I’ve often heard churches and pastors tell believers that the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) is binding on all believers. It is often the explicit or functional mission statement of churches. That all seems good. But I have wondered…
If this is the case, why is it so difficult to find any Epistles clearly repeating this command or commanding Christians to evangelize and baptize disciples directly?
We see passages like 1 Peter 3:15 calling for a life of faithfulness that provokes outsiders – and to be prepared to defend our hope. But in my reading, it is difficult to find one verse compelling people to make disciples actively. Instead, most of what I read focuses the believers on loving one another and living and suffering well in the world.
Maybe I’m missing something, but I’ve wondered if the Great Commission is incumbent upon all believers in every local church. Why didn’t Paul and the other writers clearly command us?
Jesus says, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Unfortunately, too many churches emphasize going when it should be on making disciples.
We are clearly instructed to make disciples and taught how to walk with Christ throughout the pastorals. (Paul’s letters to pastors like Titus and Timothy). Though the exact wording found in the Great Commission might not be used repeatedly, the entire New Testament (minus Revelation) underscores what it means to make disciples.
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