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Key Texts:    Matthew  28:31-46; Mark 16:14-20; Luke 24:36-53; John 3:14-19

Key Ideas:    The lesson this week focuses on the links between the mission Jesus gave his disciples (The Great Commission) and the Gospel.  

1. It would be well to read the commission as it is given in the three gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  What differences do you find.  Are any of them significant?

2. The Great Commission of Jesus is very expansive, sending believers to every place, every country, city, town, village, clan and home.  What connection do you see between the command to make disciples and that of baptizing?  What is the difference between baptizing people and turning them into disciples?  How do you think evangelistic strategies would change if the focus was on making disciples instead of baptizing?

3. It has been noted that the church of the Western world has been fascinated with Jesus’ command to go to all the world.  Some have referred to the western church as the “Go to” church.   We go and do things, provide things, then return home.  Have you ever wondered what effect this might have on those whom we go to do things for?  Might we be perceived as paternalistic rather than being family?

4. The placement of baptism in the middle of the Great Commission creates a link between it and the plan of Salvation.  What is the relationship between the gospel and the Great Commission?  Have you ever thought that Jesus may have given TWO commissions, the first being “Come, and follow me…”  Subsequent to this, “I will make you fishers of men.”  What might this say about priorities?

5. In the scripture passages for this week, there is the intimation that salvation is by grace through faith, but in the judgment, it is our deeds/works that seem to be of most significance.  Is this so?  How could such a thing be?

6. Jesus spoke of the disciples being “witnesses” of what they had seen.  What implications do you see here for those who want to “witness” without a personal experience or commitment to the gospel?

7. Discuss the gospel.  How would you describe it?  What are its conditions?  What are its parameters?  How would you describe the bare essentials of the gospel?  What is the least that is necessary in order for a person to be saved?

8. If our deeds figure significantly in the judgment, given the words found in Matthew 28, how should we relate to the poor and the destitute?   What if they might just take the help we give them and go and spend it uselessly?  What do you think the causes of poverty are?  How do you think you contribute to the poverty in your community?  How do you think it is best to help those who are poor?  how could your church make a real difference to the poor near where you live?

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