the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15)
In this fifth lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the church’s mission. The mission the Lord has given to His churches is commonly, described as “The Great Commission. Let’s take the next few studies to come to a better understanding of the mission of the Lord’s churches…
The Responsibilities and Recipients of The Great Commission Are Described…
1. The complete texts of the Great Commission:
“Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:16-20)
“Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
“And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things [were done] in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.
And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them [his] hands and [his] feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took [it], and did eat before them. And he said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.”
“Then the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them [his] hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; [and] whose soever [sins] ye retain, they are retained. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
“Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with [them], commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, [saith he], ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.”
2. The Responsibilities of The Great Commission
A. To Take The Gospel To The Lost, Locally and World-Wide:
Matthew: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations
Mark: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Luke: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.
John: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
Acts: ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
B. To Baptize Into The Assembly Those Who Have Made Professions Of Faith:
Matthew: baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mark: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Here Christ confirms that baptism is one PROOF of a genuine salvation experience. If someone claims belief in Christ, but is not willing to publically confess Christ is their Savior, the authenticity of their experience must be questioned.
Luke: Not mentioned
John: Not mentioned
Acts: Not mentioned
C. To Teach God’s Word To The Assembly Members To Equip Them For Service:
Matthew: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:
Mark: Not mentioned
Luke: Not mentioned
John: Not mentioned
Acts: Not mentioned
3. The Recipients of the Great Commission:
The assembled Apostles (ie the local church at Jerusalem) with, in some cases, other disciples who were assembled with them, when He delivered the Great Commission.
Matthew: eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
Mark: the eleven as they sat at meat,
Luke: the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, (We have the eleven Apostles assembled with other disciples. Probably by this point in time, other saved individuals had joined the Lord’s assembly.)
John: the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews,… But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, (This is a gathering of the “disciples” which obviously included 10 of the eleven Apostles. Note later in the account we are told that Thomas was not there but the other 10 Apostles confirmed they were present at the meeting and told Thomas what had taken place.)
Acts: the apostles whom he had chosen:,… being assembled together with [them],
As we studied the local churches commission we have seen:
1. That great commission was always given to the assembled Apostles that made up the first local church (church at Jerusalem). (Please note the exception: In John, we saw that Thomas was missing but the rest of the eleven were present.)
2. There are three basic responsibilities involved with the Great Commission:
To evangelize the lost; to baptize into the assembly those who profess faith in Christ; to indoctrinate church members to equip them for the service of Christ.
In the next few parts to this series we will look at the responsibilities of the Great Commission in greater detail.
Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church? It is the ONLY organization that has been given the responsibilities of the Great Commission. Should we not all be supportive of the organization God has ordained to send His truth into the world for His honor and glory?
“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21)
May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.
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