Lesson one introduced us to God's mission plan. That all peoples of the earth will be blessed through those who know Him.
Remember: "Blessed to Be a Blessing."
Pause for a second, did you ever think God has a big plan? Isn't it incredible that He gave us the Bible and revealed it to us! Read this lesson to unfold His unchanging plan from Genesis to Revelation.
The Bible has a golden thread beginning in Genesis where God blessed the people of Israel. He blessed them not only for their own benefit but that through them all nations on earth could also be blessed. This thread continues through the New Testament where God's desires for the nations is clearly seen and climaxes in Revelation.
This lesson will give you a solid Biblical understanding of the golden thread. You will get a sense of profound awe for God's faithfulness to His centuries-old promise. Starting with the mandate to Abraham, moving through history and even to your personal response in fulfilling that mandate.
To align your life with God's will, you must clearly know his plan. Get ready to discover it!
The Theme of Missions in the Old Testament
Genesis 1-11 forms an introduction to the entire Bible, and is the key to its understanding. These chapters make five essential points:
1. God created the heavens and the earth [Genesis 1].
2. Man is unique and central to God's creative purposes [Genesis 2].
3. By not believing what God said, man sinned, and was alienated from God. [Genesis 3 to 6].
4. Man's sin demands God's judgment [Genesis 7, 11].
5. Nevertheless, God desires to reconcile man to Himself [Genesis 6 to 9].
Babel: God Separates People into People Groups
At the culmination of Genesis 11, God literally creates a new dimension to the problem of reconciling men to Himself. To keep men from further self-acclaim and worship of their own accomplishments, God confused their language. He scattered them across the face of the earth, creating distinct ethnic groups. As a result of this momentous act, what is God's ingenious plan to reconcile all people groups to Himself?
God's relationship to the world of dispersed ethnic groups is the background of the "incident" in Genesis 12:1-3. The call of Abraham, and the following history of the nation of Israel, is the beginning of the story of God's acts to bring about reconciliation between Himself and all the nations of the earth. It is here that the theme of the Bible begins. In the Abrahamic covenant, God promised to bless Abraham and his descendants, and that through them all nations on earth would be blessed [See also Genesis 22:16-18; 26:3-4]. This is what happened, although in a manner far different than Abraham probably imagined!
Abraham's descendants (Israel) were not selected to be God's special people because they were superior to the nations around them [Deuteronomy 7:6-8]. Instead, as God dealt with the nation of Israel, the nations were to witness these dealings and recognize the hand of God in them [Psalm 22:24-27; 33:6-8; 48; 66:1-7; 67:1-2; 1 Chronicles 16:8; 22:5]. In fact, Israel was to be to the whole world what priests are to a people, and represent God among the nations [Exodus 19:5-6].
Israel expected all the nations on earth to acknowledge God one day. They expressed this future expectation through their prophets, and in their liturgy. [Psalm 47; 96; 99; 100; 117; Habakuk 2:14, 20; Isaiah 2:2-4; 40:5; 42:6; 49:6; Micah 4:1-3; Zechariah 8:2-23; 1 Chronicles 16].
The day when all the nations on earth will acknowledge God is closely linked with the coming Messiah [Isaiah 42:1-9; Daniel 7:13-14].God is Lord, and the Messiah will make His Lordship known among all the nations of the earth [Psalm 72; Isaiah 11:9, 10; 52:1, 2; 53:11].
God Uses Abraham's Descendants to be a
Blessing to the Nations
Have you ever noticed that so much of the Old Testament is dedicated to narratives of Abraham's descendants being a blessing to non-Jewish peoples? Just in case you haven't noticed this, here are a few examples:
1. Abraham himself bore witness to the Canaanites, Philistines, Hittites, and (rather negatively) to the Egyptians
2. Joseph made up for his forefather's lack of a clear witness to the Egyptian nation! He blessed the Egyptians in truly amazing ways.
