World Mission of the Church - Lesson 4

Great Commission Passages in the New Testament (Part 1)

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.

Timothy Tennent
World Mission of the Church
Lesson 4
Watching Now
Great Commission Passages in the New Testament (Part 1)

I. Introduction

A. Abrahamic covenant

B. Epiphany

II. New Testament citations of Old Testament passages 

A. Acts 3:25

B. Romans 4:16-18

C. Romans 15:8-12

D. Acts 13

E. Galatians 3:8

F. Question and answer


III. Great Commission texts

A. Definitions of Great Commission and Great Commissions

B. 4 general observations about Great Commission passages.

1. All of these are post-resurrection sayings of Jesus

2. There was not a time where Christ made a specific Great Commission statement that was recorded in the Gospels.

a. Matthew's account took place in Galilee

b. The location for Mark's account is not clear.

c. Luke's account occurs on Easter night in Jerusalem

d. John's account also occurs in Jerusalem on the first day of the week

e. The version in Acts is in Bethany

3. The Great Commissions were among the last spoken words of Jesus.

4. Each of the gospels culminate in a Great Commission saying.


Class Resources
  • 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

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

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

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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...

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Dr. Timothy Tennent
World Mission of the Church
Great Commission Passages in the New Testament (Part 1)
Lesson Transcript


[00:00:01] Okay, Well, let's now turn over to Matthew's gospel and start in on this particular passage. And we'll perhaps do Matthew and then we'll take a break. Unfortunately, we're going to though, I want I'll be willing to answer questions about anything you find in the passage. We're going to try to focus on the most productive parts of the passage and sometimes leave some things out just for the sake of time. But I'm happy to field any questions that may arise in your mind. But we want to focus on the 18 to 20 actual words of Jesus. We've already mentioned that we're in Galilee, verse 16 to the mountain there in Galilee. We have some worshiping them, some doubting. Very interesting passage there. Then Jesus came to them and said, and this is the part that we're interested in. All authority in heaven on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them. They're the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I've commanded you, and surely I'm with you always to the very end of the age. Now what we want to do is begin to explore this text and look at this little by little as we go through. The whole thing begins with this phrase passer exclusive. All authority, All authority. Now, this is a saying that Jesus is given authority by the Father for the extension of his kingdom. Now, from my point of view, this is really important, missed theologically today in ways that we maybe not could have dreamed earlier, because today the authority issue becomes more and more important in light of governmental authorities which are prohibiting the preaching the gospel. I work in North India and there are seven states in North India which have non conversion laws. 


[00:01:59] You cannot legally convert to Christianity in seven of India states. You also have in several states where we work non baptismal laws. We were prohibited legally from baptizing anyone. So you have a very existential point here that many Christians grapple with in ways that maybe we would not in the west of grappling with. Do we have the authority to preach the gospel among all people groups? Do the authority baptize in Name of the Father, send the Holy Spirit in a place like Orissa State or Madhya Pradesh or other places in India that have these laws? I would say most of the time we have a what we jokingly call an India a bus ministry, which is very different. The bus ministry here. But a bus ministry in India means you bus people, new believers across state lines and baptize and then bus them back. So we have a marvelous bus ministry. So sometimes we do try as much as possible to work within the parameters of the authorities are there. We want to say to them, we did not baptize these people in this state and we was true. We did and we baptized in the neighboring state. And one of the great things about the current political map of India is that every state that prohibits baptism borders a state that does not. So, you know, you can always go to New Hampshire. You know, you can always go to Rhode Island. There's always a place you can travel. But, you know, we always say, though, even though we make all kinds of concessions, we're always working around things like this. Fundamentally, we have the authority to do so. The Indian government may not recognize that authority. We have all kinds of issues in our own culture here regarding authority issues to do various things. 


