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Intro: Before ascension Jesus issued what has come to be called The Great Commission. A “commission” is “an authoritative command; a directive; a command.” When Jesus spoke these words directly to His disciples, and indirectly to us, He was giving the church her marching orders. He was telling exactly what He expected us to do in His physical absence. The disciples took the Lord’s command seriously. They went into the world and shared the Gospel of Jesus and thousands upon thousands were saved by the grace of God. Their message was so powerful and their witness so effective that their critics accused them of “turning the world upside down”, Acts 17:6.

      That was then, and this is now! What was given as The Great Commission has turned into what some have labeled The Great Omission. When something is “omitted”, it is “left out, undone, neglected”. Instead of taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth as the Lord commanded, the modern church won’t even take the Gospel to the end of the street. Consider the following: 95% of all Christians have never won a soul to Christ. 80% of all Christians do not consistently witness for Christ. Less than 2% are involved in the ministry of evangelism. 71% do not give toward the financing of The Great Commission.

      These statistics are sad because they reveal the true state of the modern church. We are satisfied to be saved, but we are not motivated to see others come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Somehow we have come to believe that the end of our responsibility is to come to church a couple of times a week, pray when we can, read the Bible every now and then, and live a life that is slightly cleaner than the world around us. We have forgotten the truth that Christianity is a militant, activist faith. Our calling is not to endure to the end; but to storm the very gates of Hell, Matt. 16:18. Our orders are not to sit by while the world drops off into Hell; our orders are to go into the world and tell them the glorious news of a crucified and risen Savior Who specializes in saving souls, and in changing lives and eternal destinies.

      While the church has pulled the covers of complacency and apathy about her and has fallen into the deep slumber of self-satisfaction and comfort the world has continued its headlong plunge toward Hell. Even while we sleep, the door of evangelism in America is closing. Just last week it was announced that 50 colleges and universities are closing their campuses to evangelical Christian groups. They do not want these Christian ministries to share the Gospel. They will allow them to operate on campus if they will sign a pledge promising not to attempt to evangelize the students on campus. A Christian ministry that cannot and will not share the Gospel does not server to bear the name Christian!

      Other things have changed as well. Twenty years ago in America, you could approach the door of a total stranger, tell them who you were and what you wanted and they would open the door, let you in and listen as you shared with them the Gospel. That day has passed!

      In spite of the conditions around us; in spite of the difficulties and dangers; in spite of every excuse we offer, The Great Commission still stands! God still expects His people to take His message to a lost world so that they might hear the wonderful words of life.

      Has The Great Commission become The Great Omission in your life and mine? Are we as a church doing everything we can to find inroads of outreach into the world around us?

      I want to take a fresh look at The Great Commission today. I want to share four facts from these verses that give us much needed insight into The Great Commission. I want to preach on the subject Great Commission or Great Omission?


  I.  v. 19                  WE HAVE A DIVINE MANDATE

·         The mandate of The Great Commission is to “Go”. This is a word of action! We cannot “go” if we are sitting still. We cannot “go” if we stay where we are. We cannot “go” if we do not make a move.

·         This verb literally means “as you go”. As we pass through this world we are to carry the Gospel message with us, sharing it with everyone we meet along the way. There are two ways we can do this.

1.  It involves our Lifestyle – Matt. 5:13-16. Like salt, our life should create a thirst in people for the Lord. Our joy, our peace, our differences from the world should cause them to want to know why we are like we are. Our lives should be like a great spotlight which directs its beam toward Jesus. If He is the focus of our lives, men will see Him lived out through our lives day by day!

2.  It involves our Lips – We are told to “teach”. That word has the idea of “making disciples or to instruct”. We are to live the right kind of life, but we are also told to share our faith. We are to tell a lost world what Jesus did for us when He saved us and what He can do for them, if they will trust Him as we did. It is not enough to just show it, we must also say it!

            Mark 16:15 says this, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” The word “preach” comes from a world that means “to herald”. Like a king’s herald, we are to pass through the highways and byways of life lifting our voices to declare the Gospel of grace!

            The word “preach” is a present tense, active voice, imperative mood verb. The imperative means that it is a command. The active voice means that you are to be involved in carrying out this command. The present tense means that it is something we are supposed to be doing all the time.

