BIBLE STUDY LESSON # 40...AUGUST, 29 , 2010
"The Three Commandments of Christ
Fulfilling Jesus’ Mission on Earth
Part III: "The Great Commission"
Luke 4:14-21Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it is written: “the Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
John 10:10b “I am come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Matthew 22:34-40 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
While Jesus walked the earth, He set forth His mission as well as ours – to minister to those in need of God’s healing mercy and grace. He also gave each and every one of us two commands on how we were to follow His example and complete the mission He started. Thus, as followers of Christ, we are told to love God completely and to love everyone unconditionally. However, Jesus didn’t stop wt these two commands He gave as He lived among humanity. Even after His death and resurrection, He offered up one more command for us as His followers to obey.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All power is given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Mark 16:15-16 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
Acts 1:7-8 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
As Jesus was preparing to ascend to Heaven and leave His disciples behind, He gave them one last commandment: to be witnesses of His love and power to everyone we encounter.
Before we can fully comprehend what Jesus was commanding us to do, we must first realize what it means to be a witness. Quite simply, a witness is called to make known everything he has seen, heard, or knows to be the truth about a certain subject. In essence, as witnesses of Jesus Christ, we are to tell everything we have seen and felt Him do in our lives as well as what He has done throughout history. We are to make Jesus known to everyone.
Now, let us look at this final commandment.
As we pay particular attention to these scriptures concerning Christ’s final command, we come face to face with our own insecurities as well as those of the disciples. Just as the early disciples worried about the responses they would receive from those they encountered, we also worry about how others will react thus causing us to fear our calling to be witnesses. We also desire, just as Peter and the rest of the disciples did, to know the exact time when Jesus will return and fulfill His mission.
However, Jesus quickly moved to calm these insecurities. Initially, Jesus tells us not to worry about when He returns since it is beyond our control. Then, to ease our fears, Jesus reassures us with the promise of His power and the presence of the Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide us as we obey His commandments.
Another area of concern for us, as disciples, is the commonly misconstrued demand to “go and make disciples”. Fearing that we are being told to leave our comfort zone, many of us shy away from obeying this part of Christ’s commandments. But, fear not; this is not the actual intent of Jesus .Actually, most scholars feel that the true translation of this command reads, “As you go”. Ultimately, Jesus wants us to witness to others wherever we may live; only a few are called to leave their homes and go to foreign lands as missionaries.
Jesus clearly expects us to follow His commands to love God and others just as He showed us with the way He treated all those He encountered.
In obedience to Him, we are to start witnessing and preaching the gospel in our own neighborhoods. Then, we are to start branching out to reach the surrounding cities, counties, states, and nations until the whole world has heard of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
Unfortunately, not everyone will believe our witness. However, that should not be our concern. Although we may feel sorrow and pity for those who refuse our witness, our true concern should be in knowing that we have presented a witness of Christ that is faithful and trustworthy. Hopefully, we are all doing everything we can possibly do to present a truthful witness of Jesus.
As Christians, we are to be examples (witnesses) of Christ’s love for God and all God’s children. Though tempted by the ways of the world, we are to hold true to the commands of Jesus. We are to love God completely. Secondly, we are to love all others unconditionally. Finally, we are to bear witness of Christ to everyone everywhere.
Last week I asked each and every one of us to ponder this question: “If Christ so loved us that He was willing to give up the glory and majesty of Heaven as well as His life to save us from the bonds of sin, can we not sacrifice some of the comforts of life in order to show others how much Jesus loves them?”
While most of us are eager to obey Christ’s commandments, we struggle with the “How?” and “What?” when it comes to bearing witness of Christ.
How can I make a difference to the world for Christ? How do I get started? What can I, as one person, hope to accomplish for Christ? What are my options for obeying through service to God? What are the eternal benefits for me and those to whom I witness?
For us to make a difference in the world all we need do is obey Christ’s commands. As always, the first step in our obedience should be prayer. In order to witness for Christ we need to go before God asking for strength and commitment to obey and allow Him to give us the ways and means necessary for our witness.
Once we have enveloped ourselves in Jesus’ power then we can start making a difference in another’s life. Remember, Jesus has promised us His power and the Holy Spirit; so, we are never just one person striving to accomplish great things. As Christians, we are a group of witnesses endeavoring to reach the fulfillment of Christ’s mission.
When it comes to serving God we have many options. We can devote ourselves completely to the mission’s field. We can do local outreaches, go on mission trips, teach Sunday School, sing in a choir, or we can support different mission groups around the world.
I, personally, teach, preach, do mission trips, and support a young girl through Compassion International and am looking into partnering with World Vision also.
So, you can easily see that there are many opportunities available for those willing to obey the call of Christ to be His witnesses.
And, the benefits to all are tremendous. We as well as those we lead into faith in Christ are guaranteed a beautiful place at the Master’s banquet table as well as an exquisite home in heaven. But, best of all, we will be with Jesus.
The choice is ours and ours alone; eternal rewards through obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ or, eternal damnation through disobedience. May we all chose obedience!
Let us pray: Father, we thank You for Your Son, Jesus, and His love for us. Give us the renewed commitment and strength to obey each of His commandments faithfully. In Jesus’ name we so pray. Amen
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