Matt 28 Go and Make Disciples (Audio File for download)
Last week we looked at the resurrection of Jesus, and how he met with some of His disciples and reset their understanding yet again of the Christ…
So, do you have a different understanding of the purpose of the Christ? Are you noticing in your own life areas where you are treating Jesus as something he is not? Well, I hope that all of us are seeing areas in our lives where Jesus is reseting our understanding of what Jesus is here to do.
Now that we have spent some time hearing from Jesus about what he was supposed to do. We are going to read this week what Jesus says we should be doing. If you recall, we briefly mentioned the parable of the Mina’s that Jesus taught in Luke’s gospel right before he entered into Jerusalem. I explained that Jesus was saying that he was going away, and he was leaving us as His stewards with Mina’s to invest.
So let me ask you this question before we get started. What are the minas Jesus leaves with us? What is your main purpose as a Christian? What about as a person? What is the thing you wake up to do, and go to bed thinking about? What is the reason you do the things you do? What is our main purpose as a church? what are we supposed to be doing as a body?
Lets read what Jesus has to say to the disciples before he departs from them after His resurrection.
- When they saw the risen Christ, their natural response was to worship Him. The first step to being a disciple, is seeing Jesus, and worshipping, if you are not there, the rest of what I am going to say is irrelevant.
- He says to Go, and make disciples. Some say that he is saying that as you go, wherever you go, make disciples. This is more than a missionary call, it is a call to all believers that no matter where they are, they should be involved in making disciples of Jesus Christ. How does this Happen?
- Baptizing them in the name of the Father, son, and Holy Spirit. What does this mean? Well, what does baptism represent? It is a telling of the Gospel. That we are dead in our sin, and when we accept Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection, we are dead, and raised to life. The flesh is dead, and our spirits are raised with Him. This is not a call for cleanliness, or mass baths. it is a call for people to identify their own lives with Christ’s, and to make a public profession that they are in fact aligning themselves with Christ. Evangelism from this text is not something that we do among other things, it is our primary goal in life. We need to be out in the world, sharing our faith in any context we are in. And this doesn’t need to add to your schedule. It is simply a refocussing of all that you do to serve the goal of making disciples. And there is no time off from this either… SO let me ask you this, when was the last time you shared the Gospel with someone in your circle of friends?
- Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Making a disciple is far more than making a decision, or making a convert. Making a disciple is a lifelong process of learning, and growing and understanding the word of God. All of us are on this road, if we are in Christ. We should, each of us be actively involved in a process of growing in our understanding of God’s word. That is why we have Bible studies, and why I preach messages based on the Word of God, and not my own thoughts on life. We need to be about learning for ourselves, and helping others to grow in their understanding, and application of the Word. Now, this is not an easy proposition. This will take time, and commitment, and dedication to learn, and to grow. Time not just with others, but alone with your Bible and the Lord, reading, studying, taking notes asking questions. I know many of you do this, but I would guess tat more of you are more like me, we let the pressures of life, and the tyranny of the urgent take over. But I would wager, that each of us in here could find an extra hour a week to devote to scripture study. I will give you a suggestion too. Turn off the TV for an hour and pick up your Bible. God has much better things to say than any talking head on the whatever news station you watch.
- So, Jesus gave us some imperatives here. Some things for us to do. But just as Jesus typically does, He knows that there are two things that are going to be in tension in our lives. 1. The tendency to think that we are earning something for our work, and 2. more prevalent to His time was the realization that what he was calling us to was not a safe or easy road. He was calling these men to a road of suffering and death for their trust in Him. Jesus told them in Matt 10:16 that he was sending them out as sheep in the midst of wolves. You don’t have to be an animal ecologist to understand what wolves do to sheep… Lets look at how a few of these men died…
Matthew: Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, Killed by a sword wound.
Mark: Died in Alexandria, Egypt , after being dragged by Horses through the streets until he was dead.
Luke: Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous Preaching to the lost.
John: Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge Basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution In Rome . However, he was miraculously delivered From death.
John: was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos . The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve As Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey . He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.
Peter: He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die In the same way that Jesus Christ had died.
James: The leader of the church in Jerusalem , was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller’s club.
James the Great: Son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus Called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer Walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and Knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.
Bartholomew: Also known as Nathaniel Was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.
Andrew: Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: ‘I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.’ He continued to preach to his tormentors For two days until he expired.
Thomas: Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the Sub-continent.
Jude: Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.
Matthias: The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.
Paul: Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundational Doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.
So, how important was it that these men know two things, that all authority had been given to Christ, and that He would be with them. You know these men, and so many others faced down gruesome deaths at the hands of evil men, some of there deaths may have been more physically painful than Christ’s, but not a single one cried out that words that Christ used, “My God my God, why have you forsaken me!” because they knew that whatever they were going through, it was under the authority of Christ, and that He was with them. These men followed Jesus’s instructions, and what did it get them? Well, it got them Killed, but it also got them Him. And He is far better than even life itself.
In Closing, I have two questions I want you to consider: Am I a disciple? and if I am, what am I doing in my everyday interactions to make more disciples?
As I think about vision for Emmaus. i am sure that there are things that God want us to do that are specific to this body, and we will explore some of those in the weeks to come, but over all the small things, there is this one major thing, and that is that we are here to make disciples by preaching the Good News about Jesus, Baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and Teaching them all that He has commanded us. That is our purpose, that is our calling, that is why we are here. And we must never forget that the one who has all the authority and power is with us even to the end of the age.