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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Thursday Evening, January 16, 2020

Most Christians know that the Great Commission commands us to evangelize unsaved people. But many people don’t know the role of a church in the Commission.

The Great Commission was given on five different occasions. On each occasion Christ added to the previous command. We must have some understanding of these five occasions to understand the full implications of the Great Commission.

I. John 20:21, p. 1144 Scofield.

“As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21).

This part of the Great Commission was given by Christ to 10 of His Disciples on the day He rose from the dead. Jesus simply told them they were to go out, as He went out, sent by the Father, from Heaven. The Disciples were simply told that they were to be sent out to represent Him. The message, destination, and the task were not given to the Disciples at that time.

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II. Mark 16:15, p. 1069.

“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

This part of the Commission was given one week later in the upper room. Now Thomas was present, now giving 11 Disciples who heard this. Two different aspects were added to the Commission: (1) They were not just to preach to Israel; (2) They were to preach the Gospel to everyone in the world.

III. Matthew 28:18-20, p. 1044.

“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach [disciple] 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” (Matthew 28:18-20).

This part of the Great Commission was given two weeks later. The Disciples were no longer in Jerusalem. They were on a mountain in Galilee, about 100 miles from Jerusalem. Here Christ added two more aspects of the Great Commission: (1) They were to disciple (imperative) which involves a command to get results; (2) They were to center on nations or people groups. The closing words, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” show that the Commission was for all disciples, “even unto the end of the world.” This shows that Richard Olivas was wrong, when he said that the Great Commission was only for the original Disciples. The eleven original Disciples and about 500 brethren heard this part of the Great Commission.

IV. Luke 24:46-47, p. 1112.

“Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46, 47).

This part of the Great Commission was given by Christ at Jerusalem, on the fortieth day after He rose from the dead; 11 Disciples heard it. Here Christ told them that their messages was to include repentance and “remission of sins.”

V. Acts 1:8, p. 1148.

“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 Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

The fifth time Jesus gave the Great Commission to the Disciples was again on the 40th day. This time Christ told them that (1) the power of the Holy Ghost would indwell them; and (2) they were to go to “Jerusalem, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” He gave this part of the Great Commission on the Mount of Olives, right before He ascended back to the Father.

The proper way to fulfill the Great Commission is to have a strong “mother” church give birth to a new church. I have seen this happen beautifully at the First Chinese Baptist Church of Los Angeles. But, although we tried to do that in our church, it became impossible. Church splits have happened and they have not prospered. To those who are interested, two books should be read and studied. They were both written by Dr. Roy Branson – (1) Church Split; and (2) Dear Preacher, Please Quit.

Our recent “splits” occurred when men tried to pastor who were not called to preach. They were not gifted in evangelistic preaching, or in “doing the work of an evangelist” (II Timothy 4:5; p. 1281). Such men cannot win souls from the world, and therefore cannot build a church. Both Mr. Olivas and Mr. Chan fall into this category. Both of them produced church “splits” that were hampered by Koinonitis, “a pathology of church growth caused by an overemphasis on fellowship, resulting in an inward-focused church that loses sight of those who need to be reached in a community” (Evangelism and Church Growth by Dr. Elmer L. Towns, p. 284). I have been in the ministry for 61 years, and I have never seen a strong, soul-winning church come out of pride and rebellion. Not one! When we finally produced a young man who was capable of preaching and winning souls, Satan used a family member to pull him away!