An army needs to understand in what direction it is supposed to march.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’” (Mt. 28:18–20).
Jesus’ first statement in the Great Commission is indicative: “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Me.” That authority is absolute and comprehensive. This results in an imperative: “Make disciples!”
“He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what My Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high’” (Lk. 24:46–49).
This is the means of making disciples. Jesus Christ’s work was to suffer for sins and rise from the dead. The disciples’ work was to preach with the authority of His name. They were to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins to all nations, starting in Jerusalem, and they were to preach it with power from on high:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Jesus’ operational order is clear: 1) The apostles are to make disciples, 2) beginning in Jerusalem, 3) via adjacent countries, 4) to the ends of the earth, all nations.
“When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field’” (Mt. 9:36–38).
Christ commands the apostles to pray for more harvesters. If it is still true that the harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few, then this prayer is still necessary today. If it is still true, then there are more non-Christians ready to become Christians than there are Christians who are ready to help them believe and repent. To be blunt, there are more people who want to get into the Kingdom than there are Christians who want them in.
“I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:17–18).
This is the great commission given by the Lord Jesus to Saul of Tarsus, making him an apostle, a “sent one,” and this happened the instant he became a believer. This is the One who has been given all authority in heaven and earth giving instructions on evangelism to one of His greatest followers.
Let us look at those instructions:
1. Open their eyes.
2. Turn them from darkness to light.
3. Turn them from the power of Satan to God.
Paul had to do those three things in order to get two things for the people he witnessed to:
1. Forgiveness of sins
2. A place among those who are sanctified by faith in Him
This is the essence of the battle plan assigned to man for the conquest of the world.
*Excerpted from Weapons & Tactics. To purchase, visit ccmbooks.org/bookstore.