Two Different Ways to Look at the Great Commission
The rescue of a prisoner of war camp and the act of doing a favor provide examples of how Christians can look at the great commission.
When a young lieutenant received orders from his commanding officer to go liberate a prisoner of war camp, he knew it wasn’t going to be easy. There were pockets of enemy resistance that would require an offensive maneuver to overcome. It was a type of maneuver that would require risk and sacrifice. When the mission was accomplished, the prisoners were set free from captivity and joyfully expressed thanksgiving and appreciation towards the soldiers.
After the young lieutenant returned home from the war, he eventually became a world missionary. He specifically noted five strong parallels between the orders he received from a commanding officer to liberate prisoners and the commission from Christ to go and make disciples from all nations.
- They both require an offensive maneuver. A missionary is not commissioned to defend the gospel, but to go and proclaim it. And that commission requires a rescue.
- It is foolish to assume that the enemy will not provide resistance. The enemy will not allow a missionary to invade their territory and free captives without doing all they can to stop them.
- Overcoming the enemy requires people and weapons. A missionary requires support and they must rely on powerful weapons only the Holy Spirit can provide.
- Lost souls are easily imprisoned by a world filled with sin. Missionaries must rely or trust in something outside of themselves as the only means to rescue others from captivity.
- True freedom is often only cognizant until after a captive is set free. Many lost souls who are imprisoned by sin never recognize their state. They don’t know that they don’t know.
The commission for all Christians to go and make disciples of all nations is a rescue mission. It means entering a spiritual realm and engaging in a fierce spiritual battle even though victory has already been assured. When Christians step out in faith to share their faith, they become a light in a dark world and a clear target that the enemy can see.
Attached to the great commission is an important promise. Any mission doesn’t seem nearly as scary when we trust that God’s presence is with us. With this promise, the commission can appear less of a command and more of a favor asked by God.
Most people are more than willing to carry out simple favors, especially if it’s for somebody we care about. We mow the law for an elderly parent. We go to the store to purchase items for a sick neighbor. In the same way, God asks us to carry out an important favor. He is asking us to deliver a message.
He prompts us to proclaim what Christ has already done for us to a person he has placed within our personal network. He prepares divine appointments that may seem like chance meetings. We may not have the ability to judge hearts or even know how willing a soul may be to receive the gospel, but we plant the gospel seed anyway. In that difficult and miraculous journey of faith, God uses his commissioned messengers to be a part of that process.
Here are three reasons why sharing our faith is like doing God a favor.
- We proclaim the gospel because he asks us. It is one of the greatest ways to love our neighbor as ourselves.
- We proclaim the gospel because we love Him. The psalmist tells us that from a heart of thanksgiving our mouth pours out praise. This is one way of expressing our love.
- We proclaim the gospel because we are honored to. The Almighty God, Creator of the heaven and the earth, asks us to represent Him — to be His ambassador – and under his authority, deliver a message of salvation.
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