057 – The Great Commission – The Promise!

Now, let’s look at… possibly… the most neglected statement of The Great Commission. After Jesus issues his four crisp commands, comes the magnificent and stunning conclusion.

Let’s read the entirety of The Great Commission again… it’s been a while since we’ve heard it.

Matthew 28:18-20
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The Greatest Promise Ever Made

Jesus concludes his commission with an amazing and wonderful promise… “And surely I am with you always until the very end of the age.”

There are no words to adequately describe the implications and impact of these final words. Jesus’ promise permeates through the rest of the New Testament. For the last two millennia, The Promise has changed millions of hearts and lives and will continue to do so until the very end of time. Majestic and marvelous, The Promise secures a Christian’s future in the eternal Kingdom of God. It is a promise of comfort and a bond of sonship. It is intimate and loving. It is truly beyond earthly comprehension. Jesus promises to be with us always, until the very end of the age.

The Promise was Predicted

And, by the way, this is exactly what he said he would do, way back in John 14. This came at the time of The Last Supper, as he shares his heart with the apostles he loves. Let’s listen in….

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056 – The Great Commission – Teach

The fourth command of The Great Commission is, in its complete sentence form, “Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” In my mind, this is the most amazing part of the Great Commission. It is absolutely brilliant.

In adding this fourth command to the other three commands of The Great Commission, Jesus has just insured that the Biblical Plan of Salvation will continue on throughout all generations. Let’s break it down and see what else we can discover.

Discovery

The first word is, “teach.” This means sending information, passing knowledge, communicating enlightenment. It’s a drawing toward knowledge and wisdom.

Now, carefully notice. The apostles were not told to “teach the people everything.” They were told, “Teach them to ‘obey’ everything.” This is interesting. Jesus introduces obedience. Obedience is a response and it is always intrinsically linked to a command. Without a command, there is nothing to obey. This is why we say, “The Great Commission must be obeyed.” There are a series of commands contained in it. As a result, obedience becomes a critical part of the salvation experience because, the scriptures elsewhere teach us that we can not have a relationship with God, if we are unwilling to obey him. More about that in a moment.

Now, obviously… the things Jesus is commanding us to obey extend way beyond the first three commands of The Great Commission. He said, “Teach them to obey everything, I have commanded you.”

Obey Everything?

That’s a mighty tall order, wouldn’t you say. What was he talking about? “Love your enemies?” “Love your neighbor as yourself?” “Seek first the Kingdom?” “Give?” Yes, yes, yes and yes. But, in the context of The Great Commission, we must ask, “What has he just taught the apostles to obey?” Well… the first three commands! Go, make and baptize!

When Jesus says, “Teach them to obey everything,” that by definition, includes everything he has just finished saying. And, they should teach it exactly the same way he taught them. No one has ever been given a license or the authority to change anything in the Biblical Plan of Salvation.

Have you ever played the game “Telephone?” It’s a fun game, even for adults. The game is played by getting 15 or 20 other people together. The leader whispers a fairly complex sentence into the first person’s ear. The first person then whispers it into the second person’s ear and the message gets passed on from mouth to ear for twenty generations. It can be quite hilarious when we hear the final presentation of the original sentence. Things can really change and get messed up! When a message gets passed down from generation to generation people have a tendency to change things. But this process can’t happen with The Great Commission because we have the instructions… the original message… clearly presented in the New Testament.

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054 – The Great Commission – Make Disciples

Making disciples is a command of Christ. It is not optional.
Make Disciples is the second command.

The second command of The Great Commission is to “Make Disciples.” It should probably go without saying that this seemingly small command is absolutely loaded with potential! Let’s get started.

Here is the complete command in context.

“Make disciples of all nations.” Short sentence, right?

