Summary: Show the importance of discipleship after the cross
Title: Beyond the Cross
Theme: To show the importance of true discipleship.
Text: Matthew 28:18-20
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Jesus makes an interesting closing statement in Matthew. These words are often called the “Great Commission”. It is as if Christ is giving the last bit of final advice to the disciples and to the church.
What is also interesting is that he didn’t say, “Go into all the world and make new converts”. What is the difference? Well he is talking about discipleship. This word here “teach” in the Greek literally means “make disciples”. This is important. When we give our life to Christ we must understand that there is more beyond the cross.
Jesus is telling us to 1) if we are a new convert “go beyond the cross” 2) if we have new converts “take them beyond the cross”. Beyond the cross is true discipleship. This is where we find purpose and joy in Christ. Joy in Christ is more than just salvation. You see this will only hold our attention for so long. Knowing that we will miss hell through receiving Christ is only a part of being a Christian. We must go beyond this to truly have joy in Christ.
To me true joy is when I find purpose and reason. One of the things I hate the most is to go grocery shopping. I just can’t stand it. Usually I will keep the kids in the car while my wife goes in. One of the main reasons is that when we go together usually we get the buggy and she grocery shops. So I feel like a sad puppy following around its owner. There is no purpose, I feel, for me to be there. I tell my wife and sometimes she will give me her assignment. Now this works good, unless you go shopping at Wal-Mart Supercenter. Then I could walk around for days and not find her again.
You see there is something to this purpose. There is something to finding meaning and purpose in this Christian walk. We need to be purpose driven people. If we don’t know now we need to find out why the Lord has called us to be a part of his kingdom.
We will talk about purpose in a later message. Hopefully we will go through a campaign about finding purpose in Christ. But right now I want to talk to you about this word disciple.
The word disciple is used 27 times throughout the NT. It basically means “a learner or a pupil”. When we first see the Word disciple in the NT we think of the original 12 who followed Christ. They became his pupils. They began to “sit at his feet” and learn. A disciple is a learner.
Three hindrances to making disciples
The problem with the church is that many times we never give new believers a chance to learn. There are said to be three hindrances to making disciples 1) impatience 2) distorted goals 3) lost of first love. First we have a tendency to lose patience with people. Many times when someone becomes a Christian we say in our mind, well we’ll see. Surly we have seen many who have not continued to follow Christ. But I believe the failure to continue is many times more the churches fault with its failure to disciple than the new converts. We get impatient.
Second in our own church we have our priorities out of order. I told you how the Lord dealt with me on this when we had to borrow a baptism pool. He reminded me that I have no plan of baptizing new converts. How weak my faith must be that I can’t see new people won to Christ. Oh we all talk about it but it is time that we started walking the talk. Acting like it making preparation for people to be won to his kingdom. Making preparations to make disciples.
Finally we lose that first love. That initial joy that comes to the new convert. This is the joy of the Lord that comes when we become a new believer. I heard one man talking to a new convert who was real excited. He started talking about witnessing and discipling. The old veteran believer said, “Don’t worry you will grow out of that”.
Now let me quickly give you the Seven Steps to discipleship. You will notice that it is a process. It is not an overnight procedure but a life long commitment.