Being commissioned starts with a trusting relationship, is followed by a directive, and facilitated by authority. Matthew 28:16-20, known as The Great Commission, follows this progression. In fact, The Great Commission reveals God’s mission and His strategy for us as we co-labor with Him. Followers of Jesus (those in a trusting relationship with Christ), have been given the directive and authority to “make disciples of all nations.” But what does “making disciples,” “all nations,” and “baptizing them” really mean to the Christian community?
Most Christians, when they hear “discipleship” or “nations” think…That’s what the church does. They teach, preach, and sponsor missionaries. While this is absolutely true, every believer is commissioned by Christ to establish His Kingdom! The Alliances, Businesses, Churches, and Individuals of the Christian community each have the same high calling and access to God’s authority to carry it out.
At C3 our mission is to mobilize the Christian community for a thriving world. So how does our mission line up with God’s commission to make disciples? When we talk about the ABC’s of the Christian community, how does that connect to the nations? And…what does all of this mean for me, as a Christian individual with a local calling?
As I prayed and asked God these questions, He cleverly and tenderly showed me that every believer, in the whole scope of diverse callings across the globe, can live out The Great Commission in a simple way. What’s more, it’s as easy as ABC…
WHERE? WHEN? WHY?
Answering The Great Commission starts with Abiding in Christ. If your calling is to manage your household by raising children full-time, Pastor a local church, grow a small business, or travel the world, access to Christ, your calling, and the Christian community comes from abiding.
Let’s look at a few verses that show just how powerful abiding is…
Colossians 1:17 says, “[Jesus] is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” This verse reminds us that all time, things, people, and places are truly in Christ. As we abide in Him, our perspective is expanded to the scope of The Great Commission. As we abide, we gain the mind of Christ and know that no matter where we are, we can make an impact anywhere and everywhere.
In John 15:5 Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” In these words, our Savior makes it plain that the only way we can carry out His commission is to abide in Him. Remaining in Him at all times allows us to daily answer His commission.
Psalms 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” This verse tells us why abiding is the answer to His commission. It connects our stillness with God’s exaltation among the nations. It is an encouragement and assurance that those with a local calling have a global impact by abiding in Christ.
The task of making disciples of all nations brings up two questions: (1) Who is involved in discipleship and (2) What are the nations? Luckily, there is one answer to both questions…disciples of Christ and the nations have the same origin, the Blood of Christ.
While Jesus was speaking to the multitudes His family tried to speak with Him… “But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:48-50).
Christ reveals to thousands of people that His disciples are those who do the will of His Father. And…as the scriptures say…the only way to the Father is through His Son, Jesus. This exchange illustrates that the sacrificial, sinless blood shed on Calvary that seals believers to God the Father is a greater indicator of discipleship than biology.
Most often we think of ethnicities and/or countries as “the nations.” While there are certainly physical and cultural aspects of people groups that justify this point of view, I’d like to suggest that the nations are much more than we may understand.
God is a God of order and endless creativity. Just think about how many galaxies we know about, how many species of flowers exist, or how many different sets of DNA have walked the earth. Now think about what makes a nation. Is it skin color? Language? Belief system? Location?
Acts 17:26 says, “And [God] has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth.” In that, I believe the true identity of “the nations” is revealed in the blood of Christ. I suspect the Body of Christ will continue to discover more and more about “the nations” as they relate to The Great Commission and as they are referenced in scripture. But, for now, be encouraged by the blood which is the authority afforded to believers to carry out God’s charge in the nations.
There is one thing that comes from abiding in Christ and applying His blood: Compassion. Each part of the ABC’s of the Christian community can live out The Great Commission by showing compassion. In the Bible, compassion is expressed as comfort, care, and cleansing.
Here are some examples of how Christ shows compassion…
In Luke 7:12-13 Jesus extends compassion as comfort before performing a resurrection miracle. “And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “‘Do not weep.’”
In Matthew 15:32 Jesus extends compassion through care. He employs His disciples and, by faith, fosters a feeding miracle. “Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, ‘I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.’”
In Mark 1:40-41 Jesus shows compassion by cleansing (healing) a leper. “Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, ‘If You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’”
THE COMMUNITY MISSION
Answering the commission for community has never been more possible. Together let us Abide in the Lord, coming together as the family of God through the lineage of the Blood, showing Compassion to one another to impact our world.