How You Can Help Fulfill the Great Commission
Catch Excitement for the Gospel
Every person has an important, God-given role to play in helping to fulfill the Great Commission.Today I lay before you the greatest challenge ever given to man by the greatest person who has ever lived. No matter how wealthy, famous, brilliant, or powerful you may be, you will never give yourself to any cause that can compare with this life-changing, even world-changing, call of God. No matter how many honors, awards, or achievements may be placed in your hands, nothing can even begin to compare with this command of our Lord Jesus Christ to help take His message of love and forgiveness to every person in every community, in every city, in every country of the world and make disciples of all nations. Today we live in a world of rapid and radical change. Men’s hearts are filled with fear and dread, frustration and despair. Mankind has proven incapable of coping with the pressing problems of our time – the population explosion, the pollution of the environment, the rising tide of crime and violence, sexual rebellion, alcoholism, drug addiction, abortion, pornography, urban sprawl, and wide spread political, social and moral decay. The Power of the Gospel Oh, what an hour for Christians to become involved in the greatest spiritual harvest since Pentecost! This dark and desperate hour in the affairs of mankind is an hour of destiny, a time of unprecedented opportunity for Christians. This is the hour for which we were born — to set in motion a mighty, sweeping spiritual revolution that will turn the tide and reveal to mankind that the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ offers the basic solutions to every problem facing mankind. If such a statement sounds simplistic or melodramatic, just apply the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule and other teachings of Jesus such as His command to love God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all of your mind, and your neighbor as yourself – even your enemies — to each of these problems, and watch them evaporate before your eyes. The Greatest Event of the Centuries If I had the privilege of writing a news story about the greatest events of all the centuries, one of the most important would be a meeting on a mountain near Galilee where a small group of men were given a global strategy for carrying God’s love and forgiveness to a lost and dying world. On this mountain these men received that greatest challenge ever given to mankind, to which I referred, by that greatest Person who ever lived, concerning the greatest power ever revealed and the greatest promise ever recorded. I refer, of course, to the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He gave to His disciples and through them to us. He said: “I have been given all authority in heaven and earth. Therefore go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this – that I am with you always, even to the end of the world . “ Later, on the Mount of Olives, our Lord gave His final word to His disciples and to us before He ascended to the Father. He said: “When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power to testify about me with great effect, to the people in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, about my death and resurrection.” Had these meetings not been held and had our Lord’s command and promise not been given, you would not now be experiencing the love, forgiveness, joy and purpose of God’s matchless grace available to all who believe in Christ. In fact, I would not be writing this message. Bill Bright’s Great Commission Story The Great Commission has been the focus of my life ever since one midnight hour in the spring of 1951 when God spoke to me in a sovereign, unique, supernatural way concerning my role in helping to fulfill His command. The vision embraced the entire world and resulted in the ministry of Cru. Since that time we have grown from a staff of two – my wife Vonette and me — on the campus of UCLA to more than twenty thousand full-time and associate staff and volunteers serving our Lord in 133 major countries representing 97 percent of the world’s population. Tens of millions of people have received Christ as their Savior and Lord through this ministry, and millions of these have been discipled to win and disciple others — spiritual generation after generation. I try to evaluate everything I do every day in light of how it will contribute the most to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Sometimes I am asked the question, “Are you surprised at the phenomenal growth and success of Campus Crusade for Christ?” My answer is “No,” for according to that original vision which God gave me in 1951, we have only begun to see what God is going to do. The best is yet before us! I am truly humbled and deeply grateful for the privilege of serving this ministry. Yet, I am not surprised at the miracles of God’s grace during the last four decades in light of the dramatic vision God gave me of the world, and what was to happen in terms of spiritual harvest. Our Lord’s Great Commission is for every believer, not just the staff of Campus Crusade and a few missionaries and pastors who love our Lord. Every Christian is commanded to be involved in helping to reach the world for Christ. Each of us has an important, God given role to play in helping to fulfill the Great Commission.
