Jesus gave us the great commission, but is it really that big a deal? It is, it’s worldwide. I’m Joel Fieri, this is What You’ve Been Searching For, stay tuned. Now in our last episode on discipleship and the great commission, the masters plan, Jesus’s plan for discipleship as He spelled out in the great commission, and we talked about in previous podcasts the different aspects that we see in the great commission. First, we talked about how the key to Christian living is obeying all of Jesus’s commands. And the second, last week’s podcast we talked about it was how baptism, identifying with Christ burial and resurrection, and His cleansing power, how that fits into the concept of discipleship.
Today, I want to talk about the worldwide implications of discipleship, because the very first thing Jesus said in the great commission was, “Go make disciples of all nations.” What does that mean, all nations? Well, it means what it says, all nations. It means the world. World missions is not a very popular subject in some Christian circles these days. A lot of Christians are not really concerned with the world, they’re more concerned with their local communities. And Jesus did tell His disciples before He ascended, He said, “Go into Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth and preach the gospel.”
Today is fashionable to worry about Jerusalem and even Judea and Samaria, worrying about our local communities. A lot of people say, why are we so concerned about preaching the gospel to some foreign country when we can’t even take care of our people in our own communities? And that’s legitimate. Jesus did say, worry about your own community. As a matter of fact, that was the focus in the book of Acts, the church in Acts. After Jesus ascended and the disciples were in Jerusalem, they started building a church and they started focusing on Jerusalem, and they were successful, they grew.
But then things like feeding of widows and who was going to wait on tables and all those other minor things and those little petty squabbles started coming up. And what it really showed was that those disciples were being disobedient. Jesus didn’t say, stay in your Holy huddle. He didn’t say, stay in Jerusalem. He said, wait in Jerusalem until the power of the Holy Spirit comes, what we talked about last week and then go. Well, the disciples didn’t go, they were worried about Jerusalem. So what did God do? God sent a persecution and He drove the disciples out of Jerusalem.
And one of the first things that God took care of was the ends of the earth. Phillip was on the road and he encountered the Ethiopian eunuch who was reading the scriptures and didn’t understand them. He was on his way back to Ethiopia and he had gotten a copy of the scriptures and was reading them and didn’t understand them. So God brought Philip into his path and Phillip explained it to him, explained the passage, explained the gospel to him, and the Ethiopian eunuch went on his way to Ethiopia, and that seed that was planted with that Ethiopian eunuch is evident today. Ethiopia has one of the thriving Christian communities in Africa and any parts of the world and has historically.
So we can see the fruit of that first encounter, that first effort, that first person God used to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. So when we say, no, we need to disconcern ourselves with local concerns or our communities and not worry so much about the ends of the earth, that’s not God’s plan. He never said, first take care of Jerusalem and Judea and then go to the ends of the earth. No, it’s a full-on effort, all three parts of it should be our focus.
So how does the ends of the earth relate to discipleship? Well, this is what we need to be right off the bat instilling in our disciples, the disciples we make, we need to give them a vision for the ends of the earth, we need to give them a world vision. There are three billion people plus throughout the world who have never heard the gospel, who are living in darkness and will never know the saving light of Jesus. And for those of you who say, well, Jesus has got to be coming soon because look what’s happening in the world. Well, in Matthew 24, Jesus makes it very clear that first the gospel will go out to all the nations and then the end will come. So it’s a very legitimate reading of scripture to say that Jesus won’t return until the whole world has heard the gospel.
We have a big job in front of us. There are three billion people in the world who never heard the name of Jesus or know His saving grace, and they’re dying in darkness. If you’re a Christian that wants to commit to discipleship, first off, when you make disciples, teach them to obey all that Jesus has commanded us. Second, baptize them in the name of the father and the son and the Holy Spirit so they have the power to live the Christian life, and third, instill in them a vision for all the nations to hear the gospel and come to salvation. Those three aspects, if we can instill those in our discipleship as Christians, the world will be turned upside down for Jesus. So I say, let’s get to it.
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