The Great Commission Starts With Go
Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:18-20 is known as the Great Commission. Many people in churches these days treat this as a request by Jesus. Jesus is not asking us to do it. It is clearly a command given by Jesus. And it is not just for pastors, missionaries, and leaders in the church. Jesus is clearly giving this command to all of His followers and disciples.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” – Matthew 28:18-20
Jesus Said “Follow Me…”
Another command of Jesus that is tied to the Great Commission is found in Matthew 4:19. Once again this command is also for all of His followers and disciples. Not just pastors or missionaries. And not just for a select few who have the “spiritual gift” for this type of ministry.
“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19
As proof that these commands are for everyone in the church, read Acts 8:1-4. You will see that in these verses the regular people of the church were scattered because of persecution. The apostles, which were the pastors and leaders of the church, stayed in Jerusalem. Everyone else, the regular people of the church were scattered. And verse 4 shows that all the regular people of the church that were scattered preached the Gospel everywhere they went.
The Great Commission Starts With “Go”
The meaning of the original Greek word in Matthew 28:19 translated “go” in the English language means “as you are going”.
You are to obey this command as you are going in your daily life. As you are going at work. As you are going at school. And as you are going to church. And as your are going at the mall, at the restaurant, at the bank… When you are with family. When you are with friends. And when you are talking to neighbors, or people you meet for the first time.
“Go” Means To Reach Out Beyond The Walls Of Your Church
“As you are going” also signifies a deliberate effort to reach outside the walls of your church to share the Gospel. Share the Gospel in your community, in your nation, and in other nations. This is what Acts 1:8 demonstrates.
“but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
In many churches the majority of the members leave the preaching of the Gospel to the pastor or leaders. At best many Christians today may occasionally invite someone to visit their church. This is not the same as going and sharing the Gospel and making disciples.
“Go” Means To Follow Jesus’ Example
Faithfully attending church and occasionally inviting someone is not the Great Commission. This is not what Jesus meant when he said “go”. If you study Jesus’ life, you see that He was constantly going to where the lost people were.
He did not wait around for the people to come to Him. Jesus went to where they were to share the message of God’s love and salvation. He knew that the majority of lost people will not go to a church. So because He loved them so much, Jesus went out to where the lost people were.
We cannot fulfill the Great Commission in Matthew 4 and 28 by sitting around in our churches and by staying in our comfort zones.
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” – Luke 19:10
In Part 2 of this series on “The Great Commission Starts With Go” we will look further into what the Bible says about your role in God’s work and mission. And we will see what the 2 parts of the Great Commission are.
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