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Make Disciples

Follow Me  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  46:06
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Learn what "disciple-making" means as Matthew 4:13 becomes the launching point. Jesus taught the disciples to share the Word, show the Word, teach the Word and serve the World. Two simple words, but a lifetime of modeling the Person of Christ.

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Follow Me

I can’t wait to study this text together this morning because I hope we are reading it in a whole new light. This is no longer reading about the Great Commission. What we are reading is the very mission of our lives and that which should be the very mission of this church. What does it mean to make disciples?
So, with that understanding, let's dive into and read Matthew 28:16-20.
Matthew 28:16–20 NKJV
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
What I want us to do is look at this text through the lens of a covenant with each other. What I mean by covenant is a commitment that we make to God, before God and before each other. I want us to think about this text as it relates to our lives individually and our lives corporately as a faith family called Faith Bible Church and what this text means for us. I want us to unfold and unpack three facets of that covenant.

We will be a church that trusts in His authority

"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." Matt. 28:18 . That is the key statement in the Great Commission because it is the foundation upon which everything else that He says is built. All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Now this is a theme we have seen throughout the book of Matthew. This is actually the tenth time that we see Jesus’ authority referenced. All throughout the Gospels we see His authority emphasized over and over again. It is not just the power of Jesus—“All ‘power’ has been given to me”—but it is the right to use that power. You can have power and strength but if you don’t have the authority to use it, then it doesn’t really get you very far.
Jesus comes to His disciples soon before He is about to ascend back into heaven, and He says, “All authority, all power has been given to me to use.” We are going to get to that in a second. I want you to think about the authority of Christ on two different levels. Number one,

His authority is universal

All authority on heaven and on earth. That pretty much sums it up. He has got it all. If He has all authority in heaven and on earth that means there is nothing that is not under His authority. He has complete and total, universal dominion, right and power to rule. Here's a list of a few things over which He has authority.

He has authority over disease

You see Jesus when it comes to a blind man and all of a sudden the blind man can see. When He comes to a lame man, He says, “Get up and walk.” He has the authority to tell those who had never walked in their life to get up and walk and they do. He has authority to take the lepers, the outcasts and give them healing. He has authority over all disease. Isn’t it good to know that Jesus Christ has authority over cancer, over any disease that anyone of us may ever face around the corner? He has authority over disease.

He has authority over demons

Over and over again, this is one of the most common usages or references to His authority. He is casting out demons. The evil spirits flee from Him. They run from Him. He has authority over all demons.

He has authority over sin

You go through the Gospels and you look at how Jesus talks about how He has the authority to judge sin in John 5 and then He talks about how He has the authority not just to judge sin, if His authority stopped there then we would really be in trouble, but He has the authority of forgive sin. Why? Because He has authority by conquering sin. He conquered death. He conquered the grave. He is Lord over sin.

He has authority over suffering

“Come to me all you who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” When you are burdened with the things of this world and nothing makes sense and you are confused and you are anxious, you have a Savior who has authority over every single burden so that you don’t have to carry them so that He carries them for you. He says to those who are hungry, who haven’t been satisfied by the things of this world, He says, “I am the bread of life. I am the living water.” He has authority over suffering.

He has authority over nature

Jesus is out on a boat with His disciples and a big storm comes and the disciples are panicking. Jesus wipes the sleep out of His eyes, yawns and then speaks, raises His hand and He has authority to calm the seas. His buddies another time were out in the middle of the lake and He is on the side and He would like to go see them. Jesus needs no boat at that point to get out to His disciples. He just takes a stroll across the water because He has authority over all of nature.

He has authority over all nations

Now, this has been prophesied all the way back in Daniel 7:13 and 14. You might write that down and go back and look at it sometime. It is an incredible text that talks about how the Son of Man would come who would have authority and sovereign dominion over every nation and His dominion would last forever.
Now that is the picture of Jesus’ authority. When He comes to this point, He says, “All authority in heaven and on earth is mine.” He means it. He has got it all! Just get the picture. Psalm 148 sums it up. He has authority over the sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightening and hail, stormy winds that do His bidding, mountains and hills, fruit trees, cedars, wild animals, all cattle, small creatures, flying birds, kings of the earth, all nations, princes, rulers on the earth, young men, maidens, old men and children. They all bow down to the authority of Jesus Christ. Now that changes the way you look at life. That changes the way you watch television news when you know that Jesus Christ is in control and has authority over all nations. It changes the way we approach the things we come into in life when He has authority over sin and suffering.
So, His authority is universal. But, second,

