The Great Commission
I find myself coming back to the main and plain emphasis of the New Testament and the foundational message of Jesus Christ, His Great Commandment followed by His Great Commission.
The Great Commandment is to love, and the Great Commission is to share that love.
When Jesus said, “Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself...,” Christ was then and is now calling us to reconnect with the primary values of the kingdom of God. His kingdom is a kingdom of love, ruled by the King of love. And He wants all citizens of that kingdom to be like Him: not hateful, angry, fearful and seeking revenge, but loving, joyful and peaceful.
This is where we need healing for the brokenness in our lives by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit working both For years now, Carol and I have been sharing this message because it is an important part of every Christian’s foundation.
I am still amazed at the profound transformations that occur when people will ask for help, open up their hearts and let the healing love of God trickle into the deep core pain in their souls. This is one way that we see James 5:16 in operation today. “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
I believe that we all need the ministry of loving and experienced pastors and counselors with whom we can confess our faults and become transparent and vulnerable. We all must be humble enough to be willing to share the deep, shameful secrets and pain in the heart, bring them into the light of God’s healing love and break out of the cycle of fear, shame and control that Satan uses to imprison so many of God’s people.
I am also amazed at how many would rather keep their painful secrets hidden than receive help and get free. I beg you, please don’t do that. Find a safe place with experienced counselors and let the love of God minister to you through them.
God wants to help you with your pain.
Sometimes it will come through a sovereign encounter with God. Other times it will happen through the ministry of brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. And we need both. I have yet to see someone get up following a divine encounter with the Holy Spirit and be perfect.
Sanctification is a lifetime process that involves both instantaneous miracles as well as gradual transformation. It takes a while, even for willing hearts, to become like Jesus.
THE GREAT COMMISSION
Nevertheless, while we live in our current state of imperfection, God is calling us to share the good news of Christ Jesus with a confused, hurting world. This is The Great Commission.
“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.’” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Jesus is sending us out to share and tell the world about His kingdom of love, and we need loving hearts to tell it.
He never intended for us to go and tell this wonderful news without first experiencing it ourselves. And He wants us to continue to humbly receive it and give it out throughout the rest of our lives.
He wants to demonstrate the truths of His kingdom with love and power. Jesus offered as positive proof that the kingdom of heaven had come to earth by the fact that it had come into the needs of hurting desperate people. Heaven was at hand, and so the blind would see, the deaf would hear, and the lame would walk.
When Jesus commissioned the twelve the first time, He instructed them, “Preach the good news; heal the sick; cleanse the lepers; raise the dead; cast out demons...” He wanted them to both declare and demonstrate the kingdom of heaven to needy people. He wanted people to receive an undeniable, supernatural touch.
It is God’s amazing love demonstrated by a release of His power that draws people to Jesus, whether it is the most primitive tribesman or the Wall Street business executive. They become open to receiving the One who loved them so much that He gave, He literally traded, His only Son, Jesus Christ, to pay their debt of sin and reconcile us unto Himself. When we believe this, He takes us lovingly into His heart, and true life begins.
The Church today needs to recognize something. People in the West are tired of hearing the claims of the Gospel without seeing a convincing demonstration of God’s power and love in their own families. It needs to be personal because then it is undeniable.
The world is waiting for Christians of character and integrity to share the Gospel with power. I believe God wants every believer to demonstrate Jesus Christ to the world with power evangelism combined with prophetic evangelism. If we all do it, we will win the world for Jesus.
Consider John 14:12, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”
This is the Great Commission. Every believer is to go and not merely tell the stories of long ago and far away events, not merely share the truths and principles taught in the Word of God, but demonstrate them, show forth the miracles of the kingdom, just as Jesus did. He did it by prophetic revelation and by supernatural power, and so must we.
THE GREAT COMMISSION IN OPERATION
Recently, a pastor from London, England named Sam Larbie spoke at our church. Sam was born in Ghana, West Africa. He was a colonel in the army and went to the UK for more training. While Sam was in the UK, a coup toppled the government in his country, and he had to stay in England. Already a committed Christian, Sam trained for the ministry and became a pastor in the Elim Fellowship of churches. This outpouring of the Holy Spirit touched Sam, and he began to hunger to be able to demonstrate the power of the kingdom of God. During one of our healing conferences, Sam saw that Jesus was calling him to do greater works to demonstrate God’s power.
Roger Sapp, one of our speakers, gave a simple prayer model that spoke to Sam. It went like this. “This healing belongs to me because of what Jesus has done on the cross; I receive my healing now as a free gift.”
After Sam left the conference, he began to pray this prayer with everyone he encountered, people on airplanes, in shops or in restaurants. Many were healed instantly, and he promptly led them to Christ. Sam was obeying the Great Commission.
Typically, Sam would open in conversation and very quickly ask his leading question, all the while engaging them with his irresistible loving smile.
“Do you have pain in your body?”
“Then repeat this prayer after me: ‘This healing belongs to me because of what Jesus has done (on the cross). I receive my healing now as a free gift.’”
Then Sam would say, “Now check your body. Is the pain gone?”
“Amazing, isn’t it? Since Jesus has been on the outside, do you want Him on the inside?”
At this point, he would lead that person in a simple prayer to accept Christ as Lord and Saviour.
If you think that this sounds too easy, then I challenge you to try it.
Recently, Steve Long, our Senior Associate Pastor at TACF, and I went to Albany, Oregon for meetings. It was right after we had Sam in our church, and Steve had been challenged by the simplicity and effectiveness of this Great Commission power prayer. As Steve stopped to chat with a lady at the airline security, he decided to ask, “Do you have pain in your body?”
“Why yes,” she replied, “how did you know?”
“I recently took a prophetic course, and now I’m practicing to be a prophet,” offered Steve.
“May I pray for your pain?”
“Yes,” she replied.
“Repeat this prayer after me: ‘This healing belongs to me...” “Wow! That’s amazing!” The woman exclaimed. “My back feels great! How did you do that?” “Well, that was Jesus on the outside of you, healing your body, would you like Him on the inside?"
On that one weekend trip, Steve prayed for and saw healings happen to the airline security person; the housekeeper in the hotel; her husband whom she brought out to the meetings, and a server he encountered during lunch. All but one of them accepted Christ as Saviour and invited Jesus into their heart.
Now this is evangelism: We gently confront people with the power of God to love and bless their lives. It is so much easier to accept Christ as Saviour, when He has just saved your body from severe pain. They reason, “If He can save my body from pain, that helps me believe that he can save my soul from sin and death as well.”
What about you? Are you ready to try it? Let God’s love heal you?