"Expect great things from
God; attempt great thing for God," declared the
father of the modern missionary movement, William
John Wesley said, "Give
me a hundred men who fear nothing but God, and who
hate nothing but sin, and who know nothing but Jesus
Christ and Him crucified and I will shake the
Why did Carey and Wesley
have such a passion for missions?
At eight of His post
resurrection appearances Jesus told His disciples to
go and tell other people that He had risen from the
dead. On five of these occasions He commissioned His
disciples to go even to "the remotest part of the
earth" preaching the good news of His death and
resurrection and making disciples. There is no
greater reason for world missions. Jesus said, "Go
and tell." Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke
24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8
We must never make an
apology for being in dead earnest about world
missions. We must not retreat until Jesus Christ
tells us He made a mistake in coming into the world
to redeem men.
Jesus has Absolute
Authority to Commission His Disciples
Jesus said to His
disciples in Galilee "All authority has been given
to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make
disciples of all nations . . ." (Matthew 28:18-19).
He has that authority because He has risen from the
dead. He is seated at the right hand of the Majesty
on high in heaven (Heb. 1:1-3). All Scriptures are
taken from the New American Standard Bible 1995
Update unless otherwise noted.
The Greek word exousia
translated "authority" here denotes "authority,
absolute authority." Jesus has absolute authority,
the fullest possible authority in heaven and earth.
Jesus Christ has supreme authority throughout the
universe, and therefore can commission His disciples
and empower them to accomplish God's eternal
purpose. Jesus has that authority because of
who He is. Jesus "spoke as one already in heaven
with a world-wide outlook and with the resources of
heaven at His command. His authority or power in His
earthly life had been great (Matt. 7:29; 11:27;
21:23f). Now it is boundless and includes earth and
heaven" (A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the
New Testament, Matthew, Vol. 1, p. 244).
In the Gospel of John
Jesus said to His disciples, "Peace be to you; as
the Father has sent Me, I also send you" (John
Not only do we have the
authority, but also the power to be His witness to
all the earth (Acts 1:8; Eph. 1:18-23).
He has supreme authority
over every power that can be imagined on the earth,
above the earth and even demonic power (Phil.
2:8-11). Indeed, every knee will bow and surrender
to His authority. Jesus has authority over the
material world, angels, archangels, devils, wicked
men, spiritual powers, principalities, dominions,
thrones, the saints in glory, the church, and His
own people on earth.
Jesus Commands us
to Go to all the Nations
In Mark 16:15 Jesus said,
"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all
We are to be His
witnesses "to all the nations" (Luke 24:47), even
"to the remotest part of the earth" (Acts 1:80.
In Matthew 28:19 Jesus
said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the
nations â€¦" The very way Matthew quotes Jesus is
imperative force. Jesus commanded with full strength
His disciples to "go" as well make disciples.
Literally Jesus says, "Going therefore make
disciples all the nations."
Whenever the Gospel is
taken from the realm of self-edification and shared
with someone else you have missions. The emphasis of
the great commission is as you go into all the world
Since we are to go unto
all the nations and preach the good news, how shall
they hear unless one be sent? "How then will they
call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will
they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And
how will they hear without a preacher? How will they
preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written,
'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good
news of good things!'" (Romans 10:14-15)
Instruction for Making Disciples
A missionary is one whose
heart is broken by the things that break the heart
of God. He has a passion for God and the things of
An unknown missionary
statesman said, "A missionary is God's man, in God's
place, doing God' work, in God's way, for God's
Our task is not to save
the world. Missionaries cannot save the world; only
Jesus Christ saves. Our task is to evangelize the
world. We are to share Christ with a lost world.
Missionaries are men and women who have been called,
commissioned and sent out to give witness to the
saving grace of God through Jesus Christ.
Preach the Good
News of Jesus Christ
The heart of the
missionary message we herald is the good news in
Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul summarizes it
beautifully for us in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. "Now I
make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I
preached to you, which also you received, in which
also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you
hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless
you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of
first importance what I also received, that Christ
died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and
that He was buried, and that He was raised on the
third day according to the Scriptures."
In His own words Jesus
told the two on the way to Emmaus, "'O foolish men
and slow of heart to believe in all that the
prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the
Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His
glory?' Then beginning with Moses and with all the
prophets, He explained to them the things concerning
Himself in all the Scriptures" (Luke 24:25-27).
Later Jesus spoke to all
the assembled disciples. "'These are My words which
I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all
things which are written about Me in the Law of
Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be
fulfilled.' Then He opened their minds to understand
the Scriptures, and He said to them, 'Thus it is
written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again
from the dead the third day, and that repentance for
forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You
are witnesses of these things'" (Luke 24:44-48).
