“‘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 things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Matthew 28:19–20

The “Great Commission of the Church” is our Lord’s introduction to a defined mission for the soon-to-be founders of the Church. The eleven disciples had never conceived of this brand-new institution. The Church Age was about to dawn with the birth of the church on the day of Pentecost. This text is the pivotal moment that draws to a close the Dispensation of Law and ushers in the Dispensation of Grace. The apostles were being commissioned with a worldwide focus to go, to evangelize, to immerse disciples under the authority of God, and to teach obedience in all things Christ commanded. This commission was not suspended with the end of the Apostolic Age; it continues to devolve on all believers until the rapture of the church. This passage serves to broadly characterize the purpose of church life throughout the present dispensation.

While the Great Commission is one of the top passages concerning the church, it is certainly not the only one. There are several more “great” passages that help paint the rich picture of what our Lord intended for each of His local churches and its members. How are we to function? What is God’s intent for your church life?

We have seen previously that God has given each church not only a great commission but also a great covenant (Hebrews 10:23–25), confidence (Titus 2:11–14), compassion (Colossians 3:12–15), cornerstone (1 Corinthians 3:11), captain (Ephesians 1:22), and calling (1 Timothy 3:15), all secured at a great cost (Hebrews 9:12) and awaiting a great collecting (1 Thessalonians 4:13). But His purpose for each believer in the local church context does not get lost in the group. God has designed every believer to bring his own sanctified uniqueness into play in the life of a local body of believers.

God tells us of the great commonality among all genuine believers, “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began” (2 Timothy 1:9). Our God is deliberate in His plan and choice concerning you. If you are a believer, you have a place in God’s plan until your last breath.

By granting eternal life to you He gave you a great confession, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9, 10). In saving you He changed your heart and so now you have a great captivation, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).

God paves the way for great communion among the saints, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:5–7). This close fellowship promotes great camaraderie, “Finally, brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10 ff). Our success stems from the great charter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”… “On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:16–18).

You are saved to serve and therefore He has given you a great career, “Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” (Matthew 4:19) He further defines the great character of every saint’s career, “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life” (2 Corinthians 2:14–17).

In serving, every believer, equipped with unique talents, joins a great choir, “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them…” (Romans 12:4–8, Colossians 2:19). The great care of believers in the local church is, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:1–10, Romans 14:1, 15:7).

It is top priority for every saint to join into the corporate life of a local church alongside others who are striving for the great crown, “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). Are you vitally connected to a local body of believers? Trust and obey.