The Who of the Great CommissionWherever Jesus’ message goes, lives are transformed. In one of my first classes in journalism, I learned that the lead paragraph in a good news story usually answers six basic questions: Who? What? Why? Where? When? and How? In this booklet, I want to share with you a positive and practical strategy which answers these six basic questions. Who Gave the Great Commission and to Whom Was It Given? Who but our Lord Jesus Christ could possibly say, “I have been given all authority in heaven and earth?” Jesus is the unique Son of God. His miraculous birth, substitutionary death, and bodily resurrection are the most important events in human history. God became man. He died on the cross and was raised from the dead to save people from sin and to give eternal life to all who receive Him. The result was a spiritual revolution that changed the first century world and dramatically altered the course of history. Jesus of Nazareth, the greatest person who ever lived, has caused the most changes for good in the entire history of mankind through changing the lives of hundreds of millions of men and women. Historian Phillip Schaff said, “Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mohammed and Napoleon. Without science and learning, He shed more light on things human and divine than all the philosophers and scholars combined. Without the eloquence of schools, He spoke words of life such as were never spoken before nor since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet. Without writing a single line, He has set more pens in motion and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, works of art, learned volumes, and sweet songs of praise than the whole army of great people of ancient and modern time. Born in a manger, crucified as a malefactor, He controls the destinies of the civilized world and rules a spiritual empire that encircles the globe.” Christ changes men, women and nations. Wherever His message goes, lives are transformed. It was said of our Savior by the great missionary statesman, Dr. Samuel Zwemer, “The gospel not only converts individuals, but changes society. On every mission field from the days of William Carey, the missionaries have carried a real social gospel. They established standards of purity and hygiene, promoted industry, elevated womanhood, restrained antisocial customs, abolished cannibalism, human sacrifice and cruelty, organized famine relief, checked tribal wars and changed the structure of society.” To the Colossians Paul writes: Christ is the exact likeness of the unseen God. He existed before God made anything at all, and, in fact, Christ Himself is the Creator who made everything in heaven and earth…In Him lie hidden all the mighty, untapped treasures of wisdom and knowledge…in Christ there is all of God in a human body; so you have everything when you have Christ, and you are filled with God through your union with Christ. He is the highest Ruler, with authority over every other power. Your Authority as a Christian When you represent the Lord Jesus Christ as His disciple, you can be assured you are representing the one Person who possesses all power, wisdom and authority. You have everything when you have Him. Jesus said: I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. No power can resist you as you go in obedience and faith as His ambassador. You have the promise, “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” Also, you are assured that even the gates of hell will not prevail against you. The more you understand who Christ is and all that He has done and will do for you and through you, the more completely you will want to trust, obey and serve Him. God Gave the Great Commission to You To whom did Christ give the Great Commission? Jesus gave the Great Commission not only to His eleven disciples, but to every one who has believed in Him through the centuries. Therefore, every Christian should be vitally and continually involved in helping to fulfill the Great Commission as a way of life through the investment of their lives, their talents and their treasure. Shortly after Jesus gave the Great Commission, God the Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost, transformed and empowered the lives of the same disciples who, during His trial and crucifixion, had denied our Lord and for the most part had deserted Him. Following Pentecost, they went out boldly and courageously, willing to risk their lives to proclaim the message of God’s love and forgiveness in Christ. In fact, all of the disciples died as martyrs preaching the gospel, except for John who died in exile on the Isle of Patmos after he survived being burned in a vat of oil for his faith. Somehow we have gotten the idea that the early Christians were different from us – that they possessed a quality of life to which we can not attain. But it is a fact of history that the people to whom Jesus gave His Great Commission were common, ordinary, working people plagued with the same weaknesses that we have. The only difference between most of them and the majority of us is that two outstanding things had happened to them. First, they had complete confidence in a resurrected Lord triumphant over death, one who lived within them and was coming again to reign on the earth. Second, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Today, if enough Christians were completely committed to our resurrected and returning Lord and were controlled and empowered by His Spirit, we would turn our world upside down and experience a mighty spiritual revolution like that in the first century.
