Why we go

by Daniel L. Akin, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Friday, March 31, 2017

Last words are meant to be lasting words. They are meant to make an impact. They are meant to leave an impression. As Jesus was preparing to ascend back into heaven following His three-year sojourn on this earth as “heaven’s missionary,” there are any number of things He could have given as his final instructions. He could have told us to love one another, giving attention to our moral life. He could have urged us to obey the commands of God, giving attention to our ethical life. He could have warned us about false teaching, giving attention to our doctrinal life. All of these are important and worthy of our careful attention and devotion. And yet Jesus chose to focus on our missional life with His parting words: “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19). So, we go because our king has told us to go. We go and make disciples, devoted followers of Jesus, because our king told us to make disciples. And, we go and make disciples of all nations because all the nations, all the ethne, are to be the object of our evangelistic and missionary agenda.

My friend and pastor Derwin Gray is spot on when he says, “When Jesus rose from the dead, He created a whole new race of people not defined by color but defined by His blood.” This new race of people defined by the blood of our redeemer is to be gathered from all the nations of the world. That is why we go to all the peoples of the world. This is not an issue up for debate or discussion!

In his book, “What In The World Is God Doing?,” Allen Fleece is exactly right: “This is the decision we do not make, because it has already been made. Whether we spend our lives for the purpose of reaching all men with the gospel is not optional. Christ has commanded every Christian to do just this. Now there are many different ways of accomplishing this one purpose – but regardless of the particular work God has for each of us to do, the one aim of us all in doing our particular job for the Lord must be the evangelization of the whole world.” 

Each of us as followers of the crucified Galilean have been commissioned and commanded by our Sovereign King to go and evangelize the whole world. Every single person of the 7.2 billion people on planet earth is to be the object of our evangelizing passion. Every single person of the 11,168 people groups in the world is to be the focus of our mission strategies. Every single person of the 6,544 unreached people groups, a population of 4.83 billion, is to be the assignment of our 44,000-plus churches. And, every single person of the 2,982 unengaged people groups (no gospel presence at all) must not be left out of our pleas to the Father to “send forth laborers into His harvest” (Matt. 9:37-38). The gospel of Jesus Christ is for all nations. It is for all peoples. Our master told us to go. So, we go. It really is that simple.

Editor's note: This article first appeared in the spring 2015 issue of The Great Commission Magazine of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Danny Akin is the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Charlotte, have four adult children and 12 grandchildren.