Fulfilling the Great Commission
What is the Great Commission?
The Great CommissionMatt 28:18-20 “18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The “Great Commission” was Jesus last command to us before He ascended into heaven. It provided us as believers with a purposeful mission, a clear and focused message and an unending promise. As part of His Church we are not to keep our faith to ourselves but to share our faith in every situation. Yes “EVERY” situation. I believe that we have become so entangled in the world that we have actually bought into the secular lie that there are times which are not appropriate to share our faith. This is an evil lie straight from the father of lies. We must always be cognizant of our faith and continually look for opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. The Truth of God’s Word and the Message of the Gospel should be in the forefront of our thinking.
No wonder the world has tended toward a God-less, secular, humanistic orientation. We have not been the “Salt of the earth” as stated in Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”
That is exactly where we stand today as Christians, “thrown out and trampled under foot”. Why is this the case? Because we, as the “salt of the earth”, have “become tasteless”. Note the implication of influence. We as the people of Christ have lost our influence because we have not executed our commission.
The Practical Road-mapEphesians 4:11-13 “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
But God did not stop by just giving us a “Great Commission”. He also gave us a “Practical Road-map” that would prepare God’s people to execute the “Great Commission”. The apostle Paul laid out a plan of church preparation that is a heuristic process for maturing the Body of Christ (the Church) in Ephesians 4:11-16. The road-map consists of declaring the gifts that God has given within the church as well as the purpose for the gifts. Paul also laid out the axioms of a recursive process that will fulfill the last component of the “Great Commission”. I’ll also talk about the OODA Loop, a USAF fighter pilot strategy that exemplifies how to implement this heuristic process.
The Mission ParametersEphesians 4:14-16 “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
God also gave us parameters of what the results should look like and how to fulfill the “Great Commission” using the Practical Road-map”. The picture is of a set of individual believers working as a body in a spirit of truth and love to grow up in Christ which will facilitate the growth of the body as a whole. Everything properly working by following the “Practical Road-map” to execute the “Great Commission” resulting in spreading the Gospel which will change the world.
Components of the Great Commission
The Global Mission
The “Go Ye” Gospel
The first component of the mission found in verse 19 is “Go and make disciples of the nations.” The word “Go” is poreuomai (πορευθεντες) literally means “after going” or “as you are going” which indicates that we must first go out, depart, travel or journey. To be clear, the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a “Go Ye” Gospel. I Love the King James translation here, “Go Ye therefore”. So we have a command from Jesus that we are not to just sit around and wait for folks to notice that we are redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb but we are expressly ordered by the King of Kings and Lord of Lord to “Go” and spread the gospel.
This personal commission from Jesus Himself to, as we are going, permeate our world with the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Not a Come Ye Gospel
Most of us grew up under the notion that it is the Pastors responsibility to evangelize and that we are somehow absolved of the responsibility to go out and share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are considered really spiritual if we merely invite someone to church. But Jesus gave the poreuomai (Go ye therefore) command to everyone who hears His words. It was a personal challenge to everyone there and to everyone who reads these verses. Many times I find myself caught up in the daily grind of technology and business only to remember to share the gospel after the opportunity has passed.
We are under a mistaken belief that unsaved people will come to church where they will then hear the gospel. We are told to invite people to come to church where they can hear the Gospel from the Preacher and be placed in a “age-appropriate” Sunday School class to learn about God. This is just simply not Biblical and is not aligned in any way with the “Great Commission”. Jesus did not command us to “go ye therefore and invite people to church”. The problem is that we are society that is becoming increasingly Post-Christian and that the notion of “Church” has become more of an enigma rather than a focal point for Godly sin confronting values. People raised up in today’s secular society don’t even know what sin is so how much less will they understand why they need to be convicted by their sin in order to be saved through faith.
That being the case, we have become lazy and irresponsible in our beliefs settling for the comfort of complacency rather than the confrontation of the truth in the “Great Commission”.
