On Friday night (2/10/23), I was in Ohio with my brother, Tim, and several other great leaders. Holy Spirit moved in a marvelous way. The theme became the subject of “Reformation.” Though I have recently taught some of the information, in today’s post, I felt it would be appropriate to do so again. We cannot hear this too much!
Several years ago, the Lord showed me the important differences between Christ’s great commissions of Mark 16:15-18 and Matthew 28:18-20. Each corresponds to one of the two commissions God gave humankind through Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:26-28. The first of these assignments or commissions was to be fruitful and multiply: “Give me more kids,” God said. Imagine that – giving God a family. The second commission was to steward, manage, or govern the earth. “You will represent My kingdom’s government on this outpost of the Kingdom,” He told them.
As we know, both of these plans were interrupted at the Fall. God temporarily lost His family and His ambassadors on the earth. Jesus, of course, was sent to undo this interruption and restore the plan. This is what Christ was referring to when He said in Matthew 16:18-19, “I will build my Church…” The word “build” is oikodomeo (Strongs 3618, 3624), which means to build a family or household. In choosing this word Christ was saying, “I’ve come to get the family back!”
“Church” is the word ekklesia (Strongs 1577), meaning a legislative, governing assembly. As I have explained before, by choosing this word, Jesus was saying, “I have come to reestablish My family as My Kingdom government on earth.” Christ’s other comments amplified and explained this further. He went on to say that this Ekklesia would be given His Kingdom authority (“keys”), to bind and loose (lock and unlock, forbid and allow) and that the government (“gates”) of hell would not overpower them.
After reversing the setbacks and reestablishing these two plans at the Cross, Jesus re-commissioned His followers in Mark 16:15-18 and Matthew 28:18-20. The two commissions are different. In Mark’s gospel He said to go and preach the good news so that humans can be delivered, healed, filled with Holy Spirit, and be part of God’s family once again. In other words, He told them to “be fruitful and multiply! Give me more kids!” When this occurs with great momentum, we call it revival or awakening. Only after this occurs can we accomplish the second commission.
In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus re-commissioned us to disciple nations according to His teachings. “As My Ekklesia, You have My authority. In My name instruct and disciple nations according to My ways and principles,” He instructed us. This results in transformation or reformation.
Both of these activities – not one or the other – are absolutely essential. To understand them more fully, here are a few comparisons and differences between awakening and reformation.
- Awakening (Mark 16) brings people into God’s family; Reformation (Matthew 28) teaches them His ways.
- Awakening births them spiritually; Reformation trains them practically.
- Awakening changes the human heart; Reformation changes the human mind (the thinking).
- Awakening is internal (takes place with in us); Reformation is external (is worked out from/by us).
- Awakening is accomplished through preaching; Reformation takes place through teaching.
- Awakening produces converts; Reformation produces disciples.
- Awakening releases God’s life; Reformation establishes His laws, principles, and ways.
- Awakening saves the individual; Reformation saves regions/nations.
- Awakening produces a family, a bride, worshippers; Reformation produces an Ekklesia, those who govern, manage, and steward
In most revivals, believers think only of getting people saved, born again (Mark 16). This, of course, is essential and must be the starting point – birthing obviously precedes training. But if Matthew 28 – the reforming and discipling of individuals and nations – doesn’t occur, the long-term fruit will be minimal and can even be lost.
The great Charismatic Movement of the late 60’s through the early 80’s, which included the Jesus People Movement, saw tens of millions of people saved around the world. It was a wonderful example of Mark 16 occurring with great momentum, a significant revival. However, there was little understanding of our calling to do Matthew 28. The concept of discipling that existed at the time, was limited to the discipling of individuals who came to Christ, not the discipling of nations, societies, and cultures.
Discipling nations involves and includes government, education, and all other societal institutions. It is certainly NOT a dictating or forcing of God’s laws upon people and nations, but rather teaching and demonstrating His ways and principles at every level and in every sector of society. Salvation opens the heart and will of people to this, which is why it must occur first. When they are born again, Holy Spirit writes God’s laws in their hearts, making them open to and hungry for His truth, possessing a strong desire to pursue and find it. Also, their conscience comes alive, active. When a nation experiences significant revival, the portion of the populace affected by it does not have to be forced to implement God’s will and ways. They desire to do His will, to obey Him. But they and their children must be taught, retrained, their thinking reformed. If this does not occur, satan attempts to counteract and defile the revival by infusing wrong thinking, ideas, philosophies, etc., into the culture.
Sadly, during the Jesus Movement/Charismatic Movement of the ‘70s, Christians did Mark 16 only. While millions of people were being saved, humanists, secularists and atheists were busy doing their version of Matthew 28 – discipling a nation. We saved individuals, they discipled a nation. We preached the gospel; unbelievers taught dogmas and doctrines. We went to church; they went to our schools and universities. We gathered on weekends; they gathered all week. We enjoyed Christian TV; they made movies, programs, and eventually took over the industry. We sang and worshipped at church; they took over the airwaves and discipled a generation with their music. The result: we experienced one of the greatest revivals in history…AND LOST OUR NATION!
This is almost incomprehensible! Yet, it occurred.
Now, the generation that humanists, secularists, and atheists discipled is in charge of our nation – governing, teaching, entertaining and informing. This is the fruit of Mark 16…without Matthew 28.
However, there is another powerful outpouring of Holy Spirit coming that will produce both awakening AND transformation, refreshing AND reformation. The body of Christ will accomplish both commissions. This will produce the greatest transformation on Earth since the Cross! Indeed, it will be the full outworking of what Christ accomplished at the Cross.
If you or your family members do not know Jesus, remember Jesus died for everyone and made it simple. Call on the name of Jesus and you shall be saved. Then, you will be in Heaven with all other believers!