3. Naomi was a blessing to two Moabite women, Ruth and Orpah.
4. King David caused even his enemies, the Philistines, to acknowledge God's greatness.
5. King Solomon was a blessing to the Sabaean, "Queen of the South" [Luke 11:31].
6. Esther and her uncle Mordecai were a blessing to the entire Persian Empire [Esther 8:17].
7. Prophet Elijah was a blessing to the Sidonian widow in Zarephath [Luke 4:26].
8. Prophet Elisha, likewise, was a blessing to Naaman, a Syrian [Luke 4:27].
9. Jonah was a blessing to the Gentile population of Nineveh.
10. Daniel and the three Hebrew children were a blessing to the Babylonians.
11. Ezekiel, Jeremiah and other prophets declared the Word of the Lord to various Gentile nations.
In the Old Testament Scriptures God clearly expresses His intention to be acknowledged among all the dispersed nations of mankind. In the Old Testament era, His acts upon the nation of Israel were to be the visible manifestation of His Lordship, and were to draw the nations to Himself.
The Theme of Missions in the New Testament
The four Gospels record the single greatest event in human history. The supreme act by which God sought to redeem fallen men. The incarnation of the Son of God, destined to die for the sins of all mankind. The Messiah, who will make the name of the Lord God known among the nations, has come! But, consistent with our God of the unexpected, the way this occurred was not the way Israel, or the early church anticipated.
Jesus' birth, life, ministry, and death were intricately bound up in God's plan to draw all the nations to Himself.
Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, prophesied about the coming Messiah saying he would "shine upon those living in darkness and in the shadow of death," (a quote from Isaiah 9:1-2, referring to Gentiles and recorded by Luke in chapter 1:67-79).
The righteous old gentleman, Simeon, blessed the baby Jesus, saying, "…my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." [Luke 2:25-32].
Over half a century later, the Apostle Paul interpreted the importance of Jesus' death for the reconciliation of the Gentiles when he said, "Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles…were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ."[Ephesians 2:11-13]
As the descendant of Abraham, Israel was granted the opportunity to receive the greatest of the blessings of Abraham, the gift of the Messiah, before it was offered to the Gentiles. Israel's rejection of this gracious invitation, and God's response to their rejection, is aptly portrayed in Matthew 22:1-10.
Despite Jesus' primary focus on Israel, His compassion for the Gentiles, and unwavering commitment to draw them to Himself, bursts forth again and again throughout His earthly ministry.
1. John 3:1-16
Jesus used his encounter with Nicodemus as an opportunity to state clearly that He was sent into the world, because God loved the world.
2. John 4:4-42
Jesus witnessed to a Samaritan woman, causing her and many other Samaritans to believe in Him.
Jesus healed the servant of a Roman Centurion, praising the Roman for his faith, and commenting that many would "come from east and west" (an allusion to Gentiles) and dine with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Jesus healed the daughter of a Canaanite woman.
Jesus healed ten lepers, praising the one who returned to give thanks (who was a Samaritan).
Jesus gives one condition that must be met before His return, "And the gospel must first be preached to all nations."
Jesus Gives a Missions Speech
Before His ascension, Jesus strove to make His purpose for the nations unmistakably clear. He gave His disciples the "Great Commission". In this, Jesus turned the tables on Israel and the early church:
They expected Jesus to set up an earthly kingdom.
They expected Jesus to use His power to establish the kingdom.
They anticipated that the nations would stream to Israel to worship God.
They wanted Jesus to do the work.
But…He offered them entry into a spiritual kingdom
But…He promised them power to extend the kingdom But.He commissioned them to go to the nations with the gospel, and disciple them. But.He told them they would do the work.
The Great Commission, in fact, is not one command but a composite commission found in all four Gospels and the Book of Acts. None of these writers gave it in its entirety, but they beautifully supplement each other.
The authority, the all-inclusive goal, and the time-extension of the work are stressed.
The urgency, the method, and the personal responsibility are emphasized.
The foundation, the forgiveness of sins, the universality, and the personal responsibility are highlighted.
The spiritual equipment and the spiritual nature of the work are stressed.
The risen Savior and the power of the Holy Spirit are depicted.
This Great Commission was spoken to the apostles as representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ. That means us! We are commanded to complete Christ's unfinished task.
Like much of the church today, even though Jesus made it very clear that His disciples were to go and preach the gospel to all the nations, the disciples did not obey this command immediately.
