“The Great Commission” refers to the commission Jesus gave His disciples before His ascension. From that point on it would be their responsibility to continue the ministry He had begun. We want to look at that commission because it is still the responsibility for all those who are His disciples in this day.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has
been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
20 Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.
The first thing Jesus said is that He has all authority. Then He told His disciples to make disciples of the nations. It wasn’t His intention for them to only minister salvation as it is usually done today; He wanted them to go beyond that. They were to make disciples of the nations, bringing them under His Lordship. Next, Jesus said that He would be with them always; that is, He would be working with them. And He would be with them until the end of the age – the age meaning the realm of ministry to the nations. We see from this commission that this ministry will be the Kingdom ministry of the Lord through His disciples.
Now, as obedient disciples of the Lord we want to be involved in this ministry. But before the Lord can minister His Kingdom through us, He must first establish it within us. This is not a work done in a skinny minute, and neither are we to lie idle until He completes it in us. I remember a wise ministry who once said, “If you wait until you are ready to minister, you won’t ever get started.” The Kingdom of God is many faceted and He works within us one aspect of it at a time. Whom will He teach knowledge? And whom will He make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little. Isaiah 28: 9-10.
In a sense, man’s nature is composed of many nations. He is a kind of conglomerate because he feeds on the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We see the principle of this in the Book of Genesis.
Genesis 3:17-19 Then to Adam He said, Because you have heeded the voice of your
wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, You shall
not eat of it: Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it
all the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.
Of what one is born and made of is what he is drawn to, and from there he finds nourishment and sustenance. Man was formed of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7). Therefore, he desires that which is of the ground. He partook of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and thus his fallen nature was born. Verse 17 says that the ground is cursed and in toil man shall eat of it. It is interesting that the Hebrew for “ground” is adamah, from which the word “adam” comes. Not only does man partake of that which grows from the ground naturally, but he also desires and partakes of that which is of his fallen nature. All of mankind has a fallen nature and is naturally drawn to partake of that which grows from it for sustenance.
Man’s “ground nature” consists of many “lands” or “nations”. The Hebrew word for “land” is erets. Besides “land” it is sometimes translated “country” or “earth” or “ground” or “world”. When the Scriptures speak of “the land of Edom” or “the land of Moab”, for example, it is not only referring to the country but also to the characteristics of the people of that country. We find this same principle in the Book of Daniel.
In the second chapter of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. He required his wise men to reveal the dream and the interpretation and they could not. This is where Daniel enters in.
Daniel 2:31-35, 37-45 You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image!
This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form
32 This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,
33 Its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.
34 You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.
35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. (Next, Daniel interpreted the dream.)
37 You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory;
38 And wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all – you are this head of gold. (This is the kingdom of Babylon.)
39 But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; (This is the kingdom of the Medes and Persians) then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. (This is the kingdom of Greece.)
40 And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. (This is the Roman Empire.)
41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay.
42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.
43 As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. (This is referring to religious Rome that continued after the fall of the Roman Empire.)
44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the Kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. (This is speaking of the Kingdom of God.)
45 Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold – the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.
Recognize that God did not picture each empire as an image, but all four empires along with all the nations under each one is presented as one great image. This means that man at the coming of the stone cut out of the mountain without hands is the sum total of all their characteristics. The nature of every man is composed of many nations and before we can make disciples of the nations, the stone cut out of the mountain must crush the nations within us. The Kingdom of our Lord must be established in us before He can minister His Kingdom through us.
Revelation 6:1-2 Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard
one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, Come and see.
2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to Him, and He went out conquering and to conquer.
This is the stone cut out of the mountain being presented this time as the “White Horse Rider”. It is the Lord Jesus coming forth in our lives conquering and to conquer the nations within us. Has He started riding through your life yet? That ride precedes the true ministry of the Lord through His people. Cry out for it! Arise, O Lord, do not let man prevail (Psalm 9:19). “Arise in me, O Lord, and let not my man nature prevail!”
Copyright © 2005 by Henry DuBose