The Ascension and the Great Commission!!
And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen………. Luke 24:50-53
Finally, having gone through the Gospel of Luke verse by Verse by the Grace of God, we have finally come to the last verses where we read of Jesus being taken up into Heaven. But we find it very important to repeat the Great Commission as we have considered it in Matthew Gospel.
And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.:, The Lord never leaves His people without Blessing them. Jesus left His Disciples with a Blessing as He departs we also know he gave them a commission before his ascension which we shall consider also.
And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. :They returned with Great Joy. I was thinking they should have been sad that Jesus was finally leaving them. No at all, they were rejoicing that the work of Salvation has been accomplished, Satan had been defeated on the Cross, the reign of Sin was over for those who wanted to b free. They returned to Jerusalem to wait as Jesus told them to wait. Notice what they were doing as they were waiting for the Promise of the Holy Spirit. It was said that, “They were praising and blessing God”. It was in an atmosphere of praise that they waited for the He Baptism of the Holy Spirit. When we Praise God, that is the mark of our faith. Many do not receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit because they don’t have faith. Psalm 106:12 says, “Then they believed His words; They sang His praise.” which means that when you believe in God, you will Praise Him. When you don’t believe in him, you will complain. This is how the Gospel of Luke ended and it is a good thing if we also end our lives singing Praise to the Lord.
The Great Commission is like a Coin with two sides. If you receive a Coin with only One side, you can be sure that it is a Fake!!! There are two sides to the Great Commission, if you are exposed to one side and the other side is left blank, then the Gospel you have received is not Complete. We have the first Part of the Great Commission recorded in Mark’s Gospel and the Other Side recorded in Matthew’s Gospel. Let us Consider it to see if what We have received and taught was complete or not.
#According to Mark’s Gospel.
“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. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”: Many Christians are familiar with the Part of the Great Commission. It has to do with Evangelism. Going to the world where the Gospel has not been proclaimed and established. It is called, “Frontier Evangelism”. And connected with this type of Evangelism there are always Signs and Wonders. Whenever People go out to places where the Word of God and Christ has not been established, Miracles, Signs and Wonders takes place because this is the way God confirms the Gospel by casting out demons, healing the Sicks, speaking in new Tongues etc. It happened in the days of the Apostles and it is still happening today with those who go on this type of Evangelism. I will never dream of going to an area where Jesus has never been preached if I don’t believe that Jesus could heal and cast out demons. How are we going to tell people who have never heard of Jesus and read the Bible that, “This Baby born in Israel 2000 years ago by Virgin Mary is God. And He was Crucified and Rose again is alive today” How are we going to prove it to them? They will think it is a fairy tale!!! The only way we can prove it to them is by saying, “Bring Your sick, Bring Your Demon-possessed and I will prove to you that Jesus is alive today”. This is true and it happens even today. And Everyone who goes out to preach the Gospel in New areas must believe this!!! And the Lord will confirm His words through them.
So we See that the Great Commission according to Mark’s Gospel placed emphasis on Evangelism and working of Signs and Wonders to bring the World to Faith in Christ. But the Great Commission does not stop there!!! Once these people have believed because they have seen Christ Healing the Sick and casting out demons and they have come to accept Christ as their Saviour and their Sins are Forgiven. Then what next? This is exactly where there is a GREAT OMISSION!!! Many Evangelist and Preachers leave it at that and say, “Let’s find another group of people to receive Christ”. And the result is that, they have a bunch of spiritual babies, all born again but none is growing up to maturity. And the Church ends up with like 100 babies with feeding bottles in their mouth all the rest of their lives. Just like the Church in Corinth. Paul told them, I cannot preach anything else to you expect, “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified Because you are babies”. So How will these babies Grow up to Maturity? This is where we need to examine the second side of the Great Commission carefully for this is the part that has not been considered Carefully.
#According to Matthew’s Gospel.
Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore. : This is the First thing we need to understand before we ever go out with the Gospel. We must recognize that we are going out as representative of the One who has ALL authority in Heaven and on Earth. If You have doubts about this, it is better not to go out. This is the Foundation!!! There are Many people who have gone out with the Gospel because they have been told that there are people in need. Of course there are people in need!! But this is not the reason why we must go out. The reason why we must go is because we have come to recognize that Jesus has All authority in Heaven and on Earth and has Commanded Us to Go. If we don’t make this the basis of our going out, then all our services becomes like Social Works. People do Social works to those in need not because they were sent by the Lord. They do it because they saw a need. Jesus said, ” The harvest truly is plentiful, but Labourers are few. Therefore PRAY(Not GO) the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest(Matt 9:34-35)”. If the Lord did not send You and You go out to serve Him because You saw a need, I can guarantee You that you will be frustrated. This is Why we must listen to God and not a Mission Group. We must Listen and wait upon God to Hear Him say to Us Go!!! If We don’t believe Jesus Christ has got ALL authority in Heaven and on Earth and we face situations that seems difficult, then we may begin to Wonder, “Who is in control here?”. Let us therefore seat down first and be established in the fact that ALL authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Jesus before going out.
and make Disciples of all the nations,: After We are sure that Jesus owns all authority, we are now to go to ALL nations and Make DISCIPLES. Notice the difference between the first side of the Commission with this Side. The first side talks about Preaching and bringing them to believe in Christ, but this Part says nothing about bringing them to faith. It emphasizes Making all Nations into Disciples. But wait, if I am a Woman with Children, can I go into ALL the nations to do this? Going to all nations does not mean we have to leave our home and cities we live in. I can go to My Children to Make them Disciples for the Lord. I can go to my neighbours and friends around Me who are not Disciples and seek to make them into one. There may be some whom the Lord has called to travel to other countries and other nations. But you need to see where God has called you to Go. It could be Go to Your work place and Make them Disciples. You don’t have to leave your Job, house and Children to Obey this command. All You have to do is Go and make those in any Nation who are not Disciples into Disciples.
Who is a Disciple? A Disciple is a Learner and Follower. A Disciple is a Person who is Learning to become Like His Master in Every Area. A Disciple is one who looks careful at the things His Master says and does and seek the do the same. We are to Make People into Disciples of Jesus Christ. We are to tell those whom we have led to Christ through Evangelism that, “You are not just going to Heaven when You die, You are to spend the rest of your days on Earth looking unto Jesus as Your Example. We are to tell them that Jesus came as A Man, tempted in ALL Points exactly as they are, and yet Committed no Sin and that we can walk and live as He did”. We are to Make the Conditions of Discipleship so clear to them at the beginning. There are Three Conditions of Discipleship.
(1). If anyone comes to Me and does not HATE his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he CANNOT be My disciple(Luke 14:26).: We must teach new converts that they have to Love Jesus More than they Love their Parents, their Wife, husband and Children, and the Brothers and Sisters in the Church. We must teach them to love Jesus in such a Way that others will think we hate them because we seek to please God and not them.
(2). And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me CANNOT be My disciple(Luke 14:27).: we are to teach new Converts how to deny themselves, how to put their ego, reputation, Honour and that thing Called, “Our Life” to Death in order to be filled with the Life of Christ. We are to teach them how to live a Crucified Life that never gets angry, never lose His Joy, never fights for His rights, never seeks His own.
(3). Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple(Luke 14:33): We are to teach new Converts never to be attached to Material possessions. They must learn to give them up to God like Abraham offered Isaac to God. God may allow us to use it, but we must always recognize that it is not our own. So we don’t lose our Joy if it got stolen or damaged. Because we forsook it long time ago.
In summary, basically Discipleship is leading people to a state where they Love Jesus More than any Human or Material possession. Leading people to a state where they Love Jesus supremely. Leading people to Faith without making them Disciples is like half baked cake. Not Good for the Tommy!!!
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: There is only one God, but He is Manifested in Three Persons. This is a great Topic on it’s own. And our small mind cannot comprehend How Possible this is but it is the Truth. Just like a dog cannot explain a Man, so also we cannot Explain God fully. And we must be Humble enough to say, “I can’t explain the Trinity But I believe it is True because the Bible says so, My Small Mind may not be able to comprehend the mighty nature of God but that Does not change who God is. So we are to teach People the necessity of baptism in the Name of the Father, the Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. And teach them that God is a Trinity(3 in 1. That is, 1*1*1=1).
