Most of us have probably heard of the Great Commission, but do we really understand its meaning? What is the Great Commission and what does the Bible say about it?
A commission is “an instruction, command, or duty given to a person or group of people.” Christians use the term to refer to Jesus’ final command to His disciples after his death, burial and resurrection. Matthew 28:18-20 contains the command:
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The Bible never actually uses the term the “Great Commission” The term was coined by missionaries in the late 1800’s and is now widely associated with a missionary’s call to go make disciples of all nations.
In order to understand the biblical meaning of the Great Commission, we must study Jesus’ words carefully. Jesus began by saying that all authority in heaven on earth had been given to Him. If authority had been given to Him, it must not have always belonged to Him. If it didn’t always belong to Him, who held this authority before Jesus? The answer is found in Luke 4: 5-7 which describes Satan’s temptation of Christ in the wilderness: “The devil led him [Jesus] up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Clearly, Satan held authority over earth prior to Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. However, Jesus, through His work on the cross, defeated Satan and won back this authority that He is now using here to instruct the disciples.
After establishing His authority with the disciples, Jesus then instructs them to “go and make disciples of all nations”. But what is a disciple? The Greek term for “disciple” in the New Testament is mathetes. Mathetes means a “follower” or someone who adheres completely to the teachings of another, making them his rule of life and conduct. A disciple is more than just someone who identifies themselves as a Christian. A disciple’s main goal is to be like Jesus.
“All nations”. What did Jesus mean when He said all nations? It’s simple. He meant all nations. And all nations includes the United States of America. We do not have to leave our country to obey the Great Commission. Yes, we must GO and yes we must make disciples of all nations, but we can do it where we stand, right here and right now.
So how does one go and make disciples of all nations? Jesus did not leave us guessing. If you keep reading Matthew 28, Jesus gives us two ways to make disciples of all nations: first baptize [the nations] in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and second teach them to obey everything He has commanded us.
Baptism is a public confession of faith which identifies the person being baptized with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Baptism can only come after hearing the Gospel. A disciple, obeying Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations, must first tell others about the Gospel. Once the Gospel is heard and then believed, the believer can make a public confession of faith.
After the public confession of faith, we are commanded to teach the believer to obey all Jesus’ commandments. Before a person can obey the commandments, they must first know the commandments. The commandments must be taught and then continuously demonstrated by other disciples.
This seems like a lot – a big command, making disciples of all nations. But the last thing Jesus’ said is “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus is with us. Jesus has not left us as we take up our cross and encourage others to do the same. Jesus is right here with us until the end.
As you can see, the Great Commission is more than the command to simply GO to other nations. The Great Commission is to GO AND MAKE disciples in your home, your local church, your City, your state, and your nation. The Great Commission is publicly confessing your faith to others through your words and your actions so that they can see Christ’s love working through you and maybe just maybe when they see Christ’s love in you, they will also accept the Great Commission and they too will GO MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS.
As many of you know, our family plans to go on a mission trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras this summer. We are very active in our local church and have been sensing God’s direction to expand our mission field. We are thrilled to have such an opportunity and are truly excited to help the people of Honduras.
We will be traveling under the covering of our church : Common Ground
Our activities will likely include visiting shelters, sharing our testimonies, praying for others, visiting a deaf school and painting their building, sharing the Gospel through skits, street ministry, feeding the homeless, and helping in the construction of buildings that will aid the community.
In order to be able to go on this mission trip, we need help in two ways. First, we ask for your prayers. We ask for prayer for safe travels, strength and boldness so we can remain focused on God, allowing Him to do the work He has called us to do. Pray also that the Honduran’s hearts will be readied for an encounter with the love of God. If you would, please leave your prayers in the comment section below.
Second, we need to raise $6,600 to cover the cost of travel, lodging, transportation, etc. for all of us. Money is due almost every month, with most of it due the end of May. We have been working very hard to earn the money but our deadline is coming up! It is a large expense, but worth it to see lives changed.
For awhile now, we have been working hard to raise the needed funds. We started Sweet Spot Flip Flops and have been selling baseball flip flops which have been a hit with baseball moms!
We also have been hitting the streets, selling toilet paper Yes, you read that right! We’ve been going door to door asking folks for donations in exchange for some toilet paper. Everyone uses it, right!
This weekend the kids are participating in a church garage sale at Common Ground – all proceeds go to the mission trip.
With all these things, we still need additional financial support: If you would like to support us financially, please send a check to CommonGround Church at 7810 E 49th St, Tulsa, OK 74145. Make checks out to CommonGround Church and add Solberg in the memo with a Honduras tag [Solberg-Honduras] OR go to commongroundchurch.tv and click on the “giving” tab. Then click on “quick give”, choose “missions trip”, and specify in the comments that the donation is for Solberg-Honduras.
