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From the Synod Moderator: Finishing the Great Commission!
Rt Rev Keith Lai
Apr 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

FINISHING THE GREAT COMMISSION!

This will be my last newsletter to you before I step down as Moderator on April 26.

As I consider what I like to leave with you as my last and urgent plea, I am quickly drawn to our LORD Jesus’ mandate to the Church – the Great Commission. While we are familiar with the call to evangelize, we are not as familiar or convinced about “finishing the Great Commission”.

Here is a truth that is often neglected - Jesus intended the Great Commission to be finished, not just worked on!

For many, the assumption is that the Great Commission is designed just to keep us busy, without any hope of finishing the task. Some of us don’t believe the Great Commission can be finished because it’s a seemingly impossible task. In fact it’s ridiculous to think that such a task is achievable as we look at the progress of other religions and the rapidly growing population.

Here are 4 reasons why we believe the Great Commission can be finished:

A. Jesus Commanded Us to Carry Out the Great Commission

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matt 28:19-20

The mandate is very clear about the scope of outreach and disciple-making - it is to “ALL NATIONS”. In other words, not one nation will be left out. Habakkuk put the completion of the mandate in a picturesque way, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (2:14). This vision captivated me when I was on the ship LOGOS, as we sang this song with these lyrics, where all we see is water. In the same way, the knowledge of His glory will cover the entire earth. In Revelation, John the apostle “saw a great multitude that no one could number people from EVERY nation, from ALL tribes and people and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white clothes, crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (7:9-10) Again no people groups or nation will be excluded.

B. Jesus Promised the Great Commission Would be Finished

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matt 24:14

The inseparable connection between Christ’s return and finishing the Great Commission cannot be ignored. And God’s promise stands regardless we believe it or not.

C. The Apostles, Themselves, Set Out to Finish the Great Commission

The book, Jesus Freaks—Stories of Those Who Stood for Jesus records that the 12 apostles were so convinced that Jesus meant for them to finish the Great Commission that they actually drew lots to determine which areas of the world to go to and split up to finish the job!

D. The Apostle Paul States that He Did Finish in a Defined Region

“For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation.” Romans 15:18-20

There have been times in history, and in different geographical settings, in which it was (at that time) impossible to actually finish the Great Commission. But, Paul, and others, did not use these issues as excuses to keep from doing all that they could to try to finish. Paul did finish laying the foundation for completing the Great Commission from Jerusalem all the way to the Adriatic Sea.

Today, we have opportunities that Paul and others did not have. In unprecedented ways, “All The World” is accessible to us. We have mass communications, speedy travel, most languages are now known and in written form, most tribes have a Christian witness and we now have churches strategically located all over the world.

Allow me to introduce two ministries that are very focused on finishing the Great Commission. I am sure there are more, but these are the two that I am familiar with.

illumiNations

Through illumiNations, an unprecedented alliance of ten global Bible translation agencies, we are seeing accelerated Bible translation so that all people will have access to Scripture in this generation. Please see www.illuminations.asia to find out more.

illumiNations Asia has a vision of raising 144,000 prayer intercessors to Pray for Zero language groups without Scripture in their heart language by the year 2033. You can watch and screen at your church worship services an 8-minute video or a shorter 3-minute video. Please email Kim Leong at response@illuminations.asia if you need more information.

Intentional Disciplemaking Network (IDN)

What is the goal of IDN?

To finish the Great Commission - Project Zero – The mandate ends at Zero. To have zero countries not yet transformed by Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This is done by coaching pastors and leaders of various churches to be disciplemakers in a country centre. In turn, the country disciplemakers are coached to set up new centres and to establish church plants. With such a multiplication process, IDN aims to finish the Great Commission country by country in Asia.

Who are our Global Partners?

Through these links you can find out more what IDN do in partnership with these ministries.

  1. TNet International (alternate link)
  2. Sonlife
  3. Equipping the Saints

Please contact me (keith@cplink.org.sg) or Pastor Richard Wong who is the ED for IDN (richwong@idn.life) for more information.

Blessings,
Rt Rev Keith Lai




 
 




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