Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: The Great Omission

Monday, April 8, 2019

The Great Omission

Why We are Failing the Great Commission
The Great Omission
What has come to be known as The Great Commission, given to the Church by Jesus Christ before His departure, is one of the most misunderstood and disobeyed commandments of the Lord.  It is sin to disobey anything God commands us to do.  The Great Commission is the Great Commandment.  

          God loves humanity.  However, the essence of God’s love for humanity is not found in His acceptance of sinners in their sin.  The essence of God’s love for humanity is redemptive.  In other words, God wants to rescue sinners from the consequences of sin.  The “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).  Knowing all this is the foundation of faith.  Faith believes in the God of redemptive purposes.  God loves sinners to the extent He was willing to become one of humanity to substitutionally pay the “wages of sin” to remove us body, soul, and spirit from the cursed creation “by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).  

          Understanding and accepting the personal responsibilities given to believers in the Great Commission is to understand the enormous part God has given to “born again” believers in His plan of redemption.  The three questions of Romans 10:14 are rhetorical.  “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”  Genuine faith cannot ignore these responsibilities and still consider that faith to be genuine.  Such irresponsibility is delusional about faith because real faith is ALWAYS connected to OBJECTIVE RESPONSIBILITIES.  

          The Great Commission has become the Great Omission in modern Evangelicalism.  Most of the content of Paul’s Epistles, Peter’s Epistles, John’s Epistles, James’ Epistle, and Jude’s Epistle must be ignored so that most people in the broad spectrum of the convolution called Christianity will not be offended.  Wolves do not appreciate it when someone points out to the sheep that the wolves are not sheep but wolves.  The wolves do not want the sheep having any real discussion about what the Word of God actually says. 

18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).

          Satan’s strategy is divide and conquer; fractionalize and factionalize.  He has been doing the same thing since the Garden of Eden.  He has gotten very good at it! Satan’s evangelists have proven to be much more effective than God’s evangelists.  Satan’s way is the “broad way.”  God’s way is the “narrow . . . way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14).  It is amazing how easily people are deceived and how difficult it is to persuade them that they have been deceived.  In fact, it is so difficult very few people will ever involve themselves in even trying to persuade people away from their delusions.  

          Understanding the Great Commission is to understand four objective and definitive responsibilities in these commandments given to His disciples by Jesus.  Being obedient to these four objective and definitive responsibilities is the primary definition of faithfulness in the New Covenant.  In other words, NO ONE can be considered a faithful Christian who is not completely invested in these four objective and definitive responsibilities.  These four objective and definitive responsibilities are what define being a Christian. 

The Four Definitive Objectives Commanded in the Great Commission

1. “Go ye therefore;” this is the go get-um command of evangelism.  The implication is to be aggressive as opposed to being passive in reaching those lost in sin.  The lost do not know they are lost.  The spiritually blind are totally unaware of their spiritual condemnation and their spiritual death.  The lost certainly are totally unaware of the God’s solution to their spiritual problem offered to the condemned sinner in redemption.  Believers are commanded to aggressively “go” to the lost and explain to them both the bad news in doctrine of condemnation and the good news in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Any believer who is not daily preoccupied with aggressively seeking and saving the lost is breaking this commandment and is living in sin.  “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
2.Teach all nations;” the word “teach” in Matthew 28:19 is translated from the Greek word mathēteúō (math-ayt-yoo'-o).  This is not the Greek word that means to educate, which is didáskō (did-as'-ko).  Mathēteúō means to enroll someone as a student or as a disciple/learner.  This is the word used to communicate recruiting a person to begin training at a rabbinical school.  This is what the disciple-maker does with people who repent, believe, confess, call, and receive the Lord Jesus Christ.  These people are enrolled in a local church to be discipled.

This is a critical fact!  This is critical because the main objective of evangelism is NOT JUST TO WIN SOULS, but to enroll saved people in local church ministries “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:12).
          In Mark 16:14-15 Jesus ALSO commanded disciples to “preach the gospel.”  This is important because it gives us the ORDER OF RESPONSIBILITY.  We do not enroll lost people in the local church to be discipled.  This is the great error of the Seeker Church Growth movement.  That does not mean a local church cannot have a class where the Gospel is explained to lost people with the hope they will understand and be “born again.”  However, explaining the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and explaining the Biblical response to the Gospel, is the responsibility of EVERY true believer.  Their local church training is intent upon preparing them to do that as they “go . . . into all the world” (Mark 16:15).

