Explore the Bible Study: What Do We Do Now?

2:52 PM

We are in the thick of graduation ceremonies all around the country, which means there are hundreds, even thousands of commencement speeches that have been or will be delivered. In Matthew 28, the disciples have just “graduated”! Jesus has been raised from the dead and the disciples have traveled to Galilee to meet with Him. In just 3 days the disciples experienced Jesus’ crucifixion by the Romans, the empty tomb, and now stand face to face with the risen Lord. They are about to experience the highest moment of their time in “school” with Jesus Christ. They are asking what many graduates are asking today, "What do we do now?" This week's Explore the Bible Study from LifeWay will answer that question.

The disciples are facing a new future and their commencement or commission speaker is their beloved Teacher, the One whom they followed for so many years, the resurrected Christ! The charge they are going to be given is called The Great Commission.

I believe we have a great opportunity Sunday to have honest discussion about how we, as believers, should be on mission fulfilling The Great Commission. I have included some very challenging discussion questions that will help your group look beyond what they already know about this passage. Here are a few resources you might find helpful:

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The image above could be displayed to generate interest and discussion at the beginning of the session.

Some Worshiped and Some Doubted Explanation (Matthew 28:16-17)

We are left with some uncertainty about what Matthew means, owing primarily to the conciseness of his account. Perhaps it is best to conclude that, especially if the "some" refers not to the Eleven but to other followers, the move from unbelief and fear to faith and joy was for them a "hesitant" one. The Eleven, who according to the other Gospels had already seen the risen Jesus at least twice (Peter at least three times, Thomas at least once), respond instantly with worship on the occasion of this new epiphany, but some (others) hesitated—without further specification as to their subsequent belief or doubt. If this is what Matthew means, he may be using this historical reminiscence to stress the fact that Jesus' resurrection was not an anticipated episode that required only enthusiasm and gullibility to win adherents among Jesus' followers. Far from it, they still were hesitant; and their failure to understand his repeated predictions of his resurrection, compounded with their despair after his crucifixion, worked to maintain their hesitancy for some time before they came to full faith. Jesus' resurrection did not instantly transform men of little faith and faltering understanding into spiritual giants. - The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 8

Thought Provoking Commentary - John MacArthur Commentary - Matthew 24-28

John's insight and comments will challenge you to go further in your study as you prepare to teach:

"If a Christian understands all the rest of the gospel of Matthew but fails to understand this closing passage, he has missed the point of the entire book. This passage is the climax and major focal point not only of this gospel but of the entire New Testament. It is not an exaggeration to say that, in its broadest sense, it is the focal point of all Scripture, Old Testament as well as New.

This central message of Scripture pertains to the central mission of the people of God, a mission that, tragically many Christians do not understand or are unwilling to fulfill. It seems obvious that some Christians think little about their mission in this world, except in regard to their own personal needs. They attend services and meetings when it is convenient, take what they feel like taking, and have little concern for anything else. They are involved in the church only to the extent that it serves their own desires. It escapes both their understanding and their concern that the Lord has given His church a supreme mission and that He calls every believer to be an instrument in fulfilling that mission.

If the average evangelical congregation were surveyed concerning the primary purpose of the church, it is likely that many diverse answers would be given. Several purposes, however, would probably be prominent.
  • A large number would rank fellowship first, the opportunity to associate and interact with fellow Christians who share similar beliefs and values. They highly value the fact that the church provides activities and programs for the whole family and is a place where relationships are nurtured and shared and where inspiration is provided through good preaching and beautiful music.
  • At a level perhaps a step higher, some Christians would consider sound biblical teaching to be the church's principal function, expounding Scripture and strengthening believers in knowledge of and obedience to God's revealed truth. That emphasis would include helping believers discover and minister their spiritual gifts in various forms of leadership and service. 
  • Adding a more elevated level, some members would consider praise of God to be the supreme purpose of the church. They emphasize the church as a praising community that exalts the Lord in adoration, homage, and reverence.
All of those emphases are thoroughly biblical and should characterize every body of believers. But neither separately nor together do they represent the central purpose and mission of the church in the world. The supreme purpose and motive of every individual believer and every body of believers is to glorify God.

The mission that flows out of our loving fellowship, our spiritual growth, and our praise is that of being God's faithful and obedient instruments in His divine plan to redeem the world."


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