The What and Why of the Great CommissionOur responsibility is to preach and teach Christ’s dynamic gospel; it is the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to make our witness effective. The Great Commission is our Lord’s command to take the gospel to every person throughout the world and to make disciples in all nations. It involves building and multiplying disciples in all nations so that they can, in turn, saturate their nations with the Good News and train other disciples to do the same generation after generation through the process of spiritual multiplication. Christ did not commission us to Christianize all nations; He called us to disciple and evangelize them. Our responsibility is to preach and teach Christ’s dynamic gospel; it is the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to make our witness effective. With the responsibility, however, Christ also gave us everything necessary for success. Why Should You Help Fulfill The Great Commission? There are at least four good reasons. First, Christ commanded us to do so. A good athletic coach presents a list of rules and standards to the athletes and says, “These are the things you must do if you expect to be a part of the team.” The athletes subscribe to and obey these rules, or they don’t make the team. The employer says to the employee, “Here are the rules,” and the employee follows those rules, or he loses his job. In time of battle the commanding officer issues specific orders. The soldier obeys, or he will be court-martialed and quite likely sent to prison – or executed, depending on the seriousness of his offense. Our Lord has issued a command, “Go,” and no true believer can take His order lightly. But most Christians have never taken this command of our Lord seriously. We have been playing games while our world is in flames. We are like men and women who are straightening pictures on the walls of a burning building. We are dealing with peripheral issues when it is the hearts of people that need to be changed. The problems in the world that are threatening to engulf humanity can only be solved through faith in Christ and obedience to His commands. If we take our Lord seriously, we must dedicate ourselves fully – time, talent and treasure – to the fulfillment of the Great Commission, not out of a sense of legalistic duty, but out of love and gratitude for what Christ has done for us. If we want to obey Him, He says, “Go,” and that is sufficient reason for going. Mark 8:34-38 records our Lord’s command to all who would be His disciples and, along with Mark 10:29,30 and John 14:21, promises rich rewards and great blessings to all who trust and obey Him. He called his disciples and the crowds to come over and listen. “If any of you wants to be my follower,” he told them, “you must put aside your own pleasures and shoulder your cross, and follow me closely. If you insist on saving your life, you will lose it. Only those who throw away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live. “And how does a man benefit if he gains the whole world and loses his soul in the process? For is anything worth more than his soul? And anyone who is ashamed of me and my message in these days of unbelief and sin, I, the Messiah, will be ashamed of him when I return in the glory of my Father, with the holy angels. “Let me assure you that no one has ever given up anything- home, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or property – for love of me and to tell others the Good News, who won’t be given back a hundred times over, homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land – with persecutions!” “The one who obeys me is the one who loves me; and because he loves me, my Father will love him; and I will too, and I will reveal myself to him.” Second, men are lost without Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” That may sound narrow, bigoted, unloving and intolerant, but that is what the Lord Jesus said, and Jesus Christ is God! For many years I have asked people all over the world if they have found God. Apart from those who have met Christ in a personal, vital encounter, the answer in general is, “I am looking for God; I hope to find Him, but I haven’t found Him yet!” No person will ever find God until he receives Christ. Do you really believe that people without Christ are lost? Has it occurred to you that some of your family and friends, your neighbors and associates who do not know Christ are spiritually lost? The Word of God is emphatically clear: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. All men, women, boys and girls are lost without Christ. Third, people everywhere are hungry for God. The hunger of people for God has been demonstrated in thousands of ways since the creation of man. This has been our personal experience since the beginning of the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. As a part of our worldwide training program, we spend several hours each week in actual person-to-person evangelism in the local communities, at the beaches and in public gatherings. Frequently, thousands pray to receive Christ in a single afternoon. For example, on one occasion when ten thousand Koreans at a Leadership Training Conference in Seoul went out to share Christ, more than sixteen thousand people prayed and received Christ. And during one three-day Easter holiday, at least seventeen thousand heard that they could have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ from 155 nationals in Mexico and twenty-five Latin American Campus Crusade staff; 1,245 indicated that they had received Christ. Campus Crusade staff in India prayed that five thousand students would receive Christ in a single year, and God answered with more than five thousand new believers. During a period of approximately six months, four Campus Crusade athletic teams, two singing groups and André Kole, a well known illusionist, presented the claims of Christ to 351,887 students in 629 appearances. More than fifty thousand indicated that they had received Christ as their Savior. Many thousands of additional students and laymen have made commitments to Christ through the ministry of other staff members and the thousands whom they have trained. And tens of millions around the world have indicted salvation decisions after viewing the “JESUS ” film in their languages. I recall a porter with whom I shared Christ in a hotel where I was staying. He was very discouraged. “Porters aren’t very important,” he sighed. “Everyone looks down on porters.” I put my arm around his shoulders and said, “I want you to know that God loves you, and I love you. In His sight you are just as important as the most famous person in the world.” The Holy Spirit had prepared his heart for the “Good News,” and soon he received Christ as his Savior as we bowed in prayer. All over the world people are hungry for our Lord Jesus. Fourth, there is an urgency to complete the task while the doors of opportunity are still open. Never have the spiritual fields been so ripe for harvest. We dare not miss this unprecedented opportunity. If ever you plan to do anything for Christ and His kingdom, do it now before the harvest ends.
