A Continual Work
What I love about the great commission is that it involves more than just an initial invitation and response, but doing life with people, walking alongside them to grow in understanding.
“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.”
Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV
The gospel compels, discipleship keeps.
We can see that in the vital church of Acts 2. Their growth was evident and so was their life on life, communal work. Their fellowship and constant study of doctrine sustained them after they were converted.
40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:40-47
I heard someone say once “telling someone about the gospel but not discipling is like getting someone pregnant and not taking care of the baby”. That was a necessary analogy for me to remember. Reaching souls is a sure work, but also a continual one! It also teaches us that sometimes, we have more responsibility than one time conversations. But to grow with others.
I believe sometimes we think about the great commission as evangelizing only. I thought this for a long time. It wasn’t until I went on my first mission trip that I understood it on a deeper level. In 2018, I went across the globe to Ghana, West Africa to do one thing: Care after children. I signed up to volunteer in the area of childcare with the hopes to be of service and a blessing to children that needed it. The children were beautiful but their situations were not ordinary. Some were orphaned, some abandoned, neglected and some were put in the center because their caretakers could no longer take care of them due to disabilities. My hope was to do normal things, that wasn’t normal to them.
Most kids I know wake up and their parents help them get ready for school. They bathe them, cook for them and do basic things with love. The children at the center didn’t have that privilege. So I wanted to “stand in the gap” and give as much love and service as I could during the time I was there. We had bible study three times a week and it was cool to break down the Bible in a way that children and teens can understand. I didn’t feel like I was doing the great commission, but I was. One day the Lord highlighted the second part of Matthew 28:19-20 and I realized that those bible studies and conversations about God was engaging the gospel. It was teaching them to observe all things He’s commanded us to do. It finally made sense to me.
So be encouraged. You might be a stay at home mom who enjoys doing bible stories with her children. Or a Sunday school teacher. Or a podcast host that talks about discipleship topics like being a light in the workplace. Know that this is the great commission as well. Anything that teaches to observe all things He’s commanded us, is exactly what the mission includes.
Until Next Time,