OceanSide church of Christ

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Wayne Rodgers


A.   Jesus began his ministry teaching people that the kingdom of God was near, they should repent.  His ministry lasting for some 3 1/2 years, he taught men (called to be apostles) the words of eternal life. (John 6:63) “…The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” Knowing that He would only be here a short time, he prepared them to do a work after he would leave this world.  He was bringing in a new covenant and these men would carry forth this word, teaching people the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ.  Just before he ascended to heaven to be with the Father, he gave a command to his apostles: (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16). These verses are referred to as the “Great Commission.”

B.     The question asked is “Why do we believe in the “Great Commission?” 

1.     To begin with, this is a command of our Lord. In other words, it is imperative to our salvation that we obey all his commands!

2.     It is also given in example as you will see in the lesson, being carried forth by his apostles.

3.     With a command and an example, there should be no question that this is for us to follow.

C.    These commands known as the “Great Commission” and should be seen as marching orders from the captain of the God’s Army. “All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and earth” (Mt. 28:18). God has said of his Son, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him” (Mt. 17:5).

D.   It should be noted that the term “Great Commission” is not used in the Bible, but has been given to show the urgency of the One who gave the command, Jesus Christ.

E.     (Acts 5:17-42) - The apostles were imprisoned for preaching Christ. The high priest and Sadducees were filled w/ indignation (with anger) and laid hands on them putting them in prison.

F.     The Angel of the Lord opened the prison doors by night and commissioned them to “Go, Stand and Speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.” (Acts 5:20)

1.     This is the same commission given to them already, as we refer to the “Great Commission.”

2.     They are just carrying out the commission given to them once already.  They are released from prison and where are they sent?  They are sent right back in the middle of those who just locked them up.

3.     Because of the imprisonment, I’m quite sure they are asking themselves, “Is this what God really expects me to be doing?”

4.     So, the answer they get is with the authority from heaven delivered by this angel saying, “Go, Stand, and speak all the words of this life.”

G.    The Apostles did this, and were again brought before the council for their actions. Peter and the others answered:

“We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things (the apostles are witnesses); and so is the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.”


A.   “GO” - Indicates Action.

1.     Christianity is a religion of going.

a)     (Mark 16:15-16) “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

b)    (Matt 28:19-20) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

c)     (Luke 16) – story of rich man and Lazarus – we have to go because people are lost in sin.  Once they pass from this life unto the next it is too late.  The rich man wanted Lazarus to be able to go back and warn his family who were in sin, but it was not possible. Remember what Abraham told him: “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” (v.31)

d)    It was all about those scriptures, Abraham had said, “Let them hear Moses and the prophets.” (v.30) It was too late for the rich man, but it is not too late for those alive and here this day.  We have a responsibility to the world to let them know the saving message of the Gospel.  Without it, they will have no chance!  We have a GREAT urgency involved with preaching the Gospel b/c lives are at stake!

2.     Christ wants a people of action. A people willing to GO forth taking his message where ever they may go.

a)     Many people feel they are faithful (that they are doing all that is required) just because they attend all the worship services.  But, what about when we are not assembled together, do you turn off some little switch that says, “Christian –OFF.”  Well I certainly hope not, but it seems that is what many Christians do when they leave the worship services.

b)    (Jno. 15:1-8) - We are to be constantly bearing fruit, not to be dead on the vine, and this includes following all his commands.  We are expected to be obedient to all the commands of our Lord (Heb. 5:8-9).  As said before, we believe in the Great Commission b/c it is a command of our Lord and we have also seen it to be given in example to us, as well, from the apostles.

c)     As the branches of the vine, we must receive nourishment, which comes from God’s Word (Acts 20:32) “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

d)    We must weed out all obstacles hindering our growth. We can’t bear fruit with sin in our lives. And if we are not obeying all the commands of our Lord, then there is sin in our lives.  Get rid of it!  Repent and ask God for forgiveness.  This is a great blessing that we have as Christians.  As we make a commitment to GO as we are told, let us not forget that we are told to stand. Again look at (Acts 5:20).

B.     “STAND” - Not standing still, we’ve already seen we have to go, but rather, it means taking a stand for Christ.

1.     A.T. Robertson - “To take a stand is a Bold and pictorial command” (p. 63).

a)     They had been put in jail for preaching the gospel; the angel of the Lord said, go back and do it again.

b)     That’s taking a stand!!!