The When and Where of the Great CommissionIt is not fair for millions of Americans to hear the gospel thousands of times when more than two billion people have not heard the gospel even one time. The Great Commission is our Lord’s idea, and only He in His sovereignty and omniscience knows when and how it will be fulfilled. However, since He gave us the command and has promised to equip us to do His will, we must assume that He intends us to fulfill the Great Commission in each generation. Today every nation in the world is receiving the gospel either through trained disciples, radio, television or literature. But even though there is a witness for Christ in every nation, the Great Commission is not fulfilled, and it will remain unfulfilled until there are sufficient numbers of disciples in every nation to saturate their country, and all the diverse ethnic and people groupings in it, with the gospel. We must become as interested in making disciples as we are in conversions, more interested in spiritual multiplication than we are in spiritual addition. Every Person Needs to Hear the Gospel Fulfilling the Great Commission does not mean that every person will respond to the gospel in our generation. Some, because of spiritual hardness of heart, will even refuse to hear the gospel; others are mentally or physically incapable of responding, but it does mean that we should seek to make a prayerful, intelligent, aggressive presentation of the gospel to every living person and leave the results to God. It does not mean that the majority who hear the gospel will become Christians, but it does mean that they will at least have a chance to hear and believe. We believe that every man, woman and child on earth should have the chance to say “yes” to Christ after hearing a clear, culturally relevant presentation of the gospel. It is not fair for millions of Americans to hear the gospel thousands of times when more than two billion people have not heard the gospel even one time. If the Great Commission is to be fulfilled in our generation, now is the time for action. We must begin now and dedicate ourselves daily – as a way of life — to communicate God’s love and forgiveness to everyone we meet. From the time we awaken in the morning until we go to bed at night, our number one priority should be sharing “the most joyful news ever announced.” Where Must We Go We must go to the whole world. However, Jesus Himself gave us a strategy to follow. Just before He ascended into heaven, He told the disciples: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The original meaning of this command suggests that we are to be involved in helping to reach each area at the same time, from Jerusalem to the ends of the world. I encourage you to begin sharing Christ as a way of life in your Jerusalem — your home, your neighbor hood, your campus or classroom, your office or factory. Seek ways to present Christ in your community, your state, your nation, which is your Judea, and to the rest of the world. God wants you to help spread His good news to the entire world through your prayers, your financial investments and your personal involvement, or through all three.
