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The Master's Mission



In this new series, we will discuss what it looks like to be a “Text-Driven Soul-Winner.” To be a Text-Driven person, one must be concerned about the primary mission that Jesus has given in Matthew 28:18-20. This is commonly called “The Great Commission,” but another name for this is “The Master’s Mission.” There are six features to the Great Commission that the Text-Driven Soul-Winner must carefully observe to be about the Master’s mission. A Text-Driven Soul-Winner must have the Great Commission as his marching orders.


And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 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, 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.

 

All Authority

The first feature that the Text-Driven Soul-Winner must observe is the authority he has to accomplish the Great Commission. A common objection to evangelism, primarily from the world but from professed believers as well, is “What gives you the right to tell people what to believe?” This can be a difficult question to answer in today’s post-truth, pluralistic society. The answer to the question is found in Matthew 28:18. When Jesus came and spoke to them, that is the disciples, He said that all authority had been given to Him, both in heaven and on earth. Now, that seems to not have answered the objection. Jesus has authority, but the passage does not say that the soul-winner has any authority. It is true that the soul-winner has no inherent authority, just as the solider has no inherent authority to do anything, but the soul-winner’s answer to the objection then is the same as the soldier’s answer to objections of his actions: “I’m following orders.” The soldier’s authority to act is derived from his Commander-in-Chief, and the Text-Driven Soul-Winner’s authority to evangelize is derived from his Lord and Master. Jesus having all authority means that the soul-winner can witness to anyone and call all to repentance. It does not matter the standing of the evangelized; the authority of Christ is higher, and upon that authority, the soul-winner speaks. The soul-winner does not have to “earn the right to be heard” through a relationship, and he does not need permission to preach the gospel. Jesus’ commands in verses 19 and 20 are built off the foundation of His all-encompassing authority, this is seen in the “therefore” that begins verse 19. The soul-winner, then, needs to look nowhere else to find permission to act upon the Master’s commission.

 

Make Disciples

The second feature that the Text-Driven Soul Winner must observe is the primary command of the Great Commission: make disciples. The Greek verb is the only finite verb in the commission, and it is an imperative. This means that “make disciples” is the primary command in the commission that Christ gives. The word does not mean merely to teach people without them actively learning but rather to bring people to where they are pupils of Christ. Christ’s command isn’t to “disciple the nations,” where the laws of the land are made to be in accordance with the law of God, but rather to bring people to the point where they willingly submit to the authority of Christ in the same way the 11 disciples have.

 

Jesus then qualifies this command with whom they are to make disciples of: All the nations. Jesus is contrasting Matthew 10:5, where He commanded the disciples to only go to the people of Israel, not to the Gentiles or to the Samaritans. After His resurrection, the command is now to go to all nations, the people of Israel, the Samaritan people, and the Gentiles. The term “ethne” does not refer to nation-states, a concept that would be developed later in history, but rather refers to the Gentiles. The addition of “all” then means there is no people group that should be left out. Matthew’s gospel is a gospel for the Jews, showing that Jesus is the rightful Jewish Messiah, so the use of “ethne” isn’t about taking over governments or about converting one person from every people group but rather is showing that Jesus is the Messiah to the Jews and the Gentiles, which encompasses all people. Therefore, the command is to make disciples of every single person of every single people group. This means that the Text-Driven Soul-Winner is responsible to share the gospel and attempt to make a disciple out of every person he meets.

 

Go

There are three participles that then derive their imperatival status from the verb “make disciples.” The first is the word “go.” This is the third feature of the Great Commission that the Text-Driven Soul-Winner must observe. This word in Greek is a participle, making some commentators believe the proper translation should be “having gone” or “as you go,” but since the participle is modifying an imperative it is best understood as an imperatival participle. To put that in plain English, this means that “go” is a command. The imperative is restricted by the primary command, so there is no command to “go” without also the command to “make disciples.” This means that the Text-Driven Soul-Winner is to go. Where? Well, anywhere and everywhere. He is to go across the street. He is to go across the city. He is to go across the state. He is to go across the nation. He is to go across the ocean. He is to go to the places where the gospel has been heard and he is to go to the places where the gospel has not been heard. He is obligated to go somewhere, though, and make disciples while he’s there. The Text-Driven Soul-Winner has not obeyed the command of Christ merely by going, but by going and making disciples. That sounds too pedantic, but it must be understood. One has not obeyed the Great Commission by befriending his neighbor. He has not obeyed the Great Commission by serving someone. He has not even obeyed the Great Commission by going to another country. The nature of “go” being attached to the primary verb of “make disciples” means that the “going” one does must be for the precise purpose of “making disciples.”

