1. THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH
a. What grand mission was given the church that required a thorough organization in order to accomplish it? Matthew 28:18–20.
“The mission of the church of Christ is to save perishing sinners. It is to make known the love of God to men and to win them to Christ by the efficacy of that love. The truth for this time must be carried into the dark corners of the earth, and this work may begin at home.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 381.
b. What were the first steps Christ took in organizing His New Testament church? Mark 3:13, 14. What further step related to church organization was taken by the apostles for the furtherance of the gospel? Acts 6:1–6.
“It was at the ordination of the Twelve that the first step was taken in the organization of the church that after Christ’s departure was to carry on His work on the earth. . . .
“By these feeble agencies, through His word and Spirit, [the Majesty of heaven] designs to place salvation within the reach of all.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 18.
2. THE COMMISSION INCLUDES ALL BELIEVERS
a. On what two occasions was the gospel commission given? Mark 16:14, 15; Matthew 28:16–20; 1 Corinthians 15:6. What lesson can we learn from this act?
“The commission had been given to the twelve when Christ met with them in the upper chamber; but it was now to be given to a larger number. At the meeting on a mountain in Galilee, all the believers who could be called together were assembled. Of this meeting Christ Himself, before His death, had designated the time and place. . . .
“This was the only interview that Jesus had with many of the believers after His resurrection. He came and spoke to them saying, ‘All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth’ (Matthew 28:18). . . .
“Clothed with boundless authority, He gave His commission to the disciples: ‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations’ (Verse 19).”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 818, 819.
“The Saviour’s commission to the disciples included all the believers. It includes all believers in Christ to the end of time. It is a fatal mistake to suppose that the work of saving souls depends alone on the ordained minister. . . . All who receive the life of Christ are ordained to work for the salvation of their fellow men. For this work the church was established, and all who take upon themselves its sacred vows are thereby pledged to be coworkers with Christ.”—Ibid., p.822.
b. Where did Christ instruct His disciples to begin their work of preaching? Luke 24:47. How do you think this applies to us?
“The disciples were to begin their work where they were. The hardest and most unpromising field was not to be passed by. So every one of Christ’s workers is to begin where he is. In our own families may be souls hungry for sympathy, starving for the bread of life. There may be children to be trained for Christ. There are heathen at our very doors. Let us do faithfully the work that is nearest. Then let our efforts be extended as far as God’s hand may lead the way. The work of many may appear to be restricted by circumstances; but, wherever it is, if performed with faith and diligence it will be felt to the uttermost parts of the earth.”—Ibid.
3. REACHING ALL CLASSES OF PEOPLE
a. How do we know that God is not a respecter of persons? Romans 2:11; Matthew 5:45; 1 John 2:2.
“Christ recognized no distinction of nationality or rank or creed. The scribes and Pharisees desired to make a local and a national benefit of the gifts of heaven and to exclude the rest of God’s family in the world. But Christ came to break down every wall of partition. He came to show that His gift of mercy and love is as unconfined as the air, the light, or the showers of rain that refresh the earth.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 25.
b. How did Jesus teach us by precept and example that the gospel should be preached to the lower classes, the poor, the sick, and the outcasts? John 4:5–9; Matthew 9:10–13; 10:7, 8.
“At the table of the publicans [Christ] sat as an honored guest, by His sympathy and social kindliness showing that He recognized the dignity of humanity; and men longed to become worthy of His confidence. . . .
“Though He was a Jew, Jesus mingled freely with the Samaritans, setting at nought the Pharisaic customs of His nation. In face of their prejudices He accepted the hospitality of this despised people. He slept with them under their roofs, ate with them at their tables—partaking of the food prepared and served by their hands—taught in their streets, and treated them with the utmost kindness and courtesy.”—Ibid., p.26.
c. How do we know that Jesus also ministered to the middle and upper classes? John 3:1–3; Matthew 8:5–10; Luke 19:1–5.
“Christ preached the gospel to the poor, but He did not confine His labors to this class. He worked for all who would hear His Word—not only the publican and the outcasts, but the rich and cultivated Pharisee, the Jewish nobleman, the centurion, and the Roman ruler. This is the kind of work I have ever seen should be done.”—Evangelism, p. 549.
4. PREREQUISITES FOR THE COMING OF JESUS
a. What work of the church must be finished before the end comes? Matthew 24:14; Revelation 14:6, 7. To what “end” is here referred and with what glorious event is it connected? Matthew 24:3.
“In the prophecy [Revelation 14:6, 7] this warning of the judgment, with its connected messages, is followed by the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven. The proclamation of the judgment is an announcement of Christ’s second coming as at hand. And this proclamation is called the everlasting gospel. Thus the preaching of Christ’s second coming, the announcement of its nearness, is shown to be an essential part of the gospel message.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 227, 228.
b. To whom was given the work of giving the last message of mercy to the world? Revelation 3:14.
“In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import—the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention.”—Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 19.
c. What is to be the heart yearning of God’s remnant church today, which will carry this work to completion? Psalm 119:125–127.
“Here are given the characteristics of those who shall be reformers, who will bear the banner of the third angel’s message, those who avow themselves God’s commandment-keeping people, and who honour God, and are earnestly engaged, in the sight of all the universe, in building up the old waste places. Who is it that calls them, The repairers of the breach, The restorers of the paths to dwell in? It is God. Their names are registered in heaven as reformers, restorers, as raising the foundations of many generations.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, p. 1151.
5. EMPOWERMENT NEEDED TO FINISH THE WORK
a. What was accomplished by the early church of the first century, and how were they enabled to do this work? Romans 10:18; Colossians 1:23; Acts 1:8.
b. As we seek to evangelize the world today with a population reaching 7 billion people, what should we as reformers remember? Zechariah 4:6; Luke 18:27; 1 Samuel 14:6.
“Human strength is weakness, human wisdom is folly. Our success does not depend on our talents or learning, but on our living connection with God.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 158.
c. What must the church members first experience before they are able to successfully preach the gospel to the world? Acts 3:19, 20. For what then should they plead? Zechariah 10:1.
“The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 611, 612.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What mission was given by Christ to His organized church on earth?
2. Was the commission to preach the gospel given only to ordained ministers?
3. What work will true Seventh Day Adventists be engaged in today?
4. By what power has the work of God on earth been successfully accomplished?
5. What important work must you do to prepare yourself for the refreshing?