IF any of us would receive a commission for Christian service, it must come from Christ Himself; if we would carry out that commission, it must be in loyalty to Christ; and if we hope to succeed in that commission, it must be in a perpetual, personal fellowship with Christ. We must begin to work with Him, and go on working with Him, and never cease to work until He Himself shall come to discharge us from the service because there is no further need of it. Oh, that we did all our work in the name of the great Head of the Church! Oh that we did all Christ’s work consciously in the presence and in the strength of Christ!
Christ at this moment possesses a royal authority; — by might, it is true, but chiefly by right. His is the power which comes of His merits, of His glorious nature, and of the gift of the Divine Spirit who rests upon Him without measure. The word we translate” power “has a wider meaning than that; you find a good instance of it in John 1:12:” As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God,” where the word “power” might be rendered “privilege” or “right” or “liberty”, and yet be correctly translated “power” also. Christ at this moment has all rights in heaven and in earth; He has all sovereignty and dominion, and, of course, He has all the might which backs up His right; but it is not mere power in the sense of force, it is not the dynamite power in which earthly kings delight, it is another and a higher kind of force which Christ has, even the Divine energy of love. He possesses at this moment all authority in heaven and in earth. “All power,” He says, “is given unto Me”; that is to say, He has it now.
You and I are not sent out to preach the gospel in order to get power for Christ; He has it now. We are not sent out, as we sometimes say, to win the world for Christ; in the strictest sense, it is His now. He is the King of Glory at this very moment, He is even now Lord over all, King of kings, and Lord of lords; all authority is given unto Him. I shall not try to explain the particular time when it was given, but I remind you that it has been given. That great act is accomplished; our Lord Jesus holds in His hand the scepter which gives Him power over all flesh, that He may give eternal life to as many as the Father hath given Him. He has already in His hand that scepter with which He shall break the nations as with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces as a potter’s vessel, He has not to go up to His throne, He is already enthroned. He has not to be crowned, He is already crowned, as we have said, King of kings and Lord of lords.
I have met with some who have tried to read the Bible the wrong way upwards, They have said, “God has a purpose which is certain to be fulfilled, therefore we will not budge an inch. All power is in the hands of Christ, therefore we will sit still;” but that is not Christ’s way of reading the passage. It is “All power is given unto Me, therefore go ye, and do something.” “But, Lord, what dost Thou want from us when Thou hast all power? We are such poor insignificant, useless creatures that we shall be sure to make a muddle of anything that we attempt.” “No,” says the Master, “all power is given unto Me, therefore go ye.” He puts us on the go because He has all power. I know that with many of us there is a tendency to sit down and say, “All things are wrong, the world gets darker and darker, and everything is going to the bad.” We sit and fret together in most delightful misery, and try to cheer each other downwards into greater depths of despair! Do we not often act thus? Alas! it is so, and we feel happy to think that other people will blend in blessed harmony of misery with us in all our melancholies; or if we do stir ourselves at little, we feel that there is not much good in our service, and that very little can possibly come of it. This message of our Master seems to me to be something like fine sound of a trumpet. I have given you the strains of a dulcimer, but now there rings out the clarion note of a trumpet. Here is the power to enable you to “go.” Therefore, “go” away from your dunghills, away from your ashes and your dust. Shake yourselves from your melancholy. The bugle calls, “Boot and saddle! Up and away!” The battle has begun, and every good soldier of Jesus Christ must be to the front for his Captain and his Lord. Because all power is given unto Christ, He passes on that power to His people, and sends them forth to battle and to victory. “Go, go ye,” say’s Christ. “But, Lord, if we go to men, they will ask for our passports.” “Take them,” says He, “all authority is given unto Me in heaven and earth. You are free of heaven, and you are free of earth. There is no place, — whether it be in the far-off Ethiopia, or in the deserts of Scythia, or in the center of Rome, — there is no place where you may not go. There are your passports ‘All authority is given unto Me, therefore go ye.’’ “But, Lord, we want more than passports, we need a commission.” “There is your commission,” says the Lord; “all power is given unto Me, and I delegate it to you. I have authority, and I give you authority; go ye therefore because I have the authority. Go and teach princes and kings and beggars, teach them all alike. I ordain you, I authorize you, as many of you as know Me, and have My love shed abroad in your hearts, I commission you to go and- “‘Tell to sinners round What a dear Savior you have found;’ and if they ask how you dare to do it, tell them not that the bishop ordained you, or that a synod licensed you, but that all power is given to your Master in heaven and in earth, and you have come in His name, and nobody may say you nay.” “Moreover,” says the Master, “I send you with My power gone before you.” Observe that, for I bring it again to your recollection. Christ does not say, “Go and win the power for Me on earth, go and get power for Me among the sons of men.” No; but “All authority and power are already vested in Me, go ye therefore. I send you to a country which is not an alien kingdom, I send you to a country which is Mine, for all souls are Mine, If you go to the Jews or to the Gentiles, they are Mine; if it be to India or China that you go, you need ask no man’s leave; you are in your own King’s country, you are on your own King’s errand, you have your own King’s power going before you.” I do believe that, often, when missionaries go to a country, they have rather to gather ripe fruit than to plant trees. As the Lord sent the hornets to clear the way for the children of Israel, so does He oftentimes send singular changes, political, social, and religious, before the heralds of the Cross, to prepare the way for them; and this is the message which sounds with clear clarion note to all the soldiers of King Jesus : — “I have all authority in heaven and in earth, therefore, without misgivings. or questionings, go ye and evangelize all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
Unless the Holy Ghost blesses the Word, we are of all men most miserable, for we have attempted a task that is impossible, we have entered upon a sphere where nothing but the supernatural will ever avail. If the Holy Spirit does not renew hearts, we cannot do it. If the Holy Ghost does not regenerate them, we cannot. If He does not send the truth home into their souls, we might as well speak into the ear of a corpse. All that we have to do is quite beyond our unaided power; we must have our Master with us, or we can do nothing. We deeply feel our need of this great truth; we not merely say it, but we are driven every day, by our own deep sense of need, to rejoice that our Lord has declared, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” Why are we ever cast down? Why do we ever begin to question the ultimate success of the good cause? Why do we ever go home with aching head and palpitating heart because of the evils of the day? Courage, courage; the King has all power, it is impossible to defeat Him. ‘The right wing of our army may be shattered for a moment; but the King in the center of the host still rides upon the white horse of victory, and He has but to will it, He has but to speak a single word, and the enemy shall be driven away like chaff before the wind.
Christ says, “Go.” Then, let us go at once, according to His Word, in the track which God’s own hand marks out for us. Let us go and disciple all nations, let us tell them that they are to learn of Christ, and that they are to be obedient to His will.
Next, let us be loyal to Him in all things, and let us train up His disciples in loyalty to Him: “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” As He has all authority, let us not intrude another authority. Let us keep within the Master’s house, and seek to know the Master’s mind, to learn the Master’s will, to study the Master’s Book, and to receive the Master’s Spirit, and let these be dominant over all other power; and all the while let us endeavor to keep in fellowship with Him: “Lo, I am with you always.” Let us never go away from Him. Because all authority is given unto Him, let us keep close by His side; let us be the yeomen of His guard. Let us be the servants who unloose the latchets of His shoes, who bring water for His feet, and who count ourselves highly honored thereby. “Lo, I am with you always,” saith He, so let us always be with Him.