is our Commander in Chief's Marching Orders, Our Primary Spiritual-Military
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:
- To communicate the Gospel in love and power to the entire world.
- 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."
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?"
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:
- To communicate the Gospel in love and power to the world.
- 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".