Baptizing them in the Name of the Father the Son and The Holy Spirit
The message is clear in verse 19 that we are to “make disciples”. But it does not stop there. We are to signify that they are disciples by “baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”. This is a significant thing to consider. The Bible is clear that baptizing is not required for salvation but as the first public act of a believers testimony. There is no mention of baptism in John 3:16 which is probably the most important gospel proclamation in the Bible. I talked about God’s greatest gift with much more detail in “Born to Die for Our Sins”.
Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you
This second part of the message is the most difficult and probably the reason that many Christians are simply Sunday Christians and do no reflect the glory of God in their daily personal life. The word didaskontes (διδασκοντες) is present participle active voice verb which literally means to keep teaching. So what does this mean for us? The implication of teach in this case is to continue to build on the principles of obedience which Christ Himself taught. the result could be a complete believer that could share the Gospel with others and teach them in the same manner as they have been and are being taught. There is no ending point of teaching or maturity that qualifies a believer as having completed the course but a process of maturity that spurs them on to share the Gospel more and more with greater confidence each time.
Lo, I am with you always
After issuing a clear command with a direct message to the believers present at the ascension, Jesus also gave a promise that does not end until the culmination of “the age”. While I am not a strict dispensationalist I do believe that we are in the “Church Age” and that the commission that Jesus ordered before the ascension will not be complete until the “Rapture of the Church”. Jesus promised that He would be with us until the end of the age and on Pentecost sent The Holy Spirit to indwell, empower and comfort believers.
Because Christ Jesus gave us this promise we can trust Him for the opportunity to share the good news of the Gospel and that He will equip us to help others mature in Christ Jesus giving them the confidence to share their faith in Christ with others.
A Practical Road-map
The Guide for Maturity in Christ Jesus
Ephesians 4:11-13 provides a practical solution to allow the Church to be matured and equipped to complete “The Mission” with a competent, confident “Message” to a world that is lost in sin and destined for an eternity apart from their Creator. But lets look at Ephesians 4:8 which sets the stage for verses 11-13.
Ephesians 4:8 “Therefore it says,
“When He ascended on high,
He led captive a host of captives,
And He gave gifts to men.”
This verse is a Messianic prophecy from Psalms 68:18. The reference to the ascension should not go unnoticed here in that it links this passage to the “Great Commission”. Before Jesus ascended into heaven he gave the “Great Commission”. Acts 1:7-8 is a parallel passage for the “Great Commission” of Mathew 28:18-20 and a short time later, on Pentecost, the power of the Holy Spirit as well as the gifts of the Spirit were given to the disciples and those with them in the upper room.
Acts 1:7-8 “He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Acts 2:1-4 “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.”
You may wonder how the Ephesians passage could be related to the “Great Commission”. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus essentially commanded that we go, preach and teach. In Ephesians 4:8-16 the Apostle Paul begins with what happened on Pentecost and then expands on the second two commands of preaching and teaching in such a way that others would be inspired to do the same. This road-map is a clear nomenclature for church maturity and growth. By focusing on the maturing and growing we also facilitate the going. The natural process of growth should spur a natural movement outward. This is not prevalent in churches today which have become introverted to the point of selfish comfort rather than selfless concern for those around them who are perishing.
The Gifts Given to the ChurchEphesians 4:11 “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,”
There are five primary gifts given to the Church for the purposes described later in verses 12 and 13. Let’s look at those gifts in more detail:
- Apostles: While I do not believe that there are apostles in the likeness of the 12 Disciples or Paul I believe that the word used here does not imply that kind of apostleship but something that is practical for the Church in today’s day and age. The word apostolos (αποστολους) a delegate; specially, an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ. Who, as a believer does not qualify as an ambassador for the Gospel. 2 Corinthians 5:20 says “…we are ambassadors for Christ…” so, in fact, the term apostles here is fitting in this day and age.
- Prophets: This is another of those words that is viewed with a jaded eye in many fundamental Christian circles. However, the word does not necessarily mean telling the future as the Old Testament “Seers” but a practical application of God’s Word in a clear way. The word prophetes (προφητας) is an inspired speaker, one who can exegete God’s Word under the power of the Holy Spirit recognizing the signs of the times and thus applying God’s Word in a timely and effective manner.
