Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Son Issues forth missions

Matthew 28:18-20 "And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

In yesterday's post, we saw that God in the Person of the Father invented missions. God sought after sinners such as Adam, Abram and the children of Israel. We then saw secondly that He spoke the Gospel to them. Thirdly God chose to send His grace so that those whom He sought would respond in faith and repentance and be saved. Then finally we witnessed the fact that God supplied a substitute for Adam and Eve in the form of two innocent animals, foreshadowing what would be the sending of His Son in human flesh. (John 3:16) It must be noted that God the Father did not invent missions after the fall, rather God had His missionary strategy in His mind from all eternity. (Ephesians 1:1-5; Titus 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:9-10) 

Today's post wants to continue on uncovering this remarkable truth of the fact that the Great commission is truly God's mission. We saw already that the Father invented missions. But now what about the Person of the Son? In the opening passage of today's post, we see the Son issuing forth the great commission. As we shall see, the Son has equal authority and status as the Father, which is why it can be said that the mission of the Gospel is as much the Son's mission as it is the Father's. Below we will point out a few thoughts....

1. The Son's Supremacy is the basis for the Great commission. Matthew 28:18
Christ's supreme Lordship is revealed through His Word.  The great late pastor and theologian Dr. W.A Criswell writes in his commentary on Revelation about Revelation 1:19 - "The Great Executor of this Divine plan is none other than Deity Himself.  Christ is not one thing in one age and another thing for another age and another time and another country and another people.  Christ is the Lord God, 'the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).  

2. The Son's Strategy guides the Great commission. Matthew 28:19
Notice the four-fold strategy laid out by the Son: 

a. Go 
b. make disciples  
c. Baptize these disciples  
d. Teach the disciples. 

How is a disciple made? We pray to the Lord of the harvest that laborers would be sent, that those laborers (all true Christians) would share the Gospel and that the Spirit of God would attend such communication with conviction leading to faith and repentance. (John 16:8-12; Acts 13:45; Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 2:25) God makes disciples through our efforts of presenting the Gospel. (Romans 10:8-17) So then when a disciple has been made through Spirit wrought faith and repentance, what's the next step? Baptism. I puzzle over how people can confuse this plain order and teaching of Jesus, yet the commands are plain: make disciples first, then baptize them. Then finally teach them. We teach them the Word of God which is effective in the saving of their souls and ours. (1 Timothy 4:16)

3. The Son's Spiritual presence encourages the great commission. Matthew 28:20 
How can it be that God the Son is able to remain with His church while being in Heaven? This final verse speaks volumes to both the humanity and Deity of Jesus Christ, and how much the ministry of the Holy Spirit makes such a reality possible. On the one hand, we know that Jesus ever remained a human being with a glorified, physical body. He ascended and is awaiting the time the Father tells Him to return back to earth. Thus touching His humanity, Jesus Christ is localized in heaven. Yet the Person of the Son is also Divine, sharing in the same nature as the Spirit who brings His Person and power to His people. By the Holy Spirit we are able to enjoy the Person of the Son. As God He is able to be with us. As man, his humanity and all its properties, though localized in heaven, yet are communicated mystically by the Spirit in the union we have in Christ. Thus it can be literally said that when the church is carrying out the great commission, the Lord Jesus Christ is ever with His church.

Closing thoughts
We saw today that the Son issues forth the Great Commission by way of His Supremacy, His Strategy and His Spiritual presence. Bryan Beyer, Professor of Old Testament at Columbia Internation University Seminary and School of Missions in Columbia South Carolina, writes: "Jesus plays the central role, as the living Word, in prosecuting the mission of God in the world. His coming was repeatedly announced with anticipation by the Old Testament writers. Jesus' titles and roles from both Old and New Testaments likewise point to his central role. Jesus taught the Word of God with authority, but more than anyone else he embodied the Word of God by his life. Our challenge and calling as Jesus-followers is to lay hold of that Word, to lay hold of God's mission, and to allign ourselves totally with His purpose. To know Him is life itself (John 17:3), and to make Him known is our only reasonable response (2 Corinthians 5:14-21).1

1. Mike Barnett, Editor., Robin Martin, Assoc. Editor., Bryan Beyer: Jesus Christ and the Living Word in the book: "Discovering the Mission of God." IVP Academic. 2012. Page 128

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