The Good Thing You Won’t Do in Heaven

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 10:46 PM 0 comments



The fellowship we have here on earth cannot match our perfect fellowship in heaven. The joy that earthly worship causes us here on earth cannot equal the perfect joy of perfect worship that we will do in heaven. Even our knowing of GOD will be perfected in heaven (though I believe that knowledge of the infinite GOD is perfect yet progressive in heaven). Evangelism and missions. How noble, spiritual, and rewarding these may be, inhabitants of heaven won’t be doing them anymore. There will be neither unbelievers nor unreached peoples in the heavenly realms. So Matthew 28:19-20 ceases when the foreknown are glorified. Heaven marks the finish line of the Great Commission.

But, its being temporal does not make it a non-essential. On the contrary, its significance and urgency are even intensified by its temporariness. When something beautiful is on the brink of discontinuity, its beauty becomes more worthy of appreciation. Just imagine what will happen for the next seven days when a week from now, e-mailing and texting will be banned for life. The same applies to evangelism and missions. The Great Commission is satisfyingly beautiful, but it is temporary.

The R-E-A-C-H of Reaching Out
While hovering over Matthew 28:16-20, John MacArthur has helped me know five important elements of the Great Commission.

Readiness (Matt. 28:16). Jesus promised to meet the disciples in Galilee before He was crucified (Matt. 26:32). Therefore, they expectantly travelled to this place although it would take them almost a week-long journey from Jerusalem. And this travelling happened at least twice. When Jesus appeared to Thomas, they were in Jerusalem. When Jesus ate with them and asked Peter about his love for Him three times, they were in Galilee. When Jesus ascended to heaven, they were at the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem. Here, in the commissioning, they were at Galilee. For forty days (from Jesus’ resurrection to ascension), the disciples were most of the time travelling, from Jerusalem to Galilee and back and forth again. The first recipients of the Great Commission possessed unfailing readiness without which, even the greatest skills and talents are useless.
Exaltation (Matt. 28:17). After a week-long travel, the disciples were no doubt exhausted and perhaps even hungry and thirsty. Personally, put my body in exhaustion and hunger, you will hear nothing from me but complaints UNLESS what I come to see is very much precious to me. And “precious” is an infinite understatement about Christ. The disciples, in the midst of physical fatigue, saw Christ and they were satisfied. They worshipped Him. Goers and senders for the Great Commission ought to be seeing Christ as infinitely valuable and seeing their sacrifices so little. Worshipful hearts make them so passionate for His glory. Like Isaiah, a missionary cannot but utter, “Here am I. Send me,” after seeing the glory of GOD.
Authority (Matt. 28:18). Jesus asserts his overall dominion over heaven and earth, his sovereign lordship over all things seen and unseen. First, he did not deny the worship and secondly, he declared his supremacy. He cannot be lesser than GOD. There are at least three purposes of this authority pronouncement: (1) to give affirmation to those who doubt (v.17); (2) to give legitimacy to the command that follows; and, (3) to give courage to the hesitant. John Stott rightly did say, "His authority on earth allows us to dare to go to all the nations. His authority in heaven gives us our only hope of success. And His presence with us leaves us no other choice."
Command (Matt. 28:19-20a). Contrary to the prevailing view on the Great Commission, the main verb is not “Go” but “Make disciples.” Disciples are abiding followers who commit their lives in continuous learning and obedience. Disciple-making is aiming for Christlikeness, Christ-imitation. Others seem to have mistaken verse 19 as, “Go and make converts.” If the Great Commission is to be a house, conversion is just the door. The command of disciple-making is three-fold: (1) Going; (2) Baptizing; and, (3) Teaching. Going implies displacement, and this displacement is not of the unreached but of the reacher. The Bible did not just say, “Invite and make disciples” but instead, “Go.” Baptism means being identified with the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Comforter. It is death to self and life in GOD, in newness of life (Rom. 6:3-4). And lastly, teaching is for mind-renewal. Obviously, for a believer to live in constant obedience to GOD, he needs to be instructed of what GOD wants to be obeyed.
Help (Matt. 28:20b). Jesus is not sending us empty-handed. He promised His very presence to us. This presence is all we need. This is the presence of the storm-quieting, disease-terminating, hunger-sustaining, wrath-absorbing, death-conquering Lord of the universe. A similar promise is found in Matthew 10:19-20. I find these promises to be about an utmost intimacy of missionaries and their GOD. An utmost closeness and fellowship with GOD is promised to those who go. This perhaps is the reason why a lot of us Christians feel so much distant from GOD and do not feel His presence. It is because we don’t go and suffer for the salvation of others.

"Never pity missionaries; envy them. They are where the real action is - where life and death, sin and grace, Heaven and Hell converge." (Robert Shannon) Let us go to where the real action is. It is not yet too late. It is not yet heaven.

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