CHRIST’S MANDATE FOR BELIEVERS
Memory Verse: “And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel themto come in, that my house may be filled.” – Luke 14:23
Text: Matthew 28:19, 20
The greatest experience anyone can have while alive is to come to the full realization of the reason why he is here on earth. We are here, not just for the preoccupation with the daily struggle of life from dawn to dusk, but to know and understand the purpose of our living. No matter what you do, no matter what you achieve, no matter what height you attain in life, without discovering God’s purpose for your existence on earth, you would realize at the end of time that you have lived an unfulfilled and a wasted life.
What is the greatest fulfillment? It is knowing and understanding God and also making Him known. The text of our study centers on that purpose and the divine mandate God has given to the Christian believer. Matthew, in these final verses of his Gospel, summed up what the primary occupation of Christ’s disciples ought to be – the spreading of the Good News of Christ’s kingdom. It is the enterprise of winning the lost world to a loving God. This indeed, is Christ’s commission to all of His followers in every generation (Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 19:13). His words echoed what our primary engagement should be as we await His imminent return. We must be passionately engaged in it. This is because the eternal welfare of countless men and women is dependent on us helping the lost sinners find their way back to God. Reaching the ungodly was Christ’s and the early disciples’ passion (John 4:34; Mark 16:20; Acts 8:4, 5); it must be our consuming passion as well (Ecclesiastes 11:6; 9:10).
- THE DIVINE CHARGE FOR END-TIME BELIEVERS: Matthew 28:19.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”(Matthew 28:19). This all-important charge was delivered by Jesus to His disciples after His resurrection; it was repeated again shortly before He ascended to heaven (Acts 1:8). The disciples were clearly mandated by the Lord to go into the world and disseminate the Good News of the kingdom. Christ’s repetition of the mandate is to remind every believer in every generation concerning the compelling urgency it entails. In the Old Testament scriptures, Gentile’s participation in God’s salvation program have been abundantly prophesied (Isaiah 11:10; 42:1, 6; 60:2-3; 49:6; Malachi 1:11). In our text, Christ’s command regarding the worldwide preaching of the gospel brings into focus the impending fulfilment of these prophesies. The word, “go”calls for a serious examination and action, not by the early disciples alone, but also by the believers of today and future generations. We are to go and make disciples of men for Jesus in all the nations of the world. The Great Commission is not just a call to “come and see” but rather to “go…and tell”the world about Jesus, the Savior of humanity (Mark 5:19; Luke 8:39).
REFLECT:What is the meaning of the Great Commission? Why is it so important for all believers to partake in this mandate?
2. THE CHALLENGE BEFORE US: Matthew 28:19-20
We have a great challenge before us today as believers. This is because, countless number of men and women are still in captivity to Satan. Many are blindfolded by secularism, communism, humanism, Islam, Buddhism and occult centers. Besides this, statistics show that world population is ballooning, yet soulwinning effort is not keeping up with the pace. Myriads of men and women are plunging into hell to endure unimaginable misery, agony, pain and hopelessness through all eternity. Their precarious condition should compel us to reach out to them before it is too late. There are many tribes in many nations of the world that do not have the Bible in their native language. Despite today’s huge technological advancement in mass communication and internet access, many have not heard about the Savior. But the early disciples were able to reach the then known world with the gospel message at their own time even though they did not have the advantages of mass communication that are available to us today (Act 8:4, 26-37, 40; 5:42; 17:2-6; 21:27-28).
The goal of reaching the lost could only be achieved when every believer is involved in the spreading of the Good News (Acts 13:47-49; Luke 24:47). Lots of believers are seated in the pew, thinking they are doing well once they attend church services regularly and give their tithes and offering in the collection bag. Yet many of these Christians are counting the years of their conversion even though they never won a single soul to the Lord. Such believers might discover at the end that their lifetime have been stories of wasted opportunities. God has called us so that we can spread the gospel of Christ to the community in which we live. What a great privilege to partner with God in this great work (2 Corinthians 5:18-20; 1Thessalonians 2:4). This is the time for us to reach out to others and to influence their lives eternally for Jesus.
The fulfillment of the great commission requires lots of sacrifice, hard work, commitment, and the willingness to risk everything for the sake of reaching the unsaved for the Lord. We must be prepared to pay the price like the early disciples (Acts 20:22-24; 21:10-14).When we bring the lost to the Lord, we nurture them by the word of God, build up their faith, and instruct them “to observe all things whatsoever”Christ has commanded His church (Matthew 28:20). The end is near and the coming of the Lord is imminent, together we must rise up in the effort of rescuing the perishing before it is too late for them (1Peter 4:7; Romans 13:11; 1Corinth. 7:29).
REFLECT: 1. What huge challenges do we face as end-time believers as we strive to fulfill Christ’s mandate on earth?
- In what ways can a church be busy and still fail in fulfilling the great mandate is concerned?
The Lord has promised to support His faithful, obedient servants wherever they go (Mathew 28:20; Acts 18:9-11; 2Tim 4:16-17; Psalm 46:7). He has said, ““Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…and, loI am with you always, evenunto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). We are not called to go to the city slums, sidewalks, educational institutions, our neighborhood and even remote villages on earth by Christ without the assurance of His presence. The task would be impossible for us without Him. His promised presence still stands true till today, and the validity of it would remain unchanged even unto the end of the world (Isa. 54:17; 41:10; Rom. 8:31).Let us therefore launch out in faith, believing the Lord for a great harvest of souls into His kingdom (Mark 16:20; Psalm 126:6). We must not fail; we must begin today and now.