- Evangelists: This word evangelists, euaggelistes (ευαγγελιστας), is simply a purveyor of the gospel. There is nothing complex here and this gifting is key to the dissemination of the Gospel throughout the world. While most Churches get hung up on “World Missions” it is important to recognize that giving to those programs is not bad but it is not evangelism. The process of evangelism is a very personal mission that each believer, while they may not be gifted as an evangelist, is commanded to do in Matthew 28:19.
- Pastors: While this gift falls further down the list it is likely the most important of the gifts God gave the Church. The word pastor, poimen (ποιμενας), is a shepherd. The shepherd is the one who “pastures” the flock. This gift is probably the most difficult of all because caring for sheep is messy business and often discouraging. One of my favorite sayings is that as Christians we are in the people business and the people business is messy business. Pastors have to sort through all of the messy people-stuff to apply God’s Word in a loving way to encourage the proper growth of the flock. Pastors are generally only noticed when things are going wrong but never recognized when things are click-itty-clacking along smoothly.
- Teachers: This is a word that you should recognize from Matthew 28:20. Teachers, didaskalous (διδασκάλους) didaskalosthe noun form of didaskalos. This is the final gift mentioned and literally denotes an instructor, master, teacher. This gift is critical for the growth of the body because while gifts of apostles, prophets and evangelists are extrovert in nature the role of teacher is very much personal and introverted with regard to the Church. Pastors and Teachers are gifts that are very much oriented to the individual believers maturation process. Teachers are more like mentors than simply someone who lectures on a subject. They are available to help less mature believers work through situations that arise as they mature in Christ Jesus. Some translations render Pastors and Teaches as a compound word, pastor-teachers. While this may not be quite accurate it does denote the role of a teacher as being a humble mentor.
The Reason for the GiftsEphesians 4:12 “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;”
Here in Ephesians 4:12 we have two clear reasons for the gifts that God gave to the Church. These reasons are critical to healthy relationships and growth of the church body. These principles provide a method by which individual believers are inculcated into the Church in a meaningful way and the church body as a whole is brought toward maturity in Christ Jesus.
Equipping: This is a pivotal reason which goes without emphasis, or even worse deemphasize in almost every church but is the most critical part of the reason. Most Christians assume that Pastor and/or the Pastoral staff has been trained to “do the work of the ministry”. However, this could not be further from the truth. According to this verse the saints, us-we-me, are to be equipped to do the work of the ministry. This is a far cry from where most believers in most churches are today.
James 1:22 says “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” That being the case we are to look for how we can embrace being equipped to do the work of service.
Building the body: The oikodome (οικοδομην) meaning a structure. I am reminded of the story of the two foundations in Matthew 7.
Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.” So the action of being equipped facilitates the building up of the Body of Christ. This implies that the addition of people to the Body of Christ is critical. The Body is built up through maturing and gaining confidence to share the Gospel with others. So the building up process is two-fold. First maturing and being built up as individual believers but then in corporate as a body of believers.
But what does this mean from a practical perspective? When is the body complete? Is it ever completed? Well the answer lies in Revelation 19:7 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” So when the complete Church is with Christ, after being raptured, the building phase will be over which brings us to the last item in Ephesians 4:11-13 “The Building Process”.
The Building ProcessEphesians 4:13 “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
There are four goals mentioned in Ephesians 4:13. The interesting thing about these four goals is that they demonstrate an iterative building process with each building on the other. The “until”, here used as an adverb, provides a clue that the process of achieving the goals is also heuristic. Since no one can ever attain the highest degree of all of the goals until we are in heaven with Christ the process of achieving the goals is a continual process.
Let’s examine the goals.
- Unity of the faith: Unity is probably the thing that is most lacking in church bodies today. Clearly the apostle Paul saw this as a church-wide unity by declaring “until we all attain to unity of the faith.” One of the key markers in a church body of unity is that people become closer to one another because they become closer to God through Christ Jesus. When selfishness and carnality begin to emerge divergence rather than convergence begins to appear. A Christ like humble approach as described in Philippians 2 will keep us moving toward Christ and thus one another.
- Knowledge of the Son of God: if you read my post, “Born to Die for Our Sins”, you would know the word used here for “Son”. Son (huios), the one sharing the nature of the Father, is key to a proper foundation regarding the deity of Christ. The goal of every cult is to attack the fact that Christ (the Word) is God, deity incarnate.
