World Mission of the Church - Lesson 3

The Missionary Heart of God in the OT (Part 2)

Mission is the reconciling work of God in the world. Missions is the obedient, Spirit-led strategy and implementation of plans to fulfill God's mission in the world. The basis of the Torah is not untethered from a global heart of God for the nations of the world.  Even in the Writings and the Prophets, the covenant is being celebrated in the context of the nations of the world, including ramifications of both blessing and cursing.

Timothy Tennent
World Mission of the Church
Lesson 3
Watching Now
The Missionary Heart of God in the OT (Part 2)

IV. Missionary Heart of God in the Writings (split at 46:47)

A. Psalm 2

B. Psalm 22

C. Psalm 67

V. Missionary Heart of God in the Prophets

A. Isaiah Chapter 49

B. Isaiah Chapter 54

C. Isaiah Chapter 66

  • For people who are pastors or will serve as pastors, this course will expose you to what you need to know about missions to be effective in the local church. This is also a foundational course for people who are preparing for missionary service by considering topics dealing with practical and theological aspects of missions. For everyone, regardless of your vocation, this course will challenge you to become a world Christian. (Note: It is helpful to know that a pericope [pair – ik – o – pay] is a section of scripture containing a teaching or describing an event.) 

  • Mission is the reconciling work of God in the world. Missions is the obedient, Spirit-led strategy and implementation of plans to fulfill God's mission in the world. The basis of the Torah is not untethered from a global heart of God for the nations of the world.  Even in the Writings and the Prophets, the covenant is being celebrated in the context of the nations of the world, including ramifications of both blessing and cursing.

  • Mission is the reconciling work of God in the world. Missions is the obedient, Spirit-led strategy and implementation of plans to fulfill God's mission in the world. The basis of the Torah is not untethered from a global heart of God for the nations of the world.  Even in the Writings and the Prophets, the covenant is being celebrated in the context of the nations of the world, including ramifications of both blessing and cursing.

  • As the early Christians experience missiological breakthroughs, they will cite the Old Testament because they see these events as a fulfillment of what had already been written. The Abrahamic covenant is cited to demonstrate how God is using the Messiah to bless the nations. The theology of Great Commission found in culminating texts in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and reinforced in Acts 1:8. Jesus repeated the Great Commission to his disciples in different ways and at various times. Matthew’s account begins by saying that Jesus is giving authority by the Father for the extension of His kingdom. God has given us a mandate to present the Gospel publicly to the world, not just to separate into a cultic community. The only main verb in the passage is, “make disciples.” God’s command is to disciple all people groups, not just people in each country.

  • As the early Christians experience missiological breakthroughs, they will cite the Old Testament because they see these events as a fulfillment of what had already been written. The Abrahamic covenant is cited to demonstrate how God is using the Messiah to bless the nations. The theology of Great Commission found in culminating texts in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and reinforced in Acts 1:8. Jesus repeated the Great Commission to his disciples in different ways and at various times. Matthew’s account begins by saying that Jesus is giving authority by the Father for the extension of His kingdom. God has given us a mandate to present the Gospel publicly to the world, not just to separate into a cultic community. The only main verb in the passage is, “make disciples.” God’s command is to disciple all people groups, not just people in each country.

  • The verses that contain Mark's version of the Great Commission first appear in later copies, but there are good reasons to treat these verses as part of the inspired text of the Gospel of Mark. In Mark, the proclamation is to be made to all creation. The emphasis in Mark is preaching. The emphasis in Luke is witnessing. The emphasis in John is sending.

  • Acts 11:20 describes the first time the Gospel is intentionally preached in a cross-cultural situation. A church was planted in Antioch and Saul and Barnabas discipled believers there for a year. The Antioch church sends them out, and they come back and report to them what happened. Both local evangelism to your own people group and cross cultural evangelism are important. 

  • There have been changes in missions between 1792 and the present. Many people credit William Carey with beginning the modern missions movement. The Moravians were taking the Gospel to places all over the world, even before Carey began his ministry. The eras overlap because it takes a while for new ideas to catch on. A key figure in Beachhead Missions is William Carey. In Carey’s book, “An Inquiry,” he challenges the inaction of the church in cross-cultural missions. He says God has given to the Church, the responsibility of spreading the Gospel   to other parts of the world, summarizes missions history, gives anthropological data and discusses practical issues people give for not going. Ultimately, people need to be open to the call of the Holy Spirit and willing to respond to the challenge. Carey’s motto is, “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.” He and Judson wanted to plant churches in a new country. 

  • Hudson Taylor went to China as a first era missionary. Taylor travels inland and pushes the limits of what the missions organizations were willing to do. Frontier missions focused on the interior areas of countries, used a faith missions model for organization and funding, and recruited lay people, including students and women. Contextualization is preaching the Gospel in a way that is sensitive to the recipient.

  • The close of the second era, Beachhead Missions, came in 1974 when Ralph Winter gave his address at the Lausanne Conference on world evangelism. As a result, people began looking at missions in terms of people groups rather than geographic areas. The fourth era of missions emphasizes “by whom” the Gospel is presented. Lausanne II and the Global Consultation on World Evangelization took place in 1989.

  • In this lesson, you will learn that the “ten forty window” is one of the places where there is a concentration of unreached people groups. A window is a way to recognize the big picture while realizing that every local context is unique. The main focus is to look at each of the five mega-spheres and identify what is unique about each one.
  • The “ten forty window” is one of the places where there is a concentration of unreached people groups. A window is a way to recognize the big picture while realizing that every local context is unique. The main focus is to look at each of the five mega-spheres and identify what is unique about each one.

  • It’s helpful to summarize what you need to know as a pastor to communicate to people about missions and what the pathway is to getting prepared to serve as a missionary. Every continent should be a sending and receiving continent. Short term missions is the best thing and worse thing that has happened to the local church.

    Previous to the beginning of the audio, there was a video shown that is not available to us. It was an account of the breakthrough of the gospel into a culture.

