Scripture Reading: Matthew 28:1-10, 16-20
Memory Verse: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14)
Introduction: There was a period of time in Bible history when God seemed to be dealing almost exclusively with the nation of Israel, During the ministry of Christ, however, one could see the national aspect of the plan of God for Israel fading into relative obscurity and becoming subsidiary to the plan God had for revealing His salvation to all of mankind.
In keeping with this world-wide offer, Christ began to teach His disciples just how comprehensive His efficacy would be. He instructed them: “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:16). To clarify this matter further, God granted a vision to the apostle Peter revealing this all-important truth. After this revelation from God, Peter could affirm: “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34-35).
With the way thus paved, the first congregation could begin to extend its influence and carry its message beyond the borders of Israel. The command that Jesus gave to go into all the world became understandable to minds that were no longer occupied with preserving national distinctions. The “untouchables” of Samaria, the superstitious heathen of Asia Minor, and the polytheistic Greeks were all to share with them in this marvelous salvation. And so, it was that the First Century Church took the commands of Jesus literally and began to proclaim Him and His kingdom everywhere.
Also, the need for the Gospel is a many faceted need. Jesus commanded His disciples to teach the nations “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:” (Matthew 28:20). This command entails a great deal. We must know what Jesus taught, what He practiced, and that for which He prayed. His disciples, in obedience to this command, have written things that Jesus desired for us to teach to the nations, and the Holy Spirit has preserved them for our instruction.
Missions, both home and foreign, are greatly emphasized in the New Testament, and efficient ways to evangelize in all areas of the world are surely to be desired. God’s Church will want to be a good steward of its time and talents in this very important undertaking.
- Were the Israelitish Christians surprised when they finally realized that the Gospel was to go to the Gentiles also? Acts 10:45; 11:16-18.
- Did Jesus try to prepare His disciples for this “universal” distinction of the Gospel? John 10:16; 12:46-47; Mark 11:17; Matthew 10:10-14; 19:28; Luke 22:28-30.
- What promise can we claim as we do mission work in Jesus’ name? Matthew 28:20.
- How did the first distribution of missionaries in the Early Church come about? Acts 8:1-4.
- How did Paul demonstrate that the “watchman’s” responsibilities (Ezekiel 3:17-21) were still applicable to the Early Church and its missionaries? Acts 13:49-52; 20:26-27.
- Who, or what determines the area in which we may do our missionary work? Acts 13:2-4; 15:7; 16:6-10; Galatians 1:15-17.
- Are we only obligated to reach a particular race or segment of society? Romans 1:14-16.
- What did the needs of the heathen spur the first missionaries to do? Acts 17:16-17.
- What happens to superstition and ignorance where true missionary work succeeds? Acts 19:18-20, 23-27.
- Will there be any missionaries during the Millennium? Isaiah 52:6-12; 2:1-4; 11:10-11; Micah 4:1-3; Acts 3:19-21; Luke 22:28-30; Matthew 19:27-28; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26.