Many of us lead busy lives. From work, to family, to church responsibilities, to driving kids around, we barely get time to ourselves, let alone time to be missional. A reoccurring situation amongst my friends so far is that we must plan our catch ups nearly a month in advance – because we are all so busy!
Amid all of this, we have the commands from Jesus to go and spread the gospel to the nations! I don’t know about you, but the concept of adding another thing onto my plate seems exhausting – if not back-breaking.
The Great Commission(s)
Being sent into the world
I want to draw our attention to Jesus’ commands to his disciples to spread the gospel. I will be basing the following very heavily on the Archer illustration, and then discussing it further in the next section.
Firstly, we look at the Commission in Mark:
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation (Mark chapter 16, verse 15)
We clearly see that Jesus has the world in view here – the gospel is for all of creation! As Jesus was sent by the Father into the world, so He sends us into the world as shown by the passage in John:
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John chapter 20, verse 21)
John chapter 17, verses 14 to 16 notes that we are in the world but not of the world. Also note that Jesus has already sent his disciples. Similarly, we have already been sent into the worlds in our various relationships and spheres of life.
You have been sent to your workplace, your child’s school, etc.. The world is represented in our spheres of life – you and I rub shoulders with multiple ethnicities everyday! You don’t need to add something on to your already busy life.
What are we to preach or do
So what is this gospel that we are to preach? We turn to Luke:
He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Luke chapter 24, verses 46-47)
The gospel is that Jesus suffered, died for our sins, and rose back to life. This forms the basis for the repentance of sins that will be preached to all nations. Note that the nations are already in our lives! Secondly, note that repentance for the forgiveness of sins is the response to the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
We need to teach people how to turn from their old ways to their new ways of life, that only comes about when firstly, they come to know their sins and secondly, realise their sins have been paid for. But how do we get people to this knowledge? Matthew chapter 28, verses 18 to 20 notes we need to teach them.
Note that we only go as a result of the authority that Jesus now has. It is on that basis we make disciples. Importantly, verse 19 can also be translated to “in your going” or “as you go”, indicating that making disciples is the key action – the going is the circumstance in which the making disciples happens.
Thus, the disciples would have been going about their everyday lives, and making disciples as they did so in their everyday lives and spheres of life. Acts chapter 1, verse 8 (below) shows that it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that disciples "in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." are made.
In your everyday going and doing
Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. (Acts chapter 11, verses 19-21)
When the believers in Jesus scattered from Jerusalem as a result of the persecution against Stephen, they went to many cities. However, by and large, they kept to the Jews, and so the gospel stayed relatively confined (in contradiction to Acts chapter 1, verse 8).
These believers would have been rubbing shoulders with other Greeks and non-believers in their daily lives, yet they chose not to share the good news!
However, we see in verse 20, that there were some, who in their daily everyday life, spoke to non-believers and overflowing from their engagement with these people and their joy of salvation, shared the gospel with these non-believers, who turned to saving faith.
Friends, this is the key! We have already been sent into our various spheres of life by Jesus. We don’t need to add another field or sphere into our lives – we are merely called to engage with those who are there. It is in the midst of our going, that we make disciples who come to know Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit through the good news that overflows in our lives.
So, my question as we end is, how exciting is the gospel to you? Is it exciting and lively enough to you that it bubbles up in your everyday conversations with friends, family, coworkers, etc.?
I disciple university students in the University of Canterbury through the Navigators while currently working towards a Master of Divinity. Outside of this, my wife and I enjoy rock climbing and going on adventures with our dog.