  • By studying this lesson, you'll gain insights into the top ten key aspects of 21st-century missions, including their holistic approach, indigenous leadership, partnerships, technology, urbanization, short-term missions, Global South's influence, contextualization, business as mission, and diaspora focus.
  • Some mission boards are associated with a denomination and some are independent. Most missions organizations belong either to the IFMA (Interdenominational Faith Missions Association) or EFMA (Evangelical Foreign Missions Agency). Fundamentalist missions organizations each have a specific focus. The steps you go through before you go to the mission field are designed to help you get good training and build a team that will support you. Churches are tending to provide a larger percentage of support for fewer missionaries. Terms are usually 3-4 years at a time. Your first term is usually spent just learning the language and culture. Missionaries spend time between terms connecting with people and preparing to return. People often are more receptive to the Gospel when they are living in a culture other than their native culture. Air travel and email have made asynchronous relationships possible. People with professional training have access to some countries that won't allow people to come in as missionaries.

  • As you consider becoming a missionary, it is helpful to recognize areas in the world where the population predominantly identifies with another religion. Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism are popular with large population groups in the 10-40 window. There are also large immigrant populations in locations throughout the US.

    The map referred to in the lecture with the world religions color coded is not available to us.

  • Hinduism is practiced by a large percentage of the people in India. It also has an impact on the culture and politics of India. Buddhism teaches that there is one path to spiritual enlightenment, as opposed to Hinduism that teaches that there are many. 

  • Understanding world religions affects our strategy and the way we do our ministry around the world. 

    Most people who need a gospel presentation are members of another world religion (e.g., Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism). We study other religions so we know the context of belief of that people group. Identification vs. extractionist model. By understanding the teachings of different religions, you can explain the gospel in terms they can understand. Muslims agree on many parts of the Old Testament but don't believe in the Trinity or that Jesus is God. Religions in China and Japan emphasize sincerity, orderliness and personal and public conduct based on precedent. 


Recognizing the responsibility of all Christians to complete Christ’s commission, this course gives an overview of the strategic and historical progress of worldwide missions today. The ways in which a local congregation can fulfill its worldwide biblical mandate are also considered.

Recommended Books

How God Saves the World: A Short History of Global Christianity

How God Saves the World: A Short History of Global Christianity

In a world awash with mission statements, the Christian mission is increasingly becoming white noise, lost in a sea of marketing language and organizational best practices....

How God Saves the World: A Short History of Global Christianity
Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-First Century

Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-First Century

Invitation to World Missions "combines a strong biblical anchor with practical suggestions. This unique text is arranged in three parts according to the Trinity's...

Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-First Century
Encountering Theology of Mission: Biblical Foundations, Historical Developments, and Contemporary Issues

Encountering Theology of Mission: Biblical Foundations, Historical Developments, and Contemporary Issues

This fresh, comprehensive text fills a need for an up to date theology of mission. It offers creative approaches to answering some of the most pressing questions in theology...

Encountering Theology of Mission: Biblical Foundations, Historical Developments, and Contemporary Issues

Dr. Timothy Tennent
World Mission of the Church
The Missionary Heart of God in the OT (Part 2)
Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] The following lecture is provided by biblical training. The speaker is Dr. Timothy Tennant. More information is available at W ww w dot Biblical Training dot RG. Well, good morning. I just wanted to clarify. I just wrote this up there, though. It's a little blurry because this is the last part of the sheet, the actual Hebrew found in the Abrahamic covenant text. The two phrase was put into yesterday that some of you asked about. I thought I'd go ahead and just put it up there for you and how it's translated, actually, both in the Septuagint and in its quotations in the New Testament. The two phrases that we were discussing were called Mr. Mahat, which is like all tribes or all families, I think we use the word families. Yesterday, some people I think that the Kaiser translate all clans. Which is quoted in Acts 325, which we'll look at in passing today by the Apostle Peter. Also translated their various ways in English, including families and tribes. That kind of language. Actually, this occurs in the initial Genesis 12 three text. And then interestingly, the phrase occurs in the Jacob Renewal of the Covenant and the three parts of the Covenant in Abrahamic Covenant. The repeat Abraham in both 18, 18 and 22. It uses called Goya all the nations, which is interestingly repeated to Jacob in that language. So we actually have two phrases that are used, both of which are people words, not political words. This is translated in Matthew 2019 and many other places as Pontotoc, f nay, all the nations where we get our word ethnic from. Those are the two kind of phrases that we had in play yesterday that we were looking at in reference to the Covenant. There are a number of wonderful books out. 


[00:02:16] The one that I referred to yesterday in passing is the one by our President mission of the Old Testament. Israel as a light to the nations Typical Dr. Kaiser book. It's rooted in really solid scholarship and yet very readable. Very straightforward book. So it's a nice 100 page description of a lot of these texts that we've looked at. He does a lot more. He develops a number of things we don't have time to develop here, such as God's work with individuals in the Old Testament, with Gentiles, Jonah Nahum and a number of interesting texts which we have not had time to deal with. There's also a companion volume put out by Larkin and Williams, William Larkin and Joe Williams, who edited a mission in the New Testament, which is a much more extensive work which would, I guess, mirror a number of things that we're looking at today and goes through. Mission has actually one chapter on Old Testament and Mission and Inner Testament or Judaism. And then in Jesus teaching early church, Paul's epistles and some general considerations and then theological orientation and Paul Mission and Matthew Mission and Mark Mission and Luke Mission and Acts Mission the General Epistles Mission and John's Gospel Mission in Revelation. So a nice basic survey of mission in the New Testament. A couple other books have been put out. One is in the new new studies new theology series called Salvation to the Ends of the Earth, a Biblical Theology of Mission. This is part of a Carson series edited by Peter O'Brien and Justin Berger, and a very, very helpful study of a mission, mainly dealing with the New Testament text. A lot of exegetical stuff, though. None of these books deal, I think very well with the Great Commission. 