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Pivotal to solid theology is the fact that Jesus Christ is the incarnate God. God instantiated as a physical man to live a sinless life and die as a propitiation for the sins of mankind.
Hebrews 4:14-16 says “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son (huios) of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
A clear understanding of just who Jesus is and the connection of the thin blood-red line from the beginning of the Bible to the end of the Bible is critical to sound Christian theology.
- Maturity: This statement, “to a mature man”, in verse 14 is a statement of conviction. To achieve the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God takes not only humility but work. Hard work. Osmosis and capillary action do not apply. By just going to church you do not achieve any level of maturity and age does not imply maturity. The aged may be just as immature as a new believer because they did not submit and commit to the first two goals. The passage in James 1:22 applies here:
James 1:22 says “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”
So maturity in this case is not related to longevity but to making the choices required to achieve the first two goals.
- Measured stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ: This is the ultimate goal of the Christian believer. The word here is metron (μετρον) which means a limited portion (degree). This again points to a process. As we attain greater unity of faith, knowledge of the Son of God and maturity we also achieve a greater portion of the fullness that belongs to Christ Jesus. This to is a choice that each believer must make in order to move toward Christ. By choosing to attain to the unity of faith and gaining knowledge of the Son of God we will become more mature and thus reach a higher measure of the stature which belongs to Christ Jesus.
The Mission Parameters
The Parameters for Maturity in Christ
We Are No Longer To Be Children
Ephesians 4:14 says that “As a result (of Ephesians 4:11-13), we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;”. This is difficult in most churches because they do not follow the practical road-map to maturity. This is evident in Hebrews 5:12-14 “12For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
How many times have we covered the same book of the Bible in a verse by verse study? Where is the accountability for the first time the book of the Bible was studied?
The Pragmatic Conundrum
The truth is that most churches engage in Bible studies in a pragmatic conundrum with no life or accountability for what has been learned which is a maturity killer. Most believers are lulled to sleep in the pattern having their sensitivity to God’s Word by the power of His Holy Spirit dulled by the sheer repetition of the pragmatic conundrum.
This condition is noted in Hebrews 5:12 “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” What an indictment against our churches leadership who have become an organizational enigma with regard to God’s Word and the power of His Holy Spirit.
Caught Up in Activity
The other maturity killer is getting wrapped up in the activity of serving. So many times people get so focused on some activity that the activity becomes the central focus of their life rather than God’s Word, the power of the Holy Spirit and the people of God. This many times results in what is seen in Hebrews 5:13 “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.” The result is spiritual immaturity which ultimately leads to burnout or going down in flames. Serving must always be a by-product of spiritual maturity rather than physical necessity.Galatians 6:6-10 says “6The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. 7Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
Practice Makes Perfect
Hebrews 5:14 “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” This verse needs no explanation as it sums this topic up perfectly. When we practice applying God’s Word, by the Power of His Holy Spirit, our senses become more finely tuned to God’s Will. Hebrews 5:14 exemplifies the heuristic process described in Ephesians 4:11-13.
Speaking The Truth In Love
Ephesians 4:15 “but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ”. What a powerful but humbling command! Speaking the Truth of God’s Word is a challenge for any Christian believer. The phrase “speaking the truth” is actually one single word aletheuo (αληθευοντες) which means to be true in doctrine and profession but the context is in a spirit of love (agape). This again is linked to maturity in Christ.
In Galatians 6:1 the Apostle Paul tightens this up by bracketing “speaking the truth in love” with compassion and self-examination. Galatians 6:1 “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.”
In order to truly “speak the truth in love” we must also consider our own sinful nature and understand that we too are capable of sin and that WE WILL need to be corrected at times.
Grow Up In All Aspects Into Him
Ephesians 4:15 “… we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ”. This verse speaks to the process as a whole as defined in Ephesians 4:11-13. We are to bring every aspect of our life into conformance to Christ. This is a process that requires a humble acknowledgement that we are, in fact, sinners and that our carnal nature will do everything possible to distract us from our spiritual goal of maturity in Christ Jesus. In Galatians 5:16 –17 Paul tells us “ But I say,walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”
That being the case a “Spirit filled” walk should not be marred by the desires of the flesh.
