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Evangelism is our Commander in Chief's Marching Orders, Our Primary Spiritual-Military Objective

What is our primary objective from our Commander-in-Chief, Jesus Christ? Matthew 28:18-20. "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, 'All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you...'"

Our objective found within Matthew 28:18-20 is two-fold:

  1. To communicate the Gospel in love and power to the entire world.
  2. To introduce Jesus to those who respond to the Gospel--to disciple them. Or as some look at it, to introduce those who respond, to Jesus.

We are all soldiers of Jesus Christ, and as Paul brings out often enough in his epistles, we are in a serious spiritual battle, a war. It helps if you are in a war, to know what your objective is. Vietnam was a total loss because the offensive objective wasn't there, it was a defensive holding action without the conquering that is equated with mounting an offensive and winning a war. They were holding onto land and waiting for the enemy to move on them before reacting in many instances, not going to the enemy in the north and conquering the enemy at the source. Most Christians go about their lives never fully realizing what Jesus' spiritual primary objective is, or how they're supposed to be involved in accomplishing that objective. When a Christian becomes strong in the Word and his walk in Christ, then what? Does he sit back and just savor what he has learned? Are Christian congregations supposed to be sort of like social clubs where people of like spiritual understanding and belief systems go to socialize and talk about what they know with other "believers"? Or should Christians be using that knowledge in some way? Depending on the size of your congregation, the Lord has entrusted you with anything from the size of a platoon to a Corp size unit in his army [Don't laugh, the congregation Pastor Chuck Smith personally ministers to in Costa Mesa, California is 35,000 strong, the size of three and a half divisions!] You know what the primary objective is. What should you be doing to plan out and accomplish the intermediate objectives that will help the body of Christ fulfill the major primary objective we've been given by the Lord? Answers to that question are given in the articles following this one. One nice thing about pursuing the objective the Lord has given us is that the fruit of evangelism adds new believers to the congregations of the pastors who undertake this spiritual warfare, those who successfully orchestrate and command the soldiers under their command. So the information in this general section titled "What is Evangelism?" contains some of the essential keys to the success of your ministry and spiritual career.

What follows are excerpts from the first chapter of James I. Wilson's "the principles of war: a strategy for group and personal evangelism".

I. The Objective

"When war is declared by Congress their objective is victory. They pass this assignment over to the Commander-in-Chief. The Commander-in-Chief with the Joint Chiefs of Staff makes an estimate of the situation, comes to a decision and develops a plan. To oversimplify it, the decision might be to invade and occupy specific nations in Europe and Asia. The plan would be to assign Asia to Commander-in-Chief, Pacific and Europe to Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic. These subordinate commanders must then make an estimate of the situation, come to a decision, and develop a plan. They, in turn, assign objectives to subordinate commanders. Commander-in-Chief, Pacific orders the Commander of the Seventh Fleet to land certain armies and Marine Divisions in the assigned country in Asia. This process of estimating the situation, making a decision and assigning objectives to subordinate commanders continues right down to the company, platoon and squad level.

Every man in the chain of command has his objective assigned to him by higher authority.

Now suppose an individual infantryman has as his objective the top of a sand dune on a beach in Asia. He is pinned down by enemy fire and he cannot make a move. While he is in this position he suddenly sees a paper floating across the beach.

So far this is a very real situation, but suppose we make it unreal, even ludicrous. The paper happens to be a page from the Joint Chiefs of Staff Operation Order. As the page lands in front of him, he reads the assigned objective to the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific: "Invade and occupy--on the continent of Asia." This is too much for him. He cannot even get off the beach and they are telling him to occupy the whole nation. To him it is unrealistic. Since he cannot understand how the whole can be taken, he might even lose the will to get to the top of the sand dune.

Enough of the illustration. Jesus Christ is our Commander-in-Chief and He has assigned the overall objective and put it in the grasp of every one of His followers in the directive of the Great Commission. Here it is:

"All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations."
Matthew 28:18-19.

To any individual Christian who thinks he is fighting the war all by himself, this objective not only seems unrealistic but impossible. Like the soldier on the beach it is easy to get a "What's the use?" attitude.

The problem is the same in both cases. The man at the bottom of the chain gets a view of the objective of the person at the top. He is looking up the chain of command without the benefit of intermediate objectives. He sees only the objective of the top and the resources at the bottom.

So for the Christian. He may see with his Commander-in-Chief the complete objective assigned to the whole church. He may also see the smaller parts of the church, groups of believers raised up to reach a special segment of the world's population. God has raised up specialists with limited objectives in His church.

Rather than lament the multiplicity of Christian organizations, we should rejoice that an intensive effort to meet our objective is being made. Of course, there is the danger that such groups will be filled with too great a sense of importance. If, however, they seek to occupy their own limited objective with all faithfulness, then the warfare of the church is advanced. These many organizations may be in existence not because of doctrinal differences but because God has given them different objectives under the Great Commission.

Our objective is two-fold:

  1. To communicate the Gospel in love and power to the world.
  2. To introduce to Jesus (or Jesus to) those who respond to the Gospel.

[Our] first objective is one of sowing the seed. The second is reaping the harvest when the seed falls on good ground. If we sow the seed in every heart, but do not reap where the seed prepares a harvest, then we have not reached our objective. We have in effect added to the condemnation of men with the Gospel. We have been a savor of death unto death rather than life unto life (II Corinthians 2:16).

If, on the other hand, we reap where we have sown but we do not sow in every heart in our assigned mission fields, then we have not reached our objective. This is serious. This objective is not a mere psychological goal that makes us feel good when we get there. This is a mission assigned by our Commander-in-Chief. Not to get there is failure to carry out the assigned mission: it is defeat. Even if people do not or will not respond to the message of good news this has no bearing on the objective to communicate the message to them. God assigns the objective, not the people...

...Unless we know where we are going it is of little importance how we go about getting there. The objective is primary."

That was James Wilson's description of our primary objective from our Commander-in-Chief, Jesus Christ. I don't care what part of the body of Christ you hail from. What I do care about is that you find out what specific assignment and objectives Jesus has assigned you, and perhaps your congregation. Some within your congregation may have special talents and thus be those specialist's Mr. Wilson was talking about. Specialists often have special objectives, assignments, which may differ from the general assignment of the group they're a part of (i.e. their congregation). Be prepared to spot those people and give them the freedom to pursue their objective with all their might. So be mindful to discover what your objectives are that encompass and help fulfill the central objective--and fulfill that with all your might and the might of your congregation.

In this general section titled "What is Evangelism?" I try to break that major battle objective of Matthew 28 down into it's component parts; individual, local church, national and international evangelism--and give some of the resources-- weapons, harvesting tools--at our disposal. Some of those are ready to use, right off this site. So read the articles in this section and the section titled "What is Pre-Evangelism?", and utilize the resources offered that best help you fulfill the objectives the Lord has given you.

To read Mr. Wilson's complete text "Principles of War: a strategy for group and individual evangelism", CLICK HERE.

"To see how you can personally help promote international evangelism and make difference for Christ around the world without ever stepping foot outside your house, CLICK HERE."


content Editor Peter Benson -- no copyright, except where noted.  Please feel free to use this material for instruction and edification
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