Thank you so much and check back on the blog for updates on the trip!
I blew it the other day. I mean I really blew it. I’m the mother of three very busy teenagers. Only one drives. I really, really need my 16 year old to drive. My sanity depends on it. But first she must get her driver’s permit, and to get a permit, she must pass a written driver’s […]
I’m busy. I have things to do. I like to get things done and get them done quickly. I don’t like to waste time. I know what I need to accomplish in a day and I plan my time accordingly. So when things don’t go as “planned” or when there is an interruption, I can get testy. Just ask my kids. Ask my husband.
On my lunch break yesterday, I was interrupted. Yes, things didn’t go as planned. I had several errands to do including getting gas. I usually avoid getting gas at lunch time because it seems that everyone has the same idea and I end up circling the pumps waiting for one to open up. Yesterday was no exception, but I had no choice but to wait, my tank was empty.
I pulled into the station and every pump was full. I circled the pumps until I finally found one that was open. As I was pulling into the open space, a woman in a big truck began to pull into it too. When she saw me, she threw her hands up in the air in frustration. I immediately thought: “I was here first. I have been waiting. I’m in a hurry. How rude, throwing your hands up like that and all.”
But then, a gentle nudge from inside me interrupted my thoughts and said, “Stephanie, back out and give her that spot. You can wait. Just do it.” I obeyed, but not without complaining. I thought, fine, “but this is my good deed for the day (like there is a limit on good deeds…) ” So I backed my car out out and circled the station again. After finally getting a spot, I began pumping my gas and went inside to get a drink while still grumbling to myself about how now I would be late…
As I was leaving the store, a woman with a baby in her arms, stopped me and said, “Thank you for giving up that spot at the pump. My baby was hollering at me from the back seat and I was so frustrated. So, I just wanted to say thank you.”
I was stunned. Looking back on it, I don’t know why I was stunned. My morning prayers usually include asking God to show me others as He sees them; to show me who I need to talk to or who needs to see His love today. Although I pray that prayer, I often become too busy and forget to slow down and actually listen for His answer.
Tears come to my eyes still when I think about this – how God works through us, how He answers prayers. He knew that woman needed a break and He used me to show His love. As soon as I realized this, I felt shame that I would complain about being interrupted by God, about obeying His voice.
I know this may be a small thing, but I thank God for His gentle reminder that He is constantly at work and if we only stop and listen and obey, He will use us.
“Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live …”
It’s hard to believe that summer break is ending. It’s time to trade in those swimsuits for school uniforms: the pools are closing and the schools are opening. Matt and Alyssa start school on Thursday and Madison makes her big splash into her senior year of high school next week. Time goes by so fast, too fast. I […]
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23
How many times do we cry out to God for answers to our problems only to wonder if God hears our cries at all? Often God’s answer is right in front of us, but we fail to see it because we are too busy focusing on the problem instead of focusing on God. That was the case for the woman at the well in John 4.
Jesus was resting near a well when a woman approached to draw water. Upon seeing the woman, Jesus offered the woman living water; water that if she partook of, she would never thirst again. The woman in response to Jesus said:
Instead of focusing on Jesus’ promise of living water, the woman focused on the problem that she saw standing between her and the living water: Jesus’ lack of a rope or bucket to draw the water. Her focus on what was not there kept her from seeing Jesus, the living water standing right in front of her. Jesus was patient with the woman and did not give up until she understood that the living water was Him! Her understanding came when she finally took her eyes off the problem and focused her attention on the promise: the living water.
It is easy to focus on the problem instead of focusing on our God who is bigger than any problem we can face. My 17 year old daughter serves on the board of her high school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. As a board member, she was chosen to emcee the induction ceremony. Upon finding this out, fear plagued her. She didn’t want to speak at the event. She wanted to pass on this opportunity. Thoughts ran through her head like “I am fearful to speak in front of my class, so how can I speak in front of hundreds of people?” “What if I forget what I’m saying?” “What if my voice shakes?” What if I mess the whole thing up?” “What if people know that I am afraid?” She spent time focusing on her fears and not God’s promises. The more she focused on her fears, the less real God’s promises felt to her and the more afraid she became.
However, she decided to focus on God’s promise in 2 Timothy 1:7 instead of her fear.
Instead of focusing on her problem (her fear), she began to pray God’s promises. She prayed, I prayed, friends prayed this same promise over her. By praying this promise, she began focusing on the truth before her instead of her fear. She set her eyes on Jesus, not on her fear.
On the evening of the ceremony, I approached her to give her my best wishes. She looked at me and said, “Mom, I’m not afraid” and she wasn’t. She went on stage in front of hundreds of people and spoke. There was no fear in her. She did an amazing job! She and I both give all the glory to God because we know that only He could eliminate this deep rooted fear in her. He is the living water.
