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Summary: After focusing on discipling each other within the church, we turn our attention to disciple making together AS the church.

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Let’s get to our passage. Turn over to Matthew 28. This passage might be pretty familiar to you, but that’s ok. When you get to Matthew 28, we’ll read verses 19-20. Pay attention to this passage…as it lays the foundation for what we’re studying today. Let’s read our passage for today…again, it’s Matthew 28:19-20.

It says: 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Last week, in this series of Disciple Making, we looked at the importance of discipling…disciple-making…within the church. Part of Jesus’ instruction to go and make disciples and baptize and teach needs to happen within a local congregation. We need to trust and follow our leaders, help keep one another from straying, we encourage one another, and care for believers and share the gospel with unbelievers.

This morning we’re transitioning from discipling in the church…to discipling as the church. Now, we’re not talking about how we’re all a part of a royal priesthood, as it talks about in 1 Peter 2:9…that we all supposed to proclaim Jesus to the world around us. Because hopefully we already know all about that. And if we don’t, we’ll get into how we each, individually live out the Great Commission in the coming weeks.

For now…we’re focusing on how we can…as a unit…as a body…as Antioch Christian Church…can go and make disciples and baptize them and teach them…together…every one of us…as the church.

*It’s important that we make disciples as a church because we’re called to be a city on a hill, as Jesus put it in Matthew 5. Others in our communities should see God through us as a whole. Something I read recently put it this way. The church needs to be a lighthouse, guiding people through their troubles. But all too often we function more as a bomb shelter…hiding from trouble…hiding from the world around us.

**So how can we be that lighthouse…that city on a hill…for others to see and be drawn to? How can we continue the work that Jesus said he’d come to do, which was to seek and save the lost? And how can we do this together as the church? Well, one way we’ll live out Jesus’ Great Commission to us as the church…is when we are a church that loves.

Love. That’s one of the church’s foundations, right? Love is the basis of everything that God is…of everything that He does. And so… since we are his church…love needs to be a part of who we are and what we do.

It’s the two greatest commandments for us. That’s what Jesus tells those around him in Mark 12:29-31: “The most important one… the most important command…is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Love. Of faith, hope, and love…Paul writes that the greatest of them is Love. God’s love. His agape love. We know what this love is because of what we read in Romans 5:5. He says: “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

We are commanded to love God and love others…and we know what kind of love we’re supposed to love God and others with because God has shown us what kind of love to love him and other with.

It’s the love that caused him to send a part of himself…his only begotten Son Jesus to this earth…to live a perfect, sinless life…then die on the cross as the sacrifice that covers and forgives all of our sins. It’s the love that he reveals to us by sending us another part of himself, the Holy Spirit…to dwell within us when we come to God through Jesus.

That’s what kind of love we’re talking about here. A love that is patient and kind and doesn’t envy or boast and isn’t proud or rude or self-seeking or easily angered or keeps record of wrongs or delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It’s a love that always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres, and never fails. That is the love that we give back to God as the church…and show to others as the church. … …

*But here’s the thing. Does the world see us loving God in that way? Does the world see us loving one another in that way? Does the world see us loving them in that way? … Turn over to John 13. Here Jesus is speaking to his disciples the night before he was crucified. And listen to what he says to them in verses 34-35. He says: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (And really pay attention to this part) By this… all men will know that you are my disciples…if you love one another.”

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