Monday, December 12, 2016
The 3 Steps of the Great Commission
“Go ye therefore, and teach 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 always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
People will try to find fault with our soul-winning, especially the small-town soul-winning marathons, by saying that we are failing to follow up with those people. They’ll say the people we led to the Lord are now sheep without a shepherd and that we are not fulfilling all the steps of the Great Commission, but I submit to you that we are completing all three steps.
Step 1: We preach the gospel to as many people as we can.
Step 2: We baptize converts on a regular basis.
Step 3: We teach the entire Bible in our church services.
Scoffers will accuse us of being like a mother who abandons her baby in a dumpster, but when we win people to the Lord, we leave them with a Bible, an invitation to visit our church, and often a sermon CD or flash drive. The ball is in their court at that point, and the truth is, Jesus and his disciples would often get people saved and then leave town. Read the New Testament, and you will find several examples of a passing-through style evangelism.
"But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea." - Acts 8:40
In Acts Chapter 8 when Philip preached to the Ethiopian Eunuch, he accomplished step one of the Great Commission. Once the guy believed, he completed step two by baptizing him. If it is wrong to win someone to the Lord without teaching them to observe all things, then why did God remove Philip before he could complete that final step?
These naysayers who are sitting at home critiquing our soul winning are lazy and don’t have a leg to stand on. It is neither practical nor biblical to coddle every person we win to the Lord with an in-home discipleship program. Why preach to one person when I can preach to the 300 who had enough character to show up to church? Step one is easiest since we go to them, but step two and three involve a little more time and effort on their part, which is why not everyone will come full circle.
If we get 2000 saved, baptize 200, and teach 50 people to observe all things, then we are following the Great Commission. (These are just made up numbers to illustrate the fact that only a small percentage of people show up and get baptized, and even fewer show up week after week for the follow-up training.)
The average independent Baptist church is teaching the Bible to a group of people who are already saved, but they aren’t knocking doors, and the baptistry is filled with cobwebs and Christmas decorations. These churches may be doing step 3, but they are failing at steps 1 and 2.
Other churches are doing a great job of getting people saved and baptized, yet the preaching is shallow and geared more toward unsaved visitors. This type of church is failing at step 3 because no one is being taught to observe all things.
Unfortunately not many churches are preaching the gospel to many villages like Jesus and the disciples did. Churches that don’t support missions or small-town soul-winning have room for improvement when it comes to step 1. These churches need to get a vision for getting the gospel to everybody—not just those who live near their church. Let’s try to start churches in every town, but meanwhile, people in remote areas are dying and going to Hell.
Yes, there are those textbook cases where someone gets saved, gets baptized immediately, and remains in church for decades, but it doesn’t always happen exactly that way. Steps 2 and 3 can take place years later and involve the efforts of more than one church. Even if the souls we win on some remote Indian reservation never show up to any church, we are thankful that they will be in Heaven one day.
Here is the sermon on the Great Commission.