The reason for our
preaching Christ to a lost world is to secure
repentance and remission of sins. This is the way
God has chosen to save lost sinners. The field for
preaching the saving Gospel is the whole world. The
equipment is the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling
A lost world stands
guilty before a holy God. Jesus said, "For God so
loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but
have eternal life. For God did not send the
Son into the world to judge the world, but that the
world might be saved through Him. He who believes in
Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been
judged already, because he has not believed in the
name of the only begotten Son of God" (John
We are to Make
Jesus commanded us to
make disciples. The Greek word matheteuo
literally means "to make one a disciple." A disciple
is a "pupil," "learner" and denotes "one who
follows." A disciple is not simply one who has
completed the course, but one who continues to learn
as a lifetime commitment. "Make disciples" is
imperative. It is a command, an order. He puts into
practice what he learns. A disciple of Jesus Christ
is one who has a wholehearted commitment to Jesus.
Christ is His passion. "To me to live is Christ, and
to die is better," was the passion of the apostle
The educator Earl Pullias
said, "You can be no greater a teacher than you are
or becoming, as a person. If you would effectively
fulfill your role as a teacher, you must constantly
grow in greatness as a person." That is
Are you growing in your
personal relationship with Jesus Christ? You cannot
be a greater preacher, teacher, pastor, Christian
servant than you are or becoming in your personal
discipleship. You must be constantly growing in your
personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Here is the
secret in the words of Jesus. "Abide in Me, and I in
you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself
unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you
unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the
branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears
much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing"
obedience on the part of the believer. Discipleship
demands evangelism. If we are followers of Jesus
Christ we will be involved in evangelism and
discipleship. We have no excuse. A disobedient
church is a dying church. As a fire exists by
burning, a church exists by evangelism and missions.
Churches are dying all over the place because they
are disobedient to the Savior's command. Evangelism
is the primary task of the missionary because you
cannot have disciples without evangelism. You cannot
separate the two. We take great pride in number of
decisions at evangelism rallies, medical-dental
teams, etc., however discipleship must take place if
we are fulfilling our commission.
Believers in the Name of the Trinity
We baptize in the name of
the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The word
"name" always signifies the sum total of all that
the name implies. It is His divine being, all His
attributes, characteristics, His revealed nature,
attitudes, mind, etc. Everything that is revealed in
the Scriptures about God's personal being is
revealed in the "name." It is the "name that is
above every name." When we speak the name of Jesus
or bow in prayer in His name we understand that the
name includes all that is revealed of Him and His
"There is salvation in
no one else; for there is no other name under heaven
that has been given among men by which we must be
saved" (Acts 4:12).
We baptize in the "name"
of the Godhead, the Father and the Son and the Holy
Spirit. Note the singular, "name," meaning one God
,the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. It does
not refer to three gods. Jesus commanded us to
baptize believing sinners "in the name of the Father
and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).
There is no way we can change that and make it mean
something else. When God spoke He did not stutter.
He said precisely what He meant and He meant what He
said. If God did not mean what He said, why didn't
He say what He meant? When the plain sense of the
Scriptures make common sense, seek no other
interpretation. Take every word at its primary,
ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of
the immediate context indicate otherwise. Jesus
simply said, "baptizing them in the name of the
Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."
The Trinity is involved
in our salvation. God the Father elected or chose
you before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:3-6).
The Son of God redeemed you by going to the cross
and dying on your behalf and paying your debt to the
righteousness of a holy God (Eph. 1:7-12). The
Holy Spirit regenerated you and caused you to
believe on Jesus Christ as your personal Savior when
you heard the saving Gospel of God (Eph. 1:13-14).
The word "trinity" is not used in the Bible, but the
doctrine of the Trinity is clearly taught throughout
the Bible in many passages of Scripture (Matt.
28:19; Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 13:14; Gal.
4:6; Eph. 1:3-14; 2:18; 3:14-17; 4:4-6; 2 Thess.
2:13-15; Heb. 6:4-6; 1 John 3:23-24; 4:2; and many
more). We baptize in the name of the Father, the Son
and the Holy Spirit because Jesus commanded us to do
Teach all His
Evangelism is our primary
task, but our responsibly has not ended until we
lead that person to making a public commitment of
his life to Jesus Christ in baptism, and spiritual
growth. Baptism is a public declaration before the
watching world that this individual has believed in
his heart that Jesus died for his sins and rose from
the dead. It is an outward profession of what has
already taken place in his heart. He is declaring to
everyone observing that he has identified himself
with Jesus Christ as his Savior. Baptism is an act
of obedience on the part of the believer. Water
baptism does not save. It has no saving merits. Only
Jesus Christ saves. We are justified by God's grace
alone, through faith alone because of the redeeming,
atoning death of Jesus Christ alone. Baptism does
not wash away our sins; God the Son washes away the
believer's sins by His own precious blood. Baptism
in water does not add one cent to God's saving
grace. It is not essential for salvation. Baptism as
such does not bring a person into a vital union with
God. It is an outward, public declaration of faith
in Christ who saves. Baptism is an ordinance of the
church. We do it in obedience to the command of
Jesus. It has no saving merits.
If a person has been born
again or spiritually regenerated he or she will want
to identify himself with other true believers in
Christ. Joining a church is not essential to being
saved. It is vital for spiritual growth, however. We
need the encouragement, the spiritual stimulation,
the fellowship, the admonition of solid Bible study,
and worship that comes from being involved in a
Bible believing church.
