For serious students:
Buy the companion book in Paperback format from Amazon:
The Promise: God's Everlasting Covenant, by Gerhard F. Hasel
Or download the Kindle version. for immediate reading.
Lesson 9 *August 23-29
Read for This Week’s Study: Matt. 5:14-16; Luke 24:48-49; John 20:21; Matt. 28:19-20; Rev. 14:6-12.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be
preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the
end will come (Matthew 24:14, NKJV).
Early in Jesus’ ministry, He called
Peter and Andrew to be His
disciples, which meant that they were to lead others to Him:
Me, and I will make you fishers of men (Matt. 4:19,
NKJV). Later, the Lord appointed twelve disciples
they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach
(Mark 3:14, NKJV). Christ sent out the Twelve
Apostles and later seventy disciples to evangelize as well (Matt.
10:5-15, Luke 10:1-12). During forty days after His
resurrection, Christ appeared several times to His disciples (1
Cor. 15:3-8), and He placed the responsibility of preaching
the gospel in their hands (Acts 1:2-3). Again and
again He entrusted them with the gospel commission. Though none of the
gospel writers recorded every word Jesus said, each one set down a few
sentences of the Lord’s instructions, each account emphasizing a
different aspect of the gospel commission and thus providing us with
valuable insight into its purpose, methodology, and scope.
This week we’ll look at the gospel commission as Jesus Himself presented it.
*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, August 30.
Sunday August 24
Read Matthew 5:14-16. What is Jesus saying here to each of us individually and as a church community?
Throughout the Bible, light is intimately associated with God.
The Lord is my light, sang David (Ps. 27:1),
and John stated that
God is light and in Him is no darkness
at all (1 John 1:5, NKJV). God is the
source of light. In fact, the first thing He created was light, because
light is indispensable for life.
Given the close connection between light and God, Scripture
frequently uses light to symbolize truth, knowledge, and godliness. To
walk in light means to have a character like God’s (Eph. 5:8,
1 John 1:7). Light stands for God, darkness for Satan. That’s
why it is a grievous sin to
put darkness for light, and light
for darkness (Isa. 5:20).
Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, is
of men, . . . the true Light which gives light to every man (John
1:4, 9, NKJV). He alone is the light that can illuminate the
darkness of a world enshrouded in sin. Through Him we may have the
of the knowledge of the glory of God (2 Cor. 4:6),
that is, His character.
When we accept Christ as our Savior, we become
of light (John 12:36, 1 Thess. 5:5, NKJV).
But we have no light in ourselves. Like the moon, all we can do is
reflect the light that shines upon us. When we let Jesus shine through
us, we will not do good works to parade our own virtue but to lead
people to glorify God.
If Christ is dwelling in the heart, it is impossible
to conceal the light of His presence. If those who profess to be
followers of Christ . . . have no light to give, it is because they
have no connection with the Source of light. — Ellen G.
From the Mount of Blessing, p. 41.
Wouldn’t it be absurd to light a lamp only to put it
a basket or under a bed (Mark 4:21, NKJV)?
Then why is it that sometimes we do so with Christ’s light? A concealed
disciple is no more useful than a lamp under a bowl on a dark night.
arise, shine; for your light has come! and the
glory of the Lord is risen upon you (Isa. 60:1,
Light itself is actually invisible. It has to be reflected off of something; otherwise we cannot see it. What spiritual lesson can we draw from this about how, as believers, our light is to be revealed?
Monday August 25
Jesus’ first encounter with the disciples after His
resurrection was very important. They were fearful, distressed,
discouraged, and perplexed. They had locked the doors of the room out
of fear, but Jesus came and stood in their midst. With a clear and warm
voice He said to them:
Peace to you. Startled and
terrified as they were, it was difficult for them to believe their eyes
and ears. Lovingly, the Lord showed them His hands and His feet and
explained to them everything the Scriptures said about Him. That night,
His presence and His words transformed them dramatically, dispelling
their anxiety and unbelief and filling them with the peace and joy that
come from the certainty of His resurrection.
Then Christ began to expound their mission, gradually helping them to grasp the significance of their responsibility as witnesses of His death, His resurrection, and His power to forgive sins and to transform lives (Luke 24:46-48). They had surely seen Him die, but they had also seen Him alive again. So they could testify for Him, that He was the Savior of the world.
