Then Jesus came to them and said, “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 NIV
The commandment to love is intertwined in every area of a Christian’s faith. We are commanded to love God, love our neighbor and, as we read in Matthew 28, to love enough to go and tell others. What we are not commanded to do is tell and leave.
Matthew 28 sets forth clear expectations for the Christian in these words:
Go—a verb meaning to come, go, travel, live, accompany
Make disciples—a verb meaning to teach, instruct
All—the whole, everything, everyone
Baptizing—a verb meaning to wash (to dip in)
Teaching—a verb meaning to instruct, “to provide information in a manner intended to produce understanding”
In order to fulfill the Great Commission, we cannot go forth with a hit and run gospel (Dr. Akin). The command of Christ is saturated with verbs—action words that leave no room for doubt about what we are being told to do.
Some are called by God to leave everything and everyone behind, go to a place where people have never experienced the Word of God, and spend a lifetime reaching nations with the Gospel of Christ. Some are called to tell the good news across the landscape of their homeland and some are called to make disciples of their neighbors and community members.
But, all are called! When we surrender our life to Christ, we no longer belong to ourself. Through the blood of Christ, we are connected to every Christian around the world. Because we cannot personally go everywhere and do everything commanded in the Great Commission, we bind ourselves together and support each other in our efforts to tell the world about God’s Redemption Plan.
If we truly want to see the fulfillment of the Great Commission, we must work together. We can go where God sends us, pray for those who go where we cannot, and financially support the ministry of the work of the Gospel around the world. Sometimes we must do it afraid, but we must do it! Sometimes we must do it in the midst of a change in tradition—the way it has always been done. Sometimes we must love the unlovely!
The important thing remains that we go and tell and linger to make disciples, teach the Word of God in a way that produces understanding and will allow the truth to be told to the next generation. As I heard Dr. Daniel Akin say, “The Great Commission is not an option to be considered but a command to be obeyed.”
We must go, we must tell, we must teach, we must take the Gospel—the good news—to every nation. We must do it now because: “The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.” (Carl F.H. Henry)