 

Immerse Them

The next participle is “baptizing them.” This is the fourth feature the Text-Driven Soul-Winner must observe. In the same way as “go,” “baptizing them” is an imperatival participle. It is a command that is dependent on the primary command to “make disciples.” This means there is a proper order for baptism—it is to come after one has been made a disciple. The “them” to baptize is the person who’s been made a disciple. The Text-Driven Soul-Winner will not baptize anyone who has not been made a disciple. To baptize before one is made a disciple is to elevate the command beyond what the grammatical text allows. A person must confess to being a disciple of Christ, and then he is to be baptized. To obey the Great Commission, then, is to make a disciple and then baptize them.

 

What, then, is baptism? The phrase “baptizing them” is actually a mistranslation that every translation retains. The proper translation is “immersing them.” The word “baptizo,” the lexical form of the Greek word, has always meant “to immerse.” Nicander, a Greek poet in 200 B.C., wrote a pickle recipe where he says “to baptize” the cucumber in vinegar. Anyone who knows how to pickle knows that sprinkling or pouring vinegar won’t pickle. For the Text-Driven Soul-Winner to obey the Great Commission, then, is not only to put baptism on the right side of salvation but to baptize them according to the right mode. The newly made disciple must be completely submerged under the water. To baptize by sprinkling or pouring is disobedience to the Great Commission.

 

Jesus modifies this baptism by instructing what name the newly made disciple is to be baptized into. The new disciple is to be baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The Greek word for name is found in the singular, but three names are given. The baptismal formula is then in the name of the Triune God. The Text-Driven Soul Winner cannot baptize in the name of one person of the Trinity, or in a non-triune god. Rather, the soul-winner must baptize in the name of all three persons of the Trinity and the one God of the Trinity.

 

Teaching Them

The next participle is “teaching them.” This is the fifth feature the Text-Driven Soul-Winner must observe. This third participle, like the previous two, is an imperatival participle that derives its imperatival status from the primary verb, “make disciples.” This means that the “them” to teach, is the one who has been made a disciple. The Text-Driven Soul-Winner does not stop at winning someone to Christ or having them baptized but continually teaches that person. The only person who is to be taught then is the one who has been made a disciple. An attempt to teach someone who is not a disciple to observe all that Jesus commands is not only futile but puts the commands out of order and attempts to elevate this command above what the grammar allows. The command to teach, then, is a command to disciple, not a political command to bring unbelievers into outward conformity to the commands of Christ.

 

Jesus modifies this teaching, saying that what the new disciple is to be taught is “to observe.” The word means to keep or to hold. To observe is to both believe and to obey. What they are to be taught to observe, then, is all that Jesus commanded them. The new disciple is to be taught to observe everything that Jesus commands, which encompasses everything in Scripture. The Text-Driven Soul-Winner is to disciple the new disciple. The new disciple needs to be taught everything that Christ expects of him. This means that the new disciple can’t be left to his own devices after baptism, rather, he must be trained to believe and obey all things that Jesus has commanded. The Text-Driven Soul-Winner must teach the new disciple to observe all that Jesus commanded.

 

He is With You

The sixth feature that the Text-Driven Soul-Winner must observe is the courage he has to accomplish the Great Commission. The first feature of the Great Commission gives the Soul-Winner the authority to evangelize, but authority does not always entail courage. Jesus, knowing this, gives the Text-Driven Soul-Winner the courage to accomplish the Great Commission: that He is with the soul-winner always. The phrase is not a statement about the omnipresence of Jesus but is about the personal presence of Jesus. The Text-Driven Soul-Winner can go anywhere, at any time, to accomplish the Great Commission, and Jesus will be with him. The soul-winner does not have to fear what will come against him. Whether persecution, hardship, poverty, suffering, or anything else comes, Jesus is with the soul-winner, even to the end of the age. The soul-winner can have courage and make disciples, he can have courage and go, he can have courage and baptize, and he can have courage and teach because Jesus is with him.

 

There is a caveat though. As previously stated, this is not a statement about the omnipresence of Jesus. He is everywhere, always in that sense, but in His personal presence, He is not everywhere. The promise of His personal presence is only for those who are participating in the commission. The Text-Driven Soul-Winner can have courage in a terrifying world, but the person who is not active in the Master’s mission should only have fear of this terrifying world because they are not where their Master is. There is no safety in stagnation. There is no safety in retreat. There is only safety in going forward and taking part in the Master’s mission.

 

Application

This new series of Text-Driven Ministries podcasts and articles aims to help the Text-Driven believer to be better equipped in personal evangelism. Various strategies, methods, and theology will be discussed, but for the believer to be equipped by these articles, he first must choose to be about the Master’s mission and all that it entails. The Lord has not given a commission to politics, to social advocacy, or to dominion, but to make disciples of every person possible, having them identify themselves with Him through baptism, and teaching them all that He has commanded. The Text-Driven Soul-Winner will be about this task.





Article written by Klayton Carson


The "What is the Bible" series is also on the Text-Driven Podcast. You can listen to the Text-Driven Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or at www.textdriven.org/podcasts.



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