As I turned on the radio in the car the other day, I was greeted with, “The Christian’s ultimate priority is the Great Commission.”
That statement hit me hard. I immediately turned the radio off.
I’ve been hearing similar statements for more than 40 years now. Almost every evangelical, Bible-believing Christian knows what the Great Commission is, and most subscribe to the sentiments expressed by whoever it was I heard on the radio.
I say ‘most’ because I am one who does not. I am evangelical. I share my faith with both saints and sinners. I believe the Bible. I’ve taken the Bible at face value and applied it to my life for almost 40 years.
The so-called Great Commission is found in Matthew 28:19-20 where Jesus told the apostles to go into all the world with the gospel. I believe that passage is for all believers, not just for those apostles. We each have that call on our lives in some form or fashion.
What is it, then, that I do not believe? I do not believe that is the ultimate priority of every Christian.
First of all, that was the very last command the Lord gave His disciples. Therefore, in order of priority, something came before that.
If Jesus spent three years with the disciples before giving them this directive, shouldn’t we consider asking why?
Why, then, do we instruct the brand-new believer who comes to the altar Sunday morning to be a witness before this same time next week?
Yes, there were those who were instructed to go show themselves to the priest as to what God had done for them. Just as many were told to tell no one.
In order to avoid a lengthy diatribe about the futility of the Great Commission being our First Priority, suffice it to say that there is some training involved first.
We must first become more like the Master. We must first be free from our sin patterns. We must first answer His call to follow Him. We must first spend time with the Lord.
Jesus did not put any more emphasis on this command then He did on Love One Another.
Which do you find more deficient in the church and the world today? Love, or Preaching?
9 thoughts on “The Christian’s Priority”
“In God we make our boast all day long” – Psalm 44:8
Thanks for your thoughts!
There is a difference between sharing an experience that is personal, wonderful and life changing, and trying to get someone else to make changes before they see the changes in your life.
As much as I would enjoy sharing my salvation experience with individuals, now I know why I was never comfortable with “knocking on doors” as one pentecostal denomination asked of its young people.
“Jesus did not put any more emphasis on this command then He did on Love One Another.”
One is a “commandment” specifically and the other a “commission”.
The “commission” is carried out having embraced the “commandment”
We are not on a “mission” as believers to just “love” – Godly love should permeate all we do as a “characeristic” of our actions whether we are taking a meal to a shut-in or sharing the message of the Gospel that Jesus died for our sins.
We are here on planet earth first for the sake of the Gospel, and no other. In our loving we must also share the Gospel or we are filling someone’s belly (the meal) and leaving them under well-fed dondemnation.
We don’t have to share the Gospel “cold” but we need to be ready to do so. And since it is God who prepares a heart to receive the Gospel, we needn’t be hesitant.
I can show someone a changed life all day long, but my changed life is NOT the Gospel. A changed life might be part of God’s drawing someone to His son, but to present Christ to someone so they can have a life like mine is a false Gospel. Christ died for our sins, not so we could have a better life.
The better life is a by-product (on His terms) not the prime product.
Excellent thoughts, Dan; but far afield of the general tenor of the thought presented: ie, the Great Commission is not the day-one priority for new believers.
You never said “day-one”. The lead statement you did not like on the radio referred to the Great Commission as the Christian’s “untimate” priority.
Of course in our sharing the Gospel message we do it with love. You sounded like you were placing “making disciples” and “loving one another” on the same level for discussion. they are tied toegther, but we are given an “operational mission” to make disciples. Jesus didn’t say “go into all the world and love everybody”. They were to go “with love” and make disciples.
The reason I made the distinction is that it is an important one. We live in an evangelical culture that lives by the gospel according to the Beatles (all we need is love) instead of the Gospel according to Christ. I don’t see you preaching a false gospel – just wanted to make a relevant comment.
I was just going by the “tenor” of your initial quote. I don’t think I missed that. Did I?
Okay. Once again I am hit with how exacting writing must be. Your distinction is definitely an important one. I guess I must get used to the fact that you do not know me, and therefore, when I use a particular ‘buzzword’ of yours, it will set you off. Your comments are good and gladly received. It just seems as though you are continually looking for something to pick at, rather than elaborate on or to enlighten further.
And, since I don’t know you, that is probably a judgemental statement that is off base.
Just saying how it comes across to me.
It is obvious to me that you have a more disciplined mind than I, so your insights are appreciated and welcomed.
Wasn’t picking, but trying to, as you say, “elaborate or enlighten”. And I went back and saw some of my “typos”. Sorry about those.
Ooh. Wow. Right between the eyes.