[00:03:53] But Jesus clearly gives us the authority He has, the greater authority to enable us to preach the gospel. One of the marvelous things about the fact that his authority supersedes human authority is that we have to deal with this tension in the new test. On one hand, Romans 13 We are called to obey the authorities to give proper credence to the authorities, their God given. And yet you have these very overt statements by Peter, We must obey God rather than men, you know, openly preach the gospel against the clear defiance of the Sanhedrin, which prohibits him from preaching the gospel. And Peter's prepared to go to jail for it. If you read Acts 520 9x4 19, these statements are there is a long history of this. I mean, this goes all the way back to things like the midwives. They were commanded to throw the Hebrew children into the river and they didn't do that. And they eventually are enshrined in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews because they. You're God rather than men. So this whole theme is is an important one. But it's not easy. It's not easy to know how we are to show respect. I mean, I think it was much easier for me working it out theologically on paper than it was actually dealing with it in the Indian situation, Indian context. And we have difficulties with this all the time. We don't know what to do. We talk a lot about what should we do here, What's the right thing to do? This is an ethical issue. If someone asks you point blank, did you baptize this person and you did, what do you say? You know what? One of our brothers, Adi Suna, one of our workers in North India. 


[00:05:41] We were together a while back and he was called in and they asked him. They had five people on this list. He said, Did you convert these five people? Because that in that state of Arizona, if you are found to be guilty of converting someone, you were sent to jail. So he said, I didn't convert them, but he went on to say God converted them. He said, I have no power to convert anybody. I share the gospel with them and God converted them. He said, You have a problem. Go arrest God. He converted them. I mean, that's a theological response, really. I mean, you know what they wanted to know? Did you preach the gospel and get them to come Christians? But he was speaking precisely theologically. I did not convert them. I have no power to convert anybody, which is true. But that's the kind of area that we often deal with in India. So Jesus, I think, is giving us this marvelous statement. All authority in heaven and on earth isn't just saying heaven hasn't given to me. Christ says so we have the authority to to preach the gospel. I have a great quote here from Leslie New Beginning, who I enjoy, is writing so much in his book The Open Secret of Submission Theology Book. He says the community that confesses that Jesus is Lord has been from the beginning, a movement launched into the public life of humankind. The Graeco-roman world in which the new nation was written was full of societies offering to those who wish to join a way of personal salvation, their religious teaching and practice. Instead, from the beginning, it was a movement claiming allegiance of all peoples. That's the term ecclesia. Now, this is important because if we interpret our ecclesiology as that, we're gathering together kind of a cultic, separate community. 


[00:07:46] And we don't see this mandate to publicly present the gospel to the world. We have a mandate and authority to present the gospel to the world, to the unbelieving nations of the world. Then we end up questioning the true nature of the church biblically. Because Ecosia literally means public assembly. And one of the interesting things you should follow theologically at some point, if you have, you can do papers in the or maybe New Testament classes is to really run down. Why did the church avoid the term synagogue? Synagogue? That was such a natural word to use. That was the gathering word. That's what it meant for them. Why did they choose the secular word ecclesia? It's really important theological point because a public meeting in Ecosia everyone is required to attend. That's why the church is persecuted. In the early church. They could have remained either a in Judaism as a subset of Judaism because they had protected status or there were ways to escape persecution by accepting the fact that we are a private cult. We actually find this on the lips of several pagan writers in the first century who regard the church as the ourselves. Also, Eusebius twice calls it the SO to be a cult, a private group, but that's absolutely against the New Testament. We're never talked about by biblical speakers as a gnostic, separate community in the way that perhaps it may be viewed by some on the outside. It is a public arena where the gospel is publicly lived, out, proclaimed, defended and preached. So therefore, we're not given the authority here by Christ to simply believe the Gospel. It is much more than that. It's the authority to take the gospel. We'll see in the next two verses to the ends of the earth. 


[00:09:47] It's like saying the invitations are sent, the banquets prepared. Call them end. It is a public gathering, not a private gathering. So when we often read verse 18 where Jesus says, I have all authority and we hear the echoes of the early Christian confession, Jesus is Lord, we often interpret that maybe not explicitly in our statements, but in our practice as Jesus is my personal Lord and Savior. That's certainly how it's often talked about in the more popular circles of what it means to say Jesus is Lord. But it's certainly a profound misunderstanding of the text, because Jesus Lord cannot be simply a personal declaration of Christ. Lordship in your own private life, though we certainly pray that's true. But in the New Testament, the context is always Jesus is Lord in the much larger context of the global situation. He is Lord of all peoples of the Earth. They may not recognize the other people. The officials in Orisa may not recognize that he is Lord. They may construct laws against it. Why do the nations raids, why do people plot in vain? The kings of the Earth take their stand? The rulers take counts against the Lord and against his anointed. That's there. It's always there. But what is it you always say? I have installed my king on Zion. My holy hell. Ask of me. I'm with the nations. Your inheritance, the ends of the earth, your possession. This is the biblical response to the nations raging. This is a much larger conception, Pastor, exclusive than I have all authority in your life. I'm Lord of your life. Jesus. Lord of my life. It is. This is a cosmic statement in heaven and on earth. All authority has been given to me very, very powerful. 


