Published December 4, 2008
Matt. 9:35-38, 28:19-20 Rom. 15:23-28
Related Sunday School Lesson, Bible Studies for Life, Dec 14
This week’s lesson serves to motivate every true believer to be involved in missions. While it is true that God does not call every person to go as a missionary to a foreign field, He does expect us to support missions in every aspect. We are to be missionaries wherever He places us, we are to give financial support for missions, and we are to pray for the missions efforts taking place all over the world. Note from today’s scriptures:
Compassion of the Savior - Matt. 9:35-38
The scene presented here was a common occurrence in the life and ministry of our Savior. The passages points out:
First we note the pity of the Savior (v. 36). Our Lord is presented in the Gospels as the compassionate one. He had compassion for those who met with misfortune (Mt. 20:34). He wept over the city of Jerusalem (Mt. 23:37). He pitied those who were diseased (Mk. 1:41). He wept with those who were bereaved (Jn. 11:35).
And in this passage He shows compassion towards the masses because of their perilous condition. They are like “sheep without a shepherd.”
Notice also, the plight of the harvest (v. 36). The Lord refers to the multitude as being a harvest ready to reap. This writer, having been a farm boy, knows something about the harvest. The harvest is valuable. It must be gathered or it will be lost.
All the time, labor, and expenses are spent with the expectation that a valuable harvest will be the results. There never seems to be enough laborers at harvest time. All other priorities are put aside with undivided attention placed on gathering the harvest.
Also, the time is always short for reaping. Does not our Lord remind us in John 9:4 that the time is short for reaping the harvest of souls all across the world?
Notice thirdly, the prayer for workers (v. 38). If we are truly concerned about the multitudes, our first course of action will be to pray. Genuine heartfelt praying helps us get a true vision of the harvest enabling us to see the harvest as Christ sees it.
When we pray, we personally will want to become more involved in missions. Not only are we to pray for missions, we are to pray for God to send missionaries to the fields of wasting harvest. God responds when His people pray.
Commission of the saints - Matt. 28:19-20
The disciples are commanded to go into all the world and make disciples. The Jews had expected they were the only ones to be included in the blessings of the Messiah. This commission from the Lord forms the foundation for their authority to go to regions beyond to bring the Gentiles to the knowledge of himself. Notice in these verses:
The people of the commission are identified (v. 19) – “Go Ye” the commission is given to Christians, those that are true followers of Christ. Each and every one of us in the body of Christ has an obligation. We were lost “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel” (Eph. 2:12), we received the gracious invitation to “come.” Once we are saved we are given the marching orders to “go.” The order is given by our Lord, not one time, but is repeated several times in the New Testament.
The places of the commission are specified (v. 19) – “All nations” The commission of Christ is given again in The Book of Acts. The disciples were told to start where they were, go to the regions around, and on to the far ends of the earth. Yes sir!
The gospel of redemption is applicable to every generation and to all people. We, the church, do not have the option to choose whether or not we will go, rather we have the obligation to go to the “uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The plan for the commission is finalized (v. 19) – “Teach and baptize.” God’s plan is for the Church to be in the business of evangelism. We are to be witnesses to the lost world in a way that converts are made and brought into a saving relationship with Christ.
We are commissioned to baptize them in the name of Christ. Baptism is the way of identifying with the one in whose name they are baptized. New converts are to be publicly baptized as an emblem of the new life they have received through their individual faith in Christ.
A presence for the commission is verified (v. 20) – “I am with you.” The task of making disciples from all nations, tribes, and peoples is a job too big for us to handle in our own human strength.
We must have a power other than ourselves. We have the promise of his presence and power when we go in His name.
Compliance of a servant - Rom. 18:23-28
The apostle Paul, speaking in this passage, was a devout servant of Christ. He was called to go to the Gentiles, specifically, with the message of redemption. In compliance to that call he is committed to carrying the gospel message to the far ends of the world.
Paul’s life and ministry provide us with a good example of the characteristics of a missionary for Christ. Paul had assurance of his own salvation. He most definitely knew he had the call of Christ on his life. Paul had a genuine love for souls and a burning desire to see the lost come to Christ. And Paul knew something of the life changing power of the gospel of Christ. These character traits are needed by those who would be missionaries for Christ.
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