The How of the Great CommissionI want to obey Jesus by helping to fulfill the Great Commission, but what does God want me to do? Perhaps you are thinking, “I’m convinced that men are lost without Christ and that multitudes are ready to receive Him. I want to obey our Lord Jesus Christ by helping to fulfill the Great Commission, but what does God want me to do? How do I begin?” This great task can be accomplished only as millions of Christians work together, pooling their resources to complete the task. Also, millions of Christians need to develop a personal strategy that ties in directly to the global strategy of our Lord. Campus Crusade as a Model The Campus Crusade for Christ overall strategy for helping to fulfill the Great Commission is called New Life 2000. The plan calls for mobilizing millions of Christians in thousands of churches of all denominations and hundreds of various missionary organizations to help saturate the world of six billion people with the gospel by the year 2000. This plan, which is supported by thousands of Christian leaders on every continent, has divided the world into population areas of one million people. Presently, we are in the process of establishing five thousand New Life Training Centers. These centers are being staffed with trained leaders dedicated to training spiritual multipliers and ten thousand “JESUS” film teams utilizing the film and other tools of evangelism to help saturate each of the one million population areas with the gospel. In cooperation with thousands of Christians of all denominations, it is our prayer target and goal to:
- Present the gospel to more than six billion people by the year 2000.
- Introduce one billion of them to Christ.
- Start at least five million New Life home follow–up groups which will minister to and help to disciple more than two hundred million new Christians.
- Establish ministries on eight thousand college and university campuses in strategic metropolitan areas worldwide to reach students and professors for Christ.
- Plant one million churches throughout the world among every people group on earth.
Creating a Personal Strategy to Fulfill Great CommissionOne Christian with a personal strategy, focusing all his efforts, can magnify and multiply his fruitfulness beyond measure. The Great Commission can be accomplished as millions of Christians develop a personal strategy that ties in directly to Christ’s global strategy. One Christian with a personal strategy, focusing all his efforts, can magnify and multiply his fruitfulness beyond measure. “But,” you may ask, “what is a personal strategy?” A personal strategy is a deliberate plan of action by an individual to accomplish a specific goal. Since the goal of every sincere believer should be to help fulfill the Great Commission, his personal plan should include evangelizing and discipling, adding and multiplying. Spiritual Multiplication Examples When you personally introduce another to Christ, that is spiritual addition. But when you deliberately disciple the new Christian and help him to win, disciple and send others who will do the same to win and disciple others, generation after generation, that is spiritual multiplication! Let me illustrate. During a Campus Crusade for Christ banquet in Manila, the director of our Great Commission Training Center introduced a medical doctor whom he had introduced to Christ and discipled. The doctor stood and gave his testimony, then introduced one of the persons whom he had introduced to Christ and discipled. This man in turn gave his testimony and introduced one of the medical students whom he had introduced to Christ and discipled. This went on for ten generations of a ministry that had begun with one of our American staff who had poured his life into the discipling of men who in turn discipled others. Recently, I traveled to Thailand where I met many spiritual multipliers, one of them a man who is the spiritual father of twelve generations. He has led more than fifteen hundred people to Christ in the past four years. While I was there, he introduced me to one of his disciples, who introduced me to one of his disciples, and so it went on down a line of twelve men and women. The last disciple in the chain had been a Christian only six months and had already introduced twelve people to Christ and was in the process of discipling several of them. These believers in Thailand know that it is not enough just to lead others to the Lord and to say, “Isn’t that great?” — then forget them. Rather, they win people and disciple them, training these new Christians to win and disciple others so they, in turn, will win and disciple still others. Spiritual Multiplication’s Influence How would you like to introduce hundreds — even thousands — of men and women to our Lord Jesus Christ? You can. If you were to introduce just one person