Read for This Week’s
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
Early in Jesus’ ministry, He called Peter
and Andrew to be His disciples, which meant that they were to lead
others to Him:
Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men
4:19, NKJV). Later, the Lord appointed twelve disciples
that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to
3:14, NKJV). Christ sent out the Twelve Apostles and later
seventy disciples to evangelize as well (Matt.
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
*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, August 30.
Sunday August 24
To Be the Light of the World
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
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.
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.
Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, is
the light of men, . .
. the true Light which gives light to every man (John
9, NKJV). He alone is the light that can illuminate the
darkness of a world enshrouded in sin. Through Him we may have the
light 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
sons of light
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. White,
Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 41.
Wouldn’t it be absurd to light a lamp only to put it
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. Therefore,
arise, shine; for your
light has come! and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you (Isa.
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
To Be Witnesses
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
Acts 1:8. See also
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,
power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord
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.
So Send I You
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
Jesus had already mentioned this concept a few days before, when
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
the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than
these he will do (John
Jesus provided the Holy Spirit to enable the disciples to carry
out their mission. At Creation, God
breathed into Adam
breath of life (Gen.
2:7). Now Jesus
breathed on the disciples
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?
To Make Disciples
After His resurrection, Jesus met with His disciples in Galilee,
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:
All 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 followers.
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
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
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
all the nations teaching
them to observe
all things pertaining to the gospel, with the
assurance that Christ is with us
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?
To Preach the Gospel
With its characteristic conciseness and clarity, the Gospel of
Mark presents the commission in one short sentence:
Go into 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
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
10:6). Now they are sent
into all the world and
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.
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.
What assurance do
we have that this worldwide mission can and will be fulfilled?
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.
made full 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
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 29
Ellen G. White,
Go Teach All Nations,
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
- Not everyone is able to travel the world preaching the
gospel. What, though, are ways that each one of us can be
involved in the task of spreading the gospel to the world in
the context of the three angels’ messages?
- In what ways is your local church continuing Jesus’
ministry in your community? How could you help to improve
the church’s missionary service?
- Jesus said that the gospel would go to all the world.
For the vast majority of human history since He spoke those
words, methods of communication had not changed. Two hundred
years ago communication wasn’t much faster than it was 2,000
years ago, when Jesus gave us the gospel commission. Of
course, all of that has changed, especially in the last 50
years, in which we have developed methods of communication
that are amazing. How can we better learn to use the
incredible technology we have been given in order to do the
work that we have been promised will be done?
- In class, based on the question at the end of Monday’s
lesson, let those who are willing to share their own
personal experience with Jesus. How can we use our own
testimony as a witness to others? Why should we use our own
Southern Asia-Pacific Division:
May’s New School
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.
Don’t worry, her teacher said softly.
I’m here to help
you. Tell me what you need.
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 understood.
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 God.
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.
May teaches school in Yangon, Myanmar.