Summary: How the Great Commission was carried out
Note: The Bible by Jesus will be used throughout this lesson unless otherwise noted after each Bible reference.
A. I Gave the Great Commission Five Different Times In Separate Locations.
1. The lack of learning readiness by My disciples. They were spiritually blinded and had tunnel vision about the Old Testament.
2. They needed to harmonize the truth of My death, burial and resurrection with Old Testament scriptures and their limited view of atonement.
3. They were culturally closed minded. My plan was to evangelize all Gentiles, not just Jews.
4. They needed the filling of the Holy Spirit (John 20: 22-23) to learn and understand scriptures.
B. The First Giving of the Great Commission, John 20:19
Upper Room – Easter Evening – To Ten Disciples
1. I showed My hands and side (v. 20) as proof of My death.
2. “As My Father has sent Me, I send you” (v. 21). The Father (key word in John) sent Me alone. I will send them with an escort, i.e., the Holy Spirit and Me to go with them.
3. I tell them to go, but where? (a) Home, (b) to Galilee, (c) to Jews in dispersion, (d) all people in the world.
4. “He breathed . . . the Holy Spirit” (v. 22). As I breathed into Adam’s nostrils, so Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into them. This is temporary Old Testament filling until they are baptized with Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Upper Room – One Week Later – Eleven Disciples
1. I used the same Upper Room because people believe when they are in comfortable circumstances.
2. I invited Thomas to do what the other 10 disciples did the previous week, i.e., touched His wounds.
3. The divine paradox, “Be not faithless but believe.”
4. Thomas didn’t put his hand or finger in My wounds, but fell at My feet. “My Lord and my God.” The highest expression of Old Testament deity.
5. “I commanded them, ‘Go into al the world and preach the gospel to every person’” (Mark 16:15). Not how to preach, nor what to preach.
D. The Third Giving of the Great Commission, Matt. 28:16-20
1. The verb “go” is a participle, meaning, “As you are going.”
2. The verb “to disciple” is an imperative. This is what they did while going and preaching.
3. The verb “to baptize” is a participle, meaning they were to keep on baptizing; identifying a person with the church.
4. The command “teaching them to observe” was carried out by the New Testament church by “teaching the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:49).
5. The target “nations” is ethne meaning, “people groups” or ethnic tribe of people. The objective was to “disciple” or “evangelize” a group, then baptize the converts and then teach them. This process is done by a church; hence church planting is carrying out the command.
E. The Fourth Giving of the Great Commission, Luke 24:46-50
In Jerusalem, 40 Days Later
1. The credibility of new message. “All things must be fulfilled” (v. 44). The predictions about Me were fulfilled, i.e., My death and resurrection.
2. I included all of the Old Testament. The Law, first five books, the Major Prophets, and the Psalms begin with book of Psalms and include history, poetry and Minor Prophets.
3. The core message is My death and resurrection lead to forgiveness of sins (v. 47).
4. The task was to preach forgiveness and repentance, a change of mind and lifestyle.
F. The Fifth Giving of the Great Commission, Acts 1:6-9
1. “They asked,” were continually questioning. “Will you restore again?” They wanted the glorious messianic kingdom.
2. You are not to know the “times or seasons” (v. 7). The Father’s calendar is different than ours.
3. I assumed obedience. I gave them a strategy to carry out the Great Commission.
a. Jerusalem = our home environment of family and friends.
b. Judea = the connection Kai de means, “Both Jerusalem and Judea at the same time.” Evangelize your town, then the county/state.
c. Samaria = people different from you. Cross cultural evangelism.
d. Uttermost part of the earth. In Matthew 28:18, I said all people groups. But here I add completely cover the earth in gospel preaching.
4. Witnesses (v. 8). Not make disciples which means conversion results (Matt. 28:18), but to share the message everywhere even when they won’t believe.
G. How The Great Commission Was Carried Out
1. By illustration, the New Testament Christians went everywhere establishing churches.
2. By analogy, each produces after its kind.
3. By history:
a. The disciples successfully multiplied congregations that planted additional churches.
b. As the believers were scattered, they were the seed of the gospel that took root in various national soils.