ronniefloyd.com welcomes guest writer Dr. Jeff Crawford. Dr. Crawford is the President of the Cross Church School of Ministry and he also serves as a Teaching Pastor of Cross Church Northwest Arkansas.
Why the Great Commission (Still) Matters
1. Because Jesus told us to “go.”
We will either obey Jesus or we will disobey him. To disobey is sin. It’s that simple. The Great Commission is not an option for the Christian or for the Church. Our tendency is to sit back and say to the world, “Come and see.” Jesus said, “Go and tell.” The Great Commission is not limited by the time or the culture we live in. It is for all believers in all places at all times.
2. Because 254 million of the 340 million people living in North America are lost.
Our country was brought to its knees at the “loss” of 3,000 people on 9/11. Imagine the “loss” of 258 million people. That is the tragedy staring at us. It is the elephant in the room. No one wants to look or even consider this kind of human toll.
3. Because 4.5 billion people in the world have little or no access to the Gospel.
A massive earthquake strikes the island nation of Haiti killing 200,000 people. The human death toll is so high the world is paralyzed in its attempts to adequately respond. Now consider 4.5 billion people lost to eternity. Can your mind even go there?
4. Because 1.5 billion people on the planet have never even heard the name of Jesus.
With all the resources and technology of a new millennium, the Gospel still has not reached full saturation of the earth. Without a clear focus, without a Great Commission to push us, it will never happen.
5. Because a full 90% of our world is not going to heaven.
We say we care about people. But why are we content to walk past 9 out of 10 people everyday knowing full well they are doomed for all of eternity without Jesus? We say we believe in the Great Commission but our actions say we don’t…or worse, we really do believe but we just don’t care.
6. Because the Great Commission is the antidote for dying churches (and denominations).
Churches die when they become fruitless or faithless. The Great Commission cures both of these. Every mainline denomination is in decline. Why? Because the Great Commission has been trumped by something “greater” in the denomination’s eyes.
7. Because the Great Commission is the recipe for church plants.
We plant churches because of the Great Commission. And those new churches will plant churches because of the Great Commission. The Great Commission is the DNA of reproduction and life. No reproduction = death.
8. Because the Great Commission unites the generations and does not divide them.
We are good at drawing lines between the generations. Music, clothes, worship style, movies, tattoos, PC, Mac, Chevy, Honda, etc. But the Great Commission is something we ALL can get behind. The Great Commission drives out division in the body of Christ. It IS our course correction.
9. Because the Great Commission provides us with a Great Vision.
Without a Vision, people will pursue their own “vision.” The Great Commission is the focus. It keeps us focused on people and it keeps us focused on God. It calls us to do the impossible (take the Gospel to the whole world), and ensures that God will get all the credit when the impossible is achieved.
10. Because if it doesn’t then it says something awful about us.
If the Great Commission doesn’t matter then it means we aren’t interested in following Jesus. It means we don’t really care about people. It means we are comfortable with 90% of humanity suffering an eternity in hell. It means we are totally and utterly depraved. And it might even mean that WE are lost.
I am 29-years-old. A millennial. An expert, or so I think sometimes. In fact, most of my younger friends are also experts. Experts in what you may ask?
Everything…sports, church, politics, and anything else that may come up. Often my own pride leads me to think that I know more than I do. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about my generation, it’s that we are in desperate need of one thing: discernment. Honestly, this lack of discernment goes beyond my generation. Many of us think we are experts. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about people, it’s that we’re all in need of discernment, regardless of our age.
Discernment is the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. Often, right and wrong is not so black and white. Sometimes, it is the difference between wisdom and putting our foot in our mouths. Some are gifted with discernment, most have to learn it. Discernment is knowing when to tweet and not to tweet. It is knowing when to open our mouths and when to keep them closed. It is understanding when to step out in faith and when not to be stupid.
James 1:19 gives us an excellent filter for our discernment. James writes, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Isn’t it interesting that the first thing he tells us to do is to listen? If I could paraphrase James’ words, I would say, “Dude, stop talking, don’t get angry so easily, just listen.” Often our lack of discernment comes when we refuse to listen and try to quickly get our opinion across because someone has ticked us off. Does your speech follow James’ train of thought? Better question: Does your social media follow this command of Scripture? May we all learn to discern.