[00:11:46] The implications of this are immense for the church's mission and role in the world. We are not to go into a corner and simply believe in a quiet corner. We have that. We do not have that option. Our believing and faith must be lived out in everything, including the arts, science, politics, everything. We have to be bearers of his light and he's not going to give us any place to escape to. Okay, so this very powerful beginning. But the real focal point I want us to look at is actually the imperative in the passage, because if you look at the text, you'll see that Jesus constructs it. Actually, maybe this diagram will help you because he actually says, therefore, go. And make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the Father and Son, Holy Spirit, and teach in the Bay Area community. The way that's constructed is around three participles going, baptizing and teaching. Now, often, if again in popular preaching, people often assume that in this text the command form, the imperative is the word go, but it is not the imperative in the passage. And this is this is really important theologically, because if the command form is go, it changes the whole way the passage is structured, the command form is in the Greek, the single word make disciples. That is the only imperative in the passage arrest imperative. It's from Operator am I and then the the make disciples matter to Oh, okay. So you have this powerful state of Christ make disciples. Now what is a participle? Participle for those of you or not that point in your studies here a participle essentially takes a verb and use it descriptively like an adjective, a verb to discourage. And we say this book was discouraging. 


[00:13:56] Are we talk about, you know, the running water take to run, use it descriptive the running water, this the sleeping child, whatever. So when you use a word descriptive verb descriptively, then it is meant to describe in an action way. It's a verbal action word that describes, in this case, the church's action. So normally, often participles are translated with I in g going baptizing teaching now often in the because of convention is not normal to read the text. Therefore as you are going make disciples that you do often have baptizing and teaching and form. But literally that's what it says as you are going make disciples, as you are baptizing, make disciples as your teaching, make disciples. All of the participles are given there to support the only imperative in the whole passage make disciples. So what is the command of Matthew 28? Make disciples? It assumes that the church is going. That is a presupposition of the passage we often place in the movies. We see Jesus given the Great Commission. And what do you say? Think about it in your mind. Do you ever seen, like, you know, one of the Jesus films, the Fisher one, or many of the unofficial ones? You have Jesus standing there with his hands raised like this. He's one a white flowing robe. They got the dry ice going, you know, all around. He's in this nice, you know, And then he says, And so the temples are all standing there, you know, attentively listening. And he gives the great commission. Well, I don't know if you had a video camera, what it would look like when he gave the right commission. But textually the way the text describes the statement, it is as if the church is already moving. 


[00:15:56] You know, they're not just standing passively. And so we often take the great Commission as we have a bunch of passive Christians who are sitting in the pews on Sunday morning. They don't want to get up and do anything. And so we go to and say, you know, go out and make disciples, all right. And that may need to be done in your congregations. And I had a lot of people in our congregation who really thought that their main goal as a Christian, their main task, was to sit and listen to me preach every Sunday. If they got through my sermon, then they had done their good deed for the week. Okay, maybe they ought to give a little bit, but actually going making disciples, that was that was a long way down the road for many of them. So Jesus doesn't really envision here a passive church that needs to be motivated. Jesus envisioned the church here that's already marching, taking the gospel out, and he's okay. If it was just going Coca-Colas, going to the ends of the earth, there's all kinds people going, going, doing all kinds of things. The real issue is what is the goal? What? What is the focus of this? Yes. You're going yes, You're teaching. Yes, you're baptizing. Make sure that in this whole process you're making disciples. You're replicating the believers in the faith. The discipleship emphasis here is extremely, extremely strong. Essentially the key phrase, though, this is the just the command form make disciples of all nations. The participles going baptize in teaching are in a supportive role in the text, in terms of the flow of the texts and the structure. Linguistically, the. The passage if you were to on any Sunday morning national conversation, you know, what is the command form in Matthew 28, 18 to 20? You'd probably have 90% of your people or more say this the word go. 