English 101

The verb is “make.” The direct object… or what to make… is “disciples.” Make disciples. But we’re missing a subject. A complete sentence must have a noun which makes up the subject of the sentence. And believe it or not, “Make disciples,” is technically a complete sentence. So, where’s the noun? What is the subject of the sentence? Think back to 7th grade English. Remember, this was a fun one. The subject is the implied, “You.” If we were going to say the complete and full sentence it would be, “You make disciples.” The purpose of the sentence is an imperative. It is a command.

The plural “you,” Jesus is referring to, are the remaining eleven disciples… the apostles. It is to them exclusively he is saying, “You make.” We have no indication there is anyone else present. The commands are given to a very select group of men; the men he has been training for the last three years. The men who have walked closely with him daily. So, “You make,” would be the command in its simplest form. Let’s talk about this part of the full sentence before we get to the “what…” of the sentence.

The definition of “make”

Jesus command is directed to the apostles and he tells them to “make” something. Making something implies effort, it requires an activity. Noah Webster, in his 1828 dictionary, offers over 60 definitions for the word, “make.” Here are just a few.

To compel; to constrain. To create; to cause to exist; to form from nothing. To bring into any state or condition; to constitute.

The word “make” means the act of creating something new which did not previously exist. It also implies a deliberate effort is activated toward that goal. In order for this to happen, the person performing the effort must have a goal in mind and we should understand they have some sort of motivation to achieve the goal for which they are producing the effort. There is some driving force behind their desire to be productive.

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053 – The Great Commission – Go!

Welcome to A Faith that Obeys where we are rethinking the traditional plan of salvation. This traditional plan, which is also called the Modern Plan, is a fairly new invention and has tragically replaced the Biblical Plan of Salvation. When we study the Bible and see how people were “Born Again” in the first century, then compare that to how people become Christians today, there are some stark differences. Things have changed. Our goal is to identify the Biblical “steps to salvation” and support you in your efforts to learn what God desires in order to correctly follow them so you may have full assurance that you are walking on the correct path in your relationship with God.

Our series about biblical obedience in water baptism is now complete but obedience does not begin or end with that event. There are other things to consider. As we begin this next phase of our studies, I suspect you are about to hear something you have never heard before and it may be a little shocking. Let’s dive in!

The Four Crisp Commands of The Great Commission

There are four crisp commands contained in The Great Commission. They provide the final marching orders for the eleven apostles given by Jesus at the time of his ascension into heaven, over 2000 years ago. These commands are clear, unambiguous, simple, yet potent. They embody the culmination of Jesus’ entire earthly ministry. They are designed to launch and propel a movement destined to last for generations to come. Let’s read this amazing mandate.

It’s found in…

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043 – Acts 2:38

Baptism leads to salvation.

Acts 2 holds one of the clearest and most detailed explanations of water baptism in the New Testament. It’s the first time in history we see Christian baptism occur. As we know from our previous podcasts, theologians go to great lengths to explain why this passage of scripture is not about water baptism by parsing prepositions and verifying verbs. But, I think the passage is pretty easy to understand and completely uncomplicated. There is no need to dive into Greek linguistics and confusing explanations. Just read the passage with the heart of a child and it will all make sense.

So, what’s the context of our Acts passage? Peter is preaching the very first Gospel message. He is filled with the Holy Spirit and is quite bold! His audience is thousands of Jewish pilgrims gathered in Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost, which is just 50 days after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Peter presents a great deal of information about Jesus and explains all about the Messiah by offering proofs from the Old Testament scriptures. At the end of his sermon, in verse 36 he places the guilt and the blame of killing the promised Messiah, squarely on the shoulders of the onlookers. Let’s tune in and listen as he concludes his sermon.

The First Baptisms Ever

Acts 2:36-41
Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

Peter tells these people, “You killed the Christ!” Now, let’s stop right here. Isn’t that a little presumptuous of Peter? After all, many of these folks were not even in Jerusalem 50 days earlier and even if they were, probably none of them had anything to do with the execution of Jesus. In fact, the argument could be made that it was the Romans who actually killed the Christ. What’s going on here?

Some clues are found in what happens next.

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