to the Lord Jesus every month for the next twenty years, you would have introduced 240 souls to Christ. This is the principle of addition and very few Christians have such a fruitful witness. However, if you were to disciple each of those 240 new believers so that they in turn would win and disciple others, generation after generation, many millions would be introduced to Christ in the same number of years. The apostle Paul was referring to spiritual multiplication in his second letter to Timothy. “You must teach others those things you and many others have heard me speak about,” he said. “Teach these great truths to trustworthy men who will, in turn, pass them on to others.” Beginning with only two persons and using this simple, continuous cycle of discipling, or spiritual multiplication, the entire world could be totally evangelized and saturated with the gospel in only thirty-two subsequent steps because two, multiplied by itself thirty-two times, equals the population of the world! As each of us develops a personal strategy, God can use us to play a vital role in helping to fulfill the Great Commission. It all boils down to this simple equation: GOAL – PLAN + ACTION = DREAM GOAL + PLAN + ACTION = REALITY
Be Sure You Are Committed to ChristWhatever your situation, you can trust a loving God when you surrender every life ambition to Him. But you may wonder how to develop a personal evangelism strategy. Let me make some simple, scriptural suggestions:
- Be Sure You Are Committed to Christ and Filled With the Spirit
- Pray for Guidance
- Outline the Strategy God Reveals in Answer to Your Prayers
- Seek Training
- Take the Initiative
Pray for Guidance and Seek TrainingWhile on earth, Jesus discussed every major decision and turning point in His life with His heavenly Father. Pray for Guidance Pray in faith that God will guide you in developing your personal strategy to reach your immediate area of influence for Christ. You do not have to design your own strategy; you are simply discovering the plan that God has already designed. Jesus was a perfect example. While on earth, He discussed every major decision and turning point in His life with His heavenly Father. And remember, as you pray, to expect God to provide the best strategy and whatever is needed to begin to put your plan into action. Expectant faith pleases God. Outline the Strategy God Reveals in Answer to your Prayers Make lists of specific people with whom you wish to share Christ. Consider specific groups in your life and develop a strategy to reach each one. Begin with your family. Remember that in your home, more than in any other place, your life will be your testimony. Trust God continually to fill you with His Spirit so that your actions — the fruit of the Spirit — will bear witness to what Jesus has done in your life. Suggested Action Steps Plan how you can reach the people with whom you work. Seek out those whom you know are Christians, and ask them to join with you in evangelizing your office. In your church, make yourself available to your pastor. Offer to teach Sunday school, and especially to be a part of the visitation evangelism team. Encourage other members of your church to develop their own strategies. Invite your neighbors for an evangelistic coffee or tea or dessert, or start a neighborhood evangelistic Bible study. Tell your friends what Christ has done in your life and that He can do the same for them. Pray for those with whom you want to share the gospel. Then go to them. Tell them of God’s love and forgiveness, available through Jesus Christ. Give them opportunity to receive Him. Share your faith as a way of life — talk about Christ wherever you go. As people trust Him as Lord and Savior, begin to disciple them and involve them in the cycle of multiplication. Invite them to join you in an effort to saturate your entire community with the message of Christ. Seek Training Learn everything you can about how to accomplish your personal strategy to help fulfill the Great Commission. Millions of students, lay people and pastors are taking advantage of the training and materials available through Campus Crusade for Christ. This training will give you techniques for winning people to Christ, building them in the faith, and sending them to the world with the good news of God’s love and forgiveness. A new six-hour video training series, Reaching Your World, is available to help you reach your neighbors and loved ones for Christ. The series also shows you how to use the “JESUS” video evangelistically in your own home or office. I encourage you to write out your personal strategy today. Make a list of those with whom you want to share Christ. Make another list of individuals whom you can disciple by training them to experience and share the abundant life in Christ. Begin immediately to work out your strategy.
