1. THE MEETING IN GALILEE
a. During the Last Supper, what instruction did Jesus give the disciples about a future meeting with all the believers? Matthew 26:32; 28:16.
b. How many were present in that meeting? 1 Corinthians 15:6.
“At the time appointed, about five hundred believers were collected in little knots on the mountainside, eager to learn all that could be learned from those who had seen Christ since His resurrection. From group to group the disciples passed, telling all they had seen and heard of Jesus, and reasoning from the Scriptures as He had done with them. Thomas recounted the story of his unbelief and told how his doubts had been swept away. Suddenly Jesus stood among them. No one could tell whence or how He came. Many who were present had never before seen Him; but in His hands and feet they beheld the marks of the crucifixion; His countenance was as the face of God, and when they saw Him, they worshiped Him.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 818, 819.
2. THE SACRED COMMISSION
a. As the disciples were called to be colaborers with Christ in the work of saving souls, what commission did He give them? Matthew 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15, 16.
b. How was this commission opposed to the exclusivism of the Pharisees? Acts 13:46; 22:21, 22; Galatians 3:28.
“The Jewish people had been made the depositaries of sacred truth; but Pharisaism had made them the most exclusive, the most bigoted, of all the human race. Everything about the priests and rulers—their dress, customs, ceremonies, traditions—made them unfit to be the light of the world. They looked upon themselves, the Jewish nation, as the world. But Christ commissioned His disciples to proclaim a faith and worship that would have in it nothing of caste or country, a faith that would be adapted to all peoples, all nations, all classes of men.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 819, 820.
c. Why did the disciples have to begin the work at Jerusalem? Acts 1:8.
“There were in Jerusalem many who had secretly believed on Jesus, and many who had been deceived by the priests and rulers. To these also the gospel was to be presented. They were to be called to repentance. The wonderful truth that through Christ alone could remission of sins be obtained was to be made plain. While all Jerusalem was stirred by the thrilling events of the past few weeks, the preaching of the gospel would make the deepest impression.
“But the work was not to stop here. It was to be extended to the earth’s remotest bounds. . . . All who will, may be reconciled to God and receive everlasting life. To you, My disciples, I commit this message of mercy. It is to be given to Israel first, and then to all nations, tongues, and peoples. It is to be given to Jews and Gentiles. All who believe are to be gathered into one church.”—Ibid., pp.820, 821.
3. THE PROMISED GIFT
a. How would the disciples be enabled to preach among other nations without taking time to learn their languages? 1 Corinthians 12:7, 10.
“The disciples were to have the same power which Jesus had to heal ‘all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.’ By healing in His name the diseases of the body, they would testify to His power for the healing of the soul (Matthew 4:23; 9:6). And a new endowment was now promised. The disciples were to preach among other nations, and they would receive power to speak other tongues. The apostles and their associates were unlettered men, yet through the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, their speech, whether in their own or a foreign language, became pure, simple, and accurate, both in word and in accent.
“Thus Christ gave His disciples their commission. He made full provision for the prosecution of the work, and took upon Himself the responsibility for its success. So long as they obeyed His word, and worked in connection with Him, they could not fail. Go to all nations, He bade them. Go to the farthest part of the habitable globe, but know that My presence will be there. Labor in faith and confidence, for the time will never come when I will forsake you.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 821, 822.
b. What miracles would be wrought by the representatives of the gospel through the gift of the Holy Spirit? Mark 16:17, 18; 1 Corinthians 12:11.
“The gospel still possesses the same power, and why should we not today witness the same results?
“Christ feels the woes of every sufferer. When evil spirits rend a human frame, Christ feels the curse. When fever is burning up the life current, He feels the agony. And He is just as willing to heal the sick now as when He was personally on earth. Christ’s servants are His representatives, the channels for His working. He desires through them to exercise His healing power.”—Ibid., pp.823, 824.
4. THE SOLEMN DUTY OF CHRIST’S CHURCH
a. What obligation, and what prohibition, was put on the leaders of Israel since their government had been established in the name and by the authority of God? Deuteronomy 4:1, 2.
“The government of Israel was administered in the name and by the authority of God. The work of Moses, of the seventy elders, of the rulers and judges, was simply to enforce the laws that God had given; they had no authority to legislate for the nation. This was, and continued to be, the condition of Israel’s existence as a nation. From age to age men inspired by God were sent to instruct the people and to direct in the enforcement of the laws.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 603.
b. How are we to understand our obligation to teach the people to “observe all things” as Christ commanded? Matthew 28:20.
“In the commission to His disciples, Christ not only outlined their work, but gave them their message. Teach the people, He said, ‘to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you’ (Matthew 28:20). The disciples were to teach what Christ had taught. That which He had spoken, not only in person, but through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament, is here included. Human teaching is shut out. There is no place for tradition, for man’s theories and conclusions, or for church legislation. No laws ordained by ecclesiastical authority are included in the commission. None of these are Christ’s servants to teach.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 826.
c. What is the duty of the church toward those who fall into sin? 2 Timothy 4:2.
“Warn every soul that is in danger. Leave none to deceive themselves. Call sin by its right name. Declare what God has said in regard to lying, Sabbathbreaking, stealing, idolatry, and every other evil. ‘They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God’ (Galatians 5:21). If they persist in sin, the judgment you have declared from God’s word is pronounced upon them in heaven.”—Ibid., p.806.
5. A BASIC QUESTION FOR EVERY SOUL WINNER
a. What question should every prospective worker for Christ answer? John 21:15–17.
b. How only can we be instruments in the work of Christ? 1 John 4:7–12.
“The power of love was in all Christ’s healing, and only by partaking of that love, through faith, can we be instruments for His work. If we neglect to link ourselves in divine connection with Christ, the current of life-giving energy cannot flow in rich streams from us to the people. . . .
“It is in doing Christ’s work that the church has the promise of His presence. Go teach all nations, He said; ‘and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world’ (Matthew 28:20). To take His yoke is one of the first conditions of receiving His power. The very life of the church depends upon her faithfulness in fulfilling the Lord’s commission. To neglect this work is surely to invite spiritual feebleness and decay. Where there is no active labor for others, love wanes, and faith grows dim.
“Christ intends that His ministers shall be educators of the church in gospel work. They are to teach the people how to seek and save the lost. But is this the work they are doing?”—The Desire of Ages, p. 825.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What is Christ’s commission to each of His followers?
2. How are we warned against Pharisaical-style exclusiveness?
3. What specific gift enabled the disciples to take the message of salvation to other nations—and what must we understand about this?
4. Why does the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:20 exclude human teachings?
5. What is the first quality that should characterize every soul winner?