February 23, 2014

Teach The World – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15)

With this command, often called the “great commission,” Jesus dramatically shifts the focus of the teaching effort of His disciples. Jesus had sent His disciples out to teach before, and the scope of their efforts had been much narrower.

“These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: ‘Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’” (Matthew 10:5-6)

Now, it will be different. Of course, it had never been necessary for the whole world to obey Jewish law in order to be pleasing to God. Old Testament law was given specifically to the Jews.

“…the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt…” (Jeremiah 31:32)

The Jewish prophets had foreseen that the scope of God’s special covenant blessings would change, though most of the Jews refused to understand.

“”Behold, days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers…’” (Jeremiah 31:32)

“Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it.”…(Isaiah 2:2-3)

“In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. …” (Isa.11:10, NLT)

Paul explained this change to the Athenian philosophers.

“…God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)

Now, that time was fulfilled. Now, they were to proclaim to whole world that the Jewish Messiah has come to save all men.

This “game changing” charge from Jesus is found in somewhat different form in each of the four gospels and in still another form in the first chapter of Acts. To get the full message of the commission, all five accounts should be considered together.

The most familiar statement is in Mark 16:15 above. This was in the upper room and appears to have followed the words recorded by John:

“Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (John 20:21)

The commission was then further defined in Luke 24:47-48:

“and that repentance  for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

Still later, on a mountain in Galilee, He told the disciples:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;…” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Not only were they to preach to the world that Jesus was the divine Son of God, they were to make disciples of the world. They were to indoctrinate the world in all His teachings.

Finally, just before His ascension, He summarized their responsibility once again:

“…you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” And after He had said these things, He was lifted up…” (Acts 1:8-9)

New Testament Christians understood this responsibility and when forced out of Jerusalem by persecution, they left their familiar, comfortable surroundings and “went about preaching the word.” (Acts 8:4)

The Devil resisted this courageous effort. New Testament Christians were opposed, but they were not deterred. The prophets had foreseen and Jesus had commanded. They obeyed. The world was evangelized in a relatively short time.

“This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven…” (Colossians 1:23, NIV)

The Devil did not like that and He hasn’t changed His mind. Today’s Christians are likewise resisted. “Let’s be pluralistic.” “Respect, don’t try to change other’s religion.” “Keep your religion to your self.” Today’s more subtle efforts may be more effective, but the basic message is the same. “Do not try to “make disciples of all the nations.”

The Devil says we shouldn’t. Jesus says we should. To whom are you listening?

 

 

 

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