We all know the Great Commission, right? Go and preach the Gospel. Well, no, not quite. Although that might be the answer you will hear ... or even think. No, Jesus said something a little different.
"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)
What's my point? Didn't that just say we were supposed to preach the Gospel? Well, yes ... and no.
I included the entire statement because the entire statement is significant. So, first, the premise (because in the famous "Great Commission" you will find the word "therefore" which indicates there is a reason for which we are to comply). All authority has been given to Christ. All authority. Authority in heaven and authority on earth. Christ is the ultimate authority. Therefore ...
After the command, we get a secondary statement. "Lo, I am with you always." So, because He is the ultimate authority and 1) has the right to make the command and 2) the authority to assist you in carrying it out, do what He says. And, oh, by the way, you will not be doing it alone. He will be with you.
All well and good. Do what? "Preach the Gospel." No. That's not what it says. "Make disciples of all the nations." Not the same thing. Oh, sure, the very first step of making a disciple is preaching the Gospel, but that's only the beginning. It's like saying, "You told me to go to the store, so I obeyed and started the car." No, you started to obey. There's more. How much more? "Make disciples." More. "Baptize them." More. "Teach them to obey." In other words,a lot more.
This isn't a "street corner" thing. It isn't a "door to door with a tract" thing. It isn't even a "crusade" thing. It is a lifelong commitment on the part of every single Christian who intends to obey Christ (remember, the ultimate authority) to be constantly preaching the Gospel, making disciples, baptizing, and teaching. It's a large function. And, oh, by the way, it is for everyone. "Well, look," someone might say, "how about if I preach the Gospel and someone else baptizes them and someone else--oh, maybe lots of others--teach them? How's that? Gets me off the hook." Nice sounding, I guess, but it isn't in keeping with the Commission Christ gave you. Surely, lots of people must preach the Gospel and lots of people must baptize and lots of people must teach them to obey (because, after all, He said "observe all that I have commanded"), but the command is to each of us.
Now, I understand. This is just me talking here. You may not see it that way. That's fine. I only want to ask this. The text says what it says. Jesus commanded what He commanded for the reasons He gave. So, what are you doing about it? Are you following the Great Commission He gave? That's the important question. The question isn't "Are they hearing the Gospel?" or "Are they being taught?" The question I'm asking is what are you doing to obey? Because "I didn't feel qualified to disciple someone" in response to "All authority has been given to Me and I will be with you" doesn't seem like a winning response. Of course, I don't need an answer. You'll have to give Him that answer.
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