Staying focused in 2012 requires that we be a Great Commission Living people. Matthew 28:18-20 tells us what that will look like: “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘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 of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 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.”
The great comfort we have when we begin to seriously look at becoming a group of people who show the evidence of Great Commission Living in our daily lives is the comfort of knowing who we are living for and the power that He has.
Matthew records that Jesus told those with Him on that day that “all Authority has been given to Me [Jesus] in heaven and on earth.” That means that the one who is telling us how we are to live, and what we are to do, has the right to do so. He does not have to ask permission to give us these instructions; He does not need a committee to approve his command. He is the one with the power and authority to give us this instruction for our lives to be Great Commission Living people every day, and everywhere we go.
So what does that look like for you and me as we stay focused in 2012? I am so glad you asked.
For generations, we have said that the Great Commission is simply this: Go. May I suggest to you that we have gotten it wrong, if we have so simplified Jesus’ instructions for our life to merely just be that we are to go. We have raised generations of goers, but not sowers, of the Word of God. We have told church members that if they will simply be willing to go, they will be obedient to the Great Commission – and that if they are not able to go, but will give so that others can go, then that will work, too. The problem is that the instruction which Jesus gave us is so much more than that.
The fourfold mission of the Great Commission is to go, make, baptize, and teach. If we focus on only one of these elements, or leave out one or more of these elements, we are not being a people who are “Great Commission Living” to the glory of God. We do no favors for the person we are trying to reach if, by the grace of God, we are able to lead them to faith in Christ, “baptize” them into the body of Christ – but then fail to actually “make” them “equipped” disciples because we failed to “teach” them to observe “all things” that He has commanded us.
Great Commission Living in 2012 will require that we stay focused on the full scope of the Great Commission that Christ gave us. Will you be a Great Commission Living person to the glory of God?
- Atkins is pastor of Powdersville First Baptist Church and president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.