Fulfilling the Great Commission

Speaker: Rev. Shine Thomas

INTRODUCTION:

Do you remember how you got introduced to Jesus? A majority of us are in faith because God used someone to show us His love, teach you us Word, and bring us to a church. The fact is that God uses people as links to bring others to Him and to His church. We too have the responsibility to show Jesus Christ and His church to the people who come in contact with us. Are we involved in sharing the gospel with others and bringing them to the church?

Today we are going to study about the Great Commission and see how we can fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.

Illustration: In the book ‘The No-Guilt Guide for Witnessing’, the author tells of a man by the name of John Currier who in 1949 was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Later he was transferred and paroled to work on a farm near Nashville, Tennessee. In 1968, John’s sentence was terminated, and a letter bearing the good news was sent to him. But John never saw the letter, nor was he told anything about it. Life on that farm was hard and without promise for the future. Yet John kept doing what he was told even after the farmer for whom he worked had died.

Ten years went by. Then a state parole officer learned about Currier’s plight, found him, and told him that his sentence had been terminated. Finally, years after the termination of parole, he was a free man. He sentence was over long back but there was no carrier of the message.

The good news of the gospel (which includes forgiveness of sin, eternal life, freedom from death, unity with God, and godly blessings) has been declared by God 2000 years ago on the Cross of Calvary. Yet, it is an irony that there are hardly any true carries of the message. Are we doing our bit to fulfill the Great Commission?

Survey says that two-thirds of the earth’s population is still unsaved. That makes it 1.6 billion people who have never heard the gospel even once. There is a tremendous urgency when it comes to carry out the Great Commission.

So what then is the Great Commission? Wikipedia states, “The Great Commission is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciples that they spread his teachings to all the nations of the world.”

Matthew 28:16-20 The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus has told us to take his message to the world, but by whose authority do we carry out the Great Commission? What right do we have to share Jesus with people? What makes our beliefs more important and unstoppable?

1. WE HAVE BEEN AUTHORIZED BY GOD.

Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Jesus gave us the authority and ability to share the gospel. Like Jesus we too can now talk about the Kingdom of God, preach, cast out demons, heal the sick, baptize, and make people His disciples. We have been authorized by our Heavenly God to find people and share the gospel.

Listen, Jesus has not only given us His authority to witness, He has given us his power to witness. Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The gift of the Holy Spirit is given to us so that we have the power to witness. Therefore we are not ordinary people; we have the authority and the power of God to witness to the lost.

Now that we have the power and the authority how can we fulfill the Great Commission?

2. GO.

Matthew 28:19-20 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

‘Go’ does not mean that that we have to prepare a class on Jesus, get ready, take the Bible and go. ‘Go’ means ‘wherever you go’ make disciples for Jesus. Our daily life takes us to so many places and most of those places have people. Jesus is telling us, “Go and tell them about me.”

Now who should go first? Is it the pastor, the elders, worship team, ushers, or the congregation? Who Jesus is telling here to go? Jesus is asking his disciples to go. The disciples were at different spiritual maturity, so who is to go out of the 12 disciples? Is it Peter, who walked on the water? It is James or John who wants to sit by Jesus’ side? Is it Andrew who goes searching out for people? It is Thomas, who put his finger into the print of the nails? Even though the disciples were of different spiritual maturity, yet He is asking all of them to go. Jesus is telling his disciples, “Go, you are all good to go share the gospel because you are operating not on your ability, you are operating on my authority and power.”

Therefore it is a mandate for all of us to go and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Go and share with people your testimony, your experiences, tell them about Jesus and bring them to church. Example: The Samaritan woman brought the whole town to Jesus. However, if you want to be a true witness for Christ we must make our identity as believers public. We cannot be a secret believer and witness at the same time.

Illustration: In a newly recruited army training camp of 15, almost everyone passed the evening time playing cards and gambling except one. This man before sleeping he fell on his knees and prayed, and the others began to curse him, tease him, and throw boots at him. It went on for some nights and finally the young man called up his pastor and asked what he should do. “Well,” said the pastor, “you are not at home now, and the other men are mocking at you. It makes them mad to hear you pray, and the Lord will hear you if you just say your prayers in bed silently and don’t let them know you are praying.”

After 2 months the pastor called the trainee and asked, “By the way, did you take my advice?” “How did it work?” “Well,” said the young man, “I felt very uncomfortable praying like that and the third night I got out of bed, knelt down and prayed.” “Well,” asked the pastor, “How did that work?” The young soldier answered: “We have a prayer meeting here now every night, three have been saved, and we are praying for the rest.”

