Summary: Explanation of the Great Commission- not like the others
The Great Commission
Have you ever noticed that as you are about to end a conversation with someone that you will not see for a long time, you end by saying what is most important to you? You use this last opportunity to tell them what is most important and personal… what you want them to remember. Perhaps you tell them you love them or to call you soon. The words may differ but the principle is the same: you end with what is most important.
My father worked for the railroad when I was younger. One night a train was backing up to hook up to some other cars and one man was not watching. He was in the way and the train made the connection right through his body. He did not die immediately, but he knew he had only a short time to live. He told other men there to tell his wife where she could find insurance papers, his will, some savings account books, and some other things. He realized that all of his plans for the future would not come true. All that mattered now was that his wife be taken care of. Then, just before he died, he told the men to tell his wife, "I love you." Those were the last words he ever spoke. It was the most important thing and he used his last words for it.
Authors also know the value of last impressions. They often use the last paragraph of a chapter or last chapter of a book to summarize their main points.
Jesus knew this same secret. That is why he used this special time, His last words, to speak the words found in Acts 1:8, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth." 1 This was not a new teaching for of Jesus. It was not some new responsibility that Jesus was adding to those of the Christian. This had been the central teaching of His life. It was the reason for his coming, His life, His death. It was the theme of His life ... SALVATION.
In His own words, "The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." A ransom had to be paid according to Romans. Jesus came to be that ransom. It was important for Him to come, to live, to die, and to save. It was very important that the story of what He had done, the Gospel, should be made known to all persons. Jesus used His last days, indeed His last words to express this. He was now leaving the earth. How would the world find out what He had done for them? Jesus had a plan ... His disciples were to make the gospel known to all men. He made the plan as simple as He could in Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28:18-20. He knew that the plan would work. If one Christian would witness to one person, then there would be two Christians. If those two witnessed to one each, there would be four, then eight ... 16… 32 ... etc. It would lead to a Christian world.
There was only one weakness to the plan: it was based on man. It was based on man who had a free will and could choose not to tell others. It seems almost as foolish as casting pearls to swine. They just trample them in the mud. The gospel is the pearl of great price. What will we do with that pearl? What will we do with His commission, the great commission, to spread the gospel to the entire world?
Let's take a look at that commission found in Acts and Matthew.
1. The Power of the Commission.
As we strive to be obedient to the commission we will face interference. Satan does not want us to win souls. Those lost souls are his revenge, his way of getting even with God for his expulsion from heaven. As we face him we are out of our league. He is stronger than us. He is spirit. We have no power against him. However, Jesus promised us in Acts 1:8 that we would get power, that it would come to us, we would receive it. That means that someone has the power and will give it to us. Jesus is that one. He has the power. He has already defeated Satan, death and the grave. He has the power and gives it to us. He sends it by messenger ... the Holy Spirit. The Spirit comes as our comforter and brings with Him the power to overcome Satan. Satan cannot stop us because, "greater is He that is in you (us) than he that is in the world.