Command From the Past - The Great Commission

Whether across the street or across the ocean, it is the duty of every believer to fulfill the Great Commission, both in going and in sending.

Matthew 28:18-20 "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

There were men in the New Testament who fulfilled the Great Commission and put the GO in the gospel:

Philip the Evangelist

Why run through the burning desert sand trying to catch an African-bound chariot? Why leave four precious daughters and a wife at home in Caesarea?


Why go to island full of "evil beasts, always liars, slow-bellies..."?

Apostle Paul

Why travel over land and sea? Why endure such suffering as described in 2 Corinthians 11:24-28?

Whether men are saved, or men reject the gospel, we have a command from our Saviour. These men fulfilled that command.

Let us look at this command from the past, the Great Commission.

1. The Great Commission is A Spiritual Command

Luke 24:46-49 "...And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

This command cannot be fulfilled in the energy of the flesh. We must have God work in us and work on us. Only then can he work through us and around us!

2. The Great Commission is A Sovereign Command

"...all power is given unto me, in heaven and in earth..." - Matthew 28:18

Ephesians 1:19-23 - 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Philippians 2:8-11 - And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I saw the royal footstool of one of the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs in the Museum in Cairo. He had his enemies painted on the footstool so he would step over them ever time he left his throne. Jesus is Lord over all, and his enemies are his footstool.

Psalms 110:1: The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

This sovereign Lord has given us this command of the Great Commission.

David's mighty men overheard his desire for a drink from the well of Bethlehem. He didn't even have to ask or command them. Those men, knowing the desire of His heart, risked their lives, breaking through a troop of enemy soldiers to bring their commander a drink from Bethlehem's well. We can hear the desire of the Lord Jesus Christ, as he wept over Jerusalem. We should be willing to go and preach his gospel even if he hadn't commanded us to do so! How much more should we be willing to fulfill a clear command from our Heavenly David?

3. The Great Commission is a Sensible Command

"...therefore..." - Matthew 28:19

Since Jesus has all power in Heaven and in earth, it is only sensible for us to obey His command to go and preach the gospel to every creature.

If Jesus is Lord, if he has saved us by his grace, if he has commanded us to go, it is only reasonable that we should declare his gospel to the world! Many People think it is unreasonable for a man to be a missionary. The truth is, it would be unreasonable if you were not willing to be a missionary!

4. The Great Commission is A Sending Command

"Go" - Matthew 28:19

The "Go" In The Gospel

In many churches the "go" has been removed from the Gospel. We've reversed the great commission to say, "Come ye therefore into all the churches and hear the gospel".

Jesus Showed Us How To Put The "Go" in the Gospel.

John 4:4 "And he must needs go through Samaria."

"Go" is the opposite of "stay". Christ has commanded us to be missionary, not stationary. "Go" is outside the comfort zone.

Without the "Go" the Gospel has no Effectiveness.

Remember the lepers who found great spoil when the Syrian army had fled...

II Kings 7:9 - Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king's household.

Someone said, "He preaches the right gospel." That's good, but does he preach it to sinners?

The sword of Goliath, though there was none like it, (I Samuel 21:9) was only useful when David took it from the cloth covering and carried it. So it is with the gospel. There is no sword like this sword, the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation. Yet it will do no damage to the gates of hell until we unsheathe it and use it. We do this by going into all the world and preaching the gospel to every creature.

5. The Great Commission is A Several Command

"...Go ye..." - Matthew 28:19

The Great Commission is not just for preachers and missionaries. It is for all believers.

I saw precious Choctaw believers in Oklahoma who had such a burden for sinners. They would weep and pray during the evangelistic meetings. During the day they would invite sinners to attend. They were not preachers or missionaries, yet they were fulfilling the Great Commission with such a love for Christ and for lost souls!

My little brother, Colter has many limitations as a special needs child. Yet he is such a witness to people he meets. He will give the gospel to anyone and then pray for them on a regular basis. He is not a preacher. He is not a preacher but he takes the Great Commission seriously.

6. The Great Commission is A Successful Command

"...baptizing them...teaching them"

This promise indicates that there will be converts.

Remember the Parable of Sower. Yes, ¾ of the seed did not produce fruit. But ¼ did produce fruit!

Matthew 13:23 "But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."

You cannot lose in preaching the gospel!

7. The Great Commission is A Supported Command

"...and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world..." - Matthew 28:20

If you go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, here is the promise of Christ to you:


"...baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"

The God who is the author of salvation will accompany you as you preach the gospel:

  • The Father who thought it
  • the Son who bought it
  • the Spirit who wrought it

If you preach the gospel, you have the approval of heaven. You have authority from Him who has all authority.


"...and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." There's a difference in being backed and backed up! Christ is not like the officer who sends his troops ahead of him into battle. He is the officer who leads his troops into battle. Not only is he sending us, he is going with us!

C.H. Spurgeon said something to this effect, "In the heat of the thickest battle, look to the front lines and there will be the Lord Jesus. He will always walk the darkest side of the mountain and be there to help you bear the heaviest part of the cross."

8. The Great Commission is A Simple Command

This is one of the most simple and clearly understood passages in the Bible, yet one of the most neglected in our day.

9. The Great Commission is A Serious Command

1. Serious For Sinners

Mark 16:15-16 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

2. Serious For Saints

Ezekiel 33:6 "But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand."

Acts 20:20,26-27 (Paul to the elders of Ephesus) "I...have taught you publicly, and from house to house...Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God."

Luke 12:48 (Jesus said) "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required..."

As a child of God, you will give an account for the opportunity you had to fulfill the Great Commission. Are you living to fulfill this great command from the past?