When parents leave their children with a babysitter, nanny, or grandparents, they relay what is seen as essential information. Things like, “Here’s their jammies, dinner, diapers….” Or it might be, “No playing ball in the house, make sure they go to bed by…,” you get the idea.

Final instructions tend to emphasize what is most important. Even in directions for how to put something together, a series of summarized instructions are given in bullet points.

What were Jesus’ final instructions to His followers? They are summed up in a word—”Go!” But somewhere along the way, this seems to be lost in translation or just ignored.

Jesus’ final instructions were repeated five times. The final instructions and teachings of Jesus to His followers are summarized in what is called The Great Commission. It is found in each of the four gospels and Acts. It is a mandate for action throughout the world for the benefit of all people. This requires the church to go!

Here are five places The Great Commission is found and a summary of its content—

  1. Matt 28:19-20 Go, make disciples… teaching them what Jesus commanded
  2. Mark 16:15 Go into all the world… proclaiming the gospel to all people
  3. Luke 24:45-49 Proclaim repentance and forgiveness (the gospel) to all nations
  4. John 20:21-21 Jesus sends the apostles as He was sent by the Father
  5. Acts 1:4-8 Receive power to be the Lord’s witnesses to all the world

A cursory reading of Acts reveals this mission was central to the Church’s existence and growth. It was understood to be an essential element, not optional. But somewhere along the way things changed.

Initially, the Church did not venture out of Jerusalem. Persecution changed that. A great persecution broke out after the fiery deacon Stephen was martyred (Acts 8:1). Then the church went out as the Lord intended.

This mission is seen throughout the Book of Acts with the first intentional sending out of missionaries recorded in Acts 13:1-3. The “Go” of the Great Commission was never intended to be optional, but somehow it has become exactly that for many churches.

I had the privilege of being a small part of equipping three young men for their mission outreach to Indonesia. They learned and served together for two years at a YWAM base in Jacksonville, Florida where I taught classes. Their base director and one of their teachers challenged them to go. They did.

One of these young men married a young Indonesian woman, the daughter of indigenous missionaries. They are now expecting their first child and serve the local village they live in and are engaged in developing a locally-based coffee growing and export business as a ministry outreach.

How did “Go” become optional? I see two general trends present today; complacency and compromise.

Compromise can come in many ways, but syncretism and tolerance are common. Things get included or excluded with a detrimental effect. How do you deal with compromise? The truth of God’s Word is most effective in preventing and correcting it.

Complacency is much harder to change because it is a personal choice. First, we get comfortable. It is hard to be comfortable when persecuted. Comfort leads to an unconcerned attitude. Unconcerned is a synonym for complacent, and unconcerned quickly changes to unengaged.

The “Go” of the Gospel mandate can become essential for you. Here are 3 ways to jump-start you into engagement—

  1. Awareness – Become aware of the needs throughout the world. Learn about the state of the unreached and unengaged around the world. Learn through research in books, websites, and people interested in world missions. [see list of resources below]
  2. Acceptance – Understand the need and become willing and committed to be engaged. As you learn, contact cross-cultural missionaries and mission agencies. They will be glad to share their passion for the nations and the mission to Go!
  3. Action – Move forward by faith to support; send or be sent. Get involved with missions at a local level, be ready to go on a short-term mission, and engage people of other cultures with the gospel where you live.

Here are resources to get you started and engaged—

2 thoughts on “Go!”

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