What’s the difference between a trunk and a branch?
When it comes to thinking about the Great Commission, some think that the Great Commission is just a branch. Some think that is simply one item on a large list of items that the church is supposed to do. They think the Great Commission should be done along with hospitality, visiting the sick and dying in hospitals and raising money for the poor.
But, there are many biblical reasons why the Great Commission should be the trunk of the Church’s purpose on earth and not simply a branch. Here are two:
First, the Great Commission comes towards the end of the book of Matthew. What’s significant about it coming at the end? The significance becomes clear if we approach the book of Matthew in a certain way. Matthew is an account of Jesus not only as the promised Savior of the world, but also her rightful King. By Matthew 28, it becomes clear that Jesus is the resurrected and triumphant King who has just conquered sin and death. At this point what the King says isn’t just a teaching, but a decree over his Kingdom and for his subjects–the disciples.
Second, throughout the book of Acts, we see accounts of not only the Apostles fearlessly sharing the gospel, but also many other disciples living the great commission. A great example is Philip, who shared his faith with the Samaritans and the Ethiopian Eunuch. Stephen, selected to help with the distribution of funds for buying food for widows in the Jerusalem church, wasn’t killed for his charitable work, but for preaching the gospel. It seems the first-century church saw the great commission as something for all disciples, not just the apostles.
The Great Commission then is not simply another item on the church’s to-do-list. It’s the main function of the church. It is the King’s last decree to us before He ascended and before He returns.
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