P.S. – The Story Continues
Pastor Stephen Hayes
Sunday April 23, 2017
Theme – Before Jesus ascended to Heaven, He left instructions known as the Great Commission. The Great Commission not only tells us to teach about Jesus in other countries, but – with equal urgency – to represent Jesus to diverse groups of people in our own, immediate spheres of life.
- A teaching strategy whereby the teacher uses real world events, as they are experienced, to instruct his/her students. The teacher uses examples the students have experienced in order to understand concepts.
- Jesus used this teaching strategy with His followers as He walked with them during His three years of ministry.
- Today, we have the opportunity to use the same strategy to tell others about Jesus as we go through our own lives.
The Great Commission
- The Great Commission is the final instruction Jesus gave His followers before He ascended to Heaven. This instruction is recorded in the Gospels and the first chapter of Acts.
- Matthew records it as: 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.”
- Mark’s writing about the Great Commission includes: 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.
- Looking at the original Greek for the words “nations”, “world”, and “preach” gives understanding of the Great Commission we might otherwise miss.
- The word “nations” in Matthew is the Greek word ethnos. Ethnos includes the idea of different cultures; different types and groups of people.
- The Gospel is meant to be taught to all types of people. This includes the different types of people in our own community and workplace. Luke 10:2 – Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
- Each of us has the assignment to represent our faith in our own walks of life.
- Even when we do not feel qualified to talk about our faith, God will give us the understanding to represent Him well. James 1:5 – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
- The word “world” in Mark is the Greek word kosmos. Kosmos includes the idea of an order, or a system.
- Kosmos can include the different institutions, systems, and spheres within which we live in our society.
- We are familiar with, and are therefore comfortable operating within, these different orders.
- The word “preach” in Mark is the Greek word kerysso. Kerysso means representing the original teacher by how we present ourselves.
- Our countenance: the way we act, dress, body language, etc. should all be a visible representation of Jesus.
- Not only is it important what we say, it is equally important how we say it and how we present it.
- We should not only say the right things, we should reflect Jesus’ ideas through our entire persona.
The Great Commission in our own community
- When Jesus gave the Great Commission, He intended us to understand it in the context of our own, immediate communities and spheres.
- We are to look for opportunities to interact with all types of people, in all of society’s institutions and groups, and to reflect the nature of Jesus as we do so.
Reflective Questions for P.S. – The Story Continues
- If you had previously understood the Great Commission to only mean teaching Christianity in foreign countries, what new thing did you learn from this message?
- When you think about the different groups of people (or subcultures) in your community, what are some of the groups of people you think of? Do those groups accurately understand Christians? If not, how might one help them better understand our faith?
- Name one system, or institution, within which you operate in your daily life. When Jesus gave the Great Commission, do you think He had that type of system in mind? Why or why not?
- What are some attributes of Jesus’ persona that you would like to reflect as you interact with others who don’t know much about Christianity?