The next time you have a problem, instead of focusing on the problem, focus on the promise. I assure you, any problem you have, you will find a promise in the Bible that will cause that problem to flee. Pray that promise. Speak it out loud. Memorize it. Declare it. Here are a few that I have used:
What promises have you prayed or declared? I would love to hear from you.
I wrote this some time ago but have it on my heart to repost because we ALL need to be reminded that no matter what we have done in the past, no matter what we are doing now, there is no condemnation in Christ. We don’t have to have it all together before we come to Christ – He will meet us right where we are at. No matter what our circumstances are, we can bring it to Him with confidence that He will not condemn us but He will love us!
Photo Credit – Restore Ministries
John 3:17 tells us that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. This is demonstrated very clearly in John 8:10-11. The Pharisees brought a woman caught in the sin of adultery to Jesus and said to Him “In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” Jesus answered “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Knowing that they were not without sin, one by one each of the accusers walked away, leaving only Jesus and the woman. Jesus asked her “Woman where are these accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
The woman, at…
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[The following was written by my 17 year old daughter who is learning the value of face time instead of screen time]
Technology is what keeps the world moving forward. Without technology, humans would be stuck in a constant cycle of repeating the past; following the same paths as those who came before them. Without technology, the world would fall into a never ending Dark Age. Technology is what connects scientists in Russia to inventors in China. It connects historians in Germany to high school teachers in the United States. It is obvious that technology is crucial in today’s world, but can these high-tech devices become a threat to our society? The answer is yes: if we do not properly control technology then technology will control us. It is difficult for a person living in the 21st century to stay informed, keep in touch, and continue to grow intellectually without allowing technology to control them, but it is not impossible. By setting priorities, using technology effectively, and engaging in life we can control technology.
We must prioritize “face to face” conversations with people before “face to screen” conversations. In a world where technology is everywhere we look, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the constant flood of information we encounter on a daily basis. We are bombarded with Twitter notifications, Instagram likes, text messages, missed phone calls, and friend requests. These notifications are not always polite. They interrupt conversations, homework, class, and sleep. One way to control this is by setting priorities. It is important to interact with the people around us rather than constantly checking our cellphones. It may be difficult, but we must resist answering every phone call, text message, and notification that comes our way.
Limiting time with technology allows us to experience “the simplicity and freedom of a life separated from the busy complications of normal life” (Sherman). Ryan Moore, a pastor spent two years in Scotland away from the busyness and chaos of the American life. He said “it was a season of life …when I could be present to my wife and kids in a way that is hard to do in the United States” (Sherman). Brian Hunter, an activist for human rights, ran 1,500 miles across Mongolia to raise awareness for orphans. During this time, Brian and his family lived without technology and the luxuries of every day American life. Ryan Moore and Brian Hunter both agree that taking time away from the busyness provided by technology allowed them to focus on the important things such as family and nature. They were able to interact with people on a more personal level than technology allows for and show us that by using technology in moderation, we are able to focus on what is really important.
Another way to control technology is by using it effectively. The word “effective” means to fulfill a specified function. One thing technology is very good at is providing easily accessible information to all people. But without knowing how to use this knowledge effectively we find ourselves drowning in information. This very problem is experienced by scientists and mathematicians all around the world. They find themselves asking “How can humankind, with millions of eager and energetic experimenters and researches all scribbling and publishing like mad, keep its head above the flood waters of information..?” (Jones). We must remember that anyone can post on the internet and that we cannot believe everything we read. If we keep these things in mind, along with learning how to choose reliable resources, then we can effectively use technology to help us to grow intellectually.
The final way we can control technology is by not letting it control us. It is a necessity to engage in life. We must not let technology seep into every aspect of our lives. There needs to be a time when we can focus on one thing instead of four or five. Often times we find ourselves doing homework, watching TV, texting our friends, and checking Twitter all at once. This splits our attention between many things and does not allow our full focus to be on any one thing. There also needs to be a time when we can focus on people and our personal relationships; not the people on YouTube or Facebook, but the people right in front of us. Often we will see people, myself included, at a restaurant with their family and one will be texting, one reading an e-book, one checking his/her emails, and one playing Flappy Bird. Technology has taken away our social skills and manners. Ten years ago this would have been socially unacceptable. So when it comes time to engage in life, then we must do just that; engage.
Technology is meant to be a means by which we stay informed, keep in touch, and grow intellectually, but if we allow technology to control us then it serves the opposite purpose. Instead of staying informed, we find ourselves missing out. Instead of keeping in touch, we find ourselves putting up barriers. These barriers go by various names, some being Iphone, Android, and Mac. Instead of growing intellectually, we find ourselves becoming confused and misled by information. So the next time you go to pick up your phone just remember; set priorities, use technology effectively, and engage in your surroundings.
By Madison Solberg