The ninth session of True Church Conference 2010 was led by Conrad Mbewe, speaking on the Great Commission from Matthew 28:18-20. The highest reason for evangelism is because it is for the glory of God. Other reasons are: because of our love for sinners, because it is the work of a disciple to be a fisher of men, because of the power of the gospel in the lives of people. And in the Great Commission we find another reason: obedience to a command of our great Head Jesus Christ.
There is significance to the timing of the words of the Great Commission. They are His words just before His ascension. They carry the same weight as the weight of a father’s words to his children when he is on his death bed. We need to come back to this passage frequently and ask the question “Am I obeying this command?”
There is a word that appears four times in these three verses – “all”. Surely there is a revelation of the heart of the meaning of this passage in this word “all”.
The ends of these verses are the Lord Jesus Christ. They begin with Jesus, they end with Jesus. In the middle is our responsibility.
1. All authority – given to Jesus Christ. He demonstrated authority while he was here on earth in his humanity. But it would appear that a different measure of authority was given to Jesus after His crucifixion and resurrection. He was ascending to His mediatorial kingship. We should have comfort and confidence in obeying the command of the Great Commission because Jesus has all authority.
2. All nations – make disciples. This appeared to be an impossible command. How could a group of twelve ordinary Jews perform this extraordinary task? How could a Jew be expected to go to the Gentile nations? The book of Acts shows their hesitancy. God used tribulation to scatter those He used to fulfill this command. God used a vision to change Peter.
a. see Genesis 12:2-3 and Revelation 5:9-10
b. Should our goal be to have a good church, with a good pastor, and good music, in a good building? No, our goal is world conquest. Our goal is to push back the domain of darkness across the expanse of the globe.
3. Teaching them to obey all things – that Jesus has commanded. This indicates that there are those who are in rebellion against the authority of Jesus. Our job is to make these people into loyal subjects of the King. Not just know all things, but to obey all things. This is more than a cultural mandate. This is a mandate to convert the nations.
a. We are all called to obey, and all called to call others to this same obedience.
4. With you always – to the end of the age. We return here to the ideas of comfort and confidence. The efficient cause of our labor does not depend on us, it depends upon He that is with us. We need spiritual eyes to see that He is with us, and if we see that, then we would see the vigor of our obedience increase.