[00:17:50] So that means that we have not properly preached the passage to our congregations to help them to see the important role of discipleship, because we think that going and preaching and teaching it or the really imperative things in discipleship hopefully happens to a few Christians. And so we haven't actually seen the great weight, at least in this passage, that Jesus places on discipleship. Why Converts Don't Multiply. Disciples always do. The world is full of converts. People who maybe have been touched by the message, maybe prayed, sinner's prayers, etc. But I know from our ministry in India, as well as my pastoral ministry, that discipleship is the most effective way to multiply the church. You can go out and share the gospel with dozens of people, but if you can get a few people to again multiply their lives and others, that is very, very powerful. When I was a pastor, I started a little group called Fishers of Men, and this was a men's group, so we call it that. And I was going to teach some men how to share their faith, to help them to be disciples of disciple them through various things in the scriptures. And they didn't want to go out there were they were just absolutely they were. Oh, they all knew the gospel. They were very well trained in terms of their biblical literacy. But when it came to actually going out and talking to people, they were really reticent to do it. So I and this is a little hokey, but, you know, this is like early eighties and what didn't seem hokey at the time, but I told them that I had got these little sayings across and across, but these little fish, you know, you got a Christian bookstore. 


[00:19:33] And I said to them, until you're not really a full fisher of men. And so you go out and fish for men or Mr. Men or women. So I said, So you don't get the little lapel lapel button until you go out and witness. So you're not like fully inaugurated of our Gnostic group now. So they all really wanted this pin. They really wanted the thing. They wanted to be part of the fishers of men. I said, Well, you know what? They had memorized scripture. They knew, as the Romans wrote, I went through all this stuff, you know, But I said, Well, why? Why do we have a group if we don't ever do anything? So we've got to have some way of saying, you know, you got to actually get experience. So they were scared to do it. So I said, I'll tell you what, we had a long list people to go visit. People would visit our church or new to the community or whatever, as all natural kind of visits down south or visiting homes is much more natural than up here. Up here they get shot. But in Georgia, it's okay. So we so they said, well, we'll go out. If you go out with us, that's okay, I'll do that. So I went out with every one of them individually, one at a time. And they were they would just stand there stone cold and say a word. We go, we visit somebody, share the gospel. People came to the Lord. It was amazing. Some people didn't. Some people, you know, where it was sponsored. But they got real. It wasn't that hard. It was actually it was enjoyable. So gradually they began to do it and I became more passive. 


[00:20:53] And they were they were on their own doing it. And so it is each of the men, and they were eventually multiplying themselves all over the community. I mean, it's just basic. I would say the best book on the subject is our professor here, Robert Coleman's book, The Master Plan of Evangelism. I mean, it just basically shows how discipleship creates multiplication in evangelism. And I think we find that biblically based right here. So make disciples. Now, let's let's take a moment to look at this phrase at the end here. Pontotoc ethnic of all nations, we refer to this a lot and the Old Testament already, and how this is the way the New Testament and the Septuagint in the Old Testament deals with this passage. We need to ask why Pontotoc? If not, why did Jesus use these words? This is the focus of our discipleship disciple the nations. And by the way, he doesn't say disciple individuals in every nation disciple the nations. Again, this is a huge vision. He's someone changing the whole of society, The whole of the the nation is being brought to the feet of Christ. It's a very, very remarkable thing. But what's even more amazing is the actual particularity of the phrase ethnic. Again, if you go out into popular discussion of this in the church and this has been unfortunately affected missions a lot in the last hundred years, is people assume that this is talking about going to all the countries of the. World. Back 50, 60 years ago, someone said, Hey, this is great. There are now Christians in every country of the world. That is now happen because there were a few countries where there were no Christians. But now we have. Oman is an example of a place that didn't have any Christians for many, many years. 


[00:22:56] But now there there are at least two or three Christians there. So eventually people have been able to testify that there are Christians in every country. So if they're Christians in every country, the implication was the great commission has been therefore fulfilled and therefore we can do other things like now we can finally build our recreational centers, We can now finally, you know, do the things that we really wanted to do. I'm not being mean day or night, but Jesus is not. I can promise you, I hope to prove it to you here today. Jesus is not talking about making disciples of all countries. And I still think that this is one of the biggest problems. And I can't change this. I realize this is, you know, part of the phenomenology of language. But if you talk about with your friends, about missionary work, we are still use the language of places. You know, I'm a missionary in China. I do that. You know, we talk about we never talk about peoples, but always places. And this is something we'll address later in the course. But this is part of the reason I theologically why I make a big point of this later on in the course. But this the word Christ uses here is ethnic, which were there ethnic, it could be type people groups. And I think actually the word nation should be used appropriately to mean people. Even in the English language. We thought the Cherokee Nation that clearly a people group were not a geographic political word. But if you really look at the larger use of the word nation, many people inappropriately use the word nation interchange, the word country, country or nation, and basically the same thing. So because of that linguistic fact that in the English language, people will use country and nation interchangeably, then that means we have a responsibility to clarify for people the actual Greek meaning of the word. 


