When We Neglect the Mission

Chris Matthisenby Chris Matthisen

“I’m not able to experience God’s presence”, or “I’m failing to find purpose in my life”, are two of the most common statements I hear from disciples as they struggle to make sense of their faith. Although the answers may vary, I have found one answer to trump them all. They fail to experience God’s comforting presence and lack purpose in life because they are not engaged in the mission of their faith. Of course there are other reasons but I would say the majority of the time it boils down to a lack of obedience to the Great Commission and/or the Great Commandment. I am not alone in my diagnoses either. Both D.A. Carson and Craig S. Keener commenting on Matthew 28:18-20 have said:

“If many Christians today have lost a sense of Jesus’ presence and purpose among them, it may be because they have lost sight of the mission their Lord has given them.”1
“But the Gospel ends, not with command, but with the promise of Jesus’ comforting presence, which, if not made explicitly conditional on the disciples’ obedience to the Great Commission, is at least closely tied to it.”2
We will begin to experience His comforting presence only when we are thrust into situations where we have to depend on Him. Sometimes these situations are chosen by us while other times they come by way of God’s choice for us. It is the latter that creates the potential for our greatest struggles as well as for our greatest rewards.3 It is also through God’s intervention into our struggles that we may find our future ministry and therefore purpose in life.4 God’s presence will always be a part of His purpose for you.5 So face those fears that prevent you from making disciples and you will be richly rewarded.6

“The poor will see and be glad – you who seek God, may your hearts live!” Psalm 69:32


1THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary, Craig S. Keener, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company , Grand Rapids, Michigan, Copyright © 2009 Craig S. Keener , pp. 720-721. Craig S. Keener is the professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary
2The Expositors Bible Commentary: with the New International Version, Matthew Chapters 13 through 28, D. A Carson, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan Copyright © 1995 by D. A. Carson, p. 599. D. A. Carson is the research professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
3Hebrews 10:35-36
42 Corinthians 1:3-4
5Matthew 28:20(b)
6Hebrews 11:6

3 thoughts on “When We Neglect the Mission

  1. Right on, Chris! If fact, in the book, “Kingdom Life” one of the main premises is that involvement in mission is a prerequisite for true Christian growth. Thanks!

  2. Chris, nice post. I like how you articulate that Christ’s presence is with us always, and this is linked to our getting the Gospel out to All Nations through making Disciples of all nations! Thanks! Irv.

  3. A few weeks ago, I made a comment caimorpng examples of “great faith” and “little faith” in Matthew.There are two examples of “great faith” that Jesus points out in Matthew (the centurion in chp 8 and this woman in chp 15). There are also two examples of “little faith” (Peter in chp 14 and the disciples in chp 16). I think there might be some similar characteristics between the first two examples that are absent in the other two examples. In verse 20, Jesus again tells the disciples they have “little faith” (NIV). I’ve always thought I’ve been like that sometimes that I couldn’t do something because my faith was too small However, it doesn’t seem like the Disciples need more or bigger faith, because he explains it with an example of “mustard-seed faith” (which is smallest of small) which could move a mountain. It appears that what makes the disciples faith ineffective in this instance has nothing to do with size, but the instead has to do with the object of the faith. In fact, even faith as small as a mustard seed, when it is faith in Jesus Christ, can do the most powerful things.So, this might also help explain the other references to “little faith” in Matthew. It may be confusing to read that word translated as “little faith” and wonder why we can’t increase the size of our faith do great things. However, It is encouraging to to me to realize that the Power of God working in the world around us is not dependent on the size of my faith, but rather the object of my faith

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