I had a chance to preach this at the Baptist Collegiate Ministries at the University of Hawaii last Fall:
You are not fulfilling the Great Commission if…
- Jesus is not your Lord- Matthew 28.18 says “all authority in heaven and on earth” has been given to Christ. That is so foreign to American Christians, that we could possibly have a Sovereign over us. Jesus said to teach people to “obey everything” he has commanded. So, yes, we must fulfill the Great Commission as a response to the Lorship of Christ. But did you ever think that your own slavery to Christ is a part of fulfilling the Great Commission? If we are to teach people to obey everything he has commanded, would it not follow (or precede) that we ourselves would be in the process of obeying everything he commanded as well? That is what I mean by fulfilling the Great Commission by submitting to Jesus as Lord. Every time you lash out at your spouse, provoke your child to anger, tell a white lie, or think a wrong thought, you are missing the mark on the Great Commission.
- You are not a member of a church- For this you must put Matthew 28.18-20 next to Ephesians 1.22-23. In Matthew 28, Jesus said the Father handed over all authority to Jesus. In Ephesians 1 Paul said the Father “put all things under his feet.” It is the same handing over of authority– God the Father handing all authority over to Jesus. But in Ephesians Jesus is said to have all things under his feet and to be head over all things for the church. Whenever we think of the absolute authority of Jesus we are to think of him as the Head of the church as well. And if you consider that Matthew would have expected real churches to read Matthew 28, it is not hard to figure out that God gave the Great Commission to be fulfilled by churches! The audiences of Matthew 28 and Ephesians 1 are the same: the people of God as seen in local churches.
If you are not a committed member of a church, not only are you not fulfilling the Great Commission, it is impossible for you to do so.