[00:24:59] In a language like Hindi. In North India, it's so easy because in this passage make disciples of every word there is. Jati. A jati in India means crystal clear to everybody who knows Hindi. It means people group has nothing whatsoever to do with a country, and India is a land of 3000 people groups. So you don't have to explain to your people about Jati because they all know what Jati is. But in our situation we don't have that precision in our language, at least in its usage. So we have to clarify that this is the word. We get the word ethnic. This is a people word, not a geographic word. If GZ wanted to use a geographic word, there were many, many words he could have used. And I'll give you a few of these in passing. I did this. I transliterated it because many of you have not yet had your your Greek. But if you hopefully you'll be able to reconstruct if you need to. But across this is the word which means piece of ground or land and in the genitive it is used clearly in the Bible for a new type of country. This is what you find in Mark's gospel. For example, the Simon Assyrian was passing through from his country to Jerusalem. The word there is across it is a common word for country Jesus in 5000 and this dismisses the crowds. Let them go out to the surrounding countryside. All grass is used. So that was a word available to Christ to use as a writers is they recorded the Great Commission. They clearly did not use it. They could have used the term Chora Karar means territory or land. This is the one we have in the Christmas story. 


[00:26:50] They were in that same country karar shepherds about in their flocks by night. All that. This is the reference to the prodigal son who went off to a faraway country and squandered his father's inheritance with wild and riotous living. So Karar was not used. He could have used the word after the male, which means to well, how we use the term today going abroad. It's actually a con. It counterbalances the word patris, your own city. This is a foreign foreign place. Foreign country. This is that in the parable of tenants, the no reference to the tenant, but the tenants, the mean wicked tenants. Who, you know, went out and they kept beating all these people up that came to visit and collect the rent. And because the farmer, the owner had gone away to on a journey to a foreign country about a mile. And this is a very Greek is extremely fertile and linguistic possibilities. If you're talking about land and geography, it's all over the place. The one I mentioned the other day in passing was best player. This is the one that you, you know about or heard, I'm sure about in the near term studies kingdom. This whole kingdom language which is used variously by Jesus, you know, realm and reign and all of that, but is clearly can be used as a realm, a political realm. The kingdom of Iraq, the kingdom of Afghanistan, the kingdom of, you know, the British kingdom or whatever, that language even comes today. You have the term gay, which means soil or land which is used could be could be used. But none of these words are used in the Matthew text. Instead, they use the term F.A. and F.A. this term here, which comes from F nay and this is transliterated. 


[00:28:59] F nay is we get a word ethnic from it's clearly a people were not a geographic word. So Jesus is saying that the discipleship and the proclamation of the good news should and will take place among all people, groups of the world. Earlier Jesus made the same reference and this gospel The kingdom shall be preached and the whole world as a testimony to hunter ethnic to all nations. So this is the language of Christ to describe the scope of the Great Commission is to to reach all nations. Now, because this has been understood as a geographic term, we have really created problems for ourselves because Matthew is clearly highlighting the discipline role of the church, discipline, nation discipline, people, groups, and it has actually been a cause of decline in missions. If you understand this is purely a geographic or political term, because if you ask and I said, how are we doing in terms of spreading the gospel of a country, then that's happened. But we are far from meeting the job when it comes to people groups in the world. In fact, I have here a list on the computer I printed out which is available. I show you the website in a minute. But of all of the people groups in the world that currently do not have a viable church now, we have not yet. We're way ahead of ourselves in some ways by even saying this, because we've not yet defined what is an honest people group. How do you how when do you decide that a group has reached the unreached? All of that. Please be patient. We'll have to wait to discuss later in the course. But as we will define an unreached, unreached ethnic group, then that is found in this list. 


