Summary: Jesus’ Great Commission to make disciples of all nations is often poorly understood and the challenge not taken up. Here is a "Great Omission". What might the ’C’ stand for?
26.4.09 THE GREAT ‘OMMISSION’ Mtt 28:19-20 Acts 1 1-8
NOTE: It will be helpful to listeners if a simple Powerpoint presentation is put together as follows:
1. The Great Ommission 2. The Great Commission
3. Missing (Then prepare slides that gradually 9.Missing the Point
C reveal the outline that finally Commanded
Missing looks like slide 9. Missing the Scope
Missing Missing the Response
Understandably the themes of life and of death have been much in my thoughts over the last couple of weeks – not only because of personal circumstances, with the death of my father, but also because we have just come through what can be argued to be the highest point in our Christian calendar as we have remembered not only the death but also the resurrection of our Lord.
This week another death was announced – that of one of the most influential Trade Union leaders of last century. Jack Jones, General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union in the 1970’s died at the age of 96 in a Care Home in Peckham, London.
Norman Willis said of him:
Jack Jones was a great fighter for ordinary people whether they were at work or unemployed or later as pensioners. He never forgot the underdog and will be remembered with affection."
But of all the people who have died – and however admirable their lives may have been lived – No person’s life can compare to that of Jesus who died and rose and commissioned his disciples with the words:
go and make disciples of all nations, baptising 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. Matthew 28:19-20
My theme this morning is the theme of THE GREAT COMMISSION SLIDE 1
(Show first slide that reads THE GREAT OMMISSION)
(Pretend not to notice what some will think is a mistake)
Did you spot the deliberate mistake.
Yes, this one is deliberate – a deliberate omission. The letter C makes all the difference in the world to the meaning of the statement.
But how true might it be that we read the text as though it were the great omission rather than the great commission?
What might the C stand for?
There are several aspects to the Great Commission that some of us as Christians fail to appreciate:
WHAT MIGHT WE BE MISSING IN OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THIS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT STATEMENT BY JESUS?
SLIDE 4 AND 5
1. MISSING THE POINT – WE ARE COMMANDED
This is not the great ‘suggestion’ or even the great ‘option’ for Christians. It is a mandate – a command.
How well do you get on with commands?
If you have ever served in the armed forces you will have learned that commands are there to be obeyed.
Having said that, we always have the option to disobey a command. As Christians, God does not force our willing obedience. But neither does God present his commands as though they were options.
COMMANDED TO WHAT?
i. Make disciples
This is more than making converts.
• It is a description of our interpersonal activity as Christians, supporting, mentoring, apprenticing and encouraging one another to become mature and Christ-like as we grow up in our faith together.
• It includes witness and evangelism leading to the baptizing of believers.
• It includes ‘teaching .. to obey’. The bar to which we must all aspire as Christians is that of obedience to God’s commands. Not as a means to salvation but because we have been saved.
The Lord himself has not only commissioned you and I to be a part of this, he has also given us authority to do so, and his promise is to be with us always as we go about it.
Do you read the Great Commission as though it were an option for you as a Christian?
I wonder how far you would get in the Marines if you were to question a command and say ‘Now let me just think about this for a moment…. I’ve made other plans for this morning, so I’m not sure if I can turn up for duty.’
It is a ‘great omission’ if we look at this text as though it were an option suggested rather than a command to be obeyed.
But what exactly is it that the Lord has commanded us to do? It is far easier to obey a command if we understand clearly what the order is.
SLIDES 6 and 7
2. MISSING THE SCOPE – IT IS COMPREHENSIVE
Hearing the word ‘go’ can feel so paralyzing.
And if we don’t understand what Jesus meant by this we are likely not to respond or to think that Jesus is speaking to someone else rather than ourselves.