Take the Initiative in EvangelismIn this changing and chaotic period of history, sincere, thinking Christians cannot be satisfied with business as usual. Take the initiative to help fulfill the Great Commission where you live in your Jerusalem. This should be your priority. Claim your relatives, friends, neighbors and business associates for Christ in prayer. Then present His claims to them. As you implement this personal strategy, think beyond your local goals to the worldwide goals for fulfilling the Great Commission. This will prevent your becoming side-tracked on time-consuming and relatively unproductive tangents. Under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, you can proceed with complete confidence to plan your work and work your plan. Every Christian, whether a student, homemaker, businessman, pastor, or missionary, needs a personal strategy to help reach his own community or area of influence for Christ. In this changing and chaotic period of history, sincere, thinking Christians cannot be satisfied with business as usual. Become Passionate About the Gospel Dr. James Stewart of Scotland, one of the most famous New Testament scholars of our time, has said, “If we could but show the world that being committed to Christ is no tame, humdrum, sheltered monotony, but the most exciting, thrilling adventure the human spirit can ever know, those who have been standing outside the church and looking askance at Christ will come crowding in to pay allegiance; and we might well expect the greatest revival since Pentecost.” This statement has had a profound impact on my life and ministry since I read it in 1947. I believe millions of Christians like ourselves are discovering the importance of being involved in our heavenly Father’s business. As I observe God’s working in the lives of men and women around the world through many movements, I am persuaded that the greatest spiritual awakening since Pentecost has already begun. Paul’s Example Some time ago, I was visiting Rome. One evening as I sat in the Roman Forum, I saw and heard portrayed, through the medium of light and sound, the drama of that ancient Empire. The Forum vibrated with history, and I was enthralled as I sat there. For almost a thousand years, Rome ruled the world. Into this Forum had come the conquering generals to receive their laurels. Here the senators had met to legislate the laws that governed the Empire. Here Julius Caesar had been assassinated. Earlier that afternoon, I had visited a dingy dungeon cell across the street from the Forum where it is believed that the apostle Paul, imprisoned for his faith, had spent the last few months of his life until his martyrdom. Had I been living in those days, and had I visited Paul in that dungeon, it is not likely that I would have been as impressed with this “bond slave of Christ” as I would have been with many of the leaders of Rome. Paul was probably neither a commanding figure nor an eloquent speaker according to his own admission; but here was a man with a brilliant mind, a flaming heart and an anointed pen — a man who had linked his life with the risen Christ. He was a man chosen and anointed of God. He shared Christ’s vision and burden for the world, and he was committed to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. What God did in that cell had far more significance for the good of mankind than anything that happened in the Roman Forum. God took a life that was yielded to Him and used it to help change the course of history. Today millions of Christians are worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ, in large measure because of what God did through this dedicated apostle, a “bond slave” of Jesus Christ.
The Rewards and Cost of the Great CommissionIf Christ be God and died for me, there is nothing too great that I can do for Him.” C.T. Studd. Just as God has used Paul and millions of others like him through the centuries, so is He looking for men and women in our time through whom He can accomplish mighty exploits for His kingdom. Jesus said, “Go…and make disciples in all nations.” In order to make disciples, you must be a disciple yourself. The person who is committed to Christ, who understands how to walk in the fullness of the Spirit, is going to influence and help to produce the same kind of Christians. Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Jesus also says, “Anyone who wants to be my follower must love me far more than he does his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, or sisters yes, more than his own life — otherwise he cannot be my disciple.” Following God’s Call is Rewarding For some, such a call to discipleship may sound too hard. Perhaps this thought was in Peter’s mind when he said to Jesus, “We’ve given up everything to follow you.” And Jesus replied, “Let me assure you that no one has ever given up anything — home, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or property for love of me and to tell others the Good News, who don’t be given back, a hundred times over, homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land — with persecutions. All these will be his here on earth, and in the world to come he shall have eternal life.” That this promise has been fulfilled in the lives of all who seek first Christ and His kingdom has been attested to times without number — not always in material things, of course, but in rewards far more meaningful and enriching. I shall never forget Vonette’s concern when I explained to her at the time of my proposal that, though I loved her dearly, I loved Jesus Christ more than I loved her and that He would always have first place in my life and in our home. Although she did not understand such a “fanatical” attitude on my part at that time, she later surrendered her life to Christ and now says with me, “Christ is first in my life.” It is because of our individual commitment to and love for Him that we love each other and are more considerate of each other all the more. Truly Christ has enriched our individual lives and our ministry far beyond anything we could ever have dared to dream. We say with the famous missionary statesman, C.T. Studd, “If Christ be God and died for me, there is nothing too great that I can do for Him.” Opportunity to Commit You and I have the privilege of being part of the most significant world-changing movement of all the centuries, the movement to help fulfill the Great Commission of our Lord in this generation. Will you surrender your life totally and unreservedly to Christ today and make yourself available to obey our Lord’s command? It may mean sacrifice. Even martyrdom. But can you think of a greater leader to follow than the Lord Jesus Christ? Is there a greater cause than His to which you can give yourself? Will you, as an expression of your love and gratitude to Christ for what He has done for you and as an act of obedience to His command, help fulfill the Great Commission in this generation? If it is your desire to commit yourself to help fulfill His command, make the following prayer your prayer: “Dear Father in heaven, I stand at attention. I make myself available to You to do with as You wish. I surrender my life to the lordship of Jesus Christ totally, completely and irrevocably. I desire to be a man (woman) of God through whom You can bring Your message of love and forgiveness in Christ to all men everywhere. “I invite You to cleanse me, to empower me, to lead me, to inspire me, to teach me, to enable me to do that which will bring the greatest honor and glory to Your name. “Enable me by Your Holy Spirit to contribute my maximum time, talent and treasure to the fulfillment of the Great Commission in my time. I ask this in the wonderful name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.” If you prayed that prayer, you have made your commitment to Jesus Christ. Through the investment of your time, your talent and your treasure, you will help fulfill the Great Commission of our Lord in this generation. Remember, through the power of the indwelling Christ and the enabling of the Holy Spirit, you will help to change the world. Remember, How You Can Help Fulfill the Great Commission is a transferable concept. You can master it by reading it six times; then pass it on to others as our Lord commands us in Matthew 28:20: “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” The apostle Paul encouraged us to do the same: “The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2).
