Dr. John Hartmann

Proclaiming the Whole Counsel of God

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The Great Commission- Faithful Stewardship in the Gospel

April 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

In this study we look at the Great Commission that Jesus gave to the apostles (Matthew 28:18-20), with a strong exhortation that all Christians are to participate in the work and be good and faithful stewards who will be rewarded for their faithfulness to the assignment given to each according to the grace of God (Matthew 25:14-30; Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:7; 1 Peter 4:10-11).

Matthew 28:18 reveals that the Great Commission is based on the redemptive victory achieved in Jesus’ death, resurrection, and exaltation to the right hand of God, in which He receives all authority in heaven and on earth (cf. Ephesians 1:18-23; Philippians 2:8-11). The church, the true Body of Christ, is now seated together with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). This is where we start as we look to be sent into the work of the Lord.

Matthew 28:19-20 defines the goal of the commission and how it is to be achieved. The goal is defined in the one imperative that appears in the passage: make disciples in all the nations. The means by which this goal is achieved appears in three participles: going, baptizing, and teaching.

The Lord calls the church to faithfulness in this stewardship and promises reward to the faithful. Those who are slothful and fearful will suffer loss. The standard of measure is faithfulness to the assignment given to each by the Lord, itself defined by grace-gift(s) given to each one in the work of the Lord. The church needs to hear again Paul’s instruction in 1 Corinthians 15:58: “… be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord”.

Jesus’ parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 presents us with two possible prospects on the day of judgment. The first is the reward for faithfulness: “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord”. The other prospect, for the slothful and fearful, is “you wicked, lazy slave”, who will be assigned a portion with the hypocrites. Each of us must hear this promise and this warning, and act with urgency, by the grace of God, so that the Day of Judgment will be for us a day of reward and not a day of loss (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

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