Oh yes, the church began well enough. On the day of Pentecost, dispersed Jews, representing nations from all over the world heard the gospel and believed in the Lord Jesus [Acts 2:9-11]! However, this international gathering was not an event planned and executed by the apostles as a means of taking the gospel to the nations! These representatives of the nations already lived in Jerusalem. After Pentecost, this good beginning sort of fizzled out, while the church "put itself together".
Progressively, however, with the assistance of some unwanted persecution that scattered many of the members of the Jerusalem church, the evangelism of the Gentile world began in earnest.
Phillip spent some time witnessing in the city of Samaria. On his return trip to Jerusalem, God sent him on a side-road to Gaza, where he met and converted an Ethiopian court official [Acts 8]. After these exciting events, however, it appears he returned and settled at the church in Jerusalem.
After seeing the same vision three times and being sent for by three messengers, Peter witnessed to his first Gentile, a devout Roman centurion named Cornelius [Acts 10, 11]. Although he remained in Jerusalem for quite some time after this, Peter became an important supporter of the Gentile missions effort because of his experience with Cornelius [Acts 15].
It took the apostle Paul, led along by Barnabas, to make a dedicated effort to go and witness to the Gentiles. Paul was blind and hungry for three days and nights after encountering the risen Christ. Then Ananias informed him of the awesome fact that God had set him apart to be a witness to the Gentiles [Acts 9:15]. About 12 years later Paul joined Barnabus at a crazy church in the city of Antioch, where large numbers of Greeks were actually meeting the Lord [Acts 11:19-20]. Soon, Paul and Barnabus became the first missionary band sent from a local church to evangelize the Gentiles (others soon followed) [Acts 13:1-3].
The theme of world evangelization appears again and again in other New Testament passages [see Romans 1:5; 15:15-29; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 2:11-19; 3:2-6; Philippians 2:10-11; II Thessalonians 3:1; II Peter 3:9, for a start]. In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John provides a glimpse of the future, when representatives from every people, nation, tribe, and tongue, will gather together at the feet of Christ, and call him Lord! [Revelation 5:8-10; 7:9-10; 13:7-8; 14:6-7] God's desire for the nations will be fulfilled, as the Church takes the gospel to the nations.
The Church Exists for Missions
In the light of this evidence, from the Old and New Testament, we see that throughout history God intended to reconcile representatives of every people, nation, tribe, and tongue to Himself. How should today's Christian church respond, when more than two billion people are still unaware of the good news of Jesus Christ, particularly when many of these are found within "people groups" that are "unreached"?
The objective of world missions is to establish a healthy, reproducing, evangelical church in every indigenous people group in the world, reducing the number of unreached people groups to zero! The gospel of Matthew, quoting Jesus, says; "And this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations (ethnos, or "people groups"), and then the end will come." [Matthew 24:14]. The second coming of Christ waits while the church takes the gospel of the Kingdom to all the peoples of the earth! World missions is the "reason" for the continued existence of the church in the world today.
If this is so, missions is not "one of many programs in the church, like Sunday school or potlucks." Every Christian should be informed about, and involved with, world missions. Missions is not the domain of a select few!
Missions will only become an integral part of your church's life if it is integrated into the total education program of your congregation. The learning experience of your children, many of whom will be future leaders in the church, must be flavored with God's heart for world evangelization. Youth and Young adults must be helped to discover how their gifts and abilities can contribute to world evangelization. Adults must be equipped to lead the church in fulfilling its role in world missions.
The first eleven chapters of Genesis cover just four major events: the sin of Adam and Eve; the slaying of Abel by Cain; Noah and the Flood; and the Tower of Babel. In each of these four events the characters ended up in sin. Despite being warned of its consequences, these human beings persisted in rejecting God; yet God's faithfulness and love for His people stayed constant. Sin reached such a peak that God unleashed the Flood to destroy evil and started all over again with Noah [who] found favor in the eyes of the Lord. [Gen 6:8]. At Babel, God intervened when men began to glory in their own achievements. He confused the languages of the whole world [and] the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth [Gen 11:9]. Because of God's grace, the people were not wiped out, as in the Flood. They were scattered and, in Genesis chapter 12, we see the culmination of the Babel story.