            In fact, we are preaching all the time. Every moment we live we are preaching through our actions and through our words. We are either pointing people to Jesus are we are pointing them away from Him. We are either saying “He is my Lord and Savior and you need to know Him too”; or we are saying “My relationship with Jesus really doesn’t make a difference in my life.”

  • Our duty is to tell! If the Lord just saved us to keep us out of Hell, then He would have taken us to Heaven as soon as He saved us. If He had just saved us to worship and praise Him, then He would have taken us straight home to glory. He saved us so that we would have a story to tell! He leaves us here so we can tell the story. He saved us to use us in this world as His tools of ministry to lost sinners!
  • How well are we carrying out this command?
  • (Ill. While D. L. Moody was attending a convention in Indianapolis on mass evangelism, he asked his song leader Ira Sankey to meet him at 6 o’clock one evening at a certain street corner. When Sankey arrived, Mr. Moody asked him to stand on a box and sing. Once a crowd had gathered, Moody spoke briefly and then invited the people to follow him to the nearby convention hall. Soon the auditorium was filled with spiritually hungry people, and the great evangelist preached the gospel to them.

Then the convention delegates began to arrive. Moody stopped preaching and said, “Now we must close, as the brethren of the convention wish to come and discuss the topic, ‘How to reach the masses.’”

Moody graphically illustrated the difference between talking about doing something and going out and doing it.)


 II.  v. 20                  WE HAVE A DIVINE MESSAGE

·         Jesus tells His followers to share a specific message: “…to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” As we go and as we tell the world about Jesus, the message we are to share is very clear. We are to share the Gospel.

      Jesus came to this world to make the Gospel a reality. He came to this world to die on a cross, rise from the dead and open a way of eternal salvation for all who will receive Him into their hearts. Jesus came to this world as THE Savior of men, Luke 19:10; Mark 10:45; John 14:6. He came to make a way for lost sinners to get to God. He achieved every purpose He had for coming into this world, Isa. 53:4-6; Heb. 10:11-14; 9:28. He came to save us and to give us a message of salvation that we could share with lost souls.

·         Our message is not a message about our church or our denomination. It is not about our preacher or about our standards of dress and music. It is not about our style of worship. All of those are important, but none of them can save a lost, hell-bound soul.

      Our message is a simple message. It is a message of hope to hurting; of life to the dead; of peace to the tormented. Our message is called The Gospel and “it is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Rom. 1:16) It is a message that every person in the world needs to hear. It is a message that is universal in its application. It is a message that has the potential to change every life and every eternity that falls under its power, John 1:11-12.

      Our message is this: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”, 1 Cor. 15:3-4. Sharing this Gospel message is as easy as telling lost people what Jesus did for you and what He can do for them, Mark 5:20!

      That is it! It is the most powerful message the world has ever heard and it is a message that must be delivered to a lost world by the people of God. There is no other message that God will use to draw the sinner to Himself and there is no other message He will use to save lost souls!


III.  v. 19                   WE HAVE A DIVINE MISSION

·         He tells us that we are to “Go…and teach all nations”. In Mark 16:15, He says, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” In Acts 1:8, He says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

·         He us telling very clearly that our mission is to every person in the world. And that our mission field is the entire world. He may call someone from this fellowship to leave this country and reach a certain people group. He did this with George and Christine Braidwood. Of course, He may just ask us to send our money to support those whom He has called to reach those in other parts of the world.

While He may never call you to go to a foreign land to tell the story of salvation, He expects you to tell it where you live. He expects us to reach out to all people without regard to their ethnic heritage, their race, their past, their lifestyle, their economic standing, etc. If they are sinners, they are candidates to hear the message of the cross. If they are lost, they need a Savior. If they do not know Him, they need to and we have been authorized and commanded to reach them!

·         How are we doing reaching the world around us? Are we active in our Jerusalem? Are we fulfilling The Great Commission? Or, are we guilty of committing The Great Omission?


IV.  v. 20                   WE HAVE A DIVINE MENTOR

·         Jesus doesn’t send us in to this world, lost world without any resources. He doesn’t expect us to accomplish this Great Commission in our own power. In fact, these verses give us to of the greatest resources we have as witnessed of the Gospel.

