The Great Commission

Everybody's life mission is unique, and only you can fulfill your life mission. The moment you become a believer, the moment you step across the line and give your life to Jesus Christ, God has an assignment for you.

Many of the parts of your life mission are unique, but there is one part of your life mission that we all have in common.

It's this: God wants you to tell other people about what's happened to you. He wants you to share your testimony, your lifestyle, and your witness.

In other words, He wants you to share the Good News. The Bible says it like this in Acts 20: "The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me to tell people the good news about God's grace."

Once I become a Christian, a major part of my life mission is to invite people into God's family.

Jesus said in John 20:21 - "As the Father has sent Me, so am I sending you."

What has He sent us to do?

The Bible tells us in Acts 1:8 - "You will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, in Samaria and in every part of the world."

This is a very, very important verse: it not only tells us what we're supposed to do; it tells us where we're supposed to do it.

First, it says, "You will be My witnesses."

Have you ever watched a courtroom trial? You know what a witness is - a witness is somebody who shares from personal experience. "I saw this ... I heard that ... I watched that ...."

Witnessing does not mean you have to be a theological expert. It doesn't mean you have to be pastor or preacher. It simply means you share what God is doing in your life.

Besides, people expect pastors to talk about Jesus. But when your pastor talks about Jesus Christ, some people think, "Well, he's just the paid professional. He's the paid salesman. Of course, he's going to talk about God."

On the other hand, when you talk about what God's done in your life, you are demonstrating that you're the satisfied customer! Who has more credibility--a paid salesman or the satisfied customer?

You are the authority on your life. Nobody else can share your witness. If you don't do it, that part of your life message will never be heard on this earth.

And that's a tragedy. If you don't say it, nobody else is going to say it for you. We are to witness and share what God has done in our lives and what's happened to us since we became believers.

Where are we to do it?

We're told to take the message to four places:

"In Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria and in every part of the world."

What does that mean?

Am I supposed to get on a plane and go over to Jerusalem to share my faith?

No. Remember when the disciples were hearing these words from Jesus, where were they? They were in Jerusalem.

Here's the point. Start where you are.

What's your Jerusalem?

It's your family, your friends, and your co-workers. That's your Jerusalem. You start with the people closest to you. You don't have to go somewhere else first. You start with the people in your own sphere of reference.

Then it says you go to Judea. Judea was like the county. What is your Judea? At Saddleback, we live in Orange County, with 2.5 million people.

And may of them still need to hear the Good News, and, no doubt, there are many in your Judea who also need to hear the Good News.

Then Jesus says you're to go to Samaria. That's like the county next door. But the Samaritans were culturally and ethnically different from the disciples. The third place you take the message is to people of a different culture, language, ethnic group than you.

Do you know anybody who speaks a different language than you do? Since I live in Southern California, I can tell you that there are 187 different languages spoken within driving distance of my church!

My point is - you don't have to go very far to find your Samaria. It's right next door. Have you ever been to a fast food restaurant? There's your Samaria!

Then Jesus says go to "the ends of the world." For hundreds and hundreds of years, Christians couldn't obey that part - literally - because the ability to travel was extremely limited. In fact, for many years the human race didn't even know the world was round.

But today, there are many opportunities for believers to go on a short-term trips that lead them to the "ends of the world".

Our goal at Saddleback is to encourage every member to have at least one overseas experience.

So that's the mission. Start with your Jerusalem. Move on to Judea. Then to Samaria - and then to the ends of the world. While you're there, share the Good News. Invite others into God's family!

Pastor, again, you're welcome to take this article - written to church members - and adapt it to your own needs.

This article is used by permission from From Rick Warren's Ministry ToolBox, a free weekly e-newsletter for those in ministry. www.pastors.com.