Dear Readers,


Text: Matthew 28:18-20


And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20)


The above passage is often termed the Great Commission. It is termed the Divine Commission because it is a Divine Commission. But the Great Commission is often misunderstood and sometimes even neglected by churches today. When this happens, the divine commission in Matthew 28:18-20 becomes the Great Omission of the churches.


In what ways can we commit the Great Omission?


Neglecting God’s Power

In verse 18, Jesus reminds us that “all power” is given to Him “in heaven and in earth”. This is to remind the disciples that in order to fulfil the Great Commission, one must rely on Divine power. No man can do God’s work with his own strength. The Great Commission is a spiritual work and battle, and hence can only be done with God’s help. God’s Work must be done in God’s Way and with God’s Power.


It is sad therefore to see churches incorporating much of the world in order to attract people to attend worship services. Instead of trusting in the Divine pattern of church growth in the Bible, they adapt the philosophies and teachings of the gurus of the world. But Paul declares in Romans 1:16 that “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Perhaps the reason why many churches do not trust in the pure preaching of the Gospel and the Word, but choose to trust their surveys and marketing techniques is because they do not understand and comprehend the power of God!


On the other hand, verse 18 also reminds us that the Great Commission can only be fulfilled by those who are humble. Those who think that they can convert souls or edify the saints solely by their intellect, diligence and gift of the gab are sorely mistaken. Those who do so are in danger of committing the Great Omission!


Neglecting Evangelism and Missions

Evangelism is a vital requirement of the Great Commission. This can be seen in verse 19a, where Christ commands, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations”. While verse 18 stresses on divine sovereignty in fulfilling the Great Commission, verses 19-20 emphasises on our human responsibility. We must “go” and preach the gospel. It is not an option but a command!


But verse 19a not only teaches us on how evangelism should be conducted by how it ought to be conducted. The verb “teaches” (matēteuō) means “to make disciples”. This means firstly that the full gospel must be preached. The gospel is summarily described to us in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” The gospel consists of (1) Christ’s life and suffering; (2) Christ’s death and (3) Christ’s resurrection. Let us not forget to present the full gospel when we evangelise.


Second, the term “make disciples” forbids us to conduct “hit and run” missions and evangelism. Proper follow-up must be conducted with those who express interest to know more about the gospel and the Word of God. Instead of “touristic” missions, we ought to make consistent visits to mission stations to ensure that the work of the gospel is proceeding in a manner consistent with God’s Word. Missions must not be solely on doing social work or alleviating the ills of the community. This only affects the temporal. Instead, missions must be focused primarily on God’s Word for it is God’s Word that can save souls.


Third, the fact that we are commanded to teach “all nations” tells us that we must be both local and global in evangelism and missions. We must be ready to preach the gospel wherever the Lord calls us to bear his witness. Locally, we are to be faithful witnesses for the Lord at home, workplace and in the church. Globally, we are also to go forth and share the good news to others.


One good avenue for us to fulfil this aspect of the Great Commission is our monthly church evangelism. When we neglect opportunities to evangelise, we are at risk of committing the Great Omission. Why not heed the Lord’s command and join the tracting team every month to share the Good News of Jesus Christ?

Failure to Baptise

An important component of the Great Commission is to baptise. This is the great failing of para-church groups where baptism is not conducted. Neither does the baptism of the Salvation Army counts because it is baptism by a red flag and not baptism by water. Any organisation which does not have water baptism cannot be called a church.

“There are good reasons why the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are expressly mentioned; for there is no other way in which the efficacy of baptism can be experienced than when we begin with the unmerited mercy of the Father, who reconciles us to himself by the only begotten Son; next, Christ comes forward with the sacrifice of his death; and at length, the Holy Spirit is likewise added, by whom he washes and regenerates us, and, in short, makes us partakers of his benefits. Thus we perceive that God cannot be truly known, unless our faith distinctly conceive of Three Persons in one essence; and that the fruit and efficacy of baptism proceed from God the Father adopting us through his Son, and, after having cleansed us from the pollutions of the flesh through the Spirit: creating us anew to righteousness.” (Calvin)


Neglect to Teach God’s Word

Lastly, verse 20 adds that we are to teach the disciples “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” The term for “teaching” (didaskō) is different from that in verse 19. This term has the understanding of indoctrination. We must teach not only the gospel truths, but also the grand doctrines of the Scripture. Moreover, we are not just to pick and choose the doctrines that we desire to teach, but we must preach the whole counsel of God. The popular saying, “Salvation of souls is most important, the rest does not matter,” is most untrue and unbiblical! When pastors, teachers and preachers are lackadaisical in their preaching and teaching, this aspect of the Great Commission is also neglected. Sadly, the faithful teaching of the whole counsel of God is sorely lacking in many churches today.


In fulfilment of this aspect of the Great Commission, the Lord has seen fit to commit to us ministries whereby the Word of God is taught. In addition to the pulpit ministry, Sunday School is conducted for all ages. There are also fellowship groups for all ages. There is also the upcoming English Bible Seminar where we hope to learn much about music from the Bible. We are also blessed by the Far Eastern Bible College who offers the Basic Theology for Everyone courses for the edification of the saints. Are you taking this opportunities to learn God’s Word?



The Great Commission can be neglected if we (1) neglect God’s power; (2) neglect evangelism and missions; (3) neglect baptism and (4) neglect to teach God’s Word. Do not let the Great Commission become the Great Omission in your life!


Preacher Clement Chew