Being Fitted and Held TogetherEphesians 4:16 “from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
This verse clearly links the believers to the body. It also clearly links the maturity of the believers to the maturity of the body and the maturity of the body is linked to growth. “The proper working of each individual part” means that no one in the body of Christ is exempt from maturity and that everyone in the body of Christ depends on each individual part to mature properly. A clear symbiotic relationship exists between the growth of the individual believer and the growth of the body as a whole. If the individual believer begins to fail in practicing growth the body as a whole suffers.
The ultimate goal is love. I Corinthians 13:4-8 puts this in perfect context stating all of the aspects of the unconditional love with which Christ Jesus died on our behalf. When we see this kind of love (agape) it provides the evidence of maturity and when we are willing to extend this kind of love we, as believers, become more like Christ. However, in too many cases this kind of love is rarely experienced in the context of believers in a church body. Consequently, we as believers must assume the attitude of John that Baptist in John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”I Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails;”
As we move toward a relationship with God according to the “Practical Road-map” using the “Gifts of the Spirit” under the auspices of the “Mission Parameters” we will ultimately see the effective execution and results of the “Great Commission”.
This brings us to the last thing about which I want to talk. I almost always view things concocted by the world to be of little value in the walk of a Christian believer. This is particularly true of the psychological and/or philosophical self-help rubbish that is purported by the world as the answer to our problems but only turns our focus more inwardly and many times selfishly blaming others for our problems. Often times this rubbish is billed as “Christian” in nature but is really no different that of world. The real answer lies in acknowledging the fact that we are sinners, selfish, undeserving, evil to the core and that we are in dire need a Savior.
However, the Military strategy of the USAF Fighter Pilot, the OODA Loop, can be applied to the process in Ephesians 4:11-16. While this is a fighter pilot’s strategy for success in aerial combat we can view it as the believers recipe for completeness in Christ Jesus.
The OODA Loop Strategy
As mentioned, normally I am not a fan of worldly principles but I will reveal a strategy used by our military that is completely appropriate to apply God’s Word in our lives, the lives of our families and the lives of our church bodies as well. I have to believe that some strategies are revealed by God in secular situations but applied from a Biblical standpoint, as God intended, they are pleasing to the Lord and thus produce righteous results. We’ll continue in a moment with the components of the “Practical Road-map” but first let me introduce the OODA loop.
Forty Second Boyd
The OODA Loop is the fighter pilots strategic doctrine for success. OODA loop is strategy developed by Colonel John Boyd which evolved from the “Aerial Attack Study” and later the “Energy-Maneuverability Study”. During the 1950s then Captain Boyd had a standing challenge to all pilots that if they could defeat him in air combat in 40 seconds or less he would pay them $40. During the air combat simulation Captain Boyd would deliberately put his plane at a disadvantage with the opposing pilot and then defeat him in 40 seconds or less. As an instructor at the Fighter Weapons School (FWS or Red Flag) at Nellis AFB, he fought students, cadre pilots, Marine and Navy pilots, and pilots from a dozen countries, who were attending the FWS as part of the Mutual Defense Assistance Pact. He never lost an engagement thus attaining the title “Forty-Second Boyd”.
Over the decades of teaching air combat as a science rather than an art the OODA Loop was developed as the primary air doctrine of the American fighter pilot and consequently America has dominated the skies for the past 30 or more years. According to Vice President Dick Cheney who was Secretary of Defense at the time, Colonel Boyd’s doctrine was responsible for America’s swift and decisive victory in the Gulf war.
The OODA Loop
So just what is the OODA Loop. The phrase OODA loop refers to the decision cycle of observe, orient, decide, and act. Upon acting you repeat the loop to improve the process or chances of success. One of the key axioms of OODA is:
“In order to win, we should operate at a faster tempo or rhythm than our adversaries–or, better yet, get inside [the] adversary’s Observation-Orientation-Decision-Action time cycle or loop.”