[00:04:08] So we'll be dealing with that today. And then the Gospel to the Nations, which is entirely focused on the Pauline theology of missions, which is quite a large book. Again, edited by Peter Bolt and Mark Thompson with a number of people contribute, including former professor here, Moses Silver. So you'll find these books helpful. I'll leave them down here. So during the break you can have a look at them. If you'd like to explore any of these matters further. They're there for you. So we're ready to begin. I'm trying to think. I'm trying to see who I know out here. There's a lot of new people, John. There's got to be a John here. You're John. You're from the South, right? Okay. I recognize it. John, we're going to ask you to pray for us this morning. Would you be kind enough to do that for us? Thank you. Thanks. Thank you for all. You've made me think that you are Lord over all your. Right that you would. To strengthen our communities. It teaches us. Glass of. He wants to learn to listen. Up for the sake of your name. You. And then. Today, our main purpose is to actually launch into a study of the Great Commission passages in the New Testament. I will make a few passing comments that we didn't have time to look at yesterday. I can't help but mention that today is January 6th. A fixed holiday in the church. Which what is this festival today? Today's The Epiphany. It's one of the fixed holidays. It's always falls on January 6th. What is the great festival of Epiphany about? The coming of the wise men. Very good. We have somebody here from his church background. It's not a pagan thing to celebrate an epiphany. 


[00:06:27] It's not a bad thing. It's a wonderful thing to celebrate the epiphany, because it is part of the revelation, the glorious revelation of the Messiah in the world. The early church, early on dedicated it to the wise men. And it's interesting because in modern practice, you know, of course, the wise men have been pushed into the Christmas tide account. So we have, you know, shepherds and wise men all there together, which, as you know, is part of the popular rendition of the account, not a biblical rendition of the account at all. Because, you know, I'm sure Matthew's gospel is the gospel that gives us the wise man. And it's clearly not anywhere near the stable in Bethlehem that we often do in our text at some time, some two years subsequent to the fact that the wise men come. So if you actually look in a proper hymnal that really does the church here properly and has Helms for each season of the year, for example, and you know, Advent, Christmas tide, epiphany, the three seasons that we're now passing through, you'll notice that we Three Kings of Orient are is found in the Epiphany section, not in the Christmas section. From our point of view, the reason this day is especially important is the thing that you actually never hear about, because I've heard so many sermons on the wise man, you know, the three gifts and, you know, gold, frankincense, myrrh and all kinds of symbolic examination of that, which I'm sure is is really great, inspiring. You have a lot of discussion about them, as you know, kings or royalty, though, that's really questionable whether that's, in fact, what they're talking about with the text talks about what the thing that you very rarely really hear about is the theological significance of this. 


[00:08:21] Because the real the real amazing thing is that you have these Gentiles showing up and bowing down to Jesus. The nations of the world are coming to Jesus. That's the very first thing that happens in Matthew's gospel. And it's interesting, Matthew of known to be the gospel oriented to to Jews, actually has this wonderful bookends of his gospel, where he starts out with the Gentiles coming to the feet of Christ, clearly a reference to Isaiah. The nations will come to the brightness of your rising. And here you have the nations coming to Jesus, bowing down. And of course, it's in Matthew's gospel ends with go and make disciples of all nations, Pontotoc ethnic. So it's a quite remarkable that today of all days and happened to fall, that we're looking at the New Testament count. And that's a great thing to look at on the day of Epiphany. But we're not going to be able to examine these accounts because of our time. But I do want us to move ahead and make a few comments in passing about the New Testament. And what I want to demonstrate simply is that as you go through the New Testament, you will find repeatedly that as they experience what we call mythological breakthroughs, and I don't mean just the Gentile ministry, which is of course is the one we're most interested in. But even in general, they will cite the Old Testament as being fulfilling the Old Testament. This happens in Acts 325 where not in a reference to the Gentiles per say, but in general the breaking of the good news, the gospel, good news, having the blessing of the Messiah. He doesn't view it as a new thing, but as clearly a fulfillment of the Old Testament. 


[00:10:19] In fact, he says next. 325 You are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said, The Abraham, through your offspring, all peoples on Earth will be blessed. And again, he quotes the actual language of Genesis 12, and this is the passage I mentioned where we have the the passage high Part three. He doesn't he doesn't actually use the Pontotoc nay. He used the reference to call Eberhart, which is the Genesis 12 text quoted explicitly by Peter in Acts 325. Again, he cannot conceive of the messianic breakthrough apart from it being a fulfillment of the old covenant, which is his covenant. Only company has only come and he knows this is their Bible, the old covenant. You have this brought out in Romans as well. These are just a few quick examples of this to give you some orientation. But over in Romans chapter four, when Paul discusses in this case the Gentile breakthrough, he's trying to demonstrate for his readers the whole nature of justification by faith, which transcends obedience to the law and Jewish ethnicity. And therefore, he says in verse 16 will read 1618 Therefore, the promise comes by faith. So that may be by grace and maybe guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. Now, this is this theological distinction, which I didn't argue is clear in Genesis 12, but is certainly clear theologically. And Paul, that this multiplication of the nations could include not just multiplication numerically of Judaism, but also by virtue of the faith of the people of God through the Gentiles, which are innumerable as it comes out to be, as is written. 


[00:12:27] I have made you a father of many nations. I quote from Genesis 17, verse five. So here Paul quotes the Abrahamic promise of making him the father of many nations, tying it in only to the kind of the empirical multiplication of Judaism that we saw fulfilled in Deuteronomy. When Moses looked out and saw the people and said, You are as many as the stars in the sky. But now Paul extends it to include all those who belong to Abraham and be can be called can call Abraham, father those of the faith of Abraham. So this would actually be inclusive and exclusive. Paul would not be emphasizing the ethnicity of those who do not come to Israel, but her ethnically from Abraham, like the sons of Ishmael, which could be many of the Islamic nations of the world, but actually emphasizing those who are of the faith of Abraham, which would include those true descendants of Israel, which would be the remnant who have believed and accepted the Messiah, as well as all those who are now coming to the faith of Abraham and would also call him father. He says here quite plainly, he is the father of us all. So you find that the Abrahamic promise is important to the New Testament to demonstrate the way God is using the Messiah to bless the nations. You find this also borne out in Romans 15, 8 to 12. Now, in this passage, again, Paul is describing the fact that the gospel is breaching Jewish walls, and yet he makes it very clear that the the fact that the gospel is now going to Gentiles is not something that the Jews should be alarmed about. This, of course, is the big controversy of Paul's ministry. And so Paul very carefully seeks to demonstrate that this is in fulfillment of what we find repeatedly in the old covenant. 


