Making Disciples (audio file for download)
So, last week we looked at the fact that God expects fruit from us, that we become fruitful not by trying harder, but by connecting to the vine, and that it is for our joy.
Today I want to ask, and answer a simple question. “What is our mission as a church?”
I know the answer to that question may be obvious to most of us, but I think it is vital for us to look at this mission often. Especially today as we break into committees and dream about where God might be taking us as a body. As we begin thinking of where God might be taking us as a church, whatever we dream, or plan or make a goal for, it should be informed by the mission of the church. We should never say that we do something, “Because thats how we have always done it.” Or if there is a new idea, no one should ever say “we have never done that before.” as a reason not to do something. The question we should always use to examine a decision, or an idea is this. “How will this further the mission of the church?” And since we want to evaluate those things based on that question, I want each of us to be clear on the mission of the church.
Open your Bibles please to Matthew 28:16-20
Here we have Jesus’ final words to his disciples on this earth. His last instructions for them to follow. He is saying to them, “Here is your mission!” “This is your job description, as individuals, and as a body.” If you Really want to know what your called to do as followers of Christ, do this!”
The Mission of our Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
“How does that happen?” you ask. Two ways.
- Proclamation and acceptance of the Gospel.
People need to hear the good news about Jesus Christ. The reason that it says Baptism there is that Baptism is a recognition of an inward reality. When we baptize people, we are not saving them, we are recognizing that they have been saved by God through Christ. Baptism is also a sign and reminder of what saved them… Paul says in Romans 6:3 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Now in order for people to respond to the good news about Jesus, they need to hear it. And they need to hear it from people who love it…
- Instruction in the word of God. Making disciples is very different from making converts, or getting decisions. Making disciples is very different from people signing a card, or walking an aisle. Making a disciple is about people who have given their lives to Jesus, and are now set about the task of living those lives for His purpose. Every one of us in this room, if you are believer in Jesus Christ needs to. Be in a process of learning. No one has arrived at their capacity of learning and application. We are all in need of instruction. We all need to be taught. But what are we to be learning? We are to be learning facts about Jesus? No, we are to be learning how to obey all that Christ has commanded. That is very different from learning facts about Jesus. We are not here to fill our minds with Jesus’ stat sheets. We are here to learn to walk in His commands.
And this obedience is not to be a begrudging one. Obedience to Christ must come. From a heart that realizes it has been set free to no longer be a slave to sin, but now we are free to find our joy and our Hope in Christ. And this freedom culminates in worship.
So, we are called to make disciples, and that is comprised of two elements, proclaiming the Gospel, and recognizing Gods saving work. And helping one another grow in their walk by teaching them as we are being taught how to obey. You might say this in a couple ways, you might say that making disciples has two prongs, outreach and in reach. Or you might say it is justification and sanctification. God saving people at conversion, and also making them more like Christ.
So as we prepare to break into committees, let me help bring this into our context. If this is our mission, and this is our goal, as we break up and discuss what God is doing here, lets do it with these things in mind. Every committee in our church has an opportunity to impact this mission. And God wants each of us to play a part in the process.