Thursday: The Great Commission

Read Romans 15:12; Acts 1:7-8; John 11:52-53; Matthew 28:19-20. What’s the essential message here, and how does this message fit in so well with the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14?

Image © Pacific Press from

Image © Pacific Press from

God’s final work is incomplete until the eternal gospel expressed in the message of the three angels found in Revelation 14 has crossed every racial, ethnic, national, and geographical boundary. Without divulging the precise timing, Scripture unequivocally states that this gospel will reach around the world. God’s triumph and its proclamation are assured.

The nations’ acceptance of that message is prophesied. This must happen, but who will offer themselves as God’s channels of grace? Who will join Christ in the overturning of the racial, ethnic, and language barriers that impede the gospel’s progress? Who will empty their wallets and pocketbooks? Who will sacrifice earthly comforts and family associations in order to advance heaven’s cause? These are the questions that we all must ask ourselves. What are we doing to reach out to others, whoever and wherever they are? How unfortunate that some believers allow racial stereotypes, cultural prejudices, and satanically designed social barriers to dissuade them from vigorous gospel proclamation when their fellow believers are scattered across the globe, willingly yielding their lives that the gospel might be preached.

Our missionary success has been fully proportionate to our self-denying, self-sacrificing effort. God alone can estimate the work accomplished as the gospel message has been proclaimed in clear, straight lines. New fields have been entered, and aggressive work has been done. The seeds of truth have been sown, the light has flashed upon many minds, bringing enlarged views of God and a more correct estimate as to the character to be formed. Thousands have been brought to a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. They have been imbued with the faith that works by love and purifies the soul.-Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 28.



Thursday: The Great Commission — 17 Comments

    • Hi, there Mr. west.
      I can totally understand that! I mean truly. That was my prayer for years, because--as You said I was in a totally (locally) segregated area.

      Lord God Answered the prayer, and 9+yrs. later, it just seems like these folks out here are making a conscious decision to serve the beer and the liquor as their master instead. It's even affecting my witness, 'cause I want to leave, but doors consistently close or do not open when I try. So, guess I keep trying 😉

  1. What are you doing? Have you fogotten the commission? Does what you do fulfill the great commission of Christ Jesus?
    Ponder on the above rhetorical questions and compare to your life.
    We have a task to accomplish.The angel flying in the mid-heaven as stated in Revelation 14:6 is not any strange or unquantify angel but yourself and myself, everyone knowing the truth, especially the Advenist whom God has revealed the truth to us.Let us make every effort to spread the gospel to the unbelievers and those who are having diabolical minds towards God Scripture. Stay Blessed forever

  2. In the book of John Jesus was accussed of two things: you are a Samaritan and you are son of the devil . When replying Jesus answered only one: I am not son of devil but of God. This earthly classfication to him was of no significance, being Jewish or Samaritan was one and same thing . Let's be like Christ, forget about this earthly grouping and focus on the heavenly grouping.

  3. Lemuel, I think your findings are common in the Western world. Here in Nigeria, as a church, we live like a family. I have been opportuned to travel in all parts of Nigeria (north, west, south and east my country home). Presently, I am living in the western part of Nigeria. I can tell you, we have our individual differences and cultural differences, but as a church our vision and mission is one - to preach the gospel of salvation to all nation before Jesus returns the second time.

  4. Barriers are not broken down by just looking at them. Even prayer about breaking down barriers is ineffective if all we do is just mouth the words. The time must come when form a plan of action. I remember the time when the Berlin Wall fell. It was not the result of government action, but ordinary people coming together and recognising they had a common purpose. The wall was breached by ordinary people doing ordinary things together.

    Likewise If we want our churches to be places with no barriers, that will happen when people work to the common good in Christ with one another.

  5. There will be no ''starless crowns'' in heaven, we all have the responsibility to help at least one soul to enter heaven.

  6. All,

    These were great statements. I live in Maryland near the R &H. I have been to the G.C. too. I have not always been an SDA christian but I accept the truth of the bible. My youngest son is marrying outside of our race so we have to accept the lady. She is very nice to us. My son brought her into the church. She accepted the message and joined the church. We have gone to her old church, a Mennonite Church and received well by the members. We have been to the parents house so please pray for us and them. I am not concerned about them but others as we live in a world were race does matter.

  7. The first step to be taken we must rebuke ourself because we to obesessed on doin our own thing such as making ourself on this earth forgeting that this is not our home we are just passing by

  8. God has clearly given we, as Christians a message that has to be taken to his people that his coming is very near. There are so many people that don't know God; these are the people we must reach. We must show love and compassion to our brothers and sisters and share and present God and His message of salvation. Wherever we are we should all be living witnesses for our Blessed Redeemer. Let the Light of Jesus shine through us on our Christian journey. Thank you Jesus for free message of salvation. Continue to use me Lord as Your living witness. Amen

  9. “Our missionary success has been fully proportionate to our self-denying, self-sacrificing effort" is the first line of the quote at the end of this lesson.

    Sometimes we give much time, attention and even money, for and to the church, but it doesn't always result in success as far as adding church members. I am happy if the church members learn and choose the one and only true Gospel and live it!

    We give our grandchildren much time and attention and we get love back and many other rewards, even though we often suffer with the illnesses they pass onto us. Likewise we've been leaders in a small church for 17 years and we hang on, supporting anyone who attends, even when we have suffered much misunderstanding, false accusation, etc. We focus on the members who support us, and we think well and talk positively of the church that they are part of.

