Study 12 Objective: What is the Great Commission, and how is it relevant to the life of the believer and of churches?
The Christian message was not welcome. The faithful, like Paul, were “hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed…perplexed, but not in despair…persecuted but not forsaken” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). Sometimes
clusters of believers abandoned the gospel (2 Timothy 1:15).
It was not easy to be sent into the world. Usually most Christians and churches existed somewhere “between danger and opportunity” (Bosch 1991, 2000:1).
It was in recognizing and seizing opportunities that the church began to grow numerically and in spiritual maturity. They were not afraid to be provocative. The Holy Spirit led believers into opportunities for the gospel. Beginning with Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 the Spirit seized occasions for Christ. These are likened to doors of faith (Acts 14:27; 1 Corinthians 16:9; Colossians 4:3).
Men and women began to be bold for the gospel. People like Philip in Acts 8, and Paul, Silas, Timothy, Aquila and Priscilla in Acts 18 when they planted the church in Corinth. Whatever the believers did, it was as those sent to be “fellow workers” in the gospel (Philippians 4:2).
Just as Jesus Christ was sent to become one of us so humans could be saved, so, for the sake of the gospel, believers were sent to become “all things to all men” in order to share the good news with the whole world (1 Corinthians 9:22).
The book of Acts ends with Paul fulfilling the Great commission of Matthew 28, “preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence” (Acts 28:31). It sets an example for the church of the future – the church in mission.
In what ways are you and your congregation engaging the outside world in respect to the gospel?
Describe any connections between the church and mission.
The Great Commission is about the continuation of the gospel work of Christ. We are all sent into the world by Him just as Christ was by the Father. This suggests a church full of active believers, going about
their Father’s business.
From the Grace Communion International website:
"The Christian is any person who trusts in Jesus Christ. Christians
experience new birth through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit,
embrace their adoption as children of God and enter a right
relationship with God and fellow humans by God's grace as they are
empowered and led by the Holy Spirit. The Christian’s life is
characterized by the fruit of the Holy Spirit."
(Romans 10:9-13; Galatians 2:20; John 3:5-7; Titus 3:5; Mark 8:34; John 1:12-13; 3:16-17; Romans 5:1; Romans 8:9, 14-15; John 13:35; Galatians 5:22-23)
Bosch, David J. 1991, 2000. Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission. USA: Orbis Books.
Murray, Stuart. 2004. Church after Christendom. UK: Paternoster Press.
Peters, George W. 1972. A Biblical Theology of Missions. USA: Moody Press