There are 7 billion people on plant earth. Approxiately 3.9 billion have never been reached with the gospel! It’s easy to become numb by numbers. But each number, whether it be 1 or 1 billion, represents people in need of the gospel of Jesus. If people are really lost without Christ and face an eternity in hell separated from Him, then statistically these numbers should alarm us. Billions upon billions face the prospect of an eternity separated from God.
Yet, the urgency of world lostness is not utimately about lostness. It’s about the glory of God and His fame among the nations. God’s greatest desire is for His greatest glory. Whether the call comes from the Psalmist or the prophets, for example, the Word of God is clear. God is worthy of the praise of every tongue from every tribe and people on the earth (Ps 67:3-4, Isa 48:9-11). After all, who is like the Lord our God (Isa 40:25-26)? In fact, one day every knee will bow and tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord (Phil 2:9-11). Some will bow in great adoration and love, while others will bow in great fear and dread. Either way, all will bow!
Therefore, the Great Commission is first about the glory of God and second about the lostness of the world. The two are not in opposition; rather, they work together. God gets the glory as His fame is spread among the nations and mankind receives the good from a gracious Savior and Lord.
You see, God is so glorious and great that He deserves the praise of countless billions. Further, mankind is so lost that only a glorious and sovereign God could redeem a fallen and rebellious people from this perilous state. What’s incredible about these twin truths of God’s glory and man’s lostness is the plan by which He chose to spread His fame and save sinners. Jesus, God’s own Son, willingly became man in order to pay the penalty for sinners through His death and resurrection (Col 2:9-15). But how would this good news of great joy spread, so that men and women and boys and girls from every tribe and tongue and people and nation might hear, repent, and believe?
This is where the church comes in. The church is the means by which both God’s greatness and mankind’s salvation is spread. The last words of Jesus are given to the apostles in Acts 1, words that call them, upon receiving power from the Holy Spirit, to be worldwide witnesses (v 8). Since the apostles are gone, the church is bequeathed with this responsiblilty of global impact for both God’s glory and man’s good. So, what is involved in being faithful to this Great Commission from our Lord? Over the coming months, I will discuss five components of Great Commission faithfulness. In short, I believe it invovles: empowering through prayer, evangelizing the lost, establishing churches, encouraging churches, and equipping leaders. All of these components are for the twin aim of God’s great glory and mankind’s everlasting good.