A witness is someone who has seen an event happen. Anyone can be a witness, provided that he or she has personally watched something. There is no such thing as a secondhand witness. We can testify based only on our own experiences, not someone else’s. As rescued sinners, we have the privilege of telling others what Jesus has done for us.
What is the relationship between receiving the Holy Spirit and witnessing for Christ? See Luke 24:48-49; Acts 1:8. See also Isa. 43:10, 12; Isa. 44:8.
The book of Acts shows that the believers’ testimony could
have convincing power only through the presence of the Holy Spirit
dwelling in their hearts. After receiving the Spirit,
great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord
Jesus (Acts 4:33, NKJV). That is, they
were able to speak, openly and with great power, about what they
themselves had witnessed and experienced. In a very real sense, our
witness about Christ must always include our own experience with Him.
What has been your own personal experience with the Lord? What has God done in your life that you can witness about firsthand to others? Bring your answer to class on Sabbath.
Tuesday August 26
John’s gospel also reports Jesus’ first encounter with the disciples in the upper room but mentions other elements not included in Luke’s gospel.
According to John, in what way did Jesus define the mission of the believers? See John 20:21.
Jesus had already mentioned this concept a few days before,
when He prayed:
As You sent Me into the world, I also have
sent them into the world (John 17:18, NKJV).
Sending someone implies that the one who sends has authority over the
one who is sent. It also involves a purpose, since one is sent with a
mission to fulfill. Jesus was sent by the Father to save the world (John
3:17), and we are sent by Jesus to proclaim salvation through
Him. Evidently, our commission is a continuation of Christ’s work,
which consisted of a complete ministry to all people (Matt.
9:35). He expects us not only to continue what He had
initiated but to go further.
He who believes in Me,
said the Lord,
the works that I do he will do also; and
greater works than these he will do (John 14:12,
Jesus provided the Holy Spirit to enable the disciples to
carry out their mission. At Creation, God
the breath of life (Gen. 2:7).
breathed on the disciples
Holy Spirit (John 20:22, NKJV). As the
breath of life transformed lifeless dust into a living being, so the
Holy Spirit transformed fearful and discouraged disciples into powerful
living witnesses to continue Jesus’ work. The same anointing is
indispensable today to fulfill the commission entrusted to us.
Jesus has called you to be a witness. What can you witness about? That is, what have you seen or experienced that you should share with others about Jesus?
Wednesday August 27
After His resurrection, Jesus met with His disciples in
the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them
(Matt. 28:16, NKJV). Not only the eleven, but also
more than five hundred brethren gathered there to meet the risen Lord (1
Cor. 15:6). The One who had conquered death said to them:
authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth (Matt.
28:18, NKJV). His power and authority are no longer
voluntarily limited as they were during His earthly ministry. Rather,
as before the Incarnation, His authority includes the whole universe.
Based on His unquestionable authority, He entrusts a mission to His
According to Matthew’s account, in giving the Great Commission, Jesus used four verbs: go, make disciples, baptize, and teach. Unfortunately, many Bible versions do not reflect on the fact that, in Greek, the only verb that is imperative is make disciples, while the other three verbs are participles. This means that the emphasis of the sentence is on make disciples, the other three activities being dependent on it.
What is the role of going, baptizing, and teaching in fulfilling the command to make disciples? See Matt. 28:19-20.
Jesus’ mandate indicates three activities involved in making disciples. The three activities do not need to occur in a particularly sequential order; rather, they complement each other. While going to different places, eventually to the entire world, we should be teaching everything Jesus taught, baptizing those who accept Him as Savior and are willing to observe all the things Jesus commanded.
We rejoice when somebody is baptized, but baptism is not the end of the story. It is just part of the process of making someone a disciple. Our task is to invite people to follow Jesus, which means to believe in Him, to obey His teachings, to adopt His way of life, and to invite others to become His disciples, too.
The word all characterizes this text.
Because Jesus has
all authority, we have to go to
the nations teaching them to observe
pertaining to the gospel, with the assurance that Christ is with us
all the days) to the end of the age.
Think about your local church. What is done there to help nurture and disciple new believers? What more can be done? Ask yourself, too: what talents do you have that you could use in this important part of fulfilling the gospel commission?
