Each gospel writer includes Jesus commanding the disciples to take the message of the gospel to the ends of the earth. This command is commonly referred to as “The Great Commission.” John tells of Jesus saying to Peter, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:17) In Mark, Jesus tells the disciples to, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15) Matthew records Jesus saying, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19) Matthew also records Jesus giving the disciples a reassurance: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Following Jesus’ ascension, the presence of God with believers comes in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
Luke records the Great Commission at the beginning of his second New Testament book, the book of Acts. Whereas the gospels give an account of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the book of Acts records the work of the Holy Spirit beginning to fulfill the Great Commission through the obedience of the 12 disciples, now referred to as the apostles. In fact, the full title of Acts is “The Acts of the Apostles,” and while they play a prominent role in the spread of the gospel in the days following Jesus’ ascension, the book truly records the work of the Holy Spirit in empowering God’s people to fulfill God’s will in spreading the gospel message throughout the earth.
The book of Acts begins in Jerusalem, where the Holy Spirit falls on the apostles in a powerful way and begins to use them to draw people to faith in Jesus. As the Holy Spirit works through the obedience of the apostles, the Church is born and begins to grow rapidly in Jerusalem before making its way around the world.
five christ centered divisions of the bible
Mt 28:16-20; Acts 1:4-8. Acts 2:1-12
Before Jesus left the earth to rejoin His Father in heaven, He had some special instructions as well as some promises for the disciples. He promised to never leave them through the outpouring of His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would then empower them to carry out His instructions of taking His gospel both near and far. The same instructions and promises that Jesus gave the disciples are given to us. Jesus calls us, through the power and presence of the Spirit, to take His good news of salvation throughout the earth. This mission is given to all believers -- children, teens, and adults. This leads us to the family ingredient of Service. Each day, and even each moment, God calls us to ask Him what He wants us to do. How can we love and serve Him? How can we love and serve others? Until the day of His return to earth, this is to be our focus.
- Jesus promised to never leave or forsake the disciples. How does believing that change our ability to obey God?
- Jesus gave the disciples instructions to tell others about Him. However, first, they were to wait for what? (Hint- Acts 1:4-5)
- What was the promised Holy Spirit to impart to them? Why is that same power needed by us?
- Talk about a time that you believe the Holy Spirit helped you to do something that ordinarily you would not have been able to do?
Activity: Fizzy Water
Sprinkle baking soda in aluminum pan. Sprinkle powdered drink mix on top of baking soda. For greater effect, use different colors. With spray bottle, gently spray water on mix. Watch explosions of colors.
The baking soda represents people. Christians are like the different colors of powdered drink mix. When the water of the Holy Spirit is added to our actions for Christ, powerful things happen.
Sharing the good news of Jesus and praying for the Holy Spirit to work is exciting. Serving God is an adventure! When we obey what God commands, we never know what will happen in our life or in the lives of those around us.
Adapted: Flame Creative Children’s Ministry
Small Group Discussion
- When you consider the Great Commission, what is the command to obey? Who is it for?
- The book of Acts is filled with stories of the power of God. As you read this week about the formation of the church, what examples are there to follow?
- What do the first five chapters of Acts tell us about God? What do the passages demand of you?