Abraham: Blessed to be a Blessing – God's grace is reflected in Genesis 12:1-3;The LORD had said to Abraham:
"Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; .. and you will be a blessing all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
God is blessing Abraham, not just because he is obedient, but also so that he will be a blessing.
Who is Abraham supposed to bless? "All peoples on earth will be blessed through you." This is the most important part of God's Word for us, and so I am going to repeat it to you. God was blessing Abraham so that he could, in turn, bless all the people who had been scattered by God over the whole world – with different languages, different cultures, different groups, nations and kingdoms.
Israel: Blessed to be a Blessing – From the very beginning of the Old Testament, the burden on God's heart is the desire to reach all people. God blessed Israel so much so that the people around her would notice it. They would then ask about Israel's God and come to obey and worship the true God.
Sadly, it did not work out this way. Why? Because most of the time the people of Israel disobeyed God. While they received, and appreciated, their own blessing, they selfishly refused to follow up on the other half of God's promise – they failed to become a blessing to others by giving them the message of God.
Yet in the reigns of King David and his son, Solomon, God's blessings to Israel reached the high point of her history. Israel became one of the most powerful nations and the whole world at that time heard of the grandeur of Jerusalem and its temple.
David himself never forgot the reason why Israel was being blessed; so that they could be a blessing to the rest of the peoples and nations of the world. We can see this in David's, and Israel's, hymns – the Psalms. There are some seventy-six references in the Psalms to the "nations." As well there are references to "peoples" and "all the earth" – making it clear that during this time Israel worshipped God as the God of the entire world. Psalm 67 beautifully reflects Israel's understanding that she was to be a blessing: here are the first three verses;
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine upon us,
that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.
May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.
This was the desire on God's heart; a Heart which is for all the peoples of the earth. Yet Solomon lost his focus – and his directive from God – and led Israel away from her part in God's plan for the world.
The Early Church Keeps it Going! The first disciples of Jesus, and the Early Church, carried out the Great Commission aggressively. Beginning at their starting place in Jerusalem, they carried the Good News to peoples in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth [Acts 1:8]. Paul's life is a witness to following the path outlined by his Savior as shown towards the end of Romans:
"So, from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation. Rather, as it is written'Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.' [Rom 15:19-21]'"
Although the regions Paul visited still needed lots of evangelistic work and follow-up, yet Paul moved on. Why? Because He knew the love for all peoples in the heart of God.
Paul's conception of the missionary task is not merely the winning of more and more people to Christ but the reaching of more and more peoples or nations. His focus was not primarily on new geographic areas. Rather he was gripped by the vision of unreached peoples.
Lesson 2 Verses
1 The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. 2 "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
16 and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."
3 Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed,
6 For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. 7 The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
24 For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. 25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. 26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him – may your hearts live for ever! 27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him,
6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. 7 He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses. 8 Let All the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him.
1 Shout with joy to God, all the earth! 2 Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious! 3 Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. 4 All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name." Selah 5 Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works on man's behalf! 6 He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot – come, let us rejoice in him. 7 He rules for ever by his power, his eyes watch the nations – let not the rebellious rise up against him. Selah
1 Chronicles 22:5
David said, "My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the LORD should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it." So David made extensive preparations before his death.
5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites."
Habbakuk 2:14, 20
14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. 20 But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him."
2 In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. 3 Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."
1 In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. 2 Many nations will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more.
1 "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. 2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. 3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; 4 he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope." 5 This is what God the LORD says – he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: 6 "I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in d darkness. 8 "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. 9 See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you."
13 "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. 10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.
1 Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor, O Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again. 2 Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O captive Daughter of Zion.
The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.
In every province and in every city, wherever the edict of the king went, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.
Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed – only Naaman the Syrian."
1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan.2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: 68 "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. 69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David 70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), 71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us– 72 to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham: 74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace."
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."
1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. 4 "Then he sent some more servants and said, `Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.' 5 "But they paid no attention and went off – one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, ill-treated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 "Then he said to his servants, `The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
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."
44 He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."
21 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs– we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!"
19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.
1 In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, L ucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God's people and members of God's household,
2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."
9 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no-one could count, from every nation, 4 tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."
7 He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.
6 Then I saw another angel flying in mid-air, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth – to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."