In 1886, Florida was hit by a deep freeze that killed the oranges and damaged the groves. Two brothers with a farming supply business, Sydney and Joshua Chase, used the occasion to purchase some discounted land southwest of Orlando. The brothers called it “Isleworth,” but they could not have dreamed of its worth today. It’s now one of America’s most exclusive gated communities. Isleworth includes a private golf course designed by Arnold Palmer, tennis courts, a full-service spa, swimming pools, fishing in seven lakes, and boat ramps. The residents enjoy their homes, but what if they never left? What if they forgot there was a real world outside their mansions and beyond their gates?
As Christians, it’s easy to grow comfortable inside our gated communities, but there’s a lost and desperate world outside. As someone once said, “The Gospel isn’t something we come to church to hear; it’s something we go from church to tell.”
At our church I often remind our congregation of Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:18-20: “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.”
Jesus emphasized four things in this passage, the first being His power and authority. Notice how He parsed His words: “All authority has been given to Me, therefore you go.” The implication is clear: As we go with His message, we’ll have His power. Jesus made this even clearer in Acts 1:8, saying, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me.”
This is great comfort in witnessing. In my preaching or personal conversation, I can think I’ve failed. But the Holy Spirit has a way of using some word or verse, for the power isn’t in my personality or intellect, nor in my skills of persuasion. It’s in His Spirit-anointed Word, and His Word doesn’t return void.
Having reminded us of His power, Jesus then stated His purpose for the church—to “make disciples of all the nations.” The word disciple means “a follower, learner, one who adheres to a leader and teacher.” We’re involved in disciple-making every day on a local level as people watch our lives and see Christ in us. Something as simple as writing a Bible verse in a greeting card or distributing a tract is part of fulfilling the Great Commission.
But notice those words “all nations.”
It’s a global task.
Christ wants us to reach the world, and it takes the church to accomplish this.
How do we do it? Jesus gave us three steps—going, baptizing, and teaching. Literally this passage says, “As you are going, make disciples by baptizing . . . and teaching.” The main purpose is to make disciples, but the process is by going, baptizing, and teaching.
We’re all going out into the world every day. As we do so, we baptize. That means we share Christ with others, witness their conversions, and baptize them in recognition of their decision to follow Christ Then we’re to teach, instruct, edify, and show them how to observe His commands.
Jesus ends the Great Commission by assuring us of His presence. As we draw on His power, adopt His purpose, and implement His plan, we’ll enjoy His presence: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
He tells us that as we are going out to the world, He’ll be with us always.
If God has called you to be a missionary, don’t be afraid to say, “Yes, Your Majesty!”
Commit to pray earnestly and daily for missionaries as they serve.
Discover how your church is involved in global ministries and get involved.
And as you gather week by week in the Gated Community of your own congregation, remember that it’s a blessed home, it’s a place for rest, of refreshing and rejoicing, and of growth. But the Great Commission isn’t an “inside job.” We’re called to go, and we gather inside the gates only to prepare to venture beyond them for Christ and His Kingdom.
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of
Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information on Turning Point, go to
Working and watching to prevent terrorist attacks is a top priority for government intelligence and security agencies, in today’s world, the more eyes searching the horizon for danger, the better. When I think about the money and work being invested in watching for something that may or may not happen, such as a terrorist attack, I consider how well the church is doing at working and watching. Resources have to be invested in counter-terrorism efforts whether another attack ever happens or not. But in the church’s case, we know of something that is absolutely going to happen in the future—something we should be working and waiting in anticipation of. And that event is the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth.
This article assumes the fact that Jesus is coming again. And it also assumes the absolute necessity, by Jesus’ own words in two of His parables, to work and to watch until He comes. If government agents work and watch for things that “might” happen, how much more should we be working and watching for something that we know is going to happen?Look Upward – See What God Is Doing for You
Don Cantelon grew up on the Canadian prairie amid the incredible poverty of the Great Depression. Nine years of drought, dust storms, and grasshopper plagues added to the misery. Don’s dad, a prairie preacher, continued as faithfully as he could, living on almost nothing; and inspired by his example, Don himself grew up to become a young pastor. But he, too, received little income from the impoverished congregations he served.
Don met a girl named Ardena who he quickly fell in love with—the two became engaged. He was embarrassed that his fiancée’s left hand was bare, but there was no way he could afford a ring on his church salary, so he waited for an outside speaking engagement to provide a little extra money. Finally, he was asked to speak at a youth convention in Alberta.
Arriving in Alberta, he counted ten cents in his pocket; and when he learned that his assigned accommodations were a long way from the meeting hall, he fretted about the bus fare. As Don ambled down the street, a prayer formed in his mind: “Lord, if I had just five dollars, I think I’d be all right until they give me my love offering at the end of the convention. You see, Lord, I need just enough money for bus fare, a little writing pad, and a cheap pen.” As Don continued walking, he stuck his hand in the breast pocket of his coat and pulled out a love letter from Ardena along with a paper giving information about his trip.
Stuck between the two was a five-dollar bill.
At the end of the meetings, Don was given a modest honorarium. After buying his train ticket and returning home, there was enough left for the tiniest of engagement rings. Don never knew how the money got into his pocket, but he said, “From that point in my life, I found it easier to believe that God would supply all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
 Don Cantelon, The Day I Burned the Hotel Down and Other True Stories (Abbotsford, BC: CeeTeC Publishing, 2002), chapter 18: “The Five Dollar Miracle.”
The beautiful red-bricked church of St. Andrews in Easton, Maryland, was known for its open door. Generations had gathered at St. Andrews to enjoy food, fellowship, and Sunday worship. So it came as a jolt to most parishioners when the bank foreclosed on the building and sold the property at auction.
Sadly, this is not a rare occurrence. There are thousands of houses of worship in America, and every week a few of them close their doors. The Christian Science Monitor ran a column a number of years ago entitled, “The Coming Evangelical Collapse,” which proclaimed, “We are on the verge—within 10 years—of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity.”
But not so fast! I’m not ready to accept defeat. These are exciting times to be a Christian. The Church around the world is growing at a pace unequalled since Pentecost, and this is the greatest harvest season in the history of Christianity.
While I’m realistic about the challenges facing evangelism today, Christianity has a way of outliving its critics. News magazines and newspapers may soon be a thing of the past, but it’s a mistake to assume that Christianity is dead and buried. Don’t discount the power of God in the hearts of men and women.
Your life is sailing along smoothly, right on course, when an unexpected disruption blindsides you. How do you react? Dr. David Jeremiah addresses that question and shows how God can bring His best from the worst of circumstances.All Sermons by Dr. David Jeremiah