Approximately 7.5 billion people live on the earth that God created. Of those 7.5 billion people, we can really divide them into two categories. They either believe in the Lord Jesus Christ or they do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:36). The church, comprised of believers from around this world, has been commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ with a two-fold task. The first task involves their assignment with the unbelievers. They are to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). Someday the gospel will be proclaimed to all the nations (Matthew 24:14) and people from every nation will be present in heaven (Revelation 7:9). But how does this important task affect us in 2019?
Assuming you are a believer, you have been given an assignment with the people in your world who do not yet know the Savior. You are to be the one who faithfully displays and declares the gospel of Jesus Christ to them. The New Testament gives several specific examples. First, ask yourself if all of the members of your household are believers. If not, then a primary assignment for you is to share Christ by your life and by your lips in your home. 1 Peter 3:1 describes how a believing wife by her joyful submission will be a powerful testimony to her unbelieving husband. 2 Timothy 1:5 and 1 Timothy 3:15 relate how a godly grandma and mom lived and shared their faith with their grandson and son by teaching him the Holy Scriptures. Be careful when you think about the great commission that you don’t neglect the people in your own family.
Second, realize that there are other people in your world outside of your family that need to know the Lord. Again the emphasis of missions in the New Testament begins on a local level. Every nation includes our local community. The early church began in Jerusalem and their first assignment was to be witnesses in Jerusalem (Acts 1:8). One missionary has commented that the best sending churches are those who are faithfully carrying out the great commission in their local community. In other words, if we are fulfilling our task on a local level, we will probably be serving our missionaries well on an international level. I’m thankful for the missionary emphasis we have at First Baptist Church of Hamburg. To hear people praying for missionaries on Wednesday nights, reaching out to them when they visit our church, communicating with them, encouraging them, and giving financially to them are all huge blessings to acknowledge. Just this last month Pastor Filipe broke ground on the new edition for their church building. Praise God that the gospel is for every nation and we have the privilege of participating in that task, both here in Western New York and around the world.
There is another task implied in the great com-mission and that is our relationship to the believers. Matthew 28:19-20 continues with the work of the church in baptizing believers and teaching and encouraging believers. Again the emphasis in the New Testament focuses on our local relationships starting with our own families. Parents are to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:1-4). Husbands are to nurture their believing wives with the Word (Ephesians 5:25-28). Those local relationships continue as we en-courage one another in the body of Christ. Regular participation in the meeting of the saints is a vital component in fulfilling the great com-mission (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Someday we will have the privilege of being with the redeemed from every nation as we worship our Lord in heaven. Until then, may we be found faithful as we seek to make disciples and be faithful disciples from every nation!