loaded! Jesus is LORD over heaven and earth. No human could ever hope to attain that (unless you believe in Mormonism where each of us supposedly will become gods and rule over our own planet). Jesus is basically saying that HE IS GOD! He is the Christ, the ruler of the universe, the Son of God.
- The next part “Therefore…Holy Spirit” is the best known part. Most Christians would say that this is the Great Commission right here in four words “go and make disciples”. Yet, we take this part for granted every day. I would say that at least 75% (probably more) of Christians don’t even share their faith every week (myself included). And this is supposed to be “what Christians are supposed to do”.*
- The third part “and teaching…you.” is what I consider part of the Gospel. This is a part that I think is skipped over too much. I believe that the Gospel message needs to be preached to non-believers AND believers. That is the Great Commission. We generally focus on the lost, but we need to just as much if not more focus on the saved so that they may share the good news with the lost. This part is often lost in the message.
- And finally Jesus gives a promise to us. He knows many of us will be persecuted for following His instructions. This last line is a wonderful promise that He will help us say the right words to the lost and will give us the right words to teach the saved. PRAISE GOD!!
*Keep in mind I’m referring to American Christians, not necessarily global Christians (although if you feel convicted then you probably count too!)
I had a thought about the end times. If the world must get worse in order for Christ to come, then Christians across the world will have to be in strict governments. The world is constantly getting more evil; however, some generations are cleansed by the grace of God. This resets the cycle so to speak. Not that a revival can’t happen in a closed government setting, but it is a lot easier for a Christian to have impact over a group when he is free to do so, and/or can impact people at a higher level. The past 1800 years have been just that. Christians have been leaders of countries. Many countries have allowed Christians to spread the Gospel freely. However, those freedoms are being taken and we are giving them away. In many African and Asian countries, it is illegal to be a Christian or to share your faith. These Christians can impact some, but do not have authority in their countries. In Europe and America, Christians have been free to live out their faith. But we are quickly losing our privileges. We are complacent to what is going on around us. We have the freedom to hold positions that can impact large numbers, but we are slowly giving those up. However, I think that a lull in the spiritual realm for Christians has to happen for the end times to come. If we were using our freedoms I think we would “postpone” judgement day. But we are not and soon the entire world will not be impacted by Christians on a high level. We will not get newsletters telling about missionaries. All we will have is the hope that in 1 Peter 5:9, “you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” Now you may at this point say, “yay”, end times are coming. Well, we should not be complacent like many of our Christian brethren. God makes it clear that we are accountable to him for the choices we make that affect society. And how great would it be to delay Judgement day my cleansing a whole generation! Whether or not the end times are right around the corner, I think that Christians across the globe will have to lose their political authority and their freedoms. This may happen easily if Christians give these freedoms up themselves.
Profound thought. I think it is easy to get caught up in the average understanding. But I think really that that average thought is really only the gospel message. Don’t get me wrong, the gospel is the immediate need and very important! However, as Platt assesses, there is more to biblical Christianity than just the gospel. It is a Christian’s duty to spill over and give generously all that God has given him/her. So because God loves a Christian, the Christian should love others as he/she loves him/herself. Because God cleans a Christian of his/her sins, His cleansing makes it possible for the Christian to do good. Therefore, God shared it, a Christian should share it (in a way that is loving). God is great and amazingly glorious and has shown it to the Christian. A Christian should tell others of this amazing God.
I would say that ‘The message of Christianity is that God loves me enough to send his Son, Jesus, to die for me.’ is the gospel message, and God loves me so that I might make him–his ways, his salvation, his glory, and his greatness–known among all nations.” is the biblical message that incorporates the gospel.
I am excited to go on a mission trip to Belize! For those who are interested, here is my itinerary:
Thursday: 3am-4pm travel to Belize. 7pm Welcoming Service at church.
Friday: 9am-12pm Service Project, 1pm-3pm visit stores, 4pm-6pm Sports ministry, 7pm-9pm Youth ministry.
Saturday: (same as day before except for following) 1pm-4pm Home Visits
Sunday: 9am-12pm Sunday school and church, 1pm-6pm Mayan ruins tour, 7pm-9pm church
Monday afternoon ( up till 3pm same as Friday): 4pm-5pm VBS, 6-7pm Sports ministry
Tuesday:(everything same as Monday except following) 1pm-4pm Home Visits
Wednesday: (same as previous except following) 1pm-4pm freetime
Thursday: (same as Monday except following) 1pm-4pm Home Visits, 7pm-9pm packing to leave
Friday: day on the beach (snorkeling, shopping, relaxing, etc.)
Saturday: fly home