- Matthew 28:20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
This is our primary mission until Jesus returns. Notice that the focus is not evangelism, but disciple-making. Notice that this was what Jesus did for 3 years. And notice what the elements of this Great Commission are:
- “Go” in the Greek gives the idea of “as you are going”. Thus, discipleship is not a church program or an event on our calendar. It’s supposed to be a part of your daily life as you traverse this earth and interact with people.
- “Make disciples of all nations” is simple: Christianity is not exclusive to Jews, or white people, or black people, or Hawaiians, or any other group. It’s for all people who believe regardless of race, gender, occupation, IQ, etc. Also, a disciple is a student. You are to make students of people everywhere.
- “Baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” places disciples under the public identification of their Christianity and then under the authority of the church.
- “Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” tells us what we are to be teaching our students: The Word of God with the emphasis being on the commandments of Jesus.
- “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” means we are not doing discipling in our power, but in His. It also means we are not to do it our way, but His.
What do you imagine will happen as you disciple people? I think John 6 shows us most will forsake Christianity and few will stick with it. Hence, most will be lost and only a few will truly be saved.
Years ago, I was on Visitation for my church. We would go out ever Thursday and visit those who had visited us. That night we met a man who claimed to be saved, but was scared to talk to us unless his wife found out because he didn’t want to disrupt his marriage. I don’t recall ever seeing him in church again. Regardless of his claim to salvation, his actions yelled out loud and clear that he worshipped his marriage, he feared his wife and not God, and that he wasn’t willing to suffer the consequences of commitment to Jesus.
- “I believe that one reason why the church of God at this present moment has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much influence over the church.”—Charles Spurgeon
- “A whole new generation of Christians has come up believing it is possible to ‘accept’ Christ without forsaking the world.—A.W. Tozer
- “The world says love yourself, grab all you can, follow your heart. Jesus says deny yourself, grab your cross and follow me.”—Francis Chan
- “The road that leads to heaven is risky, lonely, and costly in this world, and few are willing to pay the price. Following Jesus involves losing your life and finding new life in him.”—David Platt
- “If you have forsaken the world to follow Jesus, you have given up dirt for diamonds.”—Steve Lawson
Laodicea was the lukewarm church, with one foot in the world and one foot in the church (Revelation 3:14-22). This ambivalence disgusted Jesus so much that He warned them to repent or else He would puke them out of His mouth. What does Jesus want from us? He wants an “All In” commitment to Him. You know, like a gambler who throws all his chips into the game, except we aren’t gambling because we have a guarantee (ooh, there’s that word again!) that Jesus will be with us even as everyone else reject us.
- “This is God’s universal purpose for all Christian suffering: more contentment in God and less satisfaction in the world.’—John Piper
- We will all suffer as Christians at some point if we are truly saved (John 16:33). Now, reflect on John Piper’s statement above and what our attitude/focus needs to be: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- “The goal of life is not to be happy, but to be holy; not to make ourselves acceptable to others, but to be made more acceptable to God by God; not to be gathered together with all of the successful people in the prime of our life, but to be gathered unto our fathers and mothers in the faith.”—Michael Horton
- “Whenever you put happiness before righteousness, you will be doomed to misery. That is the great message of the Bible from beginning to end. They alone are truly happy who are seeking to be righteous.”—Martyn Lloyd-Jones
- A true disciple of Jesus isn’t concerned with happiness, self-fulfillment, self-esteem, or any of the things that our flesh craves. Looking at the above two quotes, what should our focus be? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Disclaimer: Happiness is not a sin, but it is an idol if we refuse to give it up to sacrifice for Jesus.
- “The true church is too different for the world to tolerate it.”—Sinclair Ferguson
- Tough question: Is our church different than the world? In which ways is it and in which ways is it not? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Be careful not to confuse methods with principles. Some churches will claim you need to abstain from worship music that sounds like rock music (which is thoroughly a cultural preference since Jewish worship celebrated louder, more boisterous, and with more percussion instruments than most churches do). The Amish claim that they are different than the world because they live like the world did 150 years ago (uh, which was still like the world, just in the world of the past). But, do we teach differently, do we speak differently, do we live differently? If so, are those differences biblical?
- Jesus wants disciples that are “All In”, or He doesn’t want them at all. Are you “All In”? __________________________________________
Take My Life, and Let it Be Hymn by Frances Ridley Havergal
1 Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in endless praise,
let them flow in endless praise.
2 Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee,
swift and beautiful for thee.
3 Take my voice and let me sing
always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from thee,
filled with messages from thee.
4 Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as thou shalt choose,
every power as thou shalt choose.
5 Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne,
it shall be thy royal throne.
6 Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee,
ever, only, all for thee.