The Great Commission  

The Great Commission

Calvin Lashway

June 2008 Revised


Introduction

In the forty days following His resurrection, Jesus met with His disciples on several occasions. During some of these meetings, Jesus told His disciples to preach the gospel to the world. We often call this charge to proclaim the gospel the “Great Commission.” Frequently, people turn to Matthew 28:18-20 to define the Great Commission. But there are four other places in the New Testament dealing with the Great Commission. In this study we will examine all of these verses to get a fuller picture of what Christ commissioned His church to do.


For All Disciples

The original apostles are not the only ones responsible for fulfilling the Great Commission. This is a duty for all Christians throughout all generations until the return of Jesus. If we limit the fulfilling of the Great Commission to the first apostles, there would have been no preaching of the gospel after their deaths. Which historically there has been otherwise, the church would have died out long ago. For people to hear the gospel there must be those who preach the gospel: “For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!’” (Romans 10:13-15; all scriptures quoted are from the New King James Version unless otherwise stated).


Even in the early church the apostles were not the only ones given the job of preaching the gospel. In the book of Acts we find references to those other than the apostles proclaiming the gospel (Acts 6:5-10; 8:1-2, 4-5, 14, 26-40; 11:19-26).


Matthew 28:18-20

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.


Make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19)

Jesus tells His disciples to go and make more disciples or followers for Him. When we examine the New Testament, we see Jesus’ followers seeking to add new disciples to the church (Acts 2:37-41, 4:1-4; 8:5-6, 12; 9:32-35, 40-42; 11:19-26; 12:24; 13:44-49; 14:1, 21; 16:25-34; 17:10-12, 22, 33-34; 18:1-8; 19:1, 8-10, 20). The apostle Paul tried to “win” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23) people for Christ and to “save some” of his fellow Jews (Romans 11:13-15).


We must remember that it’s God who draws or calls people to Jesus: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. . . . And He said, ‘Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father’” (John 6:44, 65), but God works through human beings to bring this about: “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:5-9).


Baptizing them” (Matthew 28:19)

Jesus said that His new disciples should be baptized. The early church fulfilled these instructions, baptizing many new disciples:  Three thousand on Pentecost (Acts 2:1, 37-41); The Samaritans (Acts 8:5, 12); The Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-27, 35-39); Saul (Acts 9:17-18; 22:12-16); Cornelius and his household (Acts 10:44-48); Lydia and her household (Acts 16:13-15); The Philippian jailer and his household (Acts 16:25-34); Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his household (Acts 18:8, 1 Corinthians 1:14); Many Corinthians (Acts 18:8); Gaius (1 Corinthians 1:14); The household of Stephanas (1 Corinthians 1:16); The twelve disciples at Ephesus (Acts 19:1-7); The Galatians (Galatians 3:27).

 

Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20)

Jesus knew that after the baptism of these new disciples, they would need to be taught. This learning process is ongoing throughout a Christian’s life. Peter writes that Christians must “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Teaching Jesus’ disciples is so vital that God has specially gifted some in the church as teachers (Romans 12:3-7; 1 Corinthians 12:1, 4-8, 28-31; Ephesians 4:7-8, 11-13; 1 Timothy 3:1-2; 2 Timothy 2:1-2, 24-26). Those with this gift of teaching taught their fellow brethren (Acts 2:41-42; 11:19-26; 13:1-3; 15:30-35; 18:1, 8-11; 20:17-21; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:4). Further study of the New Testament shows that Jesus wants all His disciples to be teachers (1 Corinthians 14:26-32; Colossians 3:16; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 5:11-14).


I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20)

Jesus said that He would be with His disciples right up to the end of the age as they continued to make, baptize and teach new disciples. Christians should follow the instructions given by the apostle Paul to the evangelist Timothy, to always preach and teach: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). The Amplified Bible translates this verse as: “Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency (stand by, be at hand and ready, whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable, whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it be welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong) and convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.” Making, baptizing and teaching new disciples is an ongoing responsibility for all Christians. A responsibility Jesus expects us to be doing right up to His second coming.