[00:14:39] So Romans 15 The Apostle Paul demonstrates a long series of text. Which are quotations from a whole series of places in the Old Testament. Interestingly enough, though, these are all fabulous texts which bring out the the light to the Gentiles. None of these texts do we look at yesterday. So this is just giving you a little feel for the breadth of this. We were only able to look at a couple of texts, but Paul quotes a whole line of text here, none of which were part of our study yesterday. So this gives you a feel for the richness of this theme. He says, beginning in verse eight. Fry. I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God's truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God for His mercy as it is written. And then here begins the series. Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles. I will sing hymns to your name. Second Samuel, 22, verse 50, and Psalm 1849. And again it says, Rejoice O Gentiles with his people generally 30 to 43. And again, praise the Lord all you Gentiles and sing praises to Him, all you peoples, again, quoting both the missed language as well as the gay language called gay, which in the Greek, the f nei language gentiles is f nay. Praise him, all you Gentiles, praise him, all you peoples. Again, Psalm 117, Beautiful Psalm. And again, Isaiah says the root of Jessie will spring up. One who will rise to rule over the nations. The Gentiles will hope in him. Isaiah 11, verse ten. We only look to the latter part of Isaiah. So here you have Paul rooting the entire ministry to the Gentiles as part of the Old Testament. 


[00:16:43] And of course this culminates in this marvelous which my wife and I dedicated this when we met as our life verse or a verse that has guided us in our prayers and God's work in our life, our Romans 15, 2021. It's always in my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so I would not be laying on some Mountains foundation, rather that is written. Those who were not tolerant will see those who have not heard will understand. So Paul is his whole life is driven by this theology, and he does not see it as a new intervention, but as clearly as a fulfillment of the old covenant. Let me just show you one other thing that's I think really fascinating in terms of Paul's use of the Old Testament. Paul also over an ax 13. Maybe just to connect with the various strands because we've seen how he quotes the Abrahamic strand and in the Psalm 117 from the writings, there's also see how Paul's use of this great text and Isaiah 49 verse six, which is found in Acts 13. Though, the context of Acts 13 is the unbelief that the Apostle Paul was meeting in the synagogue ministry. So, as you know, the practices go to a new village. Preach in the synagogue. The synagogues have various kinds of responses. Sometimes there's people who are eager to hear more. Some follow. Others reject some of their total rejection. This is a fairly divisive event. They go into the synagogue. They are invited to come back and speak the next Sabbath. But many of the Jews and this is verse 43, began to talk derisively against them. And by the next verse 44, which is the next Sabbath, the whole city comes out to hear the word of the Lord. 


[00:18:42] Nothing like a controversy to bring the crowds out. So the Jews were filled with jealousy when they saw the big crowd coming out in verse 45 and beginning to speak abusively against what Paul is saying. So listen to the Pauline response, because this is what is actually one of the turning points in the Pauline shift to giving the minister to the Gentiles. Then Paul environments for his 46 answered them boldly. We had to speak the Word of God to you first since you rejected and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life. We now turn to the Gentiles for. This is what the Lord has commanded us. And we'll have to come back to that phrase a minute. But then he quotes Isaiah four and six. I have made you a light for the Gentiles that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth and of course, the Gentiles that were there rejoice that the word was being given to them. And of course, it comes back to this marvelous balance of the sovereignty of God. Those who are appointed for eternal life believed. Now, what is fascinating is in the Paul quotes the tags exactly as appears in the Septuagint. I have made you singular. I have made you singular. A light for the Gentiles, a reference, as we saw yesterday, to the suffering servant to the Messiah. Christ is the light to the Gentiles, so that you, singular Christ, may bring salvation to the ends of the earth. Paul, in quoting it does not say this is what the Lord has commanded about him. But has commanded us. So Paul makes this connection in his ministry that the way the seed of Abraham is Galatians three eight. Paul points out, the way this blessing happens is through the ministry and preaching of the church, and we'll see how this is founded in the our study and then of the Great Commission texts later. 


[00:20:55] But Paul sees the church, or at least his missionary band and part fulfilling Christ ministry of being a light to the Gentiles. So that of course, is very important theologically because we have to ask ourselves, it's one thing to say Christ is the light to the nations, but what is the our role in that? How do we become bearers of the light of Christ to the nations? This is a important consideration. So Paul clearly makes this connection, his ministry connected to the light of Christ, to the Gentiles, again, quoting to the Jews, their own text, quoting the Jews, Isaiah 49 six. Again, all this, even the Jews rejection, the turning to the Gentiles is all rooted in a fulfillment of Old Testament promises that are anticipated in the in the text. So these are all wonderful things to explore. And I hope and pray that you take time to do that as as you're able. Another very rich theme. Well, Galatians three eight, our mission passing. This is where Paul does almost a midrash interpretation of the Abrahamic promise, where he makes a big point of the fact that Genesis 12 says and in your seed, all the nations of the earth will be blessed. It's in Galatians three eight that Paul makes the application that God didn't say in your seeds but your seed, and He makes this reference to the Abrahamic Covenant, referring to Christ that there is not just that through all the Jewish descendants, the world we blessed, but through a particular descendant of Abraham Christ is through him, that the fulfillment of the covenant takes place. So essentially Paul is making the connection that the Abrahamic Covenant was there. God does did intent from the beginning to bless all the nations, but it was not possible to be fulfilled entirely through the life and witness of Israel. 