The Christian is involved
in a lifetime of learning. I have been a Christian
for 60 years, and a preacher for 51 years. I am
still a student of God's Word. I approach every
passage of Scripture as if I am studying it for the
very time in my life. We live in a day of spiritual
ignorance, and intellectual laziness in evangelical
churches. There is no excuse for not teaching solid
Biblical truth in churches. Let's quit pandering to
emotions, and teach with clarity the Word of God.
We must be faithful to
the inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God.
We have excellent formal, scholarly, accurate
translations of God's Word in the language of the
people. We have no excuse for not knowing "all
New believers need to
have a clear understanding of the security of the
believer in Christ (John 10:27-30; Rom. 8:28-39;
Phil. 1:3-6; 2 Tim. 1:12; 1 John 5:11-13, etc.).
They need to be taught that from the moment they
truly believed on Christ they are saved for all
eternity. Jesus said, "I give them eternal life, and
they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out
of my hand" (John 10:28).
"I am with you
How do you accomplish
such an impossible task? The apostle Paul said, "For
we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but
as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in
Christ in the sight of God" (2 Cor. 2:17). The
ministry of grace is never easy. It is not a bed of
roses. What is our motive of service? We have been
commissioned by the Master. He has chosen to do His
work in and through us for His glory. It is not I,
but Christ. The apostle Paul declared it beautifully
when he wrote, "For from Him and through Him and to
Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever.
Amen" (Rom. 11:36).
Here is one of the
greatest facts in for the believer to rest His faith
upon. Jesus says, "Lo" (idou) is
emphatic "Look" or "remember" or "pay close
Jesus said, "I am with
you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt.
28:20). The pronoun "I" is also very emphatic. "No
one less than I myself am with you" (William
Hendriksen). Literally it reads, "all the days, even
to the consummation of the age." I am with you,
literally "all the days" or to the "consummation" at
the second coming of Christ. What a promise to the
believer. Jesus promises to be with us when we go in
His name to talk about Him. We are not serving
Christ as best we can, but with the sense that we
have a constant companion who goes with us
throughout life. "I am with you." He will be with us
until we draw our last breath. His presence will
never be withdrawn. He is with us all the days of
our lives until He comes in glory at the Second
Coming. A good example is in the testimony of the
life of Paul is Acts 26:16-18; 2 Cor. 11:22-33.
Note the emphatic "I" of
the one who pledges His presence with us. The One
who says, "All authority has been given to Me" is
the One who sends His people with the understanding
that He is always with us anywhere He sends us. "He
does not say 'I will be with you,' but 'I am with
you,' and His I is emphatic, 'no less than I'" (Leon
Morris, Matthew, p. 749).
There is security in
these words of Jesus. Put your own name in this
great Biblical truth. "I am with ___________ always,
even to the end of the age."
"You never test the
resources of God until you attempt the impossible,"
said F. B. Meyer. When I try, I fail. When I trust,
He succeeds. No matter what kind of day I am having
excellent, bad, troubles, trials, pressures of life
and ministry. He comes and says, "My grace is
sufficient for you. I will never leave you or
forsake you." "My grace is sufficient for you, for
power is perfected in [your] weakness" (2 Cor.
The man or woman who
knows what God has sent him into the world to do,
will neither depreciate his own work nor envy
another. In recent days I have stood and preached
God's Word with the conviction that I stand here
believing with all my heart that God has spent the
past 50 years preparing me for such an hour as this.
What would you do for
Christ if you knew you could not fail? We cannot
fail if we are at the center of God's will. There is
nothing we cannot do if He is doing His work through
us His way.
I would rather to have
dreamed big and failed than to sit and do nothing.
We do not go in our own
strength. When God calls His servants He equips them
and provides all that they need to accomplish His
eternal purpose. "God's work, done in God's way,
will receive God's supply," said Hudson Taylor.
Or as the apostle Paul stated it, "I can do all
things through Him who strengthens me. . . . My God
shall supply all your needs according to His riches
in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
Over 58 years ago I made
a commitment to God that I am willing to go
anywhere, anytime, regardless of the personal costs
to lead just one soul to accept Christ as his
One of the Ecuadorian
martyrs said it best, "He is no fool who gives what
he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose," Jim
Audrey Mieir's song "To
Be Used of God" best describes the desire of my
heart over the past 53 years of missionary service.
It is still the passion of my heart.
"To Be Used of God" by
"I've a yearning in my
heart that cannot be denied,
It's a longing that has
never yet been satisfied,
I want the whole world to
know the One who loves them so,
Like a flame it's burning
To be used of God, to
speak, to sing, to pray; --
To be used of God to show
someone the way.
I long so much to feel
the touch of His consuming fire,
To be used of God, is my
When I think about the
shortness of my earthly years,
I remember all the wasted
days, the wasted tears,
I long to preach the word
to those who've never heard,
Of the One who can dispel
Title: Matthew 28:18-20
The Great Commission of Jesus Christ
Series: Life of