Sabbath, August 12, 2017
“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 to whom the heavenly inspiration has come are put in trust with the gospel. 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.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 822.
Encouragement and infallible proof
1. For how long after His crucifixion did Jesus continue to meet with His disciples, giving evidence of His resurrection as well as instructing them concerning the kingdom of God?
Acts 1:3 To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
“Jesus remained with His disciples forty days, causing them joy and gladness of heart as He opened to them more fully the realities of the kingdom of God. He commissioned them to bear testimony to the things which they had seen and heard concerning His sufferings, death, and resurrection, that He had made a sacrifice for sin, and that all who would might come unto Him and find life. With faithful tenderness He told them that they would be persecuted and distressed; but they would find relief in recalling their experience and remembering the words which He had spoken to them. He told them that He had overcome the temptations of Satan and obtained the victory through trials and suffering…. But they could overcome as He had overcome.” –Early Writings, p. 189.
2. What did they ask Him? What did this question show?
Acts 1:6, 7 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
“Just before leaving His disciples, Christ once more plainly stated the nature of His kingdom. He recalled to their remembrance things He had previously told them regarding it. He declared that it was not His purpose to establish in this world a temporal kingdom. He was not appointed to reign as an earthly monarch on David’s throne. When the disciples asked Him, ‘Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?’ He answered, ‘It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.’ Acts 1:6, 7. It was not necessary for them to see farther into the future than the revelations He had made enabled them to see. Their work was to proclaim the gospel message.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 30.
The gospel commission
3. Where did the disciples go when the time came for the Saviour to bid them farewell? What did He tell them about the church’s mission and His relationship to it?
Matthew 28:16-18 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
“This was the only interview that Jesus had with many of the believers after His resurrection. He came and spoke to them saying, ‘All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.’ The disciples had worshiped Him before He spoke, but His words, falling from lips that had been closed in death, thrilled them with peculiar power. He was now the risen Saviour. Many of them had seen Him exercise His power in healing the sick and controlling satanic agencies. They believed that He possessed power to set up His kingdom at Jerusalem, power to quell all opposition, power over the elements of nature. He had stilled the angry waters; He had walked upon the white-crested billows; He had raised the dead to life. Now He declared that ‘all power’ was given to Him. His words carried the minds of His hearers above earthly and temporal things to the heavenly and eternal. They were lifted to the highest conception of His dignity and glory.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 819.
4. What great commission did He entrust to them? What special message were they to share with the entire world?
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
“The events of Christ’s life, His death and resurrection, the prophecies pointing to these events, the mysteries of the plan of salvation, the power of Jesus for the remission of sins–to all these things they had been witnesses, and they were to make them known to the world. They were to proclaim the gospel of peace and salvation through repentance and the power of the Saviour.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 27.
“The disciples were not to wait for the people to come to them. They were to go to the people, hunting for sinners as a shepherd hunts for lost sheep. Christ opened the world before them as their field of labor…. It was of the Saviour that they were to preach, of His life of unselfish service, His death of shame, His unparalleled, unchanging love. His name was to be their watchword, their band of union. In His name they were to subdue the strongholds of sin. Faith in His name was to mark them as Christians.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, pp. 14, 15.
Belief, baptism, and salvation
5. In what name were the believers to be baptized? How far-reaching is this great mission?
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
“The gospel commission is the great missionary charter of Christ’s kingdom. The disciples were to work earnestly for souls, giving to all the invitation of mercy….
“They were to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Christ’s name was to be their watchword, their badge of distinction, their bond of union, the authority for their course of action, and the source of their success. Nothing was to be recognized in His kingdom that did not bear His name and superscription.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 28.
“To us also the commission is given. We are bidden to go forth as Christ’s messengers, to teach, instruct, and persuade men and women, to urge upon their attention the word of life. And to us also the assurance of Christ’s abiding presence is given. Whatever the difficulties with which we may have to contend, whatever the trials we may have to endure, the gracious promise is always ours, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.’ ” –(Manuscript 24, 1903) Evangelism, p. 15.
6. Although Jesus had worked and preached there extensively, where were the disciples to begin their ministry? What will be the wonderful results for all who believe in the good news and make their baptismal covenant with the Lord?
Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
“Christ commissioned His disciples to do the work He had left in their hands, beginning at Jerusalem. Jerusalem had been the scene of His amazing condescension for the human race…
“But the work was not to stop here. It was to be extended to the earth’s remotest bounds….
“The disciples were to begin their work where they were. The hardest and most unpromising field was not to be passed by. So every one of Christ’s workers is to begin where he is.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 820-822.
“There is no limit to the missionary work to be done in fulfilling this commission, and yet because of a lack of faith on the part of God’s people, the work has often come almost to a standstill…. If God’s people had possessed the true missionary spirit, the lands lying in darkness would ere this have been enlightened by their self-sacrificing labors.” –Australian Union Conference Record, October 14, 1907.
Obedience and teaching
7. In addition to believing His message, what do all true followers of Christ do? Who assist the gospel preachers in fulfilling their mission?
Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
“In the commission to His disciples, Christ not only outlined their work, but gave them their message. Teach the people, He said, ‘to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.’ The disciples were to teach what Christ had taught. That which He had spoken, not only in person, but through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament, is here included. Human teaching is shut out…. ‘The law and the prophets,’ with the record of His own words and deeds, are the treasure committed to the disciples to be given to the world. Christ’s name is their watchword, their badge of distinction, their bond of union, the authority for their course of action, and the source of their success. Nothing that does not bear His superscription is to be recognized in His kingdom.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 826.
“The worker in a foreign field must carry in his heart the peace and love of heaven; for this is his only safety…. Energy and self-sacrifice are needed in the missionary field. God calls for men who will push the triumphs of the cross; men who will persevere under discouragements and privations; men who have the zeal and resolution and faith that are indispensable in the missionary field.” –Gospel Workers, p. 469.
For additional study
“These words point out our field and our work. Our field is the world; our work, the proclamation of the truths which Christ came to our world to proclaim. Men and women are to have opportunity to gain a knowledge of present truth, an opportunity to know that Christ is their Saviour, that ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ John 3:16.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 204.