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 possibility of being “brought back in a box,” dead!” Then I asked: “Why are you going?” His immediate, simple reply: “I’ve been deployed by my commander-in-chief, I’m Under Orders!”
Consider the Global Church’s Grave Omission (Matt. 28:18-20). This is not a “good suggestion” but what the Church calls her “Great Commission!” It was given by our Commander-in-Chief, YHWH Sabboath the Lord Jesus! With all our social networks and sophisticated gadgets we’ve failed to do the one task our Lord mandated! It is the only verb and an imperative in this passage. The Church has ignored, neglected and not prioritized her singular task to “Go, make disciples!
The Church is not a “Members Only” club! 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: 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, making disciples of Jesus here, there and everywhere!
An unexamined life is not worth living! In our secular business world, it’s all about goal setting, ROI (Return On Investment) and assessments measuring progress! In the same way, the Church must ask, “how are we advancing the Gospel? If so, how exactly do we measure our progress?!”
We must go to our Commander-in-Chief’s standard to find out if the job is done! Jesus’ charge was backed by a stunning statement: “This Gospel must be preached to the whole world to ‘all nations’ then the end will come!” (Matt. 24:14) His commission was not given to the resourceful church in the West, 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” the Great Commission becomes the responsibility of every believer from within each local church!
As joint-heirs and co-laborers with Jesus 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 only know “Jesus” as a swear word! Yet there are places where people can’t take the name of our Lord in vain! Do you know why? They have never heard “Jesus” mentioned once! Today over 28% of the world don’t know Jesus or what He has done for them. Only 2.5% of all missionaries care to target this 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 and universal nature of sharing the Gospel. It is the debt we owe unbelievers and binding upon all believers to ‘Go, make’ not fans, converts or devotees but ‘disciples’. We gather locally; we go globally! What is the crux of the problem of not expediting this task? My “moment of truth” came as a theology professor when enlightened by what I’m convinced are the “two forgotten words” in Jesus’ mandate (v.20): not merely teach but “to do” i.e. demonstrate through life this commission at work, so it’s caught not just taught!
The local church was made for global missions and from the Great Commission, this process 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 believers to do ‘all’ what Jesus commanded so, start why not begin with this one – to go make disciples! (4) Realize: disciples must be convinced that they were born to go and reproduce themselves. This is the precise context in which Christ’s promise “Lo, I AM with you” makes sense! Hence the vital step without which the Church cannot fulfill her mandate is: (#5) Mobilize: to equip and empower disciples to reproduce their own kind in the most natural, healthy and effective ways possible! So the bottom line?.. Nike – ‘Just Do It!’
Think about this: 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 Neighborhoods but don’t stop there! We are responsible to take this saving power of the Gospel of Christ to all Nations! 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: Love for God who in Christ loved me and gave himself for me. Obedience to my Lord and master’s command; Jesus said it and that settles it for me whether people believe it or not! Love and Obedience always go together! I have no greater lasting Joy than to be a part of seeking and saving the lost. At the end of the day, when Jesus returns, that is what will bring Him glory and what “Church” must be all about! Let’s Dare, “Go, Make Disciples!”