[00:23:03] It was only really made possible, as we now know, to be true through the Ministry of Christ and the life of Christ, who is the true light which cometh into the world as as John's gospel begins. So Paul ties into that and actually uses this distinction of seed and seeds to make that point theologically. In Galatians three eight, again quoting the Abrahamic Covenant, Genesis 12. You also find I didn't mention here, but if you look at the Book of Revelation, the word nations appears more times in Revelation than any other book in the New Testament. Many, many rich themes there. John, seeing the nations for the throne of grace in fulfillment of the great promise. What I want to spend the balance of our time on, though, is to a more focused examination of the Great Commission text, because here I think it would be worthwhile to have a little more, not just a kind of a run through like this, but actually a more careful, considerate study because I think this is lacking in some of these text. And secondly, I think it's places that we would naturally want to turn to need to have a good understanding of these text if we're going to give leadership to the church in regards to two missions. So any questions, comments before we begin to look at these passages in the gospels to let them know what you're saying? I'll give you that. You mean an ax through 25? Yes. Well, to prepare for this match. Three $0.45 to get at the top rate. But it isn't just being right at the Acts 325 tax, at least in Peter's application of it in that sermon does not mention the nations or Gentiles per se. Because the context of it is just part of the joy of this Jewish man who is healed. 


[00:25:05] So it seems that at least at that point, though, he does quote the text that Peter is mainly seen it as God's blessing on his people. In your seed, all peoples will be blessed. And that's partly, you know, the first part, you know, I will bless you and make and bless your your descendants. So I think it would be a bit much perhaps to read too much into Peter's quotation of it. But it is quite interesting that he quotes that passage, which has so much more. That, of course, Peter gradually comes to recognize through the visions and so forth, as you mentioned. That's a good point. The whole x15, you know, Jerusalem Council is is really, really fascinating. We spend a lot more time with this and other classes. The implications of this, the Jerusalem Council and what it means and how they begin to understand the Gospel and the Old Testament in light of what God is doing on the ground, the facts on the ground and the Cornelius household is the point where this actually begins to make a theological breakthrough. I mean, what the way I often put it in explaining it to two churches is that when we read the Acts 15 account, the way we normally read it, and this is certainly appropriate, is is the story of Cornelius, his conversion to the Christian faith. And that's certainly, you know, a major storyline. But that storyline is actually only the main storyline if you read just that per copy. If you actually look back at the whole book of Acts, the real story of Acts, the interaction with Cornelius is not as much about the conversion of Cornelius, but the conversion of Peter, because Peter's the one that goes away transformed as much as Cornelius. 


[00:26:53] I mean, Cornelius, of course, passes into eternal life, praise God. But I mean, Peter has been gone through a theological revolution. And so the whole tenor of the Book of Acts changes because of the encounter of Cornelius, because now we have facts on the ground. The Holy Spirit calls down upon the household. They're speaking in tongues. Peter says, Wow, they receive the spirit just like we did. And you have this interesting thing that Peter does when he describes it. He uses the language of us, and then God did to them what he did to us. And so that he and he said he made no distinction, but he's still using the language of us and them. This is still the language of opposition. There's Jews, there's Gentiles where the insiders, they're the outsiders. So you have this even though Peter is celebrating the oneness in Christ and he's trying to come to grips with it, he cannot help but use the language of us and them. And practically speaking, that's how people groups are defined where where it stops and the them begins. And along those lines, if you're if you're part of the US, you always know where that line is. And it's not until we get into the book of Ephesians, where Paul powerfully, powerfully describes this whole thing that's happened that he of course is leading. And Paul says the dividing wall of hostility is in broken down and there's no longer Jew and Gentile, but we're one in Christ. This is a very powerful moment. Paul is talking about the body of Christ, not two bodies, not a Jewish body who has their, you know, messianic fulfillment and gentile body that is receiving gentile promise. In the Old Testament, Paul has seen the body of Christ, Jews and Gentiles sitting down together, not a US and them, but in all of an US group. 


[00:28:47] It's what Andrew Wallace calls the Ephesians moment. And this is this is the great back to our brother's question. Yes, our diversity. This is really the great turning point to discuss theologically the whole issue of diversity that was discussed yesterday in passing. Because if you go at the Gospel saying my own ethnicity and my own background and my, you know, my African ness, Indian ness, European, this whatever has priority or that because God values that, that is the way I interpret the New Testament. Then you missed the whole point of diversity in how the church works it out. Because they didn't. They did not. Retain their ethnicity that way. What they did was they came into the gospel and Jesus fills the whole frame. Everything is surrendered to Christ on the cross and in the Gospel. Everything. We are our language, our ethnicity, everything. But then the beautiful thing about it is once we surrender it all to him, he gives it back to us. He can infuse it with greater meaning. And so you realize at the cross, you know, I can be an African. I can be in the case of the Ephesians moment, I can be a Jew or a Gentile. Those are really a cultural realities. But those are God's gifts back to us. And those are to be celebrated. But the first great fight must be the Ephesians moment that the dividing walls of hostility are broken down. And in Revelation again, one of those great texts is the leaves are for the healing of the nations, the healing of the ethnicities. You have this all this strife and conflict, which ultimately the Gospel through Christ, is already broken in to the present age, already bringing healing among the ethnicities. 