Oh, friends, I am so tired of secret Christianity. Let us be out and out for Christ. If the world wants to call us fools, let them call. It is only a little while; reward day is coming. Jesus said in Matthew 10:32-33 32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. Let’s go and witness.

3. MAKE DISCIPLES.

Matthew 28:19-20 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

To make disciples is a command of Jesus. Now, we do not threaten people and make them disciples.

Joke: Once a barber got saved and was very jealous for God. His pastor told him to make disciples of the people who come to his barbershop. He lathered up a customer for shave, came at him with a pointer razor, and asked, “Are you prepared to meet your God?” The frightened man ran with the lather on his face!

If we have to make disciples for Jesus we have to be the disciple of Jesus first. We have to set example by being a true disciple, not only in the church but wherever we are. As a Christian it is important for us to set an example for others in our workplace, neighborhood, and marketplace.

If we are lazy and non-Christian in our attitude, that’s a poor testimony for the Lord and we cannot make disciples. So let’s check our life and be a true disciple first.

4. BAPTISM.

Matthew 28:19-20 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

Going and sharing the gospel alone is not enough, our aim must be to bring them to the obedience of the Word, and the first step of obedience to God is water baptism. How many of us have lead souls to water baptism this year?

In Acts 8 we can find Phillip witnessing to the Ethiopian Eunuch and as soon as they saw the water, he was baptized. Baptism is the public profession of our faith in Christ. So, whenever we witness to someone our prayer should be to lead them to water baptism.

5. TEACH THE WORD.

Matthew 28:19-20 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

Now, there are so many Christians out there who do not know the Word of God. To fulfill the Great Commission we need to first learn the Word and then teach the Word. Learning and teaching the word should not only be restricted to pastors, we all should be teachers and learners of the Word as well.

Paul mentored or taught Timothy. 1 Timothy 1:1-2 1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, 2 To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. Paul adopts Timothy as a son. What is remarkable is how different in age and maturity the two are, yet there is a connection.

Understand when we share the gospel we are their mentors or teachers. Our job is not over when they are baptized, we need to teach them the word, guide them and correct them in the Lord. It is our responsibility to make them the disciples of Jesus Christ.

Now, we do teach by our knowledge or ability. See what Paul says when he is teaching Timothy. 1 Timothy 1:15-1615 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners —of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Paul is telling that he is the worst of sinners and he is what he is by the grace of God. Paul says he has nothing to offer but what he teaches is the power of the gospel of God in him. Therefore, everyone here has received mercy from Jesus Christ. In the power that he has invested in us we can teach people and bring them to maturity in Christ. Let’s be involved in sharing the gospel and mentoring them.

Now the Great Commission is that we go and make disciples, lead them to baptism, and teach them the Word. So, what is our assurance when we fulfill the Great Commissions or when we bring others to Jesus Christ.? There are obligations and rewards for fulfilling the Great Commission.

a. Jesus is with us.

Matthew 28:20b And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Jesus sent his disciples with his presence to make disciples of all the nations. We are also not alone in fulfilling the Great Commission Jesus is with us always.

God’s presence means everything for us and it comes in a great way when we share the gospel. When Jesus said, ‘I will be with you,’ It means Jesus Christ will protect you, direct you, comfort you, carry on the work of grace in you, will give you power, will give you peace. All this and more is included in this precious promise ‘I will be with you.’ Now, if you want the unchanged presence of God always, you must fulfill the Great Commission.

b. We are answerable to God for the salvation of people around us.

When God punishes the wicked in the Judgment Day, we will be asked whether we shared the gospel to them or not. The wicked will be punished but we will be spared if we have shared the gospel.

Ezekiel 3:18-19 18 When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die, ’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself. God will hold us accountable.

c. God rewards soul winners.

1 Corinthians 3:6-8 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.

CONCLUSION:

Are you doing your part in fulfilling the Great Commission?
Illustration: After an ocean storm, thousands of starfish were washed ashore. A little boy was walking along the beach and throwing the fish back into the water. A man who was watching the small boy’s act commended him for his compassion but quickly said, “What you’re doing is great, but frankly, it’s not going to make much of a difference. There are thousands of fish out here on the sand.” The little boy picked up another starfish and said, “Maybe not all fish,” as he threw it back into the sea, “but it sure made a difference for that one.”

The difference one person can make often seems minuscule in comparison with the need at hand, but what you’re doing may make a big difference in the life and eternity of one person. Will you take this message of the cross to the Lost?

Teresa of Avila composed a poem ‘You are Christ’ Hands.’ She writes like this: Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours, Yours are the eyes through which to look out Christ’s compassion to the world. Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good; Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.

God is counting on every one of us to reach out to this lost work and bring them to Him. You can make a difference for the Kingdom and for people if you decide to share the gospel.