Sunday, April 15, 2012

Our Great Commission

Previous events - Palm Sunday - Lord's Supper and the Cross
Easter Sunday - Resurrection
What's next???  Jesus spent 40 days revealing/teaching .... then the Ascension - visibly before their eyes.  Acts 1

Sometime during the post-resurrection visits, Jesus gave the Great Commission.  Possibly right before the Ascension.  Matt. 28:16-20

Often, the Faith (Christian) life can be summarized in 2 words:  "Come" - to Christ, and "Go" - to others.

The problem is that we often neglect the "go".  We're still very self-centered.
Too often we're thinking "what can Christ, Christianity, the church, the Faith do for ME???  (for mine???)
Too seldom do we ask, "what can Christ, Christianity, the church, the Faith do through me?? (for others??)

Compare:  the greatest commandment from Matt. 22.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.

So, Looking at the Great Commission (text from Matthew)
We can simplify and summarize it to:  "GO MAKE DISCIPLES"
This is the Great Commission in shortest form.  And, it's a message to ALL Christians in all ages.

A look at 4 things from the text:

#1.  The Importance of Making Disciples
As seen in:  (A)  Jesus' statement of authority - "...all authority is given to Me...."
                   (B)  Jesus' singular command - then "GO and make disciples"
Compare with John 21 - "feed my sheep"  2 Tim. 2:2

#2.  The Possibility of Making Disciples
As seen in:  The Command!!!!  doesn't command beyond ability.

Definition:  Make followers (of Christ)
Objection:  that is beyond my ability!!  On one hand, Yes. - John 6:44  On the other hand, it doesn't happen apart from us.
We can't make people into followers, but we can and must present the gospel to them.  It's not going to happen accidentally or incidentally.

#3.  The Simplicity of Making Disciples
Using Jesus' words:  "Go" --  "Baptize" --  "Teach"   
Which mean:    Intentionality - Evangelism - Instruction

The Process may be more complex but he concept is very simple!!

Question??  Teach what??   (a)  "to obey"
                                            (b) "all I've commanded"
We are not free to take away from the commandments written down in the Bible.  It's not about what we feel like, but what it SAYS.

Observation:  This teaching goes way beyond classroom instruction!!!!   It's teaching through lifestyle, modeling, day to day living.

#4.  The Promise for Disciple Makers - ..  I am "with you" always...
This is often repeated in scripture, usually in conjunction with a call to serve!!
This obviously includes His Presence, but also implies that it includes His assistance.  He will help you with the task.

Whether or not you see the results you want to see, doesn't mean that the Lord is not with you.

If Christ is your Lord, to neglect making disciples is to neglect the Lord, as well as neglect family, neighbors, friends, etc. and even self.
The long term consequences of neglecting the command to make disciples are far-reaching.  There's no way to know who might not ever respond to Christ if we don't take this commandment seriously.

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