[00:30:46] And yet, when John in Revelation sees the ethnic groups of the world, he didn't see just a big glob of people out there, he says, I see people in every tribe language tongue worshiping the lamb. So John sees us in our ethnic diversities that's being celebrated in heaven. It isn't like he sees everybody's been put into set a and yet the unity of worshiping Christ, the unity and diversity is fully manifested in the body of Christ. We need to move on. So let's go now to a more careful study of the Great Commission passages. Let's begin with some definitions to be clear about this praise, Great commission and Great commissions. Again, in popular usage, people talk about the Great Commission, what they normally mean by that, and it was with some in exactitude is the text in Matthew 28, 1928, where Jesus says, Go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize. And in the Father, Son, Holy Spirit teachings are all that I've commanded you. And then with you always, even at the end of the age, that passage is often referred to in the church as the Great Commission. That's an inaccurate designation from our point of view as geologists only because that's just simply one text. So what we talk about the Great Commission is the theology of Great Commission, which is found in a series of culminating text in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John reinforced in Acts one eight, the individual text we call Great commissions, which well, I have it here in the plural, great commissions, referring to the texts in Matthew, the one in Martin, Luke and John, though all of these collectively form the Great Commission. I don't see any theological reason, in short, why Matthew's text should be given priority over Mark or Luke or John's. 


[00:32:52] So we're trying to look at the four text more evenly, though it seems to be that preachers tend to be gravitate toward Matthew because it just I don't know, it just seems to be text that is preached more often in this regard. So let me make some general observations. Let me first give you the text. We're referring to what I'm calling the four great commissions would refer in Matthew to Matthew 28. Really, the whole 16 to 20, which I have quoted before for you. The second is Mark, 16, 15 and 16. Go and preach to every creature that passage. We'll look at all these one by one. The third is the one in Luke 24 4148. You're my witnesses beginning in Jerusalem, which is Reinforce and Luke's companion VI Max 1429, where he says that you're my witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the Earth. That's the last spoken words of Christ before his ascension. And Bethany. And then finally, John, 2021, as the father has sent me, even so, send you. So those are the texts that we are collectively calling the Great Commission and the individual passages we are calling. These are various commission great commissions given by our Lord. Now, what qualifies something as a great commission? Why do we say this? Well, there are several distinguishing features. For I would like to make and let's see if I have this on the overhead. Yes, I do. Praise the Lord. We want to make four general observations about the great commissions. We're not yet looking in particular tax. We're just making some general comments about all of these four passages. Five coming the Act's passage. All of these are post resurrection sayings of Jesus. Now, again, if you look at the data in the New Testament and ask yourself, what do we have from the lips of the risen Lord? What teaching material do we have from the lips of the risen Lord? It's precious little. 


[00:35:09] So the material that does come from the risen Lord is of particular importance. We have references to teaching or the beginning of acts where we're told that Jesus went about preaching on the kingdom. And all this we have in Luke, we have references to the various things that Christ did thematically, but in terms of actual material, we essentially have the Great Commission passages and a few others. So this is important. This represents essentially the embodiment of at least the core teachings of Christ in his post resurrection period. Now, one of the things we have to underscore early on is that we do not have a situation where Christ made a single great commission, which is simply recorded in the four Gospels. Now, that's not that wouldn't be bad if we had that. There's no reason why we have a number of situations where things happen in Christ teaching or in His miracles, like the theme of 5000, which is recorded in all four gospels. But we don't have that here. And I think it's actually to our benefit, and I think we'll see it both through theologically as well as just appreciating the depth of the teaching, because we clearly have the text occurring in a variety of settings. Now that's important because this means that Jesus repeated the Great Commission at various times in place with the disciples. So we have a relatively short period of time between the Easter Resurrection and the Ascension. So here we have this 40 day period, and in only 40 days Christ is repeatedly giving the disciples great commissions. So this adds to the importance of these texts, because this is a something Christ emphasizes every single time he appears to disciples. And that is really, really important. 


[00:37:13] Virtually every time he appears disciples, we have the texts and John, the later texts with the fish, which has various ways of looking at it. Let's just make a note of these different locations in Matthew's account. It is clearly explicitly stated. It's in a mountain in Galilee. So the Matthew text, the first Great Commission occurs in Galilee and is obviously some number of days after the resurrection. We don't know how many days. But if you look at a timeline, if you say, okay, Christ rose from the dead in Jerusalem, Jerusalem is a long way from Galilee by ancient world standards. You know, they're walking on their two feet. So to get from Jerusalem to Galilee, take some time. The angels say meet him in Galilee at the resurrection. So apparently they did. So there was some movement to Galilee, which takes some amount of time, different estimations about that. It's a ways to get up there. And that's where they receive the great Commission, which is is between 50 and 60 miles away. By our reckoning, again, if you fly as a bird, it's about 50 miles according to the roads of that time around 60 miles north of Jerusalem. So it's a pretty good track. Mark's Gospel, The Mark 16, and we'll talk a lot more about that, some of the textual problems of Mark 16 later on. But it is difficult because of the textual problems to be clear about the exact location or time of Mark's great Commission text, but it's clearly one of two times, neither of which are in Galilee. The Great Commission passages found in verses 15 through 18. It appears immediately following his rebuking the 11 for not believing they were eating there. And this is the kind of behind closed doors, though this is technically a special mark verse. 


[00:39:21] It seems to be very, very close in language to what we find in in Luke. So if that's true that in verse 15 is meant to immediately follow that he said to them, go. To all the world. Preach the gospel means it's in Jerusalem on the night of Easter, which is, of course, not Galilee, not up in the north. But then immediately following the passage after he had spoken to them, he was taken up in the heaven, which of course, occurs in Bethany 40 days later and is in sight two miles away from Jerusalem. So it's probable. Most scholars believe that this text is actually following on verse 14, which would be in Jerusalem the first night. But frankly, it's not absolutely clear. So it's either night one or day 40. That's basically the two choices, either in Jerusalem or Bethany. But we have, at least at this point, two locations. We have Galilee and we have Jerusalem or Bethany, the Luke Passage. If you go and look 24, there's no doubt that this does occur in Jerusalem on Easter night, and it may be granted the very wee hours of the morning, Monday morning. It again, because of how long it takes the two on the road to mass to come back, the two on the road to Mars and Luke 24. This is definitely Sunday night of Easter. They're traveling back with Christ. They make crossing the road. They have a meal together. They ate relatively late in the ancient world. They still do compared to at least America. It's dark. It's about seven miles from Jerusalem. Jesus disappears. They make this trip seven miles back in the dark. They're reporting to the disciples what they saw. And it's in that context that Jesus appears to them. 