Mark 16:15-16

And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”


Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15)

Jesus is saying that part of the church’s mission is to preach the gospel to everyone. As the book of Acts shows, the New Testament church sought to fulfill this command (Acts 3:1; 4:1-2; 5:40-42; 8:1-2, 4-12, 14, 25, 26-40; 9:19-22, 26-30; 10:34-48; 11:19-21; 13:1-5, 14-16, 38-39, 42-43, 44-49; 14:1-7, 14-15, 19-21, 24-25; 15:35; 16:6-15; 17:1-4, 10-22, 32-34; 18:1, 4-7, 11, 18-21, 24-28; 19:1, 8-10; 20:17, 20-21, 25; 21:37-40; 23: 11; 26:1-3, 28-29; 28:16-17, 23-31).


But what was the gospel message proclaimed by Jesus and the early church? The gospel the modern church should also be preaching? By looking at the different words the New Testament writers associate with the word gospel. We gain a good idea about the content of the message preached by Jesus and his first disciples: Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 24:14); Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15; the kingdom of God or kingdom of heaven is an important subject in the New Testament. The New King James Version has 69 references in the New Testament to the kingdom of God.  It also has 32 references  to the kingdom of heaven.);  Gospel of God (Romans 1:1; 15:16;   2 Corinthians 11:7;  1 Thessalonians 2:2, 8-9;   1 Peter 4:17); Gospel of the Blessed God (1 Timothy 1:11); Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16; 15:19, 29; 1 Corinthians 9:12, 18; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 10:14; Galatians 1:7; Philippians 1:27; 1 Thessalonians 3:2);  Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1); Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:8); Gospel of the Glory of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4); Gospel of His Son (Romans 1:9); Gospel of the Grace of God (Act 20:24); Gospel of Peace (Romans 10:15; Ephesians 6:15);  Gospel of your Salvation (Ephesians 1:13). The gospel proclaimed by the early church dealt with the kingdom of God, God, Jesus Christ, grace, peace and salvation. This is the same message the modern church should be preaching.


He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16)

The responsibility of the church, past, present and future, is to baptize those who believe the gospel.


Luke 24:46-48

Then He said to them, Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”


It was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day” (Luke 24:46)

The gospel message also includes the fact of Jesus’ suffering and death for the sins of mankind, and rising from the dead on the third day. The New Testament church preached this message (Acts 2:14, 23-24, 29-33; 3:12-18; 4:8-10, 33; 5:29-31; 10:34, 39-43; 13:16, 28-34; 17:2-3, 22, 30-32; 26:22-23; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).


The physical suffering of Jesus was not only for the forgiveness of sin; His suffering makes possible the healing of the sick (1 Peter 2:23-24). Healing was a significant part of Jesus’ earthly ministry (Matthew 4:23-25; 9:35; 12:14-16; 15:29-31; 19:1-2; 21:12-14; Luke 6:17-19; 8:1-3; 13:31-32; John 6:1-2; Acts 10:34-38). Being able to heal the sick was one of the proofs that Jesus was the promised Messiah (Luke 4:16-23; 7:18-23). When He first sent out the twelve disciples, and then later the seventy, to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God. Jesus gave them the power to heal the sick (Matthew 10:1, 7-8; Mark 6:7, 12-13; Luke 9:1-2, 6; 10:1, 9). In Mark 16, Jesus said that certain “signs will follow those who believe” in the gospel: “they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (verses 17-18).


The book of Acts records many healings done by Peter (Acts 3:1-11; 4:13-14, 22; Acts 9:32-43), the other apostles (Acts 5:12-16) and Paul (Acts 19:11-12; 28:1, 7-10). The apostles were not the only ones who healed people. Phillip the deacon healed people when he took the gospel to Samaria (Acts 8:4-8). The gift of healing is one of the spiritual gifts given to Christians (1 Corinthians 12:9, 28, 30), thus fulfilling what Jesus said in Mark 16:18, “they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover”. The apostle James tells sick Christians to “call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:14-16). Healing the sick, inside and outside the church, is a part of the gospel message we should be proclaiming to the world.


