The Charter of the Church
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
“The Great Commission is the charter of the Church. Like any other organization the Church must fulfill the terms of its charter or it should cease and desist.” So wrote a missionary statesman of another generation.
For more than twenty years I was the pastor of a church that was near a naval base and more than seventy percent of my church members were military. I soon learned that when a military man received his orders he read them very carefully and obeyed them to the letter. Two thousand years ago Jesus Christ gave us our orders. The man I have quoted was saying that we as a church must obey our orders or we should cease and desist as a church.
General George Patton once arrived before dawn at a station in North Africa much earlier than he was expected. Everything was in disarray. He kicked a soldier who was asleep on the floor. When the lowly GI realized who had kicked him he jumped to his feet, saluted and said “I’m sorry sir. I was just trying to get some sleep!” The general responded, “That’s OK son.” In his profane way, which I will not quote, the general essentially continued, You’re the only one around here who knows what he’s trying to do!
How it must grieve the risen living Christ to realize that so many in His Church today don’t know what they’re trying to do. We not only ignore His clear orders – many have never even heard that He gave us our charter, which is repeated at the end of every Gospel and at the beginning of Acts, the inspired history book of the Church.