Qualifying Principles of the Great Commission

Missions is not missions unless it is the Commission

All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son,and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Matthew 28:18-20

Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15

At MSBC we are constantly reminded that our ministry must be Bible-driven. This fleshes out through a theology of ministry, a philosophy of ministry, and a methodology of ministry. That even the children in our congregation understand what we are attempting to convey by these terms we attempt to explain it in the following way:

1. Our Theology of ministry is what we believe. This is the heart of our work. This is exegetically determined.

2. Our Philosophy of ministry is what we think. This is the head of our ministry. This is exegetically derived.

3. Our Methodology of ministry is what we do. This is the hands of our ministry. This should be exegetically defensible.

The Theological Side of the Commission

I. There is Proclamation

“Go ye into all the world and preach. . .” Preaching is one of the most important skills of the missionary. The joke that poor preachers make good missionaries is not funny. Preaching the Word skilfully should be emphasized to all prospective missionaries. If a missionary is awkward at handling the Word in his mother tongue, he will be far worse in a second language. I frankly don’t think they should be tolerated.

The Pauline Application of this Principle
Whom we preach warning every man. . .Colossians 1:28
But we preach Christ. . .1 Corinthians 1:28
. . .the gospel was preached of me is not after man. . .Galatians 1:11
Preachthe Word. . .2 Timothy 4:2
And there they preachedthe gospel. Acts 14:7

II. There is Education

“teaching them to observe all things. . .” Teaching, either formally or through one on one discipling, is a critical component of any Great Commission endeavor. The goal of every minister that aspires to obey the Great Commission in totality should be to make a disciple of every person through the means of careful teaching.

The Pauline Application of this Principle
. . .and teaching every man in all wisdom. . .Colossians 1:28
. . .confirming the souls of the disciples and exhorting them to continue. . .Acts 14:22
Paul and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching. . .Acts 15:35

III. There is Identification

“baptizing them.” Here lies the powerful suggestion that the Commission is not obeyed in any missions endeavor that does not have the establishment of a local church as a core commitment. The establishment of indigenous, local churches that are faithful to the Word of God is essential. As baptism is identification with Christ, it is also an identification with the church.

The Pauline Application of this Principle
. . .and so were churches established in the faith. . .Acts 16:5
. . .and I baptizedalso the household of Stephanas. . . 1 Corinthians 1:16
And he took them the same hour of the night. . .and was baptized Acts 16:33

IV. There is Indoctrination

“in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Theological grounding is a sine qua non of effective missions. When a person is baptized he should understand at least the rudimentary elements of Theology (“the Father”), Christology (“the Son”), and Pneumatology (“the Holy Spirit”). I realize that our paedo-baptist friends will take exception to this, but we believe that baptism in the name of God must imply that both the administer and candidate must have some degree of agreement with truths about the Triunity.

The Pauline Application of this Principle
For I have not shunned to declare unto you the whole gospel. Acts 19:27
. . .after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. . .Acts 19:29,30
For I determine not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:2
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine. . .Ephesians 4:14

The Philosophical Side of the Commission

V. There is Globalization

“Go ye into all the world” The emphasis of biblical missions is not on location, but vocation. The location has been established – the world. A true missionary has a crushing burden for every corner of the world. He is alert to the needs of all the cultures of the peoples of the world. It is said of William Carey that he felt the word world. We are not impressed with missionaries who only have a burden for the country of their choice. God does not call people to a location. He calls them to a vocation.

The Pauline Application of this Principle
I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise and to the unwise. Romans 1:14
. . .that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Colossians 1:28

VI. There is Saturation

“Go ye into all the world” and “preach the gospel to every creature.” To obey the Great Commission in our locality we must attempt to reach every individual with the Gospel. The heartbeat of this command is that it be followed through with vigor and energy, not merely assented to theoretically.

The Pauline Application of this Principle
Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Colossions 1:28

VII. There is Personalisation

“Go ye” I realize that linguistically this is a stretch, but the “ye” is understood in any biblical imperative. It is the duty of career missionaries to press this upon people. It is a call to emotional participation in the working out of the Great Commission.

The Pauline Application of this Principle
I have great heaviness and sorrow in my heart. For I could wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren. . .Romans 9:2,3
Brethren, my hearts desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved. Romans 10:1

VIII. There is Mobilization

“Go” Here is a not too subtle call for movement. The word by itself is exciting because it suggests motion. The burden of missions is to spur others on to greater attempts at evangelization. This is what Carey did. Not only at the beginning of his career, but all throughout his life.

The Pauline Application of this Principle
Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. 1 Corinthians 15:34
Now therefore perform the doing of it. 2 Corinthians 8:11
. . .and your zeal hath provoked very many. 2 Corinthians 9:2
. . .and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark. Philippians 3:13,14

Embrace the Great Commission. It’s our raison d’etre.

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