“Christians are not left in the world by accident but are placed there on divine assignment from their Lord.” – John MacArthur
All Christians are on a mission. The world is our parish, The world is our field, and the fields are ripe for harvest.
Every encounter with another human being is a divine appointment by God’s sovereign hand. There are no accidents with providence. There is no randomness. There is only a perfect ordering of steps. Every human you encounter is one made in the image of God, and potentially one elected by God unto salvation. We have no way of knowing if the person standing before us will receive Christ, which is why it is our duty to share the good news with them. It may be news to you, that you are called to share the good news, so let this serve as a great reminder that you have been called to the great commission.
What is our mission?
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore 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 that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20
Our mission is to:
Go is the first step of this process. It isn’t so much talking about packing up and leaving, but being active on this mission. I would say, be faithful where you are, and go from there. In other words, don’t think about going overseas, and attempting to evangelize, if you are not faithful to the great commission in your immediate sphere of influence. If you’re married, do not think about discipling anyone if you are not committed to discipling your wife. If you have children, do not think you are going to go set the world on fire, with out your children being on fire for the Lord. Therefore, that is why I say, be faithful where you are, and go from there.
2. Make disciples of all nations:
This imperative means to call people to surrender to Christ’s Lordship, regardless of ethnicity, religious background, etc. There is only one true religion, that is Christ crucified. We are to call Buddhists, Hindus, Mormons, and all other false-religions to repentance and faith. There is no other way, there will be no other atonement for sins, therefore there is no other path to the Righteous God of the Universe. Jesus is Lord of all, and Christians are those who have surrendered their lives to the Master, and continue to surrender their lives to the Master. We are to call people to repentance from dead works, and a submission to the risen King. This is done by the power of the gospel.
3. Baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:
We are calling people to repentance not only in their individual lives, but we are calling people to make public professions. You will not sneak into the Kingdom of Heaven. If you are a Christian, others will know. Baptism is a wonderful outward expression of an inward reality. That the one being baptized is professing that they have been regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit. That their dead heart has been brought to life by grace, and they want to follow Jesus all their days. The great commission isn’t a call to get people to make secret professions, but public declarations that they have surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus. One way to make this public profession is through baptism in the local church.
4. Teaching them to observe all that Jesus commands in His Word:
This is a call to teach new believers, and remind old believers, that the Christian faith is an ongoing process. That our profession of faith is not the finish line, but the starting line. You make a profession, get baptized, then you spend the rest of your life, by the power of the Spirit, conforming your life to the teachings of God’s word. You seek to grow in your obedience daily. Testing yourself to see whether or not you are in the faith. That’s why the Apostle Paul says, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” – 2 Cor. 13:5.
The Christian life is one of continued obedience, growth, progressive victory over sin, and perseverance to the end.
These great commission commands are sandwiched between two powerful, evangelism-fueling truths about the risen Lord Jesus. He says in verse 18, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” In other words, He is absolutely Sovereign over all. Everything is subject to Him, and he is subject to no one. He does not have to ask permission, and all things in heaven, and in this world have to ask permission from Him. He is the ultimate decision maker over everything. Nothing can stop His plan, no one can stop His plan, and this should be the gas that fuels our evangelism. This shifts the focus off of our ability, to His Sovereign strength.
Then He ends this passage with another mighty truth about Himself. He says, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” In other words He is omnipresent. You are not alone for a second. If you are a missionary in the most dangerous mission field in the world, you are not alone. If you are attempting to evangelize someone at the grocery store, you are not alone. Not for a moment does evangelizing fully depend on you and your power or ability. He is with you, helping you. He was with them then, He has been with every Christian in church history, and He will be with us to the end of the age.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Paul Washer on missions:
“Missions is very simple, you are either called to go down into the well, or you are called to hold the rope for those who go down. Either way there should be scars on your hands.”