Repentance and remission of sins should be preached” (Luke 24:47)

The gospel Jesus wants preached to the world includes the subjects of repentance and the remission or forgiveness of sin. The early church carried out these instructions (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:29-31; 8:22; 10:42-43; 13:36-39; 17:30-31; 20:21; 26:15-20).


To preach repentance, we must tell people to repent of sin (Matthew 9:13; Mark 1:4; 2:17; Luke 3:3; 5:32; 15:7, 10; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 2 Corinthians 12:21), and what sin is (1 John 3:4; 5:17; Romans 14:23; James 4:17). After this, they must learn that forgiveness of sin is possible because Jesus suffered, died and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-5; John 1:29; Galatians 1:3-4; 1 Peter 2:24).


Preached . . . all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47)

Preaching repentance and the forgiveness of sins started in Jerusalem, and from there spread around the world. We will examine this instruction in greater detail in Acts 1:8.


You are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:48)

As Jesus’ disciples we must be witnesses to His life, death and resurrection. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines “witness” as: “1: attestation of a fact or event: testimony 2: one that gives evidence; specifically: one who testifies in a cause or before a judicial tribunal 3: one asked to be present at a transaction so as to be able to testify to its having taken place 4: one who has personal knowledge of something 5a: something serving as evidence or proof: sign b: public affirmation by word or example of usually religious faith or conviction.” The twelve apostles had a special witness to declare. They spent over three years with Jesus. They saw Him die on the cross and, over a forty-day period, spent many hours with the resurrected Jesus (Acts 1:15-26; 2:32; 3:11-15; 4:33; 5:29-32; 10:34-43; 13:28-31; 1 Peter 5:1; 1 John 1:1-4). The apostle Paul was also a witness, but not of the physical life and death of Jesus. He was a witness of the living, resurrected Jesus, and the special knowledge God revealed to him (Acts 22:12-16; 23:10-11; 26:12-23; 1 Corinthians 15:12-15; 1 Timothy 2:5-7). For individual Christians, our spiritual fruits and works (Galatians 5:22-26; Ephesians 2:8-10; 1 Peter 2:11-12) bear witness to the fact of the resurrected Jesus living in us (Romans 8:9-10; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:16-19; Colossians 1:27).


John 21:15-17

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs." He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.”


Feed My lambs. . . . Tend My sheep . . . . Feed My sheep” (John 21:15-17).

In the early church, as it is today, the elders have a responsibility to shepherd and feed the disciples, Jesus’ sheep (Acts 20:17, 28, 35; 1 Peter 5:1-4; John 10:1-18, 25-30). The elders feed Jesus’ disciples the spiritual food of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:14-4:5; Hebrews 5:12-6:2; 1 Corinthians 3:1-3; 1 Peter 2:1-3). These instructions are similar to what Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20, where He told the disciples to teach the newly baptized to observe all that He commanded.


The more we study the New Testament, the clearer it becomes that elders are not the only ones in the church responsible for looking after the spiritual needs of the disciples. We find references to people like Phoebe (Romans 16:1-2), the household of Stephanas (1 Corinthians 16:15), and Archippus (Colossians 4:17), who ministered to the needs of their local congregations. Individually we have a responsibility to help spiritually feed, strengthen and correct our brethren (1 Thessalonians 5:14; Romans 15:1-3; Galatians 6:1-2; James 5:19-20).


One specific way in which some in the early church helped to feed others, was by a hosting churches in their homes (Romans 16:3-5, 22-23; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1-21; Corinthians 14:26, 31; Hebrews 10:24-25). For a detailed study on the subject of house churches in the New Testament, see my paper, Scriptural Evidence for House Churches.


Like our spiritual ancestors, modern Christians must do their part in feeding and shepherding their fellow disciples.   


Acts 1:6-8

Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."


You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8)

This work of witnessing for Jesus began in Jerusalem and spread around the earth (also see Luke 24:47). The book of Acts records the efforts of the early church in witnessing to the world. Chapters 1-7 deal with witnessing in Jerusalem. Chapters 8-10 show the spreading of the gospel to Judah and Samaria. Starting in Acts 11, we see early Christians reaching out to the rest of the world with the gospel message. In the book of Acts and in Paul’s letters, we find references to gospel having spread to the whole world (Acts 17:1-9; 24:1-6; Romans 1:7-8; Colossians 1:5-6, 23; 1 Timothy 3:16). Most Bible commentators think these are references to the world of the Roman Empire.


