Sitting at the Bangor airport in Maine beside a US soldier in uniform, I enquired how he felt leaving his family and the familiar to go to war. I asked him how he felt, as he put it, about the probability of being ‘brought back in a box’ – dead! Then I asked: “Why are you going?” I’ll never forget his simple, instant reply: “I’ve been deployed by my commander-in-chief, I’m ‘Under Orders’!”
Consider the Global Church’s Grave Omission (Mt. 28:18-20). This was not a “good suggestion” but the Church’s “Great Commission!” It was issued by our Commander-in-Chief, YHWH Sabboath – the Lord of angel armies! With all our social networks and sophisticated gadgets we’ve failed to do the one task our Lord mandated! It is the only imperative verb in the passage. The Church has ignored, neglected and not prioritized her singular task to “Go, make disciples”!
The Church is not a “Members Only” club! Not a hotel for saint but a hospital for sinners! It is the only organization that expressly exists for its non-members. God forbid we are surviving on “Maintenance Mode!” Like fire exists for burning the Church exists for Missions! (Latin missio = sent) As the Father sent Jesus, so we are sent by Jesus! (Jn. 20:21) The Church, like her Master, must show sacrificial love and be on-the-move. We are “sent” to seek and save the lost at any cost, while we can! We too must recognize we are “under orders” going about our Father’s business, multiplying disciples of Jesus here, there and everywhere!
An unexamined life is not worth living! Our secular business world is all about goal setting, ROI (return on investment), assessments,.. that measure progress! The Church must ask, “how are we advancing the Gospel? If so, how exactly do we measure our progress?!” An unexamined commission remains incomplete!
Our Commander-in-Chief set the criteria or standard that determines when the job is done! Jesus’ charge was backed by a stunning statement: “This Gospel of the kingdom must be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to ‘all nations,’ and then the end will come!” (Matt. 24:14) His commission was not given only to the resourceful church in the West, or the suffering churches in the East or enterprising churches in the developing world. Jesus expected “the whole church to take the whole Gospel to the whole world!” This our Great Commission becomes the responsibility of every believer from within each local church!
As joint-heirs and co-laborers with Jesus, next we must ask, why is our job not yet done? Our mission remains the “Unfinished Task” of Christ’s body! Did you know, in our post-modern world, some know “Jesus” only as a swear word! Yet there are places where people can not even take the name of our Lord in vain! Do you know why? They have never heard the name “Jesus” mentioned once! Today over 28% of the world don’t know Jesus – who he is or what He has done for them. Sadly, only 2.5% of all our missionaries care to target this “unreached” segment! The job not done, how dare we say “Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus!”
This begs a question, with all our resources and technology, why is this job pending? Christians realize the ‘all’ inclusive, comprehensive, universal nature and need to share the Gospel. It is the debt we owe unbelievers. It is binding upon all believers to ‘Go, make’ not fans or converts or devotees but ‘disciples’. While we have not forsaking gathering locally; we have forsaking going globally! Where have we failed in expediting our task? My “moment of truth” was when as a theology professor I discovered the “two forgotten words” of single syllabus in Jesus’ mandate (v.20). Note we are not merely teach but “to do” i.e. demonstrate through life how this commission works! It’s meant to be caught, not just taught!
The local church was Made4Missions and observe how the Great Commission clearly entails five – not four – definite steps: (1) Evangelize: Go, clearly yet lovingly present the Gospel (2) Baptize: those who repent and trust Jesus as Lord and Savior include (via immersion) into a community of faith (3) Stabilize: teach these believers to do ‘all’ what Jesus commanded obviously we must start with this one – to “Go make disciples!” (4) Realize: disciples must be convinced they were “born to reproduce” themselves. This is the precise context in which Christ’s promise “Lo, I AM with you” makes sense! Hence the key link vital and final step without which the Church cannot fulfill her mandate is: (#5) Mobilize: to equip and empower local disciples to reproduce their own kind in the most natural, healthy, effective ways possible! So the bottom line? Nike, Just Do It!
Did you know: Christianity is only one generation away from extinction! We must pass it on to the next, yet equally move from the Church’s Nave to our Neighborhood but don’t stop there! We are responsible to take this saving power of the Gospel of Christ to all Nations! This literally means unreached People Groups! The best use of our life is to invest it in something that outlasts this life!
I have three main motives to be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission: (1)Love for God who, in Christ, loved me and gave Himself for me. (2) Obedience to my Commander-in-Chief, the master of my life! Jesus said it and that for me settles it, whether people believe it or not! Love and Obedience always go together! (3) I have no greater Joy than to be a part of seeking and saving the lost. “Doing Missions” is the most thoughtful, fruitful and joyful activity that truly last forever! When Jesus returns, that is what will bring Him all the glory and that’s what “Church” must be all about! Let’s Dare, “Go, Make Disciples!”