This sounds like a perfect application for spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6) but to stay on target we’ll stick with the four components of OODA which are applicable to spiritual maturity according to Ephesians 4:11-16. What do we have now that allows us to engage?
- We have Orders, Mathew 28:18-20 “The Great Commission”.
- We have Assets, Ephesians 4:11 “Spiritual Gifts” and the believers who comprise the body.
- We have Mission Planning, Ephesians 4:12-13 “The Practical Road-map”.
- We have Mission Parameters, Ephesians 4:14-16 “The Mission Parameters”.
With all of these components in place we can engage using the OODA Loop.
OODA and the Practical Road-map
Ephesians 4:11-16 “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
- Observe: Church leadership, as well as the believers themselves, should assess where they are from a Biblical perspective. The gifts defined in Ephesians 4 are for the equipping up of the saints for the work of the ministry. However, what needs to be assessed is not only the level of maturity within the body but also the gifts within the body. 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 lists the gifts and purpose for the gifts but Ephesians 4:14-16 continues the thought from Ephesians 14:11-13. The observation process is one of positional awareness, asset awareness and needs awareness. This process defines what the current status is and what assets are available for use. The primary perch for observation is the Word of God. We take note of our relationship to the “Great Commission” and the current circumstances in which we find ourselves to be as a believer and as a corporate Church Body.
- Orient: Here Church leadership, or the believer personally, has already made an assessment as to current state and the availability of assets. That being the case the “Orient” component is composed of making a determination as to which assets can be applied to the current state for the most effective results. Ephesians 4:15-16 provides the guidance required for this component. God’s Word, by the Power of His Holy Spirit, is the only backdrop for this orientation process. Invariably, we as believers and Church Bodies go astray when we do not follow God’s Word. So the orientation process is rooted in following the road-map of God’s Word with regard to the observations as to where we are currently situated as a believer and as a Church Body.
- Decide: Once the orientation has been established Church leadership, or the believer individually, must decide on which objectives from the previous stages to take action. Again Ephesians 4:15-16 provides the guidance for this component of the OODA loop. The course of action is more than likely obvious based on the current state and the available assets so it is time to “Act” never losing sight of the principles of God’s Word.
- Act: The final component of OODA is the most difficult for Church leaders and believers alike. Spiritual growth is often stunted first in the believer and ultimately in the Church because we fail to act on what God has shown us to be the case through His Word by the Power of His Holy Spirit. Leaders lack courage to challenge sinful behavior and believers lack discipline to repent from sinful behavior. As stated in Ephesians 4:14, we act as children, tossed about by waves and breezes of doctrine, the trickery of men and deceitful scheming because we do not act on what God’s Word tells us to do. Thus proving that what James 1:22 says “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” is a fact not only in our personal lives but also in our corporate church bodies as well.
For the maturation process to be effective we, as individuals and Church leaders, must have the courage and discipline to act on what God’s Word tells us to do the way that God’s Word tells us to do it. We must embrace God’s Word and trust The Holy Spirit to guide us remembering that we are saved by grace not by works.
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Galatians 5:16-17 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”
The goal of acting is to accomplish the goals set forth in Matthew 28:18-20 by using the process in Ephesians 4:12 with the gifts God provided in Ephesians 4:11 to achieve the objective in Ephesians 4:13.
Finally having completed the OODA we loop back and do it again, and again, and again until we reach the “until” in Ephesians 4:13.
The Great Commission Applied
The Believers Responsibility
Ultimately each believer is responsible to execute the “Great Commission” and God in His infinite wisdom provided a “Practical Road-map” with “Mission Parameters” on how execute that last earthly command of His Son Jesus. There is an old saying “No man is an island” which is true and God gave us His plan for the Church and how we are to relate first of all to God through faith Jesus Christ alone and mature as a body of believers that demonstrate to the world God’s love, His mercy, His grace and His eternal nature.
We as believers must according to James 1:22 “prove ourselves to be doers of the Word” which means that we must also humble ourselves before God and allow Him to work in our lives, both individually and as a corporate church body, through His Word by the Power of His Holy Spirit.
When we do that the world will become a field of harvest because of our obedience, discipline, dedication and love.
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