The Promise for Doing Missions
Just as our Lord's Great Commission to his church begins with an encouraging indicative ("All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me"), it likewise ends with one: "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28.20b). We have considered the basis for doing missions, the goal of doing missions, and the means of doing missions. Finally, we turn to Christ's promise for doing missions. Jesus' final words in the Great Commission provide us with confidence as we evangelize our neighbors, send out missionaries, and plant churches. The fact that our Lord has promised to be with us causes us to be unashamed of the gospel and to have a sense of urgency to bring that message to the lost. He has promised to be with his church in all of his authority until the great Day of his return. He has already been victorious in his conquest over sin, Satan and death. Our task is to be faithful in announcing his victory throughout the world and instructing those who receive that announcement.
This means that we are not merely living day-to-day, year-to-year in a plotless, pointless age. Rather, we are living in the day of salvation, for Christ has already inaugurated his kingdom through his life, death, resurrection and ascension. We are living in light of his return, when he will consumate his kingdom gloriously and triumphantly. Until then, he is still bringing the gospel to the nations and making his disciples throughout the world. He continues to plant and use ordinary local churches in this great task. He has promised to be with his church as we publicly declare God's peace treaty with sinners and point them to the place where they can find a gracious and merciful God: in the proclamation of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments.
This is an exciting time to be alive, as we see the gospel going to Italy. Christ has promised to build his church even there, and that not even the gates of hell shall prevail against it. Having received so much, it is an enormous privilege for us to plant churches where there are few. May God continue to fill our sails with the wind of the gospel so that we never tire of making disciples of all nations! And may our hearts be full of courage, knowing that the cosmic Ruler of the universe is with us to the end of the age!
~ Pastor Michael Brown