2.     Have a spirit of conviction. But do not base it on feelings alone as many do, base it on God’s word.  God expects us to stand.  The apostle Paul said that he would “stand in the defence of the Gospel.”

a)     “Be strong and stand” (Eph. 6:10-14) READ

b)    (1Cor 16:13) “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”

c)     Not spineless and cowardly, but courageous and bold.

d)    Joshua was told that no man would be able to stand before him (Josh 1:5,7) “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.”

e)     Just as Joshua was receiving his marching orders from God, we have received our orders and should be all suited-up with the armor of God ready to make a stand.

f)      God was looking for men in Ezekiel’s day of the same caliber – men who would stand in the gap – (Ezek. 22:30) “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” – a sad situation, don’t let this be the case today, make up the hedge, stand in the gap for the cause of Christ.

3.     Elders, Deacons, Preachers, Young, and Old; all Christians must have the courage to stand in order to do battle with Satan (1Pet 5:8-9).  It is b/c of the message we are to carry that we are in such a battle with Satan.  We have the all-powerful weapon that can destroy sin – the Gospel! The power to save mankind. But, we have to be willing to communicate those words and SPEAK!

C.    “AND SPEAK” - Words are the vehicles of communication – one can’t make a stand w/o speaking something! – It is said that in an avg. day a man will speak 25,000 words. In the same day, a woman will speak 30,000 words.  So do not tell me that you cannot say anything to anybody.  If we’re speaking this much in the avg. day what are we saying to people?  You would think we should be able to at the very least squeeze a few words in about Christ!

1.     The Bible teaches that God has communicated his message to mankind.

2.     To David - (2Sam 23:2) “The Spirit of the lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.”

3.     (2 Pet. 1:21) “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

4.     (1Cor 1:18) “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

5.     ( Rom. 10:13-17) READ

6.     To whom are we to speak? THE PEOPLE / What are we to speak?

D.   “ALL THE WORDS OF THIS LIFE” - God did not say, “Take part of the gospel...”

1.     ALL the words of this life!

2.     To take the whole gospel into the entire world. This is what the “Great Commission” demands of us. Why?  B/c this is not cafeteria-style religion.

-        That is drive up service and order what you want from a menu – but give me the whole thing, I want it all: I want the OT law and the prophets which give us great lessons of obedience (Rom. 15:4); I want the NT which tells of the Savior’s coming to this earth, living as a man, humbling himself to obedience, even the death of the cross; I want all the letters in the NT which tell me how to live as a child of God and how I can be faithful to my Lord.

-        I want it all!

-        But, the majority of people only want bits and pieces of it.

3.     We cannot ignore the part of the gospel with which we are not comfortable.

a)     Some will not speak about the plan of salvation, for fear of hurting others feelings.

b)     Some will not speak on baptism; b/c there is just way too much controversy over it.

c)       Some will not speak on marriage, divorce and remarriage.

d)     Some will not speak on immorality of today & still some others only preach morality and fail to preach the basics leaving a generation of Christians lacking in the fundamental basis for their faith.

e)      Some won’t mention repentance, assembling with the saints, withdrawing fellowship, marking and avoiding those who teach false doctrine, etc.

f)      We cannot seek to please God and men.  We have to be bold, as the apostles were convicted to obey God rather than men making a stand and speaking all the words of life.

4.     Note what the angel said, “the words of this life.” – Very similar to what Jesus said:

5.     (Jno. 6:63, 68) “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life. – Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”


A.   Rejoice in the fact that the apostles did as instructed. Rejoice in the fact that we were taught the gospel by someone who took the time out of their busy schedules, who also had to overcome their fears of talking to people.

B.     Our encouragement is knowing that we can and have fulfilled God’s great command for us as the church: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel unto every creature: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned.”

C.    We should also be mindful that we need to begin in our very families preaching the gospel, then our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers, and then as we have opportunity teach those abroad into domestic and foreign soils.

D.    What a great example of those who today have brought friends, family & neighbors with them this day!!!

E.     1000’s will be in heaven because of the apostles’ preaching. And if we follow their example and there will be many more in heaven, because of our following this verse in evangelizing. “Go, stand and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

F.     We must obey our Lord to have eternal life.  This means all the commands that he has given.  He is just asking us to finish the work that he started, his apostles continued, and now is left with us.

G.    The Bible teaches us the words of life, which include the plan of salvation

H.   It may be that someone has not obeyed the glorious gospel of our Lord, you can be added to the Lord’s church even tonight if you will –

1.     Hear the word of God – Rom. 10:17

2.     Believe in Jesus Christ – John 8:24

3.     Repent of sin – Acts 17:30

4.     Confess faith in Christ – Matt. 10:32-33

5.     Be baptized for the remission of sins – Acts 2:38; 22:16

I.      Our walk then just begins, we have responsibilities as Christians to live faithful lives unto the Lord, but it may be that upon examination you have not walked with God and are in need of forgiveness, come back to God in full repentance and asking forgiveness.