Chapter 19: THE
CHURCH HAS A DIVINE MISSION EVANGELIZING THE WORLD FOR CHRIST
by Jerry Dyer
Jesus came to a lost world to
live a life that would set the perfect example for all people of all time. (1
Peter 2:21-23). Because he lived such a life, he could be offered as a perfect
sacrifice for the sins of the world (2 Corinthians 5:21). Having lived that
life, set that example and given his life, he came back from the dead (Romans
1:4). A few days after his resurrection he went back to heaven to take his
position at the right hand of God and become our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5). It
was at this point in time when the purpose of his life (i.e., to seek and save
the lost, Luke 19:10), was passed as a command to his disciples. That command is
recorded in Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-16.
Take time to read these
passages and carefully observe the teaching of the Great Commission.
A. "Go Preach the Gospel" (Mark
16:15-16). "Go Teach" (Matt. 28:19). The word gospel means "good news." We have
good news about his birth, life, example, death, resurrection, atonement and
ascension to heaven. That is why Jesus came and that is why we must go preach
It is very important that we
remember that this is a command and God expects us to obey his commands.
Salvation will be our reward for obedience (Hebrews 5:8-9). Eternal destruction
will be our punishment if we fail to do his will (Matt. 7:21-23).
These passages use two
different words, "preach" and "teach," that have the same ultimate purpose. Not
everyone can preach nor should everyone preach (1 Cor. 12:12-21). However, all
Christians have the responsibility to teach the gospel.
B. "To Every Creature"; to "All
the Nations." We go to all nations because all nations are lost without Jesus.
Read and study the following scriptures:
1. Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 .
This passage says very clearly that there are two classes of people who will
suffer "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord": (a) Those who do
not "know God" and, (b) those who "do not obey the gospel." One will not be able
to stand before God on the day of judgment and expect to be excused from eternal
destruction because he did not know God and therefore did not obey the gospel.
2. Romans 1:16 shows that the
only way God will save a sinner is through the gospel of Jesus. There is no
other way. One dare not preach any other plan (Galatians 1:8-9).
3. Ephesians 2:1, 3, 12
describes the condition of the man out of Christ. The Scripture says that people
who are out of Christ are "dead" "separated," "excluded," "foreigners," "without
hope," "without God." They are eternally and irretrievably lost without
obedience to Christ. Could the Holy Spirit have made it any clearer?
4. First Thessalonians 4:13
teaches that those who die "in Christ" have joy, pleasure, peace, etc. Those who
die out of Christ have no hope!
5. John 14:6 declares that
Jesus is the only way to God. You can't go through any other prophet, savior,
etc. There is none other.
6. In Acts 17:30-31 Paul said
that God would no longer overlook the ignorance of men today, whether it is
"denominational darkness" or "idol worship." All the world will be judged by the
All the world is lost without
Jesus. That is why he came and that is why we must go. There are some who say:
"I'm sorry but I love people too much to condemn them." We would have to respond
by saying: That is not Jesus' definition of love. Jesus said in John 14:15 that
love demands obedience. To see that the Bible teaches that all people outside of
Christ are lost and then fail to warn them, would be like the doctor who found
that his patient was dying from a disease but refused to tell him because he did
not want to be "judgmental and upset him." The "social gospel" that serves just
the cultural needs of mankind will cause many people to be lost.
The simple truth is that NO MAN
CAN BE SAVED APART FROM CHRIST. Those who extend hope to the non-Christian (be
it those in the darkness of idol worship or in denominational error), do
something the Bible never does and weaken the hands of disciples who are trying
to get the gospel to all.
C. "Teach them to observe all
things whatsoever I have commanded you." Paul teaches us this same truth in 2
Timothy 2:2: "And the things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses,
the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also."
This is what is sometimes referred to as the second part of the Great Commission
or "keeping the saved, saved." This passage presents four levels of teaching and
learning. This passage shows the difference between a "terminal" and a
1. Things thou has heard in the
presence of many witnesses. God expects us to listen, learn and apply truth that
we learn from listening to others. Of course, we are to search for ourselves as
we listen (Acts 17:11).
2. Commit to faithful men. That
which Timothy had been taught was not to stay with him. It must be shared with
others. Paul says we need to do more than "keep the faith," we must share it
with others. If we do not share it with others, our ministry is terminal, i.e.,
the truth has stopped with us.
3. That they may be able to
teach others also. Here's where our ministry is tested. We must so teach and
motivate others that they will receive and send that message on to others.
POINT: God does not want us to
allow new Christians to wither. We need to help them grow. We must teach them
the whole truth (Acts 20:26-27). We must teach the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). We
must teach the truth at the right time (1 Cor. 3:1-2); 1 Peter 2:2). We must
teach others (2 Tim. 2:2).
D. "Lo, I am with you always,
even unto the end of the world." Jesus promised that as we go, he will go with
us. When we sit, we sit alone. There is no barrier high, wide or strong enough
to keep the gospel out (Philippians 4:13). He will never fail nor forsake us as
we go (Hebrews 13:5).
May God help us "go. . . make
disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and
the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I (Jesus) have
commanded you. . . " This is the mission of the church. Everything else we do as
a child of God is sub-servant to that command.
Does the Great Commission apply
to more than the eleven who received it? (Matt. 28:16-20).
Will all people of all nations
be judged by the same standard?
Is it fair for God to judge all
nations by the same standard?
Can a Christian be lost who
does not seek souls?
Should all Christians be
expected to be able to teach the plan of salvation to the lost?
Is there a "best" method to
reach people who are lost?
Discuss a plan of action to
reach the lost of your area.