Closing the Gap Week 37 Study Guide

By September 23, 2018 Small Group Study Guide

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always,
to the very end of the age.” Matt. 28:18-20

Commentary on Matt. 28:18-20

Verses 18–20 summarize all the major themes of the Gospel—Christ’s divine sovereignty and authority, the nature of discipleship, the universal scope of Christian faith, the importance of doing the will of God, and the promise of Christ’s presence with His followers in everything they may experience. Verse 19 has understandably come to be known as the Great Commission. Believers’ task in life in essence is to duplicate themselves in others, leading men and women in every part of the world to faith, baptism, and obedience to all of Christ’s commands. But the final word of the book properly returns our focus to Christ rather than keeping it on ourselves. Even when we are faithless, He remains faithful.

28:18 Then the Lord explained that all authority had been given to Him in heaven and on earth. In one sense, of course, He always had all authority. But here He was speaking of authority as Head of the new creation. Since His death and resurrection, He had authority to give eternal life to all whom God had given to Him (John 17:2). He had always had power as the firstborn of all creation. But now that He had completed the work of redemption, He had authority as the first-born from the dead—“that in all things He may have the preeminence” (Col. 1:15, 18).

28:19, 20 As Head of the new creation, He then issued the Great Commission, containing “standing orders” for all believers during the present phase of the kingdom—the time between the rejection of the King and His Second Advent.

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always,
to the very end of the age.” Matt. 28:18-20

Study Guide Matthew 28:18-28

This passage is the famous “great commission” and the heart of this commission is:
make disciples.

  • What is a commission?
    1. What does Jesus tell his disciples to do?
    2. Why does Jesus tell us to do this?
    3. Where does his authority come from?
    4. What makes his authority legitimate?
    5. What are the implications of his authority for those you interact with today?
    6. What are the implications for ignoring this authority?
    7. Since Jesus knows what is real, what is valuable, and what is lasting… what, then, are the implications for those who disregard him? What are the benefits of those who obey him?
  • Think about the words “Therefore go”, what are they telling us to do?
    1. What does this look like in “regular” life?
    2. What can be two imbalances people run into as they “go”?
    3. Why do we run into these imbalances? What can we do about them?
    4. The great commission is a “great opportunity and privilege”. How can remembering this help us maintain a proper perspective?
    5. As we “go” it is beneficial to remember the Jesus actually and literally meant “I will be with you in real and powerful ways… directing and engaging life with you.” Why is this so important to remember?
  • What does it mean to make disciples? If someone says they are a disciple of Christ, what does that mean? What is this person saying about their life?
    1. A disciple can be described as an apprentice. How does this description capture what the Christian life is like?
    2. The great commission was given to apprentices, men and women who were closing the gap on their faith and love in real ways… they were living faithful lives out of the abundance of what was happening in their lives. The same is true today.
    3. The Great commission was given to actual apprentices…their priority was to “be” his people… not to “do” Christian “stuff”. What is the difference between doing Christian stuff and being one of God’s people.
  • How do we live as apprentices?
    1. How does the way we have our lives arranged impact our walk as Jesus’ apprentices?
    2. There is a cost to discipleship, the way we arrange our lives. Why is it important that we consider the cost of discipleship?
  • In John 7:38 Jesus said…”Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” Jesus tells us our priority is to know and love him.
    • Think about what Jesus said in the verse above. If you pursue believing/trusting in him fully, how will this help in making him known? How does pursuing an authentic relationship with Christ spill over into telling other? Why?
  • Jesus said…”And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Again, this is not figurative, Jesus’ presence is actually with us. He is ready to be present in all the circumstances of your life. Do you believe this? What is keeping you from experiencing Christ’s presence all day, every day?
    • We exist to know and love God and to be loved by God. Will you let this reality shape you?
  • Do you believe God wants to be present and involved in your life?
    • What is keeping you from experiencing the abundant life? What is keeping you from inviting others into your life?  Will you let go of those hindrances and live a great commission kind of life? Do you view your life as a life of an apprentice?

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