A few weeks ago I attended a dinner event hosted by Cru President, Steve Douglass. During the event Steve remarked that from what he is seeing, the fulfillment of the Great Commission is inevitable.
What is the Great Commission? It is the command given by Christ following his resurrection. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
Now, to be honest, I never thought in those terms before. The fulfillment of the Great Commission is inevitable? Is that right? Yes, it is right. God does not embark on missions in which he is doomed to fail (Isaiah 55:11). The Great Commission is his idea and no task God has undertaken has ever fallen short. Consider these two passages of scripture about the inevitability of the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
Jesus said that the Gospel will be preached to the whole world before he comes. “This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations (Matthew 24:14).
“I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people” (Revelation 14:6).
In addition to the what the scripture reveals, even a brief look at current missionary activity is encouraging. Missions activity around the world is increasing, not decreasing.
There are missionaries in every country in the world. Some work full time in ministry, like Cru’s 18,000 missionaries working worldwide. Others are tentmakers, holding secular jobs in their host countries while looking for opportunities to share Christ. Some work underground where opposition to the Gospel is hardest.
Full and partial Bible translations are available worldwide. According to Wycliffe Global Alliance, there are 531 completed Bible translations as of 2014, with 2,883 partials. The Jesus Film, the most watched film in history, is now available in over 1,300 languages and has had several billion viewing since 1979. More than 200 million have come to faith in Christ since the movie was released.
Christian media proclaiming the Gospel is available in every country in the world through print, satellite, radio, and the Internet. More than 1.5 billion copies of the Four Spiritual Laws have been distributed since it was written. Since 2004, more than 146 million people have indicated online decisions for Christ worldwide. That’s nearly 50,000 decisions a day. And that’s just through one website, Global Media Outreach.
In light of what God is doing, what should our response be?
Here’s the wrong response: The Great Commission will be fulfilled anyway, so why should I bother?
If you are not involved in fulfilling the Great Commission in some fashion, then you are missing God’s will for your life. The Great Commission is a call to all. We can say or we can obey. Lip service to the Gospel is not the same as actually living it out.
The right response: I want to get on board!
The question isn’t whether the fulfillment of the Great Commission is inevitable. The question we should entertain is, is it inevitable in our lifetime? I would very much like it to be so, not because I want to escape the world. But because I want people in the world to be transformed by the love of Christ. It’s going to happen, and I want a piece of the action.
The fulfillment of the Great Commission can happen without you, or you can be a part of the greatest task ever given to mankind. Fulfilling the Great Commission is not only a task, it is the fulfillment of God’s will for your life.
What will you do?