The Gospel Commission announced by Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20, just prior to His ascension back to heaven, provides the marching orders for the Christian church. The four action words in verses 19-20 are all significant.
GO — we must take the initiative and reach out to others with the gospel.
MAKE DISCIPLES — train others to be followers of Jesus.
BAPTIZE — lead others to make a whole hearted commitment to the Savior.
TEACH — help others to understand and apply the Scriptures to their lives.
In the Gospel Commission the emphasis is on the idea of making disciples. What is a disciple? A Biblical definition would include the following.
John 8:31-32 — A disciple abides in God’s Word.
John 13:34-35 — Disciples have love for one another.
John 15:5-8 — Disciples bear fruit for God’s kingdom.
Luke 14:26-27 — Disciples are willing to suffer and die for Jesus.
Luke 14:33 — Disciples are willing to forsake everything in this world for Christ.
Luke 6:40 — Disciples desire to become like Jesus.
Key Passages and Questions:
- Damascus Road Experience of Saul of Tarsus Which Changed His Life — Acts 9:1-22
- What characteristics of Saul prepared him for this encounter with Jesus?
- How important was this encounter to his future ministry?
- What principles for witnessing can be found in Saul’s conversion story?
- Philip’s Experience with the Ethiopian Eunuch — Acts 8:26-29
- What reasons for witnessing can be found in this experience?
- How do we become prepared to answer people’s questions?
- Is it easier or more difficult to do cross-cultural witnessing?
- Daniel and His Friends at the King’s Court in Babylon — Dan 1:1-21
- In what ways was Daniel a witness for God according to Daniel 1?
- What is the relationship between “preaching the message” and “living the message?”
- Is the Church just a medium to communicate the message or is the Church “the message?”
- The Apostles Face Opposition and Persecution for Witnessing — Acts 5:25-42
- How can we harmonize the instruction of Jesus to His disciples in Matt 10:14 (shake off the dust) with the activity of the in Acts 5:42 (they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus)?
- How much risk should a Christian be willing to take in order to witness for Christ?