The Great Commission :: by Mark Susswein

Last week, in the few minutes we spent on the Lord’s command concerning the Great Commission, we went over allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us. He doesn’t just equip us; He equips us with what we need to carry out the Father’s will or what we’ve been commanded to do.

Also, it’s about building relationships. Once people know we care about them, they may surprise us and share what beliefs or philosophies they have. Once we know more about them, it just may lead to earning the right to ask the right questions pertaining to their personal situation. And, last but not least, we are to go out.

It’s nice to invite people into the church, but Jesus did not say, ‘bring them in to make disciples.’ What He did say was, “Go therefore and make disciples.” We are to go out.

The Book of Matthew more than likely comes to mind whenever the subject of the Great Commission comes up. That familiar scripture is found in Matthew 28:16-20.

“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 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.’”

Jesus also spoke of it in the Books of Mark, Luke and John with a different twist or variation on this very subject.

In each account, it was after Jesus’ resurrection when He gave the disciples specific instructions. He gives the commands of: Go. Teach. Baptize. Forgive. And, make disciples. Let’s take a look at those scriptures. First, Mark 16:15-18.

“And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe (faithless to the One True God) will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.’”

Unless I’m missing something, those who have their faith in Jesus, as we do, we can and should expect God’s power through the Holy Spirit to work through them.

Unfortunately, we in the Western world for the past few hundred years have been told through unbiblical teachings not to believe in the supernatural. This verse we read from Mark has been taken out of context to fit an agenda. That is a whole other study, so we’ll leave it right there for now. Let’s stay on point and move to Luke 24:44-49.

“Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.’”

In this passage, what really stands out is that, without a doubt, the Holy Spirit gives us the power for being His witness to the lost.

Now, here’s John 20:19-23.

“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.’”

Here we have the first Messianic believers behind locked doors in fear of the religious Jews – the Pharisees and Sadducees. The fear to witness about who Jesus was and what He did on a brutal cross in order to save the world from the wrath of God was overwhelming. They saw it all.

When it comes to witnessing to that unbelieving Jew or Gentile, we allow fear to drive us. Without question, it would be much easier and way more comfortable to sit behind closed doors instead of ‘going out and making disciples’ as we are commanded to. After all, we’ll be mocked and scoffed at for proclaiming what we know and believe—that Jesus is the absolute truth, the only way and the everlasting life.

This is indeed spiritual warfare, and we have been equipped with the armor of God which includes the shield of faith, plus, the Holy Spirit is leading the way for each of us as we engage in this battle.

And, one last point:

We have been redeemed in order to be useful in His kingdom, and we can certainly do that in our obedience to the command of the Great Commission. Amen and Amen.