18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. NKJV
What do you think about the implications of the great commission. It implies that the world is lost, without Jesus. It implies that it is broke and the only fix is Jesus. It implies that the world is sick, and yes it is very sick, and the only medicine is Jesus.
One of our main problems is thinking that Jesus is ok but you can get along without Him. Or if you do have Jesus all you need is a taste, not a whole meal much less a life time of Him.
It implies that everyone must be converted to Jesus. If there were another way to God, say one of the Eastern religions, wouldn't be dumb for God to send His Son to die on a cross. It seems to me that that was a lot of effort unneeded if there were other ways.
Jesus in His own day was the most controversial person. And so He continues today. After the 9-11 disaster there was a city wide meeting of clergy in Chicago. I was listening to Erwin Lutzer explain what happened. I think these events even lead him to write a book. But what he said was that after 9-11 Jesus was more controversial than before. He was seen as another source of religious fundamentalism. And those who held to Jesus as the Son of God the Savior of the world were to be held in suspicion.
But Jesus never shied away from that. But His church certainly has in these recent generations. I was listening to the radio this morning and one fella was saying how in one church they removed the cross. Now that is not all bad for for many people the cross has become and idol. But this pastor said they removed it because the cross was keeping the church from being reached with the gospel. Now that kind of makes you wonder what they are using for a gospel.
Jesus never asked people to spend their Sundays in church. He instead asked for their whole life.
"Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law'; 36 and 'a man's enemies will be those of his own household.' 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. NKJV
"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. NKJV
38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." NKJV
"One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me." NKJV
What does it mean to take up one's cross? Let us look at John 19:17-18
And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, 18 where they crucified Him, NKJV
Yes Jesus knew how to thin out a crowd. Luke 14:25-33
Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it -- 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. NKJV
You see the Great Commission implies that we are not like everyone else. If you have been converted, saved, born again then you are at odds with the world. Notice what Peter says in 1 Peter 2:9-10
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. NKJV
There are several ideas that the world holds as true that in conflict with the Great Commission.
The commission is a call to action.
They were to make disciples.
That means making converts, a dirty word in our world.
Making converts is not a matter of training.
It is a spiritual experience not a matter of education.
That is why once we make converts they never come back.
You heard the story I am sure of two pastors discussing shop one day. The one said they were having a problem with bats in the sanctuary and they just couldn't seem to get rid of them. The other pastor related that they too had had the same problem but had found the solution. He said, "we baptized them all and they haven't come back since."
The Great Commission is not a call to be a missionary. For the going is understood. It is not the going that is commanded but the making disciples.
This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com/