His authority is purposeful

This is where we see the link between the authority of Christ and the Great Commission. He is not just bragging here in Matthew 28:18. “I have got all authority.” What He is saying is, “I have got all authority in heaven and on earth for a purpose.” This is what feeds the Great Commission is the claim that is the foundation for what He is about to say. Because, basically what He is saying is, “I have all things in heaven and on earth at my disposal to accomplish this mission that I am about to give you.” Let that soak in for a second.
Jesus Christ has said to His church right here, His disciples and to us today, “I have all authority in heaven and on earth, and I put them at your disposal to accomplish the mission that I have given to you.” That is why He said in John 15, “You ask me for anything you need, anything you want to accomplish this mission and I will give it to you to see my word accomplished.” His authority is purposeful.
Think about it—the authority of Jesus residing in each and every one of you, His person dwelling in you. All authority in heaven and on earth given to us. It is at this point we realize that...

Our success is not based on who we are or what we can do

It is not about how smart we are, how creative we are, how talented we are, how rich we are. It is not about what we can offer.

Our success is based on who Jesus is and what He is capable of doing in our lives

We will be a church that trusts in His authority, His person, and His Word. We will be dominated by His authority, His person and His Word; our lives, our ministry, our church governed by His Word. Everything staked on His Word trusting that He alone has all the authority. We will be a church that trusts in His authority and not our own.

We will be a church that obeys His strategy

Now, based on the authority, we get in to the picture. It is at this point before we study verse 19 and really start to unpack what the Great Commission is all about, this making disciples thing that we have been talking about for five weeks. I want us to think about the picture we have seen throughout the Gospels up until this point of the contrast between Christ’s strategy in the world and the self-directed strategy of the disciples.
You see Christ’s strategy talks about how He had compassion on the crowds because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd and He is caring for the crowds. And then you see the disciples coming up to Him in Luke 9 when they face a little bit of opposition in Samaria and they are saying, “Hey, can we call down fire from heaven on these guys?” There’s a little disconnect there. You can imagine Jesus rolling His eyes at that point. At numerous points He pulls them aside and He begins to talk about the suffering He is going to experience and the death He would experience. There is one time when Peter even goes so far as to pull Jesus to the side and say, “Jesus, with all due respect, as your Public Relations manager, I cannot recommend this particular course of action.” There is constantly, this tension between the self-directed strategy of the disciples and the strategy of Christ.
So, Jesus dies on the cross. He rises from the grave and at this point there is no telling what is going through these guys minds, what kind of plans that they could come up with at this point if left to their own. So they come up on this mountain with Christ and they come face to face with His strategy, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,” and at that point they have got two options. Two options that have been seen throughout this contrast in the Gospels and now they come face to face with them.
Number one, first option is they can give themselves to...

A self-directed strategy that hopes for His blessing

What I mean by that is they could come up with some good things at this point. They were sharp guys and they had great motives. Believe it or not, even when they wanted to call down fire from heaven and wanting to redirect Jesus, they had got good motives. They wanted to see the King Jesus glorified.
Could it be possible that even 2,000 years later in the church today, that we could have the option of coming up with some great strategies and great plans and great methods? Could it be that our Christian bookstores are filled with books on new strategies and new plans and new methods that we could adapt to as a church, that we could adopt as a church? The dangerous thing is we can adopt those strategies, plans and methods and even have God glorifying motives at the center. We want God to be glorified in our church. We want God to be glorified in this community, so let’s come up with a new strategy. Let’s come up with a plan for how to do that.
It is at this point folks that we have got to realize that nowhere in Scripture does God promise to bless us based solely on our motives. Now I am not saying motives are not important. They are extremely important. But nowhere in Scripture does God promise to bless based solely on our motives but Scripture does give us very clear warning for the fact that God always promises to bless His plan.
So we have got two options. Either number one, we can give ourselves to a self-directed strategy that hopes for His blessing, or number two,

A Christ-directed strategy that is guaranteed His blessing

Could it be that our job is not to come up with a new strategy, a new plan or method? Or that God is not looking for us to come up with a new agenda? Could it be that our primary responsibility is to know His will through His word and obey it wholeheartedly, the strategy that He has already given to us. But if we ignore the Christ-directed strategy, we will miss the whole point. That is why we need to focus on what it means to make disciples of all nations.
So what does a Christ-directed strategy look like? I want you to look at a few different components of a Christ-directed strategy in this text. Number one,

Christ is our vision

That goes all the way back to Matthew 4 where this whole thing started. It is the thing that is driving this series. Two words: “follow me.” Look at me. Give yourself to me. Christ is our vision. Remember His whole picture. There was no formal school, no regulations and procedures, no seminaries, no membership classes. It was just following Christ. Our agenda, our vision is to be like Christ and that is non-negotiable in the church. This is what drives us. We see Christ and we want to be like Christ. We are being conformed in the image of Christ. We study His Word so that His image will take root in our hearts, in our minds, and in our lives. We want to be like Christ. Our vision, Christ is our vision.

