The Lord speaks to us in His Word. Our view of the events taking place are our world view. I want my children (young adults) to develop a Biblical Worldview.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
The Great Commission by Pastor Jim McClarty
The Great Commission
I have a question. It's on
the Great Commission. Here is the question: why did God give us the
Great commission if it's all already decided for us: either we are
chosen or not. I first looked on the question / answer section but I
couldn't find it.
So, "The Great
Let me start by saying that
the phrase "Great Commission" isn't in the Bible anywhere.
And that's okay. We use lots of terminology that's not in the Bible,
like "trinity" or "omniscience." However, despite
the fact that the particular words "trinity" or
"omniscience" are not to be found within the Scripture, the
concepts are clearly there. We've just given those concepts names so
that we can better relate to them.
On the other hand, the concept
of "The Great Commission" is not clearly spelled out in the
Bible. "The Great Commission" is a phrase used by some
Christian groups in order to encourage greater evangelistic effort.
Usually, when people speak of the "The Great Commission,"
they are referring to Jesus' words at the close of Matthew's gospel:
"All authority has been
given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of
all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son
and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matt.
Typically, what happens in
freewill-oriented churches is that Jesus' instructions are assumed to
mean that we Christians are responsible to take the gospel everywhere
we can and to convert as many people as possible. Usually then, this
"commission" to spread the gospel worldwide is connected to
another quote from Christ:
"This gospel of the
kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the
nations, and then the end will come." (Matt 24:14 NASU)
So, the conclusion becomes:
we are to spread the gospel to "all the nations" because
"the end" will not (and indeed cannot) come until the gospel
is preached to the whole world. Consequently, we must send more
missionaries to every remote corner of the world and we must keep
converting everyone we know because Christ will not return until
everyone has heard it.
Of course, the first problem
with that interpretation is that it juxtaposes two diverse saying of
Jesus against each other in a way that the original authors did not
intend. Secondly, those two verses don't actually mean quite what the
proponents of the Great Commission would like them to say.
Early in His ministry,
Christ commanded His twelve apostles to go preach "the gospel of
the kingdom" and He gave them this instruction:
"These twelve Jesus
sent out after instructing them: 'Do not go in the way of the Gentiles,
and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost
sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, The
kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" (Matt. 10:5-8 NASU)
Jesus was the Jewish
Messiah, the Savior of Israel. And His first commission was to them
exclusively. But, after His resurrection, He gave a new command to
spread the gospel to "all nations." There is a very distinct
contrast happening there. Now the message of salvation by grace was to
be spread to all people groups, not Israel exclusively. And that's the
main thrust of Mat. 28:18-20.
Rather than the good news of
peace between God and man belonging to Israel alone, the gospel was to
travel to people of every kindred, tongue, tribe and nation. But, the
command given to the apostles has been expanded to mean that everyone
on Earth must be given an equal opportunity to hear and believe the
gospel, and Christ will not return until that has happened.
However, we do read of a
definite fulfillment of Matt. 24:14 in the book of Revelation:
"And I saw another
angel flying in mid-heaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those
who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and
people; and he said with a loud voice, 'Fear God, and give Him glory,
because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the
heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.'" (Rev 14:6-7
So, Jesus is not postponing
His return, waiting for the church to hurry up and reach every single
person before "the end" comes. What Jesus was teaching was
that prior to the end (the great tribulation and re-gathering of
Israel), the gospel will indeed be preached to the whole world as a
witness against them. This final preachment of God's dominion does not
result in mass conversion. It serves to condemn the remnant of mankind
in their rejection of Him.
But, the point is: the
"Great Commission" advocates would have us believe that the
church is responsible to accomplish the very thing that God Himself
accomplishes as part of His plan to wrap up this current age. Jesus is
building His own church and God's adds daily to the church those who
are destined to be saved.
"I also say to you that
you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and
the gates of Hades will not overpower it." (Matt 16:18-19 NASU)
"And the Lord was
adding to their number day by day those who were being saved."
(Acts 2:47 NASU)
So, should we preach and
evangelize? Yes indeed. But, should we feel pressured by notions of the
"Great Commission" and the necessity to advance the gospel in
order to accomplish Christ's work? No. Christ will accomplish what He
has placed His own hands. Our job is to tell the truth and preach His
grace. But, the work of saving men and women eternally is His work, to
Hope that helps.
Yours for His sake,
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