Thursday August 28
With its characteristic conciseness and clarity, the Gospel of
Mark presents the commission in one short sentence:
all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark
16:15, NKJV). As in Matthew, the verb go
in Greek is a participle that indicates not the task but the movement
needed to fulfill the task. The mission itself is expressed by the
Greek verb Kerusso, given here in the imperative
mood. Kerusso means
to proclaim aloud, to
announce, to preach. Mark uses this term 14 times, more than
any other Gospel. The church must proclaim the gospel.
During Jesus’ ministry, the Twelve had been sent not to the
Gentiles but only
to the lost sheep of the house of Israel
(Matt. 10:6). Now they are sent
the world and
to every creature. The
eleven alone could never announce the gospel to the entire world, much
less to every creature living in it. A task of such worldwide dimension
requires the participation of the entire church. It is entrusted to all
the believers in Jesus in all ages. This includes you and me.
Read Revelation 14:6-12. How do these verses encompass the worldwide mission of the church?
Preaching the gospel to every creature, however, doesn’t
automatically mean that everyone will accept it. Only
believes and is baptized will be saved (Mark 16:16,
NKJV). We should preach eagerly, hoping that every hearer
will yield to the gospel invitation. Nevertheless, we have to be aware
that many will not accept the Word, as the image of the narrow gate
clearly shows (Matt. 7:13-14).
What assurance do we have that this worldwide mission can and will be fulfilled? See Matt. 24:14.
There is an encouraging parallelism between Mark 16:15 and Matthew 24:14. Both texts refer to the proclamation of the gospel to all the world. While the first passage presents Jesus’ commission to preach, the second gives Jesus’ promise that the mission will actually be carried out.
provision for the prosecution of the work, and took upon Himself the
responsibility for its success. So long as they [His disciples] obeyed
His word, and worked in connection with Him, they could not fail.
— Ellen G. White, The
Desire of Ages, p. 822. The
question, then, that we each need to ask ourselves is, How
willing are we to be used by Him in this crucial work?
Friday August 29Further Study: Ellen G. White,
Go Teach All Nations,pp. 818-828, in The Desire of Ages;
The Great Commission,pp. 25-34, in The Acts of the Apostles.
Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary. He who drinks of the living water becomes a fountain of life. The receiver becomes a giver. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert, welling up to refresh all, and making those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life.— Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 195.
The Saviour’s commission to the disciples included all the believers. It includes all believers in Christ to the end of time. It is a fatal mistake to suppose that the work of saving souls depends alone on the ordained minister. . . . All who receive the life of Christ are ordained to work for the salvation of their fellow men. For this work the church was established, and all who take upon themselves its sacred vows are thereby pledged to be co-workers with Christ.-Page 822.
May was overwhelmed in her new school. She had classes on
topics that she had never studied before, and she didn’t know enough
English to understand what her teachers were saying. She hung her head
and felt like crying. Her teacher touched her shoulder and asked if she
needed help. May nodded, embarrassed.
her teacher said softly.
I’m here to help you. Tell me what
May had never experienced such kindness from a teacher before.
Softly she said,
I don’t understand. The teacher
knelt beside her and explained the lesson to her again. May smiled; she
May lives in Myanmar. Her father, a Christian, wanted May to learn about God. When he learned about Yangon Adventist School (YAS) not far from where the family lived, he visited the school. It was an older building with crowded classrooms, but the children seemed happy and the teachers cared about their students. He enrolled May at YAS for the coming year.
May struggled with the new school curriculum, which was different from her previous school. She didn’t know English well enough to understand what her teacher said. And Bible class was entirely new to her. But her teachers helped her, and May worked hard to catch up.
May liked that in her new school students worked together to learn new lessons rather than compete for the top ranking in the class. She discovered that learning was fun!
May made friends and enjoyed learning new subjects. Two years later she asked to be baptized, and her parents willingly gave their permission. May continued to study and mature; she learned what it means to follow Jesus completely.
May completed high school at YAS and enrolled in elementary education at the Adventist college in Myanmar.
She’s glad to be an Adventist and a member of God’s family.
But as the only Adventist in her family, May sometimes feels separated
from her relatives.
I wish we all could worship God together
with the same faith, she says.
I’m so thankful to
have had a chance to study in Adventist schools and learn the way to
Today May is a tutor, helping other children master their
lessons and grow both spiritually and mentally.
for the opportunity I had to study at Yangon Adventist School,
I thank everyone around the world who gave to the
Thirteenth Sabbath Offering to help enlarge the school so it can
accommodate more students.
Your offerings to mission do make a difference, a real difference in the lives of children and adults around the world. Thank you.
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