14 Afterward he {Jesus} appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided {exposed their disgrace} them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature(Mark 16:14-15).

The Greek word translated “preach” in Mark 16:15 is from the Greek word kērýssō (kay-roos'-so).  This word means to publicly announce or proclaim.  This was the common practice of God’s prophets receiving a message from God.  They would travel from city to city and call the people to assemble.  Then, they would give the people God’s message.  Those hearing the message were expected to communicate it to everyone else.  This was also a common way governments, governors, and kings communicated with the people.  The men who communicated these messages were called Heralds (Preachers). 
3. “Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;” this is water baptism, not Spirit baptism.  Spirit baptism is part of the believer’s regeneration and is automatic upon the event of being “born again.”  Both Spirit baptism and water baptism are sanctificational (set apart) in nature, not salvational in nature.  Water baptism is intent upon publicly communicating a believer’s understanding of Spirit baptism within a local church context.  Spirit baptism sets the believer apart (sanctifies) FROM the cursed creation and sets the believer apart (sanctifies) UNTO God to serve as a “born again” member of the New Creation “in Christ Jesus.”  Water baptism publicly communicates a believer’s understanding of this responsibility.  Water baptism is the initiatory rite of enrollment and commitment to become a sanctified disciple/learner through the ministries of a local church.

          Therefore, it is equally as much the responsibility of believers to be able to explain the doctrines of condemnation, salvation, sanctification, and local church membership when it comes to the issues of evangelism.  There is a chain of order in Biblical evangelism necessary to obedience to the Great Commission four commandments. 

4. “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you;” means to instruct baptized believers enrolled in local churches regarding their responsibilities to guard and to preserve the doctrines of the Holy Scriptures deposited into their care as local churches.  This refers to the responsibilities of local church members regarding what is expected as they practically and effectively become “the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Timothy 3:15).  “The church” is the congregation of baptized, “born again” believers who collectively become the support (“pillar,” not pillars) for upholding the truths of God’s inspired Scriptures (II Timothy 3:16-17). 

          Clearly the context of responsibility in I Timothy 3:15 is the warfare of the believer within the local church context against the influx of false teachers and the infiltration of false doctrine.  Therefore, all the Epistles establishing right doctrine and correcting false doctrine are addressed to local churches.  Therefore, Christ’s seven Epistles in the book of Revelation, establishing right doctrine and correcting false doctrine, are addressed to local churches. 

18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; 19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: 20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan {excommunicated}, that they may learn not to blaspheme” (I Timothy 1:18-20).

The word “observe” in the phrase “teaching them to observe all {the whole; i.e, everything’} things whatsoever I have commanded you” in Matthew 28:20 is translated from the Greek word tēréō (tay-reh'-o), meaning to watch, guard, or protect from loss, harm, or injury.  The emphasis of the teaching is not merely upon all the practices and doctrines Christ taught to them, but upon generating a militant spirit regarding maintaining the purity of those practices and doctrines.  “Teaching them to observe” is teaching baptized converts to militantly defend and guard the practices and doctrines Jesus taught.  Teaching converts to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3) is as important as teaching the practices and doctrines Jesus taught.  

The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews puts it like this: “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip: (Hebrews 2:1).  The phrase “let them slip” literally means to allow what is in a vessel to just slowly leak out. 

The practices and doctrines Jesus taught are the practices and doctrines that define Christianity, or what it means to be a Christian in the practical sense of the term.  To allow the gradual erosion of the practices and doctrines Jesus taught is to allow Christianity to morph into an aberration that continues to be called Christian, when in fact it no longer is.  This is where Christianity is in most part today.  This reality is one of the main reasons the Church is failing to fulfill the Great Commission.  This erosion of doctrine and practices defines the failure.  Although Christians will admit to the erosion, they make no steps to correct it.  This is sin!

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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