Its doubtful these early Christians ever succeeded in witnessing to the “end of the earth.” From the Biblical record we see the first converts to Christianity came from the Roman Empire and neighboring nations. They likely took the gospel back to their homelands (Acts 2:5, 8-11, 41). According to Christian tradition the Ethiopian eunuch brought Christianity to Ethiopia after his conversion (Acts 8:26-39). In Colossians 3:10-11, Paul writes that all Christians are new men in Christ, that their racial and national origins no longer matter. In these verses he mentions the Scythians. Historically, Scythia is the region of southwestern Russia around the Black Sea. Paul was probably referring to Scythian converts living within the borders of the Roman Empire. However, its also possible that Paul was referring to those living outside the Empire. We know from 1 Peter 5:13 that Christians were living in Babylon, which was a part of the Parthian Empire at the midsixties A.D., when Peter wrote this letter. Tradition has the apostles bearing witness to Jesus all the way from the British Isles in the west to India in the east, Russia in the north and Ethiopia in the south.


It’s clear from the New Testament and the pages of history, the early church made a great effort to spread the gospel around the world. Modern Christians are under the same obligation to preach the gospel throughout the world. Because of advances in technology, we have no excuse not to try to fulfill Jesus’ instructions to go to the “end of the earth.”


Matthew 24:14 and Mark 13:20

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).


And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations (Mark 13:10).


There are some individuals and religious organizations who think Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:14 and Mark 13:20 are also part of the Great Commission, but they are not. The context of both verses, deal with the events surrounding Jesus’ second coming. Matthew 24:14 and Mark 13:10 are prophecies about the end time, not instructions to the church.


It appears the church will have a part to play in the fulfillment of this prophecy. Jesus said that He would be with His disciples until “the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20), and this would include helping them to preach the gospel. In the years immediately before Jesus’ return there will be severe limitations on the church’s ability to proclaim the gospel. This will be a time of intense persecution (Matthew 24:9-10; Mark 13:9-13; Luke 21:12-19; Revelation 6:9-11; 12:7-17; 13:1, 5-7, 11, 15 Daniel 7:23-25; 12:7), with some Christians protected in the “wilderness” during this time (Revelation 12:13-16). It seems likely the work of the Two Witnesses (Revelation 11:1-14) and the Three Angels (Revelation 14:6-11) will play a significant role in the fulfillment of this end-time prophecy to preach the gospel to the whole world.


1 Corinthians 12

As Jesus’ disciples in this modern age, how do we go about carrying out His instructions to preach the gospel and feed the flock? In First Corinthians, chapter 12, the apostle Paul gives us insight on how to do this.

In verses 4-11, we see that within the church the Holy Spirit gives varying responsibilities to different people:


There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.


In verses 12-26, Paul uses the example of the human body to illustrate how God gives each of us unique tasks in the body of Christ:


For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.


The apostle Paul, in summing-up his thoughts on this subject in verses 27-31, says that not everyone in the church has the same responsibilities:


Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.


The church, like a body comprised of many parts, will have no one person or group performing all the bodily functions. When it comes to fulfilling the Great Commission no one individual or organization will fulfill it. Its the collective work of the whole body of Christ.


Each of us as individuals has our part, and it will be different for each one of us. A congregation may have a collective work to do in fulfilling one aspect of the Great Commission. This work may be different from another congregation. A group of congregations working together may fulfill some other part of the Commission. There may be more than one group fulfilling different facets of the Commission. But together, from the single individual to a large organization, they are all fulfilling the Great Commission.


The New Testament provides many examples of individuals and groups seeking to fulfill Jesus’ instructions to take the gospel to the world and spiritually feed the flock of God. Some of them personally took it upon themselves to preach the gospel, such as: Apollos (Acts 18:24-28), Persis (Romans 16:12), Phillip (Acts 8:4-8, 12, 26-40), The scattered Jerusalem brethren (Acts 8:1-4; 11:19-21), Stephen (Acts 6:8-10), Tryphena (Romans 16:12), Tryphosa (Romans 16:12).


