So in my last post I talked about God’s Global Purpose for Israel in the Old Testament. This time let’s look at the last instructions Jesus gave His disciples in the New Testament- The Great Commission:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. . .”
As I have had the privilege of meeting with people over the past few months to explain where I’m going and what I’m doing, I often start with the Great Commission and ask, what words stand out to you?
I have had just about every word picked out! For me, it’s “make disciples of all nations.” Now, “go” is also important in that it is an action- it doesn’t say, stay where you are. It’s a movement of some kind- reach out, move forward, put effort into making disciples- of all nations. If you can disciple all nations by inviting your neighbor over for dinner- do that. But what does “nations” mean?
Instead of thinking of “nations” as countries, a better way of understanding it might be “people groups.” Think of those as groups of people who share the same language and culture and don’t have any barriers to communication. So, in Papua New Guinea, for instance, there are over 800 people groups because there are over 800 languages. This video might help.
If Jesus’s idea was to have disciples made of all people groups, all people groups would need to have someone able and willing to disciple them, right? What is it then to disciple? It’s found later in the verse, “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” So how can all people groups become followers of Christ, living in obedience to everything He commanded?
The Great Commission is not a command only for a few. Jesus didn’t just pick one of the remaining 11 disciples and tell him to be a missionary. He told all 11 to “go and make disciples.” If only one of those disciples had been willing to go, would you and I know the grace and freedom of Christ?
The reality is none of us wake up one day and move to a foreign country to disciple all nations. God moves us in small steps toward His purpose and desire to use us, if we let Him.
Maybe for you the next step is to:
* Pray for more laborers (Matthew 9:37-38).
* Choose a missionary here to consistently pray for as they make disciples of all nations.
* Join a pit crew at WCC (or whatever your church’s form of missionary support is- if you don’t have one, you could start one- email me) to encourage and pray for a missionary in fellowship with others.
* Live on a portion of your income so that the rest of it can go to supporting those making disciples of all nations.
* Offer skills to help a missionary succeed in making disciples of all nations (Ethnos360 needs pilots, maintenance experts, teachers, accountants, etc. I personally need help learning how to create video).
Ask the Lord what His next step is for you in making disciples of all nations, but never say never. A year ago, I certainly didn’t know I’d be moving to Papua New Guinea in two months!
Trust in the God who created you to know what purpose He created you for and help you take steps toward that purpose. He probably won’t ask you to make disciples across the planet if you’re not doing it in your town, but know that He wants you to start somewhere with an outward focus that isn’t about you.
What’s the end goal? “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14