MAY 26 2019: THE GREAT COMMISSION & THE MISSION OF GOD

The Church’s mission usually focuses on the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20, and rightly so. The one and only main imperative in the commission is to “make disciples” with three realities that will be involved in disciple-making: 1) going; 2) baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; 3) teaching them to observe all that the King Jesus has commanded. “Going” implies that disciple-making involves proactive engagement with people near and far. “Baptizing” implies inviting people to repent from a self-centered life of sin and to enter into a relationship with the Triune God who created us and has offered a new life under the Lordship of Christ. “Teaching” implies an on-going re-adjusting of our lives under the lordship of Christ into whose likeness we are to be transformed daily in all spheres of lives—including family life and work life. 

Had our first parent not fallen by trusting and loving the Creator God in Eden, there would be no need for the Great Commission, but only fulfilling the Creation Mandate of Genesis 1:28. With God’s blessing Adam and Eve were given two commands to fulfill: 1) raise a family; 2) work and rule over the creation. In fulfilling the first decree Adam and Eve would spread the glory of God as they have babies in their image—who are ultimately God’s image. Having lots of babies across the generation would fill the earth with God’s glory. In fulfilling the second decree our first parents and their children would work in all spheres of culture-making, including agriculture, business, arts and entertainment, education, medicine, engineering, etc. As people engage in all different sorts of work in relationship with their Creator God, they would expand the glory of God from the garden of Eden to the ends of the earth. So raising and family and working in different professional fields is part and parcel of how God would spread His glory in all the earth across the generation. Plus, devoid of the Fall, all of our relationship would have fulfilled the Great Commandment of loving God and loving our neighbor (Matt 22:37-40). 

But because of the Fall, the Creation Mandate alone does not and cannot fulfill God’s original purpose. We need the Great Commission first so that our relationship with God is restored through repentance and faith in Christ. We must go into all nations and make disciples of Jesus Christ, so that they will glorify God with their lives. The gospel of Jesus Christ must be preached and disciples must be raised. Continual transformation through discipleship is also necessary, so that in everything we do—including family and work life—we would reflect God’s character of holiness, justice, righteousness, love and kindness, and thereby glorify God. Discipleship and disciple-making will need to continue until the Second Coming of Christ when God will bring the new heavens and the new earth (Rev 21:1ff) and his people (disciples) will reign with the Lord forever and ever (Rev 22:5). 

In sum, the biblical vision for the church’s mission is to glorify God by obeying the Great Commission in the spirit of the Great Commandment thereby fulfilling the Creation Mandate with the hope of a new heavens and a new earth. 

This week’s Bible reading schedule:

Monday: Isaiah 26 Thursday: Isaiah 29
Tuesday: Isaiah 27 Friday: Isaiah 30
Wednesday: Isaiah 28 Saturday: Isaiah 31