[00:41:16] So it is clearly in Jerusalem. It's either late Sunday night getting near midnight or early in the morning, Monday morning when Christ appears. And this is where we have the text. Forgiveness of sins. We preached in his name to all nations, Pontotoc night. So that's in Jerusalem on. We'll just say day one next. If you go over to John John 2021, this also occurs in Jerusalem and occurs on the night of the first day of the week. And so John clearly indicates this occurs on Sunday night, apparently during the same general period as Luke. However, there is not a single overlapping of vocabulary between John and Luke, as we'll see, as the father has sent me. Even so, I send you has nothing to do linguistically with the text in Luke where he's would be no witnesses and fulfillment of scripture and all that going to all nations. All of that language is in discontinuity with John in John 2021. Therefore, it appears that on the Night of Christ Resurrection, he issued at least two great commissions. He issued the one that we find in Luke, and then he repeated the one in John or not repeated, but he at some point made another statement to them. So we have Christ again urging him to fulfill this commission and give him the power to do so. So we have various settings here. We have Galilee, we have Jerusalem. We're not sure yet if we have Bethany, but we'll see Beth in a minute. And we have at this point at least three separate sayings. We have the Matthew saying, which is clearly separate. There's different location. We have the Luke saying and we have John, which is discontinuous in vocabulary. So it's a separate scene of Christ. 


[00:43:23] Then over in Acts one eight, that passage is again clearly identified as being in Bethany. So that commission, which is the last Commission of Christ for, for his ascension, occurs two miles outside of Jerusalem and as far away from the resurrection as you can get in Christ's earthly ministry. This is the 40th day just prior to his ascension. So this is the passage where he says, My witness is in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, quoting that in phrase of as 49 six. So in the Acts one eight passage, you clearly have the 40th day in Bethany. So in summary, we have at least three locations, Galilee, Jerusalem and Bethany, and we have at least four sayings of Christ. The Matthew text, The Mark of the Luke text, the John texts, the Acts one eight text, and we're admitting we don't know about Mark. They were really not ambiguous. We don't know if Mark is intentionally recording a unique sign of Christ or if he is going to be giving it some theological interpretation using his particular language. We'll look at that later on. But maybe the same saying, if you had a tape recorder there, the main point of all of this is simply to point out that we have a variety of settings and sayings of Christ. It's not simply one commissioned recorded by all four gospels. So this reinforces the fact that this is a high priority in Jesus's teaching ministry in the post resurrection period. Thoughts or comments on this observation? Yes. Want. Right. It's a it's a good point. Very few I don't know of any scholars, actually, who don't connect this perk of pay, the great commissioner perk pay with the prior perk of pay, which is the Jerusalem night, because the very next verse simply says when he had led them out to vicinity, it doesn't say it doesn't make a link to the teaching of the previous book of pay. 


[00:45:49] It does follow on the heels of it like Mark does, but it does don't seem to have near the ambiguity of Mark is highly unlikely that well if I. I don't see how it's possible because it clearly says in the earlier passage that this occurs on verse 36 while they were still talking about this Jesus among them. And then you have the teaching going straight out from there and this is from the heels of the road. Thomas Another reason, I think not only internal evidence, but also theologically, we'll see as we look at the text that Jesus clearly draws upon the event of the road. Thomas In language, in the way he talks about the event with the disciples. So everything in the text is pointing that direction, not to the final perk of pay about the Ascension. If it was, it would finally change our point because we're already acknowledging that we have a Jerusalem. Unless you want to put Mark and Luke in the 40th day. But I don't think that's I don't think that's actually really possible. The third point would not be as significant to a Western audience. I found it very significant in talking to groups in the East, and that is the emphasis on the last spoken words of Jesus. We have some of this in our culture. We talk about people's last will and testament and all of this or someone's deathbed statement or whatever. I wouldn't say it's absent from our culture, but it certainly does not put a lot of emphasis in the West. We don't put a lot of emphasis on people's last words. The way it is done in the east, in the east is is extremely important. If you look, for example, just to give some parallel accounts, if you were to look at the amount that's been written by Buddhist about the last words of the Buddha, which there are literally thousands of volumes of discussion on what Buddha said or various expositions of it, no one knows what the last word the Buddha says. 


[00:47:54] They sure are interested in finding out the idea often in the East is that when a great teacher teaches, they will save their most important teaching to the end, or they will reveal things gradually. As disciples understand more, they give them more information or more detail, more insights or more depth as they grow in their in their faith or belief. It's a very common, common belief. The same thing Islam has with Muhammad, the teachings of Muhammad found in the Hadith. So it is very, very normal in the eastern world to discuss the significance theologically of someone's last words, how important that is in the New Testament. I do not know. I cannot tell you. I don't think the New Testament ever really comments on it, but it is certainly something that would not be ignored and it certainly is significant to note. The last spoken words of Christ on Earth do embody a great commission passage the ABCs one eight passage. So it strikes me as very significant that the last phrase on the lips of Jesus in his earthly ministry is the phrase ends of the earth. So that carries a lot of weight, though it would carry a different weight, perhaps for different people reading the texts, but it's something you should be aware of. Finally, it is the culmination of the genre. This, I think, is undoubtedly important theologically. Regardless of your background, anyone doing honest stays in New Testament will recognize that the text itself clearly tells us that the Gospels do not include everything that Jesus taught. So the Gospel is not simply a history of Jesus or a collection of the teachings of Christ. It is its own genre. It's called the gospel genre. That means that we believe that the Holy Spirit guided the various disciples who are writing the Gospels to include various things, various teachings of Christ, to pursue particular theological points. 


