The Church: The Commission

The Church: The Commission

“Go in peace to love and serve the Lord”

This is how each Mass ended and therefore is forever engrained in my brain. I knew this phrase well before I knew such a thing as the Great Commission existed. Similar to how many Protestant churches end worship, it’s a phrase that reminds us to focus on God all week long, not just during a service. I was lucky enough to grow up in a family that really did think about God throughout the week and parents who got us involved in serving. For many years I thought praying, reading my Bible and periodically serving was just fine. But I was missing the central message of what I found out was the Great Commission:

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19-20

At the heart of this command is a scary word: evangelism.

Many of us consider evangelism to be left to pastors and those with a special spiritual gift, but that is ignoring what God expects of us.

15  He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Mark 16:15

20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

2 Corinthians 5:20

When we look at what Jesus was telling the apostles, it was to evangelize in order to lead people towards baptism and then continuously teach and disciple them in their faith.

While we are certainly commanded elsewhere to serve and love others, the Great Commission was about the call of the Church to keep the mission of Christ going. And His mission was not to go out and be a good person during the week and think of others occasionally, it was to save humanity from our sinful nature and reconcile us back to our Father and allow us to be whole as sons and daughters of the King again.

One of my favorite quotes comes from JD Greear in his book, “Gaining by Losing”:

“Acts of kindness apart from the Gospel only make people more comfortable on the way to hell.”

This may be a little blunt, but it’s reality. Each believer has an individual responsibility to be a part of this commission, to share the Gospel with others in their lives. Going to the nations doesn’t have to just mean international missions, there are plenty of people who don’t know Jesus that you meet every day.

When we go out to love and serve the Lord, that also means sharing Him with others. Many churches love the phrase: love God – love people. But are we loving people if we are kind to others but don’t verbally share the Gospel?

CS Lewis explains this well, “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be tempted to worship, or else a horror and corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.”

There are either those who know God or who don’t. That means there are those going to heaven or those who are going to hell. In light of this view of people as eternal being – we should be actively sharing the Gospel with others (also known as that scary word – evangelize). If it was the parting words Jesus gave, then it’s worth paying attention to.

So, go in peace to serve the Lord and to share Him with others.  

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