The What and Why of the Great Commission

Our responsibility is to preach and teach Christ's dynamic gospel; it is the Holy Spirit's responsibility to make our witness effective.

Bill Bright

The Great Commission is our Lord's command to take the gospel to every person throughout the world and to make disciples in all nations. It involves building and multiplying disciples in all nations so that they can, in turn, saturate their nations with the Good News and train other disciples to do the same generation after generation through the process of spiritual multiplication.

Christ did not commission us to Christianize all nations; He called us to disciple and evangelize them. Our responsibility is to preach and teach Christ's dynamic gospel; it is the Holy Spirit's responsibility to make our witness effective. With the responsibility, however, Christ also gave us everything necessary for success.

Why Should You Help Fulfill The Great Commission?

There are at least four good reasons.

First, Christ commanded us to do so.

A good athletic coach presents a list of rules and standards to the athletes and says, “These are the things you must do if you expect to be a part of the team.” The athletes subscribe to and obey these rules, or they don't make the team.

The employer says to the employee, “Here are the rules,” and the employee follows those rules, or he loses his job.

In time of battle the commanding officer issues specific orders. The soldier obeys, or he will be court-martialed and quite likely sent to prison - or executed, depending on the seriousness of his offense.

Our Lord has issued a command, “Go,” and no true believer can take His order lightly.

But most Christians have never taken this command of our Lord seriously. We have been playing games while our world is in flames. We are like men and women who are straightening pictures on the walls of a burning building. We are dealing with peripheral issues when it is the hearts of people that need to be changed. The problems in the world that are threatening to engulf humanity can only be solved through faith in Christ and obedience to His commands.

If we take our Lord seriously, we must dedicate ourselves fully – time, talent and treasure – to the fulfillment of the Great Commission, not out of a sense of legalistic duty, but out of love and gratitude for what Christ has done for us. If we want to obey Him, He says, “Go,” and that is sufficient reason for going. Mark 8:34-38 records our Lord's command to all who would be His disciples and, along with Mark 10:29,30 and John 14:21, promises rich rewards and great blessings to all who trust and obey Him:

He called his disciples and the crowds to come over and listen. “If any of you wants to be my follower,” he told them, “you must put aside your own pleasures and shoulder your cross, and follow me closely. If you insist on saving your life, you will lose it. Only those who throw away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live.
And how does a man benefit if he gains the whole world and loses his soul in the process? For is anything worth more than his soul? And anyone who is ashamed of me and my message in these days of unbelief and sin, I, the Messiah, will be ashamed of him when I return in the glory of my Father, with the holy angels.
Let me assure you that no one has ever given up anything – home, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or property – for love of me and to tell others the Good News, who won't be given back a hundred times over, homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land – with persecutions!
The one who obeys me is the one who loves me; and because he loves me, my Father will love him; and I will too, and I will reveal myself to him.

Second, men are lost without Christ.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

That may sound narrow, bigoted, unloving and intolerant, but that is what the Lord Jesus said, and Jesus Christ is God! For many years I have asked people all over the world if they have found God. Apart from those who have met Christ in a personal, vital encounter, the answer in general is, “I am looking for God; I hope to find Him, but I haven't found Him yet!”

No person will ever find God until he receives Christ. Do you really believe that people without Christ are lost? Has it occurred to you that some of your family and friends, your neighbors and associates who do not know Christ are spiritually lost? The Word of God is emphatically clear:


Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.


All men, women, boys and girls are lost without Christ.

Third, people everywhere are hungry for God.

The hunger of people for God has been demonstrated in thousands of ways since the creation of man. This has been our personal experience since the beginning of the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. As a part of our worldwide training program, we spend several hours each week in actual person-to-person evangelism in the local communities, at the beaches and in public gatherings.

Frequently, thousands pray to receive Christ in a single afternoon. For example, on one occasion when ten thousand Koreans at a Leadership Training Conference in Seoul went out to share Christ, more than sixteen thousand people prayed and received Christ. And during one three-day Easter holiday, at least seventeen thousand heard that they could have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ from 155 nationals in Mexico and twenty-five Latin American Campus Crusade staff; 1,245 indicated that they had received Christ. Campus Crusade staff in India prayed that five thousand students would receive Christ in a single year, and God answered with more than five thousand new believers.

During a period of approximately six months, four Campus Crusade athletic teams, two singing groups and André Kole, a well known illusionist, presented the claims of Christ to 351,887 students in 629 appearances. More than fifty thousand indicated that they had received Christ as their Savior. Many thousands of additional students and laymen have made commitments to Christ through the ministry of other staff members and the thousands whom they have trained.

And tens of millions around the world have indicted salvation decisions after viewing the “JESUS” film in their languages.

I recall a porter with whom I shared Christ in a hotel where I was staying. He was very discouraged.

“Porters aren't very important,” he sighed. “Everyone looks down on porters.”

I put my arm around his shoulders and said, “I want you to know that God loves you, and I love you. In His sight you are just as important as the most famous person in the world.”

The Holy Spirit had prepared his heart for the “Good News,” and soon he received Christ as his Savior as we bowed in prayer.

All over the world people are hungry for our Lord Jesus.

Fourth, there is an urgency to complete the task while the doors of opportunity are still open.

Never have the spiritual fields been so ripe for harvest. We dare not miss this unprecedented opportunity. If ever you plan to do anything for Christ and His kingdom, do it now before the harvest ends.

Adapted from the Transferable Concept: How You Can Help Fulfill The Great Commission, by Dr. Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Cru. All rights reserved.

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