[00:50:04] They have particular audiences, their particular problems the Church is facing. The Holy Spirit is also guiding them for the sake of the global church throughout all time. Now, that's something that obviously many of you have done and or will do in-depth studies of various books in Testament and certainly the Gospels. And you've become very familiar with all of this in your own studies. But I think it's goes without saying that the John in fact, himself explicitly says if everything Christ said and did were recorded, it was recorded. All the books in the world couldn't contain the things that were be written. So John is the most explicit about this. But these things are written so that you may know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of a living God. Now, that's very explicit, but I think implicitly it's present. All the gospels they're selecting, they're choosing material. This has never been a scandal for the evangelical community, that the synoptic problem is not a problem because we see in the diversity of the text various theological emphases that the Holy Spirit has guided and directed in the process. So it is very significant, therefore, that in all of the cases, despite the differences. John, Mark, Matthew, Luke the differences in the various audiences and general theological motifs, that this is one area they all culminate on, the Great Commission account is the culmination of the gospel genre. It's literally the last copy and Matthew the last for a copy in Mark and Luke. It's simply followed by the Mark and Luke, followed by the the Ascension as a matter of simply historical record. But the teaching of Christ all culminates in the Great Commission. Matthew, Mark and Luke. This is how the Gospels conclude. 


[00:51:55] And then in, John, as we'll see, it is clearly a major theological combination in John's gospel, though he has what's often called John's Post blog, which has the account with Peter, which has a whole nother theological purpose to it. But in terms of the teaching of John's gospel, this John 2021 text, as we'll see, is highly significant theologically and I think is a culminating feature of John's theology. This is important for understand the Great Commission passages because it shows that the gospel writers all viewed it as extremely important in their own construction spirit, guided construction of the various gospel accounts. Okay. Comments or thoughts about any of these kind of general statements and comments about the Great Commission passages? Yes. Physical pain per copay refers to a segment of text. So for example, you have verses write, you have chapters, but within the chapters and sometimes spanning chapters, you'll have a collection of a teaching of Christ, a parable or teaching. That segment is called per copy. I apologize because some of you this could be your very first class is as anybody in that situation here. This is the very first class of Gordon Conwell. How about first year? Okay, right there. We and any third year students here. Fourth year. Okay. We have some some warriors here who waited at the very end. Was this the class that you were avoiding? And now you just realize you had to take it? So you're being drug in here against your will or you wanted to save and go out as a great commission? Out? Yeah. Okay. Yes. The response that you gave back with these these pastors are different was that Jesus spoke with them in a variety of settings to give them importance as you talked about it often that be the only answer. 


[00:54:07] You get to keep it simple argument that there's bigger statements. Would that be the statement that you would give them? Would you would you also approach in a different way? Let me just say this. The so-called synoptic problem, which is the in summary, is the observation that when you have parallel counts in Matthew, Mark and Luke do not always and frequently do not linguistically match. Exactly. Let me give you one example, just to give you a clear example of it. When Mark's gospel, when the Sun Zebedee asked to sit on his left and right and Mark gospel explicitly says the mother of their mother came and asked Jesus this on behalf of their two two sons. The other Gospels simply say that the two sons ask point blank. So this is called the synoptic problem. Why do you have one Texas as the mother ask on behalf of two children? On the other text you have the two children asking directly. There are many, many examples of that. I don't think this would particularly apply to the Great Commission passages unless you maybe are trying to deal with Mark and Luke. Maybe the Southern problem generally occurs in texts that are viewed as occurring simultaneously. You know, clearly same event. So you would compare, for example, the language used when Jesus healed up blind by the mass in the two passages, whereas in this text and this this case we're looking at a variety of settings, different places no one expect or you couldn't demand that Jesus use the precise same language in Galilee that we use in Jerusalem. Why would we impose that on Jesus? But I don't think anyone considers the Great Commission passages to be a part of the synoptic problem because of the different settings. 


[00:55:51] But by application, maybe to answer a question more explicitly, I don't think that would be wise at all to argue that Jesus had to conversation in two settings to the Sons of Zebedee in order to solve some problem. I think that's ridiculous. So I think we have to acknowledge that the New Testament writers did not view when they wrote the account the necessity of the ipsum, a verb that, you know, the tape recorder, you know, presence of Jesus. They're simply writing out in a tape recorder what Christ said. We have places where Luke, because of his purposes, he wants to include a particular copy at a different place. And it occurred chronologically. So he drops out that this actually happened in Bethany because at the time of that of his account, they're not in Bethany. So he simply drops it and says in a certain village to me, the Holy Spirit got him to do that because of greater theological purposes. And it wasn't it's not a misstatement to say in a certain village, it just simply makes it more general. There are many, many examples of this where you can see that this is part of the freedom the spirit gave and anointed them to and the way they recorded the material. Why do we insist that the gospels must be chronological when John's gospel clearly is not? Why do we insist that the Gospels must include parables? John includes no parables. I mean, there's so many examples of how the gospels have very different motifs and purposes and themes, and therefore it's very, very different. Also, you have to remember, and this is the point that's not often said, is that the early church never believed that the Bible should come to us untethered in the sense that this book is dropped in your lap and you're reading, you're comparing Matthew and Luke, these two preoccupies. 


[00:57:41] They always and I think we should always remember this even now, they never believe that the Gospels in all of their diversity could possibly read, apart from being in the presence of the risen Christ, the whole believing community, all that the church is, is that you read the texts in the presence of Christ and therefore in the presence of Christ. It's a very different kind of read of the New Testament than as if you're reading about the life of George Washington, who we are trying to reconstruct what Washington actually said at the, you know, at the convention, because he's a historical figure, is dead. That's not the way the New Testament approaches the historic the history of Jesus is not that white. It's meant to be a document which brings us into the presence of the living Christ. And that's slightly different and important, I think, to point out. So anyway, I don't think the Great Commission passages would fall into the the way I would respond to the problem or or even a part of the synoptic problem per se. And I would recommend Sean McDonough, I'm sure would give you a great exposition. Isn't he teaching in Terp? I think that's the place where you deal with this more explicitly. No, I'm sure would give you a lot more erudite and thoughtful responses.