Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What's Right About The Great Commission

Unlike all other religions, Christianity is not about simply learning doctrine and rules, then passing what is learned from generation to generation. Each follower of Christ is obligated to become vitally involved in carrying out the Great Commission directly or indirectly to everyone in the entire world. When the church gets the Great Commission right, it can impact the world.*

Oswald J. Smith, the great Canadian pastor, author, and missions advocate, founded The People's Church in Toronto in 1928. Smith was considered too frail to be a missionary so he made a commitment: "If I can't go myself, I will send someone else." While leading his expanding congregation in a program supporting over 500 workers worldwide, Smith was instrumental in challenging others to follow his example. Over the course of eighty years he preached more than 12,000 sermons in 80 countries, wrote thirty-five books (with translations into 128 languages), as well as 1,200 poems, of which 100 have been set to music. He is quoted as saying - " No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once," and, "We talk of the Second Coming; half of the world has never heard of the first."

Nate Saint and four other young men gave their lives in the jungles of Ecuador, South America in 1956 (chronicled in the book Gates of Splendor) while trying to reach the Huaorani (Auca) indians of this region. The Ecuadorian government has planned on exterminating them, because of their vicious fierce actions to other tribes in the region. Nate's sister Rachel and some other women took up the call and went back and eventually led these people into a relationship with Christ. Why would these young people dedicate and give their lives to reach this group of savage people? Because Jesus commanded His followers to share the good news (gospel) with every person (Mark 16:15).

Rachel took Steve, Nate and Rachel's young son with her. He spent his life transforming the pagan Auca culture into one with CHristian values? Because Jesus commanded us to do this - Matthew 28:20. In the Great Commission, the only command is "make disciples." The word go is actually a participle that can be translated, "as you are going." Jesus commanded us to make disciples while we are going about the routines of our daily lives. Then we are to see them baptized and instructed in all that He has taught us.

Today, consider all the people that you come into contact with (your "as you are going") and whether you are seeking to fulfill the command of Christ (make disciples). How many could we impact, if we would just do as Christ has called us to do.

* Towns, Elmer L. (2009) What's Right with the Church: A manifesto of Hope. Regal/Ventura CA. p182

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