Does The Great Commission Apply To Us Today?

I have been surprised in recent years that some gospel preachers are now starting to say the Great Commission of Matt 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15-16 was an assignment only given to the apostles and therefore does not apply to us today. Sometimes we don’t know the motivation of why certain people take certain positions, but the bottom line is nothing could be further from the truth. It is true this commission was addressed to the apostles, but inherent in the commission is that this assignment is to be passed on to all who are baptized. And that gets us, doesn’t it? Notice Matt 28:20 commands all of us to take on this mission to convert the world when it says that the apostles were to teach those baptized to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” If Jesus implied those baptized (us) should do all things he commanded the apostles in the same sentence as he had just commanded the apostles to teach the world, wouldn’t it only follow that going to teach the world would be one of the things we are “commissioned” to do?

To emulate the apostles in this regard is actually commanded in a number of passages like Phil 4:9 which reads “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” We certainly understand how this verse requires us to follow Acts 20:7 and the first day of the week Lord’s Supper; why don’t we apply the same logic to Matt 28:19? Consistency demands that the two teachings stand or fall together.

And don’t we see Christians other than the apostles in New Testament times fulfilling the Great Commission? If not, what do we make of Acts 8:1,4 where we see all the Christians at that time (man, woman, and youth), “except the apostles,” going “every where preaching the word”? If they were not doing their part in fulfilling Jesus’ instruction to preach the gospel to all the lost, I wonder what you would call it.

And this is exactly what Christians should be doing today. We all have a responsibility to contend for the faith (Jude 1,3), so let’s get out and work at it!

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