[00:31:11] You have hundreds of people, groups in the world that currently do not have a viable church, more than hundreds, hundreds that don't have any Christians at all, and thousands that have no viable church in them at all. Now, this can be a bit overwhelming when you start looking at groups and you start seeing groups like the Abaza, the Ebong, the Accac, the IDA, the IDI Golos, the AFA D, the AFA is a war. I never heard of these people. Now I thought about rather than having them as the countries of the world, memorizing all the people, groups of the world. But I knew, you know, I'll drop the class immediately because you care. You're having to learn 150 countries in the world, something like that. And there are 24,000 people groups in the world. Okay, now that's three or 4000. We'll look at it later. But there are certain thousands of these 24,000 total that have not yet been penetrate with the gospel. That's a very important message, logical frontier that we need to address in this class. Maybe a little more friendly way to go about it is to go to our website here, the global Christianity dot org, which actually breaks it down in a much more understandable way. It takes every country, the world, Afghanistan through Yemen and then at. List. What we call mega peoples. And mega peoples are major clusters of people that share certain ethnic affinities, usually language. But within those mega spheres, there are many, many different people groups. But it gives you some feel for. So Afghanistan, for example, the first one, you have four major mega peoples. And these are peoples that you have heard about, like the Pattons, you know, part of our lighter political issues, 10 million people there. 


[00:33:08] So you can begin to look at the issues there, the language they speak. All four of these speak four different languages. And the baton, for example, or 0.01% Christian. All right. That's 100th of 1%. Now, as we'll see later, again, we're way ahead of ourselves. But until a people group has 5% Christian, it cannot be considered reached. So even if you have 95% unbelievers or people who never heard the gospel in a country, we don't even call that unreached. So we're looking at groups. This is a very, very unreached groups. I mean, the bar is very, very low or high. So to get to this point anyway, so this is something this is a much more simple chart where you can look at this and they even have another grouping of what we call mega spheres of most people in the world fall, fall into 16 affinity blocs the Arab world, East Asian peoples, Euro, Asian peoples, Horn of Africa, consulate peoples, Indo Iranians, Jews, Latin Caribbean Americans, Malay Peoples, North American Peoples, Pacific Islanders, South Asian Peoples. Southeast Asian People. Sub-Saharan Africa. Tibetan Himalayan peoples, Turkic peoples. And then a certain undefined group. Most everybody in this room will fall within those 16 groups. So you can also analyze and see in a larger sense, talking about Europe as a whole. For example, talking about Africa as a whole, below the Sahara to Latin America. How are we doing in those kind of spheres? And we'll come back to that in this class, because a class like this, we actually obviously cannot go through and look at every people group and make some assessment about it. Though we do this in our like in India, we spend a lot of time poring over studies of people groups. 


[00:35:00] In north India, we find people groups have never had a missionary. Our policy in our work is that we we only send our graduates to places that have that are unreached because why should we duplicate work when there's people that right there near us that have never heard the gospel. So we spend a lot of time looking at this information in a particular part of the world, and it would be too much to delve into here. But we will be talking about some broader trends globally that will be helpful and that all is down the road. But the theological basis for all of that discussion is rooted in Matthew, when Christ chose the word ethno rather than the word epidemiol. And that's a very important exegetical point that we have to understand. And the people group job is far from done. These are the two websites I would recommend as being the quickest, easiest way to have access to that information. And you could look at it or download it or just know it for the future, jot it down. The first is the one right here that would be global Christian dot org, our own website slash profile slash world A we haven't discussed world day will be will see Yeah but we'll do that later but this website that gives you the exact direction to this day that I'm quoting this morning if you just go to the general website global Christian dot org, you'll see the whole thing and you can kind of work your way around w w A.D. 2000 dot org is also a very good website because they're the ones that originated the idea of listing the people groups in the world that are not reached. Again, this is all getting ahead of ourselves, but they have a they have initiated a plan for churches to adopt unreached groups, and this adopt the People's Movement is part of 82,000, which spawned the need to have a list which is called the JP List or the Joshua Project list. 


