SDA Sabbath School Lessons
Thursday October 17, 1996

His Commission and Gifts to the Church
(Matt. 28:18-20)

The church is more than just a group of people who sing, pray, preach, and believe approximately the same things about Jesus. It is God's appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. From the beginning it has been God's plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world the fullness of His sufficiency. The members of His church ... are to show forth His glory."--The Acts of the Apostles, p. 9.

List the four parts of the commission Christ gave His disciples just before He ascended to His Father in heaven.   Matt. 28:18-20. Why is each part not sufficient by itself.

The work Jesus commanded His disciples to do they were not to do on some seasonal or periodic basis, but continuously till the end of the world. Thus, the commission is for us too. Our work will be effective in proportion to the degree of our union with Him. A complete Saviour revealed, a complete message unsealed, makes complete converts, of all sin pardoned and healed, and in all truth fully sealed.

The task of fulfilling Christ's commission in a world becoming more and more corrupt is immense.  But Christ has not left us without help.  When He ascended to heaven, what did He give the church and why?   Eph. 4:7-16.

By exercising these gifts, the church reveals Christ's love to the world.  Through the gifts of the Spirit, which Christ's followers exercise by divine grace and power, the world receives the invitation to be reconciled to God through His Son (2 Cor. 5:17-21).

" 'The Spirit and the bride say, Come.  And let him that heareth say, Come.' Rev. 22:17.  Everyone who hears is to repeat the invitation.  Whatever one's calling in life, his first interest should be to win souls for Christ.... Ministry does not consist alone in preaching. Those minister who relieve the sick and suffering, helping the needy, speaking words of comfort to the desponding and those of little faith." --The Desire of Ages, p. 822.

If you cherish supreme love for Christ and His purposes, what will God accomplish through you for the benefit of others? How can your love and devotion to Him be increased?