Teaching them to observe ALL THINGS THAT I HAVE COMMANDED YOU: After baptism, what next? Are they just to do nothing? Not at all. We must teach them How to Obey ALL that Jesus Commanded. We must teach them by our lives and experience How to obey the Commands of Jesus. This is more than intellectual study of the Bible. It is teaching them how to actually obey what Jesus taught in the Bible. It is not just telling people that Bible says, “Don’t get angry, don’t Lust after a Woman, Don’t seek Honour from Men, don’t Judge, don’t seek to impress people, don’t lay Treasure on Earth, Don’t lie, Don’t worry(Matt 5,6,7)etc. Rather it is teaching them How We have obeyed the commands of Jesus in our personal walk with the Lord. It is like swimming, you can’t teach swimming on a chalkboard. You have to jump into the water and tell others to look at the way you move your hands and legs so that they can also follow. To know ALL that Jesus has commanded, we have to study the Scriptures. We cannot know His Commands if we don’t read the Scriptures. The Bible is the only Book God has given to Man and it must be our Longing to read and study it carefully to know what the Lord has commanded. It is an insult to have the Bible written in your language and Yet fail to read it. I perceive the reason why people don’t read their Bible is that deep down in their hearts, they don’t believe that it is God’s word. Jesus says, ” If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever(John 14:15-16)”. The prove that we Love Jesus is in whether we keep His Commandments or not. And in case you find the commands so hard to keep, He has promised to send us the Holy Spirit who will help us by giving us power and strength from within to do that which we could not do ordinarily. Pray a little prayer and say, “Lord, before I Leave this Earth, I want to obey Every Single Commandment You have given for Christians. Not the ones You gave to Israel like keeping the Sabbath and killing Lamb and stuffs like that. But EVERY Commands that is given for Christians, I want to obey EVERY Single one of them!!! “Do you want to leave this Earth without obeying one command? For example Jesus says,” Love Your enemies”. This is why God gave us enemies. So that we can love them and keep His commands. I thank God for every person who thinks I am his enemies or hates Me. At least, they give Me an opportunity to obey God’s commandment. Many people who sing on Sundays saying they love Jesus don’t really love Him because they are not interested in keeping His commandments, they are not even interested in finding out ALL THAT JESUS HAS COMMANDED. This is the work of a Local church. A Church must lead people to a Life of obedience to ALL that Jesus taught. This is the Great Omission in the Great Commission!!! We need to belong to a Church that teaches us to do ALL that Jesus commanded. Not a Church that has good musical instruments and structure. We should also belong to a Church that teaches us to Claim ALL the Promises for Christians in the Bible. A Church that shows us the difference between the Promises in the Old Covenant and the one in the New Covenant. I still see a lot of people going to claim Promises meant for the Nation of Israel which are all based on Material things because they have not be taught that God has provided something better.
lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen : This is a wonderful Promise!!! Do you want the presence of the Lord to be with You always till the end of the age? Then make it your aim to Make Disciples of those whom the Lord has given to You. Teach them how to obey ALL that Jesus Commanded in the Bible. Teach them how You have obeyed the same Commands and be an Example to them. Tell them to follow You as You Follow Christ. If You make this Your Goal, then You will experience the Presence of the Lord with You always till the end of Your Life.
Dear Friend, Be Honest with Yourself. Are You a Disciple or a Mere Convert? Have You been Taught How to obey ALL THAT JESUS COMMANDED? Is This the Goal of Your Church? Have you been taught How to Fulfill the three basic Conditions of Discipleship? Could this be the Reason why You are not Enjoying Your Christian Race? Could This Be the Reason why You are so confused about Christianity? Could it be that You are Half baked because You have not been exposed to the other side of the Great Commission?. Is Your Church Teaching You to Obey ALL that Jesus taught? When You stand before the Lord, You will have no excuse and say, “You did not know and that you were deceived by Your Church”. Because you have the Bible but failed to study it. Seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit for without His Powers, You CANNOT Keep the Commands of Jesus. May the Lord give us Grace to continue to Learn and Follow Jesus as Disciples till the end of our lives(Amen). God bless You. Have a blessed day.
#Everyday with Jesus.