[00:37:03] So this Joshua Project list is there, and there's another group called Bethany that goes out and does surveys of the group in order to write descriptions about them so churches can pray and understand the situation, doing like anthropological surveys. So it's actually quite detailed. You can actually look at the JP, The Joshua Project list and ask what percent are Christians? How many churches are present in the people group? What is the ratio of believer to unbeliever? Was it like? We heard that someone would receive the gospel. Our own site here has even more detail. Dr. Barrett and Todd Johnson will actually look at comparing how many gospel hours per person are available, how many, how many hours of Christian evangelistic information are available to people in a certain group. And this is why he determines that North Americans are the most resistant to the gospel, because, comparatively speaking, the amount of effort it takes in terms of preaching to bring a comparable number of Nepalis to Christ or even in North India, Hindus to Christ is a lot less than the number of hours it takes to bring a North American to Christ. Because the sheer download of information available in North America makes it statistically, people here are really, really exposed, maybe overexposed to various Christian messages. So these kind of charts are available. I mean, you can't probably see this, but this kind of material is all available on the the websites. And you can look at it and find all kinds of data there, languages, all that. But all of that is based theologically, at least in part on Matthew 28 and the need to think about missions, not in terms of places, but in terms of peoples. And we've done too much with defining missions in terms of places rather than peoples, as we'll see as the course develops. 


[00:39:06] There could be a people group in Boston, you know, an immigrant people group in Boston, more truly missionary cross-cultural missions than a people group in Nigeria. So, you know, we have to really rethink our whole framework to get away from, you know, we are here, they're there. And this is all about a geographic displacement to a certain place that's there in missions, granted, but it's not really the main paradigm that we'll look at. We're really going to focus on understand where are the unreached peoples of the world, regardless of where they are geographically. We don't care if they're in Boston or they're in Portugal or they're in North India. We just want to find out where are the ethnic groups that do not currently have reasonable access to the gospel. And those are implications for the church's priorities in terms of preaching strategy. All of that will look out at the toward the end of the course. Okay. Questions or comments about some of this material, maybe I've said more than we should have, but I want to at least show you that this Jesus and look at some of the linguistic issues, there have got implications for things we'll look at later on in the course. Yes. What was the definition of the word world, Right. Cora is another one of the words for country can be translated land, region, country or territory. I gave you the example from Luke two eight. In that same country, shepherds were abiding by their flocks or keeping watch the flocks by night, and the prodigal who went off to a faraway country. But if you look at Bauer, it could be country or territory or even land. In some cases, yes. Most of my missionary experience have been in Nigeria and in India. 


[00:41:04] So I can speak for them. I can't speak in Nigeria because of the presence of English in the teaching at the Bible school and seminary level. The English translations have unduly influenced the Nigerians and how they talk about Christianity. So what's happened is, and this has happened in India to actually large degree, is that they've influenced, been influenced by our discourse on it, that the whole country ethnic distinction has to be made there. Very clearly in India. I have not found this to be a problem at all. I never met an Indian who viewed this text as talking about going to our countries. Now, it doesn't mean that Indians don't talk about countries in terms of missionary work, but it's very rare for an Indian to think about going to another country to preach the gospel because of the context of their own, their own country. I had an Indian come to me last summer, made a point. With me came my office and he said to me, This is an Indian in a school there I teach. And he said to me. He went to make sure we were talking to. He want to talk alone. He had some, like, really important thing to tell me. And so I was I was like, brace for almost anything. But he finally broke the news to me that he felt really bad about it, but he felt like that he didn't feel called to go to an unreachable group in India. We had this big emphasis on, you know, playing churches, and that's all, you know, that's fine, you know, And I've seen him in his pastor, the church where he grew up. But he said, I really feel like God's call me to Africa, cause I overall, I was like totally shocked. 


[00:42:44] I had not met an Indian yet at that point. It's just last year. I've been working in India now for 20 years. Is the first Indian I met who told me that they felt God calling them to Africa. And I think I take it as a really positive sign because we've seen that, you know, the Koreans all over the world, we're seeing the Latin Americans now going into the Muslim world. We're seeing the Russian Christians going into Eastern Europe. We're seeing all these wonderful but I haven't yet really seen like that in India. So it was really, really great to hear it. But I would say that in general, it's not an issue because in India they think totally in terms of people groups, because the caste system has imposed really strict boundaries around people groups. So the idea of a melting pot where America does not really see the diversity, its here or the so-called melting pot is absolutely foreign to India because of the caste walls. And so therefore they everything is us and them and all of their language. And the four affects the way they look at the text in this case positively because of the unreached people groups in India. Okay. Let's take a break at this point. I know it's been a long opening session. Appreciate your prevailing up to through Matthew. We'll come back in a few minutes and we'll reengage with Mark and hopefully move through with a little more due speed as we try to make some progress going through the Great Commission passages.