(March 22, 2019) Missionary statesman Dr George Forbes reminds us as we approach and embrace the celebration of Easter next month, to also embrace and activate our Saviour’s very clear great after Easter command…
In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus gave very clear direction to his followers: ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’
- Mark (in Mark 16:15-16) also wrote of Jesus’ direction – ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’
- But Matthew’s gospel records the command of Christ in more detail than Mark by adding the authority of this command as well as the task of making disciples for Christ.
- All true missions’ work is founded on the word and focused on the world because that is what the command of Christ embraces. It is a result of Christians believing and obeying the word of God.
God’s word is very clear
I believe that the word of God is our ultimate authority and it is so clear – our Lord Jesus commissioned his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. That he would be with them to the ends of the earth. That the power and presence of the Holy Spirit would provide supernatural support to their testimony and ministry.
This declaration is found in all four gospels, worded differently by each of the four authors of these important books of the New Testament…
- Matthew provides the extended version, with its vital authority. The other gospel writers add valuable perspectives.
- Mark says, ‘Afterward he appeared to the eleven as they reclined. And he reproached their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world, proclaim the gospel to all the creation”’ (Mark 16:14-15).
- Luke writes, ‘And he opened their mind to understand the scriptures. And he said to them, “So it is written, and so it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be proclaimed in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father on you. But you must wait in the city until the power from above comes down upon you”’ (Luke 24:45-49).
- John added a short but important statement in the closing section of his gospel, when he wrote, ‘Then Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you. As My Father has sent me, even so I send you.”And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit”’ (John 20:21-22).
The Holy Spirit is in charge
Next month we celebrate the glorious victory of his atoning death of our mighty Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary. He died to atone for sin and was raised from the dead by God’s eternal Spirit and was accepted by his Father in atonement for sin. Jesus then called and sent his disciples to the nations, empowering them with his Spirit… the same powerful Holy Spirit who had raised him from the grave!
Christians are Jesus followers! The command to reach all nations is as much ours as it was those first disciples! But without the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, the harvest will not be gathered! The task is impossible with men and women, but with God, all things are possible. To believe God’s word and to be focused is crucial to the completion of the global harvest.
- The church desperately needs to be guided by the Holy Spirit!
- It needs to return to the relationship that Jesus promised of the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) guiding believers to fulfil all that he had taught the early disciples.
- Above all the church needs to obey the commission of Christ and gather the harvest of disciples worldwide.
Reminder: Harvesting continues
Harvest has happened ever since Jesus Christ was given. Sometimes more earnestly and sometimes more effectively, but always with harvest hands and hearts and fruit that remains for eternity.
The Holy Spirit has changed negatives to positives by the power of his awakenings. We need to pray to the Lord of the harvest again and again to send labourers into his harvest fields. And these fields are worldwide… particularly in badly neglected places, not just our local community.
I encourage, I remind – I dare to challenge – every church, every Bible believing Christian, to be founded on the word and focused on the global harvest of men, women and children: the purpose and eternal plan of God for all nations!
God’s love for all humanity is the reason for…
- The clear biblical command to harvest souls
- Every Bible believing church to be active in soul winning
- A great company of willing men and women to be called and committed to completing the harvest of precious souls.
Dr George Forbes is internationally recognised as a missionary spokesperson with a heart for the lost of the nations. With a wealth of missionary knowledge and a unique ability to communicate the global picture, he is widely known as the ‘story-teller.’ Link: firstname.lastname@example.org