    Too often it seems that many of our outreach efforts have lost the "self-denying, self-sacrificing effort" and have been replaced with a business effort. Big advertising campaigns and Big programs on huge screens with 1000's of people attending. And some of the smaller programs have some of the same efforts.

    We will always need the individual effort and we need to trust the results of our self-sacrificing effort with God, who will judge fairly in the end.

  10. [Moderator's Note: Please use your full name.]

    Very inspiring lesson indeed,we are all encouraged or commissioned by the master himself to proclaim his gospel to the whole world. Who are we not to listen and think that maybe some people don't need it more than us?

  11. I urgently need help. Scripture or inspirational reference.

    I was teaching youths to participate in the great commission according to Mathew 28:19,20.
    The question I need help over is: "why do I need to call someone else (Pastor or Elder) to baptize the converts after I have taught them myself?" What does the scripture say?

  12. Major, that is a question many have asked for years. We might start with John the Baptist but there isn’t a lot of background information on him much beyond his birth and active ministry near the Jordan so we really don’t know that much about his relationship to the church of his time. What we do know is that the multitude apparently held him in high esteem as a prophet (Mat 21:26) and Jesus obviously put His stamp of approval on his ministry.

    We also know that the disciples were baptizing apparently before Jesus formally chose the twelve (Jn 4:1-2) yet they were doing so under the supervision of Jesus. With the formal setting up of His disciples came the power and authority to do many things (Matt 10:1) and after the resurrection He promised them power from the Holy Spirit and a command to teach and baptize (Jn 20:22; Acts 1:8; Matt 28:18-20).

    The business of laying hands on people in ordination seems to have been a tradition that is mentioned only about five times in the New Testament starting with Acts 6:6 and symbolizes the passing on of the Spirit and authority by those directly commissioned by Jesus. Thus ordination by previously ordained people follows this tradition which gives them authority to baptize.

    Baptismal Service—In the absence of an ordained pastor, an elder shall request the conference president to arrange for the baptism of those desiring to unite with the church. (See pp. 46-49.) An elder should not officiate in the service without first obtaining permission from the conference president. (Church Manual, p 73, 18th Edition, copyright 2010).

    The church manual apparently does not recognize other people in the church below that of a pastor as being able to officiate in a baptism unless the conference has given permission to do so. The wording seems to me to be a bit ambiguous by saying that “An elder should not officiate” rather than “cannot” which seems to open up the possibility under certain circumstances.

    It seems to me that the church General Conference in Session has greatly limited who can officiate a baptism so that who can be baptized can be controlled rather than having a free-for-all where anybody can be baptized for any reason. Furthermore, even a pastor cannot “legally” baptize a person without the local church approving of the ordinance first. So it seems to me that through the authority invested in the leadership of the church and the church as the body of Christ proper controls have been put in place to eliminate abuse of the ordinance.

    I am sure that there are circumstances where this restriction becomes a burden and a hindrance but in the vast majority of cases it seems to me to be spiritually sound and should be followed.

    • From my experience on board meetings, the board accepts the pastor's recommendation for membership. The pastor decides when it is the right time to baptise. After all, it is the pastor who is studying with the person.

      Sometimes I think we have things a little mixed up though. Biblically, Philip the deacon was preaching and baptising in Samaria (Acts 8). It was Peter and John, who came later, that laid hands and enabled the people to receive the Holy Spirit. It was Philip the deacon who also baptised the Ethiopian eunuch.

      Considering this, if I, like Philip, had a lengthy discussion with someone and at the end of it they wanted to be baptised; if there was a very high probability that I would never see them again afterwards; and I was in an area where I didn't know of a church they could go to or a pastor to meet; If the Spirit of God moved me to do so, I would baptise them in faith understanding that I am baptising them in Jesus, not into membership of the church.

      Why should they be denied?

      The great commission applies to every Christian. What this means is that if we are truly baptised in Christ, we must prepare ourselves for leadership. God may just tap us on the shoulder one day and say, "Today I want you to meet someone and introduce them to me. Today I want you to take them by the hand and lead them to me"

      This weeks lesson is about what each of us is doing in preparation for God's leadership plans for each of us.

    • Owen, I like your last two paragraphs, they are a good call to service. And yes there are times we do get things a little mixed up but I am glad that God’s kingdom can work with the weaknesses of sinful humanity and prosper in spite of it.

      Concerning Philip scripture records:

      Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word." And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them. (Act 6:2-6 NKJV)

      So, two chapters before Philip’s ministry in Samaria and his ministry to the Ethiopian eunuch he along with six others were ordained into ministry by the laying on of hands and with the approval of the church. In this we can see a couple of things. First is that very early on in the church there was organization and the assignment of duties. Second is that the office of deacon in the early church included more than just serving tables as we can see with Philip and Stephen who were both involved in evangelism. Because of that I doubt that everyone in the church was baptizing. Certainly the disciples of Jesus were and obviously the ordained deacons were but beyond that it is unknown.

      As Paul says, “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret” (1 Cor 12:28-30 NKJV). Each has a set of gifts and a function. “He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph 4:11-12 NKJV). Some meaning not all so to me we can easily infer that not everyone was evangelizing in a formal way and baptizing but certainly those ordained into ministry were because Jesus commanded that of the twelve minus one (Matt 28:16-20). It also seems to me that the rest were witness according to Christ's charge to His followers (Acts 1:8).

      • Tyler, I didn't intend for my post to take away from the organisation of the church. Church organisation is something that is pretty important.

        I did intend to challenge people's thinking.


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