APOSTOLIC CONCEPT OF THE GREAT COMMISSION
Mordecai and Catherine Uka Dike
This article can be freely reproduced or quoted in whole or in part, in print or electronically, under the conditions that prominent credit is given to the author and the article not be reproduced for commercial purposes. The word of God is free, freely you receive and freely you must give (Matthew 10:8).
It is very important to understand what the great commission is all about. Anyone who has an insight in missions can detect that the Christians are majoring on the minor. The conception about the great commission has become a major problem contributing to the delay of the Lord’s coming. We have become like the Old Testament church, the natural Israelites who were supposed to have entered their promised land in three days but spent forty years wandering in the wilderness due to their inaccurate understating of where they were going, and the way to their destination. We are supposed to have finished our assignments and leave this present world to the land promised to us by God, but we lack understanding of this commission.
WHAT IS THE GREAT COMMISSION?
The great commission as the majority of Christians perceive, is to reach the un-reached, which to the Pentecostals and Evangelicals has the notion of taking the gospel to the un-reached people of the world (Mathew28:18-20), but in the apostolic and prophetic concept, reaching the un-reached has a dualistic meaning which comprises of up reach and outreach; up reach is spiritual while out- reach is physical.
THE UPREACH COMMISSION
God has called us and given us the grace, and His divine ability to reach the full measure of the stature of the fullness of Jesus Christ, to conform completely to His nature and His character, which no generation has corporately achieved since the beginning of the mortal age. God’s desire is to have a global governmental borderless perfect “sinless” church on earth; a blameless people filled with genuine love of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13, 5:26-27...
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians5:23).
Every true Christian should be striving daily to reach a complete state of sinlessness and to achieve immortality in Christ (Romans2:7). As we should know, our salvation is progressive, which is why Paul the apostle advices us to continue working out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philipians2:12), which means to purify ourselves from everything that contaminates our body and the spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God (2Corinthians7:1-2). It is significant to reorganize that the up reach commission is the first calling of every Christian…
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification that ye should abstain from fornication: For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness (1Thessalonians 4:3, 7).
Our calling is not to first become preachers and teachers of a bible, but to attain complete holiness and purity of our hearts. If you don’t win other’s for Christ but only win yourself for Him, God will be well pleased with you, God is not looking for multitudes of people who gather in His name, His desire is to have mature Holy sons like His first born Son Jesus Christ who will bear witness for Him earth (Romans8:29-30). Now, we can achieve sinlessness by daily dying to our fleshly desires to add the fruits of the Spirit in our life which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control etc. The scripture teaches that we should make every effort to add to our faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. If we possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2Peter1:5-8). No matter what you see transpiring in the world and in the structural church, let your eyes be fixed on Jesus Christ, pursue after holiness in order to fulfill the spiritual part of the great commission.
THE OUTREACH COMMISSION
Outreach is the minor part of our task, which involves taking the gospel to the un-evangelized people of the world…
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew28:18-20).
According to statics, almost 2 billion people (27.9% of the world) don’t have the opportunity to hear the true Gospel of Christ, the good news of the kingdom. Most of the unreached people settle in major cities and towns, and some live in the interior villages. These unreached people continue to be largely “overlooked” by the Christians. While souls are perishing in the world we Christian are busy playing and dancing inside of four walls, however; the scripture teaches that….
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 (Mathew24:14).
This means that, without taking the gospel of the kingdom to every nation, the end of this world will not come. We are divinely mandated to preach the accurate kingdom message to the entire planet. But understand! The kingdom gospel is far beyond telling bible stories, it has to do with character manifestation; we are to reveal the full nature and the character of Jesus Christ to the world, for the scriptures says...
The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned (Mathew 4:16).
This scripture does not suggest to take “bible knowledge” to un-evangelized villages, or to establish denominational churches in remote and rural areas of the world; our character should illuminate this entire world which has been dominated with darkness, for Jesus says..
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden, neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven (Mathew5:14-16).