Others helped by praying for those who were preaching the gospel (Ephesians 6:18-20; Colossians 4:2-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2). Another way individuals could help was by being good examples of the Christian life (1 Thessalonians 1:2-10).


Not only was proclaiming the gospel something individual Christians did, but so was Jesus’ instructions to feed His flock. As we saw earlier, there are several references to Christians ministering to the spiritual needs of their local congregations. We also read about instructions to spiritually help our brethren who may have strayed from the truth.


The early church also had teams or small groups who worked together in preaching the gospel or ministering to the spiritual needs of the church:  Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:2); Paul and Silas (Acts 15:40);  Barnabas and Mark (Acts 15:39); Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:2, 26; Romans 16:3-5, 1 Corinthians 16:19); Stephanas and his household (1 Corinthians 16:15-18); The Ephesian elders (Acts 20:17-18, 25-31).


In the New Testament, local congregations supported those sent by God to preach the gospel or offered spiritual support to new converts. For example, the Jerusalem church provided spiritual assistance to new believers (Acts 8:14-17, 25; 11:22-26; 15:1-3, 22-31). It appears the church in Antioch provided Barnabas and Paul with support when they set out to preach the gospel (13:1-3; 14:26-28). In later years, the church in Philippi provided Paul with physical support so he could fulfill his part in the Great Commission (Philippians 4:15-18).


From Paul’s writings, we see that different men received specific areas of responsibility in preaching the gospel and caring for the believers. The apostles Paul and Peter were each responsible for taking the gospel to different groups of people. Paul witnessed to the Gentile world and Peter to the Jewish world. Under Paul’s leadership, there were men like Barnabas, and under Peter, there were men like James and John (Galatians 2:7-9).


Throughout Paul’s ministry to the Gentile world, many men and women worked directly with him.  To use a modern term, Paul had an “Evangelistic Association,” an organization that helped him to preach the gospel and to oversee the congregations he founded. The scriptures give us little information on how loosely, or tightly structured this “organization” was.  Some of Paul’s more well-known co-workers were: Luke (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 1:24); Mark (Colossians 4:10; Philemon 1:24); Silas (Acts 15:40); Timothy (Romans 16:21; 1 Thessalonians 3:2), Titus (2 Corinthians 8:23); Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:2, 18; Romans 16:3). 


Other lesser-known co-workers were: Aristarchus (Colossians 4:10; Philemon 1:24); Clement (Philippians 4:3); Demas (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 1:24); Epaphras (Colossians 4:12); Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25); Euodia (Philippians 4:2-3); Jason (Romans 16:21); Justus (Colossians 4:11); Lucius (Romans 16:21);  Mary (Romans 16:6); Onesimus (Colossians 4:9); Syntyche (Philippians 4:2-3); Sosipater (Romans 16:21);  Tertius (Romans 16:22);  Tychicus (Colossians 4:7); Urbanus (Romans 16:9).


Conclusion

In this study we examined the details of the Great Commission Jesus gave His disciples. From the gospel of Matthew, we saw how Jesus wants His disciples to seek out and baptize new disciples, then teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded. This is a lifelong teaching and learning process the disciples must continue doing until the Christ’s return. From the book of Mark, we learn the mission of the church is to preach the gospel to everyone, and then baptize those who believe the good news. Luke teaches us how important it is to preach about Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection, along side the need for repentance and the forgiveness of sins. The followers of Jesus, now and in the future, must bear witness to all of this in there lives. The apostle John brings out the importance Jesus places on the church spiritually feeding His sheep. From the book of Acts, we learn that Jesus’ disciples will go out into all the world witnessing to whom Jesus is. Finally, when it comes to fulfilling the Great Commission, no one individual or organization will fulfill this goal. Its the collective work of Christ disciples, past, present and future.




© Calvin Lashway 2017  -  Contact: cinfowritings@gmail.com