Learn more about how you can help fulfill the Great Commission with these study guides.Self-Study Guide
- Many have argued that the Great Commission was only for the apostles to whom it was originally given and is not for us today. Name two things in Matthew 28:20 that prove the Great Commission is intended for Christians today.
- Why is it important that Jesus is who He said He is, the Son of God? How would you describe His character?
- How does Ephesians 1:19-23 express God’s power? What additional fact does Jeremiah 32:17 bring out?
- List some reasons that the New Testament church had such a great impact. (See 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10)
- What does it mean to be Christ’s ambassador?
- What does John 14:6 say? Why is this important?
- Why should you be involved in telling others about Christ?
- Why is it critical that we take the news of Jesus Christ to every land?
- What does the word “witness” mean? How is it used in the Bible?
- Proverbs 14:5
- Isaiah 55:1-7
- Luke 24:48
- Acts 1:18
- Acts 2:40
- Acts 8:25
- Acts 20:17-24
- Acts 23:11
- Acts 28:23
- How would you describe Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria in relation to your world today? (See Acts 1:8)
- What is involved in the fulfillment of the Great Commission? Explain the role of both evangelism and discipleship in its fulfillment.
- What place does prayer have in the fulfillment of the Great Commission?
- What personal strategy of evangelism did Paul exhibit in Acts 13 and 14? What additional strategy did he employ in Acts 18:1-11?
- What are the essential ingredients of a personal strategy? What personal strategy do you (or will you) use?
- How does Matthew 6:33 apply to your life in relation to helping fulfill the Great Commission?
- List five people whom you would like to train (disciple) to share the gospel, or one person whom you can ask to disciple you.
- What commitment will you make regarding your answer to Question 16?
- 1. Discuss the relationship between the Great Commission and the biblical principle of obedience. (See Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Colossians 3:22; John 14:15; Acts 5:29)
- Modern communication technology has brought the world into our homes and workplaces. Share with your group the evidences which you have seen in the last week that there is a global need for the gospel.
- In your group, share the name of at least one person whom you know who needs Christ. Spend time praying as a group for each unbeliever mentioned.
- People around the world are spiritually hungry to know the Lord Jesus Christ. Discuss with your group how people on your campus, in your neighborhood or community are coming to Christ.
- What barriers do Christians need to overcome to make the Great Commission first priority in their lives? What do you think will happen when these barriers are turned over to Christ?
- All of us have resources and talents that can be used to accelerate the fulfilling of the Great Commission. Share with your group one special resource that you believe God has given you.
- “Goal plus Plan plus Action equals Reality.” Formulate a strategy with your group to help reach your community for Christ.
- Now that you have formed a group strategy, it should be easier to develop a personal strategy to reach your friends, neighbors and loved ones. Share with your group what you envision one phase of your personal strategy will be.
Adapted from the Transferable Concept: How You Can Help Fulfill The Great Commission, by Dr. Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Campus Crusade for Christ. All rights reserved.