The Great Commission

The final instruction Jesus gave his apostles is known as the great commission, which is recorded in three of the four Gospels. Upon examination, five different aspects to the great commission are found. The first four are steps to salvation. The fifth is the result of receiving the “power from on high.”

1. belief (mentioned once)
2. repentance (mentioned once)
3. baptism (mentioned three times, including Luke’s comments on “remission of sins,” which we will see later is referring to baptism)
4. the promise of the Father/power from on high
5. miracles and signs

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority is given to Me in Heaven and in earth. Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And, behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the world. Amen.

Jesus instructs His apostles to teach people to do the things He has commanded them. Notice that in verse 19, He says to baptize in the name (singular) of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. So we see that we must use a name when baptizing. Father is not a name, Son is not a name, and Holy Ghost is not a name. These are only titles or ways in which God is manifested. Then what is the name in which we are to be baptized? The name of Jesus!

Mark 16:15-20 And He said to them, Go into all the world, proclaim the gospel to all the creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned. And miraculous signs will follow to those believing these things: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak new tongues; hey will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will be well. Then indeed, after speaking to them, the Lord was taken up into Heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And going out, they proclaimed everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the Word by miraculous signs following. Amen.

Here we find belief, baptism, and miraculous signs mentioned. Notice that one of the signs is speaking with tongues, or speaking in a language other than one’s native tongue.
Although some people say the speaking with tongues is of the devil, such an erroneous belief is not found in the Bible. In fact, Jesus himself said that those who believe shall speak with new tongues. In I Corinthians 14:39, the apostle Paul said, “Forbid not to speak with tongues.”

Luke 24:44-53 And He said to them, These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms about Me. And He opened their mind to understand the Scriptures. And He said to them, So it is written, and so it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be proclaimed in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of My father on you. But you sit in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high. And He led them out as far as Bethany. And lifting up His hands, He blessed them. And it happened as He blessed them, He withdrew from them and was carried up into Heaven. And worshiping Him, they returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.

Jesus gave his apostles understanding, so we can be sure that when they said something they knew what they were talking about.
Repentance and remission of sins are also listed here in Luke’s recording of the great commission.
We shall see later in this lesson that the “promise of my Father” refers to the gift of the Holy Ghost.

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