Making disciples is our mission

When you get to Matthew 28:19, really this whole text that we have just read, there is in the original language of the New Testament, one imperative verb. Just in case it has been a little while since English class for you an imperative verb is the command. When Katharine gives me an imperative that is a command. Do it right then. So there is one command, one imperative verb in Matthew 28 verses 16–20. The imperative is make disciples. One word in the Greek, two words here. Make disciples. That is the command around which this whole thing revolves.
Now it is at that point that we say, “Well how do you make disciples?” Thankfully, based on what we have been studying the last four weeks, we now know the answer to that. Here is where I want you to draw the connection between what we have been studying for four weeks now and what we have seen in this text. Because this imperative, “Making disciples”, is surrounded by other verbs and other words that help describe how that looks.
For example, it starts off and says, “Therefore go and make disciples” (Matt. 28:19). “Go” is really a participle much like baptizing and teaching later on. So, the literal Greek would read: “Therefore, going, as you go, make disciples.” Going is a part of making disciples. We go and what do we do? Think about the “incarnational” facet of disciple-making. We have the Word of Christ entrusted to us, His Word becoming life in us, incarnated in us. How do we go?
First of all,

Going - Share the Word

Does that sound familiar? We take the Word that has been entrusted to us, the gospel that has been entrusted to us and just as Jesus went preaching, proclaiming the coming of the Kingdom, He said, “You go and you do the same thing. Share the Word.”

Baptizing - Show the Word

This is the way that we identify our lives with Christ and His church. Literally, it says in the original language there baptizing them into the name, which is identified with the name, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit into His character, into all that He is. You identify, you associate your life with His. Your life is now a demonstration of His life. That is why baptism is so extremely important, I believe, in the Great Commission and I believe in the church. Because what happens in physical baptism is we identify our lives with the life and the death of Christ. We identify our lives with His church. That is why that is so important. It is involved in showing the Word.
We go and we share the Word. We baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We show the Word. Then we “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Third,

Teaching - Teach the Word

Is this sounding familiar? Are you seeing the connection here? Teach the Word. Teach them everything I have commanded you.
As we come to the end of Matthew 28 we see that starting back in Matthew 5, Matthew’s Gospel is split up into about five different sections that really focus on Jesus’ teaching with His disciples and there are five different times where we see a pattern emerge. Each time the disciples are brought together either by Jesus or they come to Jesus, then He teaches them something for an extended period of time and then that section closes off with Matthew saying, “After Jesus had finished teaching them these things,” and then He moves on. Five different times.
It is repeated over and over again five different times in Matthew. Then you come to Matthew 28. The passage we just read, once again Jesus pulls his disciples together. The same pattern and He begins to teach them. He gives them these words. Now obviously not quite as long of a block but extremely a significant block of teaching.
In this last part where Jesus pulls His disciples together and He begins to teach them, Matthew does not include the statement, “When he had finished teaching them these things.” Why not? Here is why. Because the teaching of Christ was not finished with His disciples. It wasn’t going to stop with them. It was going to spread through them. They would now continue His teaching.
The book of Matthew is an open-ended book and the last chapter is still being written in the hearts and minds of disciples all over the world who are teaching the words of Christ. It is not stopping with them. It is spreading through them. That is the picture we see. It is intended to be left open-ended where we, all of us are teaching the Word of Christ as individuals. Not just in the church in classrooms, but as individuals.
Maybe a better word even to think about when we think of teaching them to obey is almost training people to follow Christ. Not just giving them cold truths but training them to follow Christ. This is why we can’t give this responsibility just to the church as an institution or just to the Bible study class or the small group because if you want to learn to pray, what is the best way to learn to pray? By sitting in a class or by sitting down with somebody who has a strong prayer life and learning from them and being taught from them how to pray. What is the best way to learn to study the Bible? By going and sitting in a class on how to study the Bible? It would be helpful and give you some tools. But wouldn’t it be better if a believer sat down with you and said, “Hey, let me show you how I study the Bible. Here is how I walk through the Word in my quiet time.” Teaching them to obey.
And then we do it...

