“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…” – Matthew 28:19 In their desire to obey Jesus’ commission, Christians often overlook its basic point. In Christ’s commission, the basic point and the only command is: “teach” – this means “to make disciples.” This command is framed by three participles: “go” (better translated ‘going’); “baptizing” and “teaching.” Our Lord is giving us three guiding principles on how to make disciples: (1) It must be Christ-powered (Matt. 28: 18, 19a); (2) It must be God-centered (Matt. 28: 19b); and (3) It must be people-oriented (Matt.28: 20).
We are thankful that God has given Sembawang-Moriah the grace to adopt this commission as our mission. Our mission is clearly stated in our mission statement: “To proclaim or caused to be proclaimed, the Gospel of Jesus to the unreached. To support, equip and enhance the capabilities and abilities of our gospel-partners and evangelists to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ and to make disciples for Him.”
As Christ-honoring Christians we should always be focused on making disciples. We should also heed Christ’s call to pray that He will send out more laborers into his harvest: "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." (Matt. 9: 36-38).
Christ’s call was faithfully carried out by the early church at Antioch. In Acts 13:1-3 we read, “Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon . . . While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”
There are two principles here for us to take note of:
First, there must be the evidence of God’s call in those who are being sent. In this case, Paul and Barnabas had evidenced God’s call in their lives as they served in the church at Antioch.
Second, the Church must show her cooperation with God’s will by commissioning the one who is called. In short, this commissioning service is conducted by the Church in recognition of God’s call and in showing her support and solidarity with the one being sent.
Clearly, we can see that the “making of disciples” must be Church based. It is true that Christ commissions and sends us into the world, however, those who respond to this must do so with the full support and blessing of the Church, the visible Body of Christ on earth. This fact is clearly demonstrated by the early church in Antioch when she and her leaders sent out the first missionaries into God’s harvest.
Let us strive to be faithful in this great undertaking.