Welcome to week three of our “Faithful for the Future” 21-day devotion. We are into the home stretch. I pray you’ve grown spiritually through your time in the Word and prayer.
Let us review Emmanuel’s mission statement. We exist to (1) display God’s glory, (2) declare God’s gospel, and (3) disciple for God’s Great Commission.
In this final week, we will focus in on what it means to Disciple for God’s Great Commission.
Read Matthew 28:18-20
As a church, there must be a holy dissatisfaction with the status quo. We can never settle for things as they are, but we must ask God to give us His future for our church. And in the area of being a Great Commission church, the challenge is enormous. We must not be satisfied with the way things are right now or we will never grow spiritually and see the mighty hand of God work in our midst.
The first critical issue is this: As a church, we should not be satisfied with “decisions” for Christ, but instead see our primary task as making disciples of Christ.
This passage before us is famously called the Great Commission. But what are we actually commissioned to do? Not once in this passage will you find the wording go get people saved. Or go get people to walk an aisle. Or go get people to pray a prayer or sign a card or sign up for Jesus. We are called to make disciples.
What is the main verb in this passage? It starts with “go” and in our English translations we may think that “going” is the main thing we are to do. Go out! Get going! Go door-to-door! GO!
“Go” is NOT the main verb. It is actually what is called a participle or a modifier of the main verb. Usually participles end with “ing.”
It really should be translated “as you are going.” So Jesus assumes that we are already going. Jesus assumes that we would be making disciples in our daily lives as we go. We are commanded to make disciples in the natural ebb and flow of our lives within our current relationships.
No in fact, “make disciples” is the main verb in this sentence. It is the primary command. Jesus tells us that we have fallen short of the mandate if we don’t make a disciple.
There are two other participles that connect to the primary command. They are “baptizing and teaching.”
We then must ask the question, what is a disciple? If we are called to make one then we need to know what one is.
We see some qualifiers here that Jesus gives us. The first qualifier is that a disciple is a believer who has made his or her profession in Christ public through the waters of baptism. This is a person who has been immersed under the water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Remember, baptism does not save you. It is a beautiful symbol of how God has saved you by grace. It symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. It also illustrates the death of our old life in sin whereby God has raised us to new life in Christ.
So part of being a Great Commission church is that we value baptizing believers.
That’s the entry point into the community of faith. That is the public testimony that a person has trusted Christ for salvation.
If you have not followed Jesus in believer’s baptism by immersion I encourage you to make an appointment with me to discuss this.
But the second qualifier is that we are to be teaching believers. But it doesn’t end there. Notice how specific Jesus was. We are to teach them to observe or obey all that Jesus commanded.
So it’s not just teaching for information. But teaching for transformation. We must be preaching, teaching, and encouraging everyone to be doers of the Word, not just hearers.
James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
One of the crucial roles we have as a church is to facilitate the spiritual growth of believers. There may be some of you who have only been a Christian a week and others 50 years. Regardless of where you are on the journey, you must continue to grow in the knowledge and grace of Christ.
Would you commit to OBEYING ALL that Jesus commanded? Would you be a doer of the Word and not just a hearer only?
Spend some time in prayer asking God to help you by His grace become obedient to everything Jesus commanded.