All Nations - Serve the World

Each one of these components is vital for our transformation in this disciple-making process.
Here is an illustration of how this might look on the back of your page there. What we have is a drawing; we have the world, over six billion people and over a billion who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ. That is the picture of the world we have got.
Now, what we do is we go into the world and we share the Word, and once we share the Word, we have a believer. We lead people to believe in Christ, to put their faith in Christ, to trust in Christ. Then, once people believe in Christ, then we begin to show them the importance of the Word, identifying with Christ, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit so that we are identified with Him, not just as I place my faith in Him. We are established as disciples of Christ and all that that encompasses in Matthew 4, like we studied at the very beginning of this series. But we don’t stop there. Now, we take the Word and we begin to reproduce it in the lives of others so that we are teaching the Word, we are training people in the Word. We are going from believer to disciple, and then to disciple maker.
Now I hesitate because I don’t want to differentiate even biblically. I believe a disciple of Christ is a believer in Christ and a disciple maker. But I do want us to see a progression here that when we give ourselves to disciple-making then we are now beginning to engage the world.
Now I want to give you that picture because I want to ask you two questions. As you look at that image, believer, disciple, disciple maker and that kind of journey in the process of disciple-making, I want to ask you two questions. Number one, I want to ask you where you are on that journey. Where would you put your life and your Christianity? I am wondering if many, if not most of us are stalled at one of the first two. If we have placed our faith in Christ and we have trusted Him to save us from our sins, many of us haven’t even come to the point where we have been baptized and even been identified with Christ. So the possibility of us giving ourselves to this mission is undercut from the very beginning because the one biblical way where Christ has commanded us to identify with Him, we haven’t followed through with yet.
Some of us are stalled at number one there. I think a lot of us may be stalled at number two. “Okay, I am a follower of Christ. I have been baptized. I’m identified with His church.” But we are not intentionally investing our lives in a process called disciple-making. Are you a disciple maker? That leads to the second question.
Have you ever taken someone through this whole process through your one life? Have you lead someone to Christ, showed them Christ with your life, lead them to show Christ through baptism, identification with the church so they begin to take on the character of Christ and then begin to teach them the word of Christ, you have personally invested your life in them, showing them how to pray, showing them how to study the Word, showing them how to share their faith, training them to follow Christ so that they are now going out and doing the same thing in the world with you. Have you taken somebody through that journey?
That is what disciple-making is about.

We will be a church that depends on His presence

When you come to the end of the Great Commission and Jesus gives these words, “Surely I am with you” (Matt. 28:20). The emphasis in that verse is on that “I am with you.” Almost like He is saying, “I, myself, am with you. I am with you always even to very end of the age.” Even going back to how Jesus was presented to the world back in the beginning of Matthew - Emmanuel - God with us.
Now, here is the deal. We know throughout the Bible that God promises to be with us. We all know. It says it over and over and over again that God will be with you wherever you go. We know God’s presence is always with us. Why did Jesus emphasize it right here in Matthew 28? Why would He bring that up right here? I want you to see how His presence is linked with the Great Commission. I believe what He is saying very clearly is that you will never realize the power and the greatness of my presence until you give yourselves to this mission. However, when you give yourselves to this mission you will see and experience and know my presence in ways you never could have imagined before. I want you to see how that plays out.
First, we will need, if we give ourselves to this mission,

We will need the promise of His presence

I want to live my life and my ministry and I want us to be a church that needs the promise of His presence that without His presence, we fall flat on our faces and everything falls apart if He is not true to this promise right here. Because if that's not the case, it means we're doing it in our own power. We will need the promise of His presence and it is at that point I am convinced, second,

We will know the power of His presence

We will know the power of it because He will enable us by His power to accomplish His mission. He is faithful. He will give us everything we need to accomplish that mission.

Our Confession

So we come to the end this series and we see a picture of our Father’s heart and I want us to be that church that takes the life He has entrusted to us and takes everything He has given to us and reproduces it to the nations. Through His strategy of making disciples, I want us to be a people and I believe God longs for us to be a people who take our one life, our church, the relationships God has entrusted to us and use them for His glory in this process called disciple-making.
What is it going to look like to you to make disciples of all nations? How is that going to transfer into your life, to your dreams, to your ambitions? What do you need to let go of in your life in order to make disciples of all nations? What do you need to surrender yourself to in order to give yourself to this mission? I am about to pray for us then I want to invite you just to continue in prayer. I want us to just spend some time individually between us and the Lord and reflect on this mission that He has given to us and what this looks like in each of our lives.
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