1. We Are Promised His Presence – “Lo, I am with you always…” When you are standing there sharing the Gospel with that friend, that family member, even that total stranger, the Lord Himself is right there with you. He will help you; enable you; embolden you and use you if you will simply obey Him and share the Gospel with others. You will never share the Gospel alone if you are a child of God!

He will help you say what you need to say when the witnessing opportunity presents itself, “But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.  For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you” Matthew 10:19-20. Obviously, He is talking about being arrested for the faith. When that happens, He will give the words to speak. The same principle applies to our witness. When we witness, we are on trial for our faith. He will give us the words we need when the time comes. (Ill. The Lord took what was supposed to be a trial and turned it into a testimony time for Paul on more than one occasion!)

2.  We are Promised His Power – “All power in Heaven and earth is given unto Me” – He also says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me…” (Acts 1:8) when we are faithful to share His Gospel message, we can be confident God will use His message for His glory. He will take our feeble words and He will attach power to them. The Spirit of God will take our efforts and He will use the words we share to convict the hearts of the lost, John 16:7-8.

I am not a powerful witness and I do not have a stunning testimony, but if I will faithfully share what the Lord has done for me and what He has said in His Word, He will put His power on my weak message and draw sinners to Himself for salvation.


(Ill. D. L. Moody made an covenant with God that he would witness for Christ to at least one person each day. One night, about ten o’clock, he realized that he had not yet witnessed; so he went out in to the street and spoke to a man standing by a lamppost, asking him, “Are you a Christian?” The man flew into a violent rage and threatened to knock Moody into the gutter.

Later, that same man went to an elder in the church and complained that Moody was “doing more harm in Chicago than ten men were doing good.” The elder begged Moody to temper his zeal with knowledge. Three months later, Moody was awakened at the YMCA by a man knocking at the door. It was the man he had witnessed to. “I want to talk to you about my soul,” he said to Moody. He apologized for the way he had treated Moody and said that he had had no peace ever since that night on Lake Street when Moody witnessed to him. Moody led the man to Christ and he became a zealous worker in the Sunday school.)


Conc: On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a little life-saving station. The building was primitive, and there was just one boat, but the members of the life-saving station were committed and kept a constant watch over the sea. When a ship went down, they unselfishly went out day or night to save the lost. Because so many lives were saved by that station, it became famous.

Consequently, many people wanted to be associated with the station to give their time, talent, and money to support its important work. New boats were bought, new crews were recruited, a formal training session was offered. As the membership in the life-saving station grew, some of the members became unhappy that the building was so primitive and that the equipment was so outdated. They wanted a better place to welcome the survivors pulled from the sea. So they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged and newly decorated building.

Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members. They met regularly and when they did, it was apparent how they loved one another. They greeted each other, hugged each other, and shared with one another the events that had been going on in their lives. But fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions; so they hired lifeboat crews to do this for them.

About this time, a large ship was wrecked off of the coast, and the hired crews brought into the life-saving station boatloads of cold, wet, dirty, sick, and half-drowned people. Some of them had black skin, and some had yellow skin. Some could speak English well, and some could hardly speak it at all. Some were first-class cabin passengers of the ship, and some were the deck hands.

The beautiful meeting place became a place of chaos. The plush carpets got dirty. Some of the exquisite furniture got scratched. So the property committee immediately had a shower built outside the house where the victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting there was rift in the membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s life-saving activities, for they were unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal fellowship of the members. Other members insisted that life-saving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the lives of all those various kinds of people who would be shipwrecked, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. And do you know what? That is what they did.

As the years passed, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a place to meet regularly for fellowship, for committee meetings, and for special training sessions about their mission, but few went out to the drowning people. The drowning people were no longer welcomed in that new life-saving station. So another life-saving station was founded further down the coast. History continued to repeat itself. And if you visit that seacoast today, you will find a number of adequate meeting places with ample parking and plush carpeting. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.

That is a parable of the condition of the modern church. I do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but here are the facts. We have become more concerned about buildings than about people. We are more interested in having our meetings than we are in fulfilling our mission. We are more interested in our personal comfort than we are about who is drowning in the sea of sin just beyond our walls. We are more concerned about the color of a man’s skin than we are the condition of His soul. We want to see people come into the church, as long as they are the right kind of people. I am afraid The Great Commission has become The Great Omission in many of our lives. That can change and it must! It will change only when we come to the Lord and ask Him to change our own hearts!


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