Perspective on the Apostolic Commission

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20 ESV.

What we know today as ‘The Great Commission’ was an apostolic charge that the Lord Jesus gave to the first apostles for the transformation of all nations for His Kingdom. It is considered to be an ‘apostolic commissioning’ of the corporate Church because it was her ‘sending forth’ with authority – {Greek word: “apostello”, meaning “to send” or “to go forth” – It is an “authoritative sending” or “to order (one) to go to a place appointed}.

The purpose of the mission is to make disciples of all nations. It is unmistakably an ambassadorial work of the Kingdom to go colonize the nations through the teachings of Christ, which are the very principles of the Kingdom of God.

To colonize is to send people to settle and to govern over a domain. Studying Genesis 1:26-28, it is clear that God’s original purpose for man was for him to have dominion over earth. He was sent to colonize the earth by establishing the will of heaven in the Garden of Eden (earth).

Adam lost His dominion. He lost his authority to govern the earth because of His disobedience. He relinquished his colonial powers to satan. Jesus Christ as the last Adam came and striped all authority and power from satan through His death and resurrection, restoring them back to us.

Now, all authority has been given to us by Christ Jesus. The kingdom of satan has been completely destroyed (Colossians 2:14-15) and we have been raised and seated with Christ Jesus in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). Now we are co-heirs and partakers with Christ Jesus (Romans 8:17). We are kingdom diplomats sent by heaven as its representatives on earth. All authority and power of heaven is upon us as ambassadors of Christ and of the Kingdom of God to fulfill the purpose of God by discipling nations.

The apostolic commission is unmistakably the making of discipleship. It is not an option, but a command! Every believer who has been discipled has a role to play for the fulfillment of this commission.

The fulfillment of this grand command requires the re-evaluation of the Church’s current mission, so we can rediscover the true act of apostolic discipleship and refocus on the principle that Christ has given to His Church as ambassadors of His Kingdom. Failure to recover this mandate of the Church would be a lost priority of our primary assignment as a Church to the nations.

Making Disciples of all nations:

The making of disciples is the act of raising and establishing people to become followers of Christ by teaching them to be obedient to Christ’s commands regarding the principles of the Kingdom of God.

Making disciples of all nations is far more than the traditional concept of doing church, bringing people together as members of a local assembly and having services. It is more than going everywhere and preaching in places without a definite purpose of discipleship. Our strategy for ministry, evangelism, church growth and development should be the making of disciples. Evangelism to raise believers is not enough, we need to raise disciples.

Making disciples is a process of spiritual mentoring to teach and develop people into the full and accurate knowledge of Christ. It requires the modelling of Christ to people so they can be established in Him, and become like Him.

There are three key words to consider from Matthew 28:19-20 in making disciples of all nations: Baptism – Teaching – Obedience.

Baptism:

The Greek Word for “baptism” is “baptizo”, meaning to make whelmed (that is to fully wet by immersion in water – It means to dip or submerge in water).

The idea of baptizing people as a requirement for membership into ‘our institution’ or ‘our denomination’ or ‘our church’ is unbiblical. Baptism is the doctrine of our union with Jesus Christ, not our union with a “church” or a denomination or any institution.

We are commanded to only baptize people “into Christ” through His name. It symbolizes the death and burial of our sinful nature and the resurrection of a newness of life in Christ – Galatians 3:27, Romans 6:3-4.

Baptism illustrates a believer’s identification with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Everywhere the gospel is preached and people are drawn to faith in Christ Jesus, they are to be baptized into Christ. Baptism is an essential condition for discipleship. This was why the principle of the early church was first to baptize those who expresses their faith in Christ Jesus as they go through the process of discipleship.

“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” – Acts 2:41-42 NIV.
It’s important for us to understand the order of things in the early Church as a pattern to follow.

Teaching:

Those who are drawn to the Lord by their faith in Christ Jesus must be taught the sound doctrine of Christ. All discipling should involve teaching. We need to capture the heart of our calling as the Church – to make disciples; and discipling is teaching.

Believers in Christ Jesus must be discipled, by being taught the full and accurate knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Discipleship requires submission to the process of teaching the command of Christ Jesus.

Obedience:

Walking in obedience to the command of Christ is a prerequisite for discipleship, because it’s a demonstration of the commitment of our love for the Lord. By the act of our total obedience to Christ shall all men know that we are His disciples – John 14:15, John 14:23, John 15:10.

The mark of true discipleship in Christ Jesus is obedience to His Word. The character of obedience must be the fruit of our discipleship as it shows our deep commitment to Jesus Christ and a determination to follow and obey Him.

 Copyright © 2017 by Israel Onoriobe

Our ministry is a faith-based ministry and this material is provided free of charge to the body of Christ for equipping the saints. If this material has been a blessing to you or a source of encouragement we ask that you prayerfully consider giving a love offering to help us carry the message of the Kingdom of God to the nations – (Hebrews 10:6).

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