November 25, Observation 1

Text: Matthew 28:18-20

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."  (NASB)

This declaration in Matthew has become the unquestioned mission of the church in all evangelical churches that believe Jesus is the Messiah or Christ.  However, only Mark 16:15-18 has this approximate “great commission” statement in the gospels.  Luke focused on Jesus’ resurrection (consider Luke 24:44-49).  John emphasized taking care of his disciples or “sheep” (consider John 21:15-23).

Question: If this commission sums up the culmination of Jesus’ purpose, God’s basic intent, and the church’s number one mission, why is it not emphasized repeatedly in the gospels, Acts, and the epistles?

Is the information about the resurrected Jesus to be distributed worldwide?  Absolutely!  Are those who follow Jesus to form a worldwide movement?  Absolutely!  Did Jesus die to save all sinners?  Absolutely!  Can Jesus save anyone in any nation who turns from evil?  Absolutely!

Is the Christian movement sustained by sending foreign missionaries?  Is it a movement that is foreign missionary dependent?  Is the solution to be found in sending more and more foreign missionaries?

To all those questions I would say no.  Do missionaries have a role to serve?  Certainly!  Are they the solution to sustaining the movement?  No!

Who are you to be making such statements?  I am a former foreign missionary who has preached for more than 50 years.  All I ask you to do is to think from scripture.

Example: There was a time in my life when there was an enormous Christian presence in the USA.  Now we cannot name a problem in our society that is not in the church—often at the same level!

Observation: We did a reasonable job of emphasizing the concept of restoration but a lousy job of teaching people how to live because of Jesus’resurrection. We substituted rules for commitment.

Suggestion for reflection: How do I live my trust in Jesus?  (Read Colossians 3:1-17.)

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