Thursday, May 3, 2012

"Go and Make Disciples" - The Great Commission (sermon)

Matthew 28:16-20 – Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

How many of you have ever had a job? How many of you have ever done any volunteer work? When you start a job, or when you go volunteer, do you go and already know everything you’re supposed to do the first time you go there?

No, you need to be trained. You need to have someone say, “This is what we want to do.” This Scripture is Jesus telling us exactly what He wants us to do. He’s giving us our job. He’s giving our mission. He’s saying, “This is what needs to be done.”

The first thing Jesus says is “Go and make disciples”. Well, what does it mean to go and make disciples? Is Jesus telling us that we all have to go to a foreign country and be a missionary in order to go and make disciples?

I think God calls some of us to do that, but not all of us. We’re not all called to be missionaries. We are, however, all called to go and make disciples.

That means that we have to make an effort. If we want to make disciples, we have to go to other people and invite them to become disciples. We can’t wait for them to come to us. We have to go them. We have to have conversations with them. We have to invite them. We have to take the first step, or make the first move. We have to make the effort to make disciples.

And the great thing is that we don’t have to be nervous about taking that first step. We don’t have to be nervous about telling people what we believe, or inviting them to church, or inviting them into a relationship with Jesus. Because Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go…”

Jesus is the King. Jesus is in control. We don’t have to be nervous or ashamed to talk about Him. He’s the Master of all that there is. All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Him. It’s like if you’re a fan of some football team, and that team wins the super bowl – do you have to be nervous to say you’re a fan of that team? Are you ashamed to say you’re a fan of that team? No, you say, “Woohoo! My team one!”

It’s the same with Jesus. Jesus has already won everything there is to win. He’s defeated sin. He’s defeated Satan. He’s defeated death. If you believe in Jesus, you’re on the winning team. Don’t be nervous or ashamed to let people know that. And don’t be nervous or ashamed to invite others to join us on the winning team.

It’s like if you discovered the cure to cancer, and you were sure your cure would save every cancer patient in the world – what would you do? Would you keep it a secret? No, you would loudly and boldly and confidently proclaim your cure so that everyone could take advantage of it.

When you proclaim Christ, when you go and make an effort to invite someone to become a disciple of Jesus, you are proclaiming the cure not to cancer, not to one kind of disease, but you’re proclaiming the cure to death itself – the cure to Hell – the cure to a life without God.

Proclaim the cure. Proclaim the cross. Proclaim Christ. Invite people to join our winning team. Be confident.

Romans 10:9-15 – If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

They can’t believe, they can’t be saved and cured, they can’t join our winning team unless you tell them, unless we tell them. Amen? Amen.

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