The Great Commandment

Matthew chapter twenty-eight verses eighteen through twenty, Mark chapter sixteen verse fifteen, Luke chapter twenty-four verse forty-six and John chapter twenty verse twenty-one comprise what is commonly known as the Great Commission.  Compiled together, our Lord said to His disciples, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you to into all the world to teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.  And ye are witnesses of these things.”

The book of Acts records the continuing work of Christ through His disciples as they did just what their Lord had asked of them- they went everywhere preaching Christ and Him crucified.  In our day, however, we have omitted the commission in favor of viewing it as the work of a few.  Few church members are really involved in the work of evangelism.  What has skewed our view?

In Acts chapter one, Luke writes again to Theophilus to report of the continuing work of the local church.  He says, “The former treatise (The gospel according to Luke; Luke 1:1-4) have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen.”

As I pursued this text in study last week, the word “commandment” made great impact.  Was it a Divine commission given them?  Yes!  However, the Scripture, here, has the word “commandment.”  Clearly, this commission was not something designed for a few, where few were called and few sanctified toward this purpose: it was Christ’s command for His church.

In our hearts and lives, may we see the command of Christ to be involved in the work of evangelism, church planting, faith promise giving, and going with the gospel as Christ’s command to us.  May we see the scheduled times of soulwinning through our local church as Christ’s command to go.  May we see the supporting of missions through faith promise as Christ’s command to give.  May we see the work of the missionary as Christ’s command to “pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest” to both bless those in the harvest and send others to the same.

Pioneer missionary David Livingstone said, “If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?”  Our commission is nothing less a command from the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

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