Last week we looked at Jesus’ claim of His supreme authority over all. We saw that it is His claim for the mission which should actually move us to our calling in the mission. Therefore, this week we will be looking at the command of the mission. Once Jesus had made His claim, He commanded the disciples,
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe (or obey) all that I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20a)
So much could be said about what is taking place here but a few points will have to suffice. It is clear from the text God expects His followers to be disciple-makers. Following Jesus not merely mean going to church on Sundays and giving some of your finances. Following Jesus means pursuing and living a holy life in the context of community. Discipleship is doing life-on-life with the body of Christ. God has not saved us so that we could sit back and not do anything but He has saved us for His glory and that includes making disciples. To be indifferent or unconcerned with being and making disciples is to not take seriously the Word of God. To take God seriously is to obey His command to make disciples. But, what does making disciples involve? It involves going, baptizing, and teaching. Going means we do not passively sit by and wait to reach others with the gospel, hoping they come to our church one Sunday. We need to be going to them. Baptizing means to be publicly identified with the body of Christ through the practice of baptism. Teaching means training these disciples to be Christ-like. Notice, in this teaching aspect, it is not simply information to be transferred. It is to be observed and obeyed, leading to life and heart change. That is what the Word of God does. It is about knowing and showing the Word. That is our calling in the command of the mission.
- Are you indifferent or unconcerned with making disciples and investing your life into others and not just focusing on yourself? Pray that God would change your heart and actively seek someone to disciple and someone who can disciple you.
- How can you, as a disciple-maker, teach others the Word of God in your specific context?
[This is the fifth and final devotional in the series entitled “The Gospel in Action”.]
In following Christ, we have learned we need to deny ourselves and trust in Him with our lives. When we trust in Him, we will have faith in His kingdom that it will grow. Part of this growth involves serving one another, remembering all the work that Christ has done for us on the cross. In the midst of all this, we must not forget the central part of the equation: love. Love is the foundation. This love starts with loving the one true God (12:29-30). This is, indeed, the greatest commandment. Once we have taken hold and applied this commandment to our lives, it will permeate into love for others (12:31). We will love our neighbors. We will realize and follow through on the calling that we are to live like Christ by having a passion for God and compassion for others. That is prayerfully what we will be doing through this week and beyond. Loving God and drawing closer in relationship to Him, while at the same time caring for the people, showing them the love of Christ through relational intentionality, are pointing to the great spiritual needs that they need a Savior. Simply put, the gospel in action means to love. Hopefully this will be our hearts as God’s people. May we be reminded that it is all about Christ and His love for us. We can only do what we are doing because of His work in our lives. Praise be to God for this opportunity to grow deeper in relationship with Him and to serve others for the advancement of the gospel. May we be changed by the gospel and live with fervency and urgency in sharing the gospel!
- Why is love so central in the work of the gospel? How should that affect the way we go out spreading the gospel?
- In understanding the two greatest commandments, how have you done in loving other people? What does this say about your love for God?
[Beginning this week, we are starting a new series on this blog entitled The Weekly Word. We will be sharing with you a devotional from God’s Word each week to encourage, equip, and edify you as you go about glorifying God in all you do throughout that week!]
The Christian life is a life of service. Before our service, however, we must first prepare our hearts for that service. This means looking and examining our own lives, asking where we are at with God. As we do, we will see, as David did in Psalm 51, that we have gravely sinned against God (Psalm 51:4). We have dirtied ourselves before a perfect and holy God. We have rebelled against His instruction. Yet, what we see is not a God who leaves us this way, by the wayside. No, what we see is a God of abundant mercy (Psalm 51:1). David had committed the sin of adultery with another man’s wife and had that man killed. Once he was convicted of his sin and overcome with the devastation from it, he came to God in repentance (Psalm 51:1b, 9). He asked God for forgiveness as he had sinned against Him. He, then, asked for God’s mercy by God’s love. He was a man in need of God’s grace, just as we all are. Realizing this and repenting, David asked God to created in him a clean heart and a right spirit (Psalm 51:10). He wanted heart transformation. Only after that could David truthfully teach others God’s ways and lead them to salvation in God where they could find ultimate joy (vv. 12-13). The same can be said of us. If we check our hearts what we see is that we have sinned against a holy God. As a result, what we deserve is eternal judgment in hell. However, God is merciful. He knows we can never save ourselves so He made a way. He sent Jesus Christ, who was God in flesh, to live the perfect life we couldn’t, to die on the cross for the forgiveness of sins (the death we deserved), and be raised on the third day to ensure that we could have eternal life. Christ came to us and for us. Because of His death, burial, and resurrection, we can have eternal life and be with God forever if we will recognize our sinning against Him, repenting of that and turning away from that sin, placing our faith and trust in Christ and what He has done in His love and grace to save us. This is the message we need to take to heart, being transformed from the inside out, as we go to out to serve others!
- Examine your heart. Do you know where you are at with God? Have you repented of your sins and believed in what Christ has done, trusting in Him as your Lord and Savior?
- What are some current struggles of sins you need to overcome and repent of? Pray for God’s strength by His spirit to overcome them.
- What does it look like in everyday life to have a new heart and a renewed spirit? How does it affect how we treat others?