Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Fulfilling the Great Commission IV

The third part of the Great Commission is found in the first part of Matthew 28:20.  “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”     The Greek word used here,  διδάσκω, means to teach.   Once we have discipled them, or won them to Christ, and they are baptized as a demonstration of their commitment to Christ, we are to teach them to obey Christ in every way.   

Sadly, throughout history, most groups have focused only on one aspect of the Great commission, whether it be soul winning, or getting them baptized, or on teaching.  Unless we do all three parts, we are not fulfilling the Great Commission.  Many modern ‘scholars’ have reversed the two words and refer to this part of the commission as discipling.   Most of the discipleship programs focus on the basic doctrines that Hebrews 5 and six describe as necessary to effectively win people to Christ.  What the the Great commission describes is a much broader range of teaching, we need to look at briefly. 

For example, Hebrews 10:21-25 tells us, And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”  We need to teach our people to trust God’s forgiveness and not be afraid to draw near him, knowing he loves us and will keep his promises so they don’t have to fear losing their salvation.  We need to teach them to be faithful in church so that they can get the encouragement they need and can encourage others, so that they remain true to God’s word when they face trials. 

We need to warn them that there are false teachers who will try to mislead them, as I Timothy 4:1-5 tells us.  “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.  For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:  For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. “

Because this is such a danger, it is critical we teach our people to study the scriptures for themselves as II Timothy 2:15-16 commands. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.   But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”  If they don’t learn to avoid the false teachings it will result in people turning away from God and displeasing him. 

Another thing we need to do is teach people to walk in the Spirit, because as Galatians 5:16 states, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”   As a result of our salvation, we are alive in the Spirit, but we need to learn how live in the Spirit, as Galatians 5:25 tells us.  “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

These are only a few examples of what we are to teach once we have won the people to Christ if we ae to fulfill the Great Commission.  I Timothy 4:6 tells us, “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.”  If we take the trouble to teach them these things after winning them to Christ. We will satisfy God and grow ourselves.  

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