The Twofold Great Commission

The more I read Scripture, the more I realize that there are two primary tasks for the Church, both encapsulated in Christ's great commission in Matthew 28:19-20.

The first tends to get most of the hype, and we are right to be concerned with it: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the son, and the Holy Spirit." Loving and being loved by God our Savior should be something we shout from the housetops, but our faith has to go deeper than that to be effectively proclaimed.

The second task, which tends to be somewhat glossed over, provides that depth and balance. "Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you," doesn't have the same fascination as missionary work, but is just as crucial to the Church. Without the follow-up work of "training in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16) through faithful exposition of Scripture, the work of missions and evangelism loses its way and devolves into a social gospel that is no gospel at all. The work of the Church is founded on both of those tasks, and neither can be accomplished when divorced from the other.

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