Summary: In this command to "go" we find provisions and protections for the church and the world we are called to go to
THE GREAT COMMANDS OF JESUS
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Pastor Brian Matherlee
Where is the strength of the church? It is in being united to Christ, is it not? I want to give you a visual of what I think that looks like.
• Have a group of people standing together facing one another holding hands. The idea is that this demonstrates unity but it is inwardly focused.
• Elaborate on what this represents…love for one another, strength, unity, common purpose and bond, etc.
• Have them return to their seats (they’ll come back later)
If every man, woman and child in America went to church there would be more than 800 people on average for every fellowship in the country.
But, nearly ½ of America’s 350,000 churches average fewer than 100 people in worship attendance. Almost half of those 175,000 churches are currently experiencing or have experienced recently declining attendance for several years. (source unknown)
Why is there so much empty space in America’s churches? While the answer is not a simple one I think it is found in the small circle we just had. While the circle is great it needs one change.
• Now the group comes and holds hands but this time they face outward.
The final great command of Jesus tells us to “go”.
Matthew 28:18-20, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
In this command we find provisions and protections for the church and the world we are called to go to.
a. Provides for:
i. Salvation message to be shared throughout the world.
1. In many parts of the world the Gospel message can only be shared personally. A group can’t get in, but an individual could.
2. A friend telling a friend about Jesus has always been and will always be the most successful means of communicating the Gospel.
3. And we must go in spite of difficulty or opposition
a. Kerry Pickard is one of our own missionaries who is finding difficulty in trying to reach out and minister in the name of Jesus.
b. Lori Pulley didn’t share too much of her prison story last week but she was dragged from her bed nightly for weeks and beaten. She was taunted and spit upon. She had inmates spit in her food and guards tell her she would fail.
b. Protects from
1. In his book FOLK PSALMS OF FAITH, Ray Stedman tells of an experience H.A. Ironside had in a crowded restaurant. Just as Ironside was about to begin his meal, a man approached and asked if he could join him. Ironside invited his to have a seat. Then, as was his custom, Ironside bowed his head in prayer. When he opened his eyes, the other man asked, "Do you have a headache?" Ironside replied, "No, I don’t." The other man asked, "Well, is there something wrong with your food?" Ironside replied, "No, I was simply thanking God as I always do before I eat." The man said, "Oh, you’re one of those, are you? Well, I want you to know I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don’t have to give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in!" Ironside said, "Yes, you’re just like my dog. That’s what he does too!" Ray Stedman, Folk Psalms of Faith.
2. When I go I see the great need of people and it stirs my gratitude for God’s saving me and motivates me to press on.
2. Make Disciples
a. Provides for
i. Continued involvement-so many times we want to help for a season and we let people go when God wants us to be a part of their life. Jesus took 3 years to disciple his twelve.
b. Protects from
i. Immaturity & release at wrong time-many people have been told about forgiveness and have had the message of discipleship neglected. When the cares and worries of life crowd in they fall away because they were converts but not disciples.
3. All nations
a. Provides for
i. Goal to be met-- The Times-Reporter of New Philadelphia, Ohio, reported in September, 1985 a celebration of a New Orleans municipal pool. The party around the pool was held to celebrate the first summer in memory without a drowning at the New Orleans city pool. In honor of the occasion, 200 people gathered, including 100 certified lifeguards. As the party was breaking up and the four lifeguards on duty began to clear the pool, they found a fully dressed body in the deep end. They tried to revive Jerome Moody, 31, but it was too late. He had drowned surrounded by lifeguards celebrating their successful season. Times-Reporter, September 1985.