CONCERN FOR ALL NATIONS Matthew 28:18-20 HE told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and earth. Therefore go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the FATHER and of the SON and of the HOLY SPIRIT, and then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this—that I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” [Living Bible translation] Summary
Matthew 28:18-20 is known as “The GREAT COMMISSION.” Some churches call it their “Mission Statement.” In army terms, some might say it was the disciples’ “marching orders,” and “final earthly directive for every disciple of CHRIST thereafter. These verses are the divine instructions of our HEAVENLY COMMANDER, the resurrected JESUS CHRIST. There is no doubt that JESUS wanted HIS disciples to be concerned about all nations. Acts 1:8 emphasizes that the disciples were to be “witnesses” in “Jerusalem” (where the local church was located) in “Judea” (where other places of worship and disciples were located, in “Samaria” (where “those other churches” were located that the disciples could not even “imagine” worshipping with because of the bias and bigotry of the times) and “even to the end of the world.” JESUS’ disciples were and are to be witnesses everywhere to all nations, all nationalities and all people. Individual “Healthy Living” Is An “All Nations” Concern Just as the internet is a network of networks or a global system of international computers that link all nations, health care links all of us. Just as the individual health of each individual member of a family affects “the health” of the family, and the health of each family member affects “the health” of a community (or a church or a school or other associations), and the health of each association in a community affects the health of a county ….until we get to the “health” care of the world, so it is that health care is a concern “for all nations.” Like the internet, we are all connected in terms of the need to “be healthy.” In recognition that living a healthy lifestyle is an “all nations” concern, a number of organizations have established health guidelines that they hope will have a worldwide effect. The World Health Organization (WHO) is an organization concerned about the health of the world. Established in 1948, WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that has the mission of providing global leadership in public health. WHO employs health specialists, medical doctors, scientists, epidemiologists and also people with expertise in administration and finance, information systems, economics, health statistics as well as emergency preparedness and responses. WHO defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease. This is one of the preambles to the WHO constitution. Some of the other preambles to the WHO constitution state that:
The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.
Unequal development in different countries in the promotion of health and control of diseases, especially communicable disease, is a common danger.
Healthy development of the child is of basic importance in; the ability to live harmoniously in a changing total environment is essential to such development.
Governments have a responsibility for the health of their people which can be fulfilled only by the provision of adequate health and social measures.
See, www.who.int/about/governance/constitution. WHO gives the following advice for maintaining a healthy diet: Fruits and VegetablesEating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day reduces the risk of noncommunicable diseases and helps to ensure an adequate daily intake of dietary fiber. Fruit and vegetable intake can be improved by: 1. Always including vegetables in meals; 2. Eating fresh fruit and raw vegetables as snacks; 3. Eating fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season; and 4. Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables. Salt, Sodium and Potassium Most people consume too much sodium through salt. High sodium intake and insufficient potassium intake contribute to high blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. In many countries, most salt comes from processed foods (e.g. ready meals; processed meats such as bacon, ham and salami; cheese; and salty snacks) or from foods consumed frequently in large amounts (e.g. bread). Salt is also added to foods during cooking (e.g. bouillon, stock cubes, soy sauce and fish sauce) or at the point of consumption (e.g. table salt). See, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/healthy-diet . Salt intake can be reduced by:
Limiting the amount of salt and high-sodium condiments (e.g. soy sauce, fish sauce and bouillon) when cooking and preparing foods;
Not having salt or high-sodium sauces on the table;
Limiting the consumption of salty snacks; and
Choosing products with lower sodium content.
Sugars Consuming free sugars increases the risk of dental caries (tooth decay). Excess calories from free sugars in foods and drinks contribute to unhealthy weight gain, which can lead to overweight and obesity. Recent evidence also shows that free sugars influence blood pressure and serum lipids. Research data suggests that a reduction in free sugars intake reduces risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Sugars intake can be reduced by:
Limiting the consumption of foods and drinks containing high amounts of sugars, such as sugary snacks, candies and sugar-sweetened beverages (e.g. carbonated or non‐carbonated soft drinks, fruit or vegetable juices and drinks, liquid and powder concentrates, flavored water, energy and sports drinks, ready‐to‐drink tea, ready‐to‐drink coffee; and
Eating fresh fruit and raw vegetables as snacks instead of sugary snacks.
Id. Make It Your Christian DutyThe health of all people, especially all children, is everyone’s responsibility. The World Health Organization needs everyone to do their part in making the world healthy. Maintaining a healthy diet is not only important for you, your family and your country, it is important to the health of the world. Likewise, The GREAT COMMISSION is not a suggestion.” It is not a recommendation. It is our duty to be concerned about all nations. And, we not only “owe” it to ourselves, our families, our churches, and our nation (as “one nation under GOD”), but most importantly, we owe it to GOD to be obedient to GOD’s WORD. In Romans 12:1, the Apostle Paul pleads: “I urge you, brothers [and sisters] in view of GOD’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to GOD—this is your spiritual act of worship [i.e., your reasonable service].” Dr. Joel Gregory, professor of preaching at George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University, put it this way: [As “living sacrifices,”] “we are living stones,” “we are chips off the OLD ROCK.” The old hymn states: “On CHRIST the SOLID ROCK I Stand.1” This hymn is referring to CHRIST as “LIVING STONE.” See, Allen Temple October 17, 2021, 102 Anniversary Sunday Sermon by Dr. Joel Gregory, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A865G9q4tAY and https://www.christianmusicandhymns.com/2016/08/on-christ-solid-rock-i-stand-my-hope-i.html Let’s make it our duty to be physically and spiritually healthy. Let’s make it our duty to be obedient to the GREAT COMMISSION and to help others to be physically and spiritually healthy too. BE OBEDIENT and BE BLESSED! ___________________________ 1 When Edward Mote wrote what we call “On CHRIST The Solid Rock I Stand” or “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less,” in 1834, Mote called the hymn "The Immutable Basis for a Sinner's Hope.” See, https://www.christianmusicandhymns.com/2016/08/on-christ-solid-rock-i-stand-my-hope-i.html.