It is time for Christians of today to stop acting saved, let us sacrifice our lives to represent Jesus Christ among the Muslims, Hindus, Buddha, animists, atheists, communist nations, etc. Going to church is not enough; individually we must engage ourselves into our specific assignments. The Lord says there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance (Luke15:7). Do not assume that you are not called, scripture teaches that every born again child of God has a ministry (assignment) (2Cor3:6-7). Your ministry is not to serve any pastor or Bishop but to serve Jesus Christ. Individually we are ambassadors of Jesus Christ here on earth, as God has said your ministry (which simply means assignment) is to reconcile sinners back to God (2Corinthians5:18-20). Whatever we do in this life must be in line with the divine assignment that the Lord has committed unto us, whatever we are doing must be used to reconcile sinners back to Christ. We should also know that reconciling sinners back to Christ means to bring back lost souls into full conformity to the true image of Christ, which is where man is supposed to be functioning but failed because of sin (Romans3:23). Another vital truth every child of God should know is that fulfilling our ministries simply means to live right before the Lord wherever we find ourselves so that the sinners around us will see the character of Christ in us and return to God. Teaching by character and lifestyle will help people reach God’s predetermined state of perfection and readiness in Christ. You need not form any religious institution or organize a religious group and call it your ministry before you can say that you are fulfilling your assignment, remember Jesus Christ did not form any organization, He simply imparted his life; God’s way of doing things into the hearts of men. If you are a housewife, then be a good wife for your husband and train up your children in the fear of the Lord. If you are a married man, love your wife with all your heart and support her at home to raise the children according to the principles of the kingdom of God. A “ministry” does not require a name or registration to be accomplished; “ministry” is a simple daily lifestyle in Christ. When the love and compassion of Jesus Christ manifests wherever you find yourself, means you are accomplishing your divine purpose. It is not all about preaching in the pulpit, but all about demonstrating the nature and character of Christ. Jesus says, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me (John12:32). Many preachers have spent years in the pulpit preaching the bible to multitudes without fulfilling God’s assignment. Preaching without conforming daily to the character of Jesus Christ is a waste of energy and time, we must lift Jesus up by the way we live our lives.
THE MAJOR PART OF THE GREAT COMMISSION
The major part of the commission is the up reach, as I explained in the book “The Eternal Church of Christ and her journey to perfection” every creature has heard the gospel of the grace of God in the Ephesians age of the church (Colossians 1:23). Now, our focus should be more on reaching the fullness of Christ; to become like Christ. As we should all know, Jesus Christ is coming back to receive a perfect church without spot or wrinkle, and that church is you and me, not different religious organizations such as Roman Catholics, Protestants, Methodists, Pentecostals and so forth. The scripture teaches that every creature on earth has heard the gospel of grace preached to them in a particular period (Colossians 1:23), now the creatures are eagerly waiting to see the manifestation of the sons of God (Rom 8:19). This means, that the people of the world are tired of hearing bible stories, it is imperative that they see us Christians doing everything exactly like Jesus Christ; since the world cannot see God, it is our responsibility as Jesus’ true disciples to reveal the true nature and character of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ to them in this perverse and crooked generation, that is why the Lord says…
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come (Mathew24:14).
When Jesus Christ was physically here on earth, He was God’s witness; when you see Him you have seen God (John14:6-9). And that is the dimension God wants every one of us Christian to achieve. The days of dynamic sermons are over, it is time for us as Christians to live our individual lives in such a way that unbelievers will see Jesus Christ through us and believe in Him and receive salvation, which is the reason God chose us and made us His temple…
Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple, for God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
It is obvious that we Christians emphasize too much on reaching the unreached villages of the world, without thinking about reaching the accurate standard of God’s holiness and purity in Christ Jesus, which without Christ will not manifest physically to receive the church. We should always remember that what cost Jesus Christ His life on the cross of Calvary was to build up a sinless people, who would stand as a true witness before Him on earth (Ephesians5:25-27). It is significant to understand that even if we evangelize the whole world repeatedly, without becoming a total separated and purified people on earth Jesus Christ will not come. In fact, taking the gospel to every tribe is not supposed to be considered a great task, because I personally don’t see anything difficult in making everyone in the world hear the good news of salvation. We should remember that in the 1st century there were only very few Christians that turned the entire world upside down (Act 17:16). Paul the apostle alone evangelized Asia Minor in only two years by using the Lord’s method of training and sending out vibrant missionaries ( Act 19:9-10). Now, what would keep us from evangelizing the whole world in six months? Our problem is selfishness, greed and the lack of maturity. Are we not more than one billion Christians in the world today? It is the sin of greed and selfishness that causes us to consider world evangelization as a great task, but the early church did not see it as a big deal. If we Christians would change our hearts from being self-centered and truly give our lives to Christ, it wouldn’t take six months to reach every nation with the gospel again as did the early disciples. Let it be known to us that the commission given to us is beyond going out in the world to exhibit our bible knowledge, but it is to become perfect, living a sinless life in the midst of sinners. Our character must be a light that will lead lost souls back to Christ. It is time for us to do, and not just talk, and this is the time when the church should fully reveal Jesus Christ. The world should be coming to us to receive mercy instead of us going to the world begging them to come to our churches….
And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the LORD Almighty and to entreat him." This is what the LORD Almighty says: "In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, 'Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.' " Zach 8:20-23.
King Solomon is the perfect type and shadow of the end time church in the area of world evangelism, which in his days did not host an evangelism crusade or conduct door-to-door evangelism to win converts to God. However, when people heard about his divine wisdom and saw God’s glory manifesting through him, kings and queens, small and great, rich and poor came from all over the world to pay him homage in Jerusalem. Now, that is the true pattern of the end time evangelism of the Church. When we cease from telling the story of the little Jesus in a manger and begin to live Christ, the world will begin to seek for Jesus Christ because of our lifestyles. May the Lord give us all understanding, in Jesus name!