Summary: Basic missions message.
More Territory for the Kingdom
September 26, 2004
Well, I know what happens after a good meal on a Sunday afternoon, so I’m going to try to make this message worth staying awake for, okay?
And we’re going to dive right in because I want to be sensitive to your schedules.
I want us to look at four questions that need to be addressed when considering the issue of missions. Ready? Here we go. The first question is…
What are we to do?
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
What does this verse say we are to? Possibly every missionary you have ever heard uses this verse when they talk about the work around the world. But what is the command here? To go, right? Wrong!
In the original Greek language of the New Testament, verse 19 has one command in it.
That command is this: make disciples. Not go, not baptize, but make disciples. A literal translation of this verse would read, “as you are going, make disciples.”
What is a disciple? Basically, a disciple is a follower of Jesus. It’s someone who has put their faith in Christ as I described this morning, and is intentionally seeking to learn from Him and live for Him in the everyday world.
I don’t know about you, but I think there are enough hypocrites in the world, and Jesus doesn’t want any more. He didn’t want any in the first place!
One of the objections some people have about giving their lives to Jesus or coming to church is that “there are too many hypocrites.”
I have two answers to that: first, don’t let the fact there are hypocrites in the church stop you. There’s always room for one more!
Second, you need to understand that Jesus hates hypocrisy even more than you! Look at how He addressed the religious leaders in the gospels.
He called them vipers, and all sorts of stuff. My favorite is “whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones.”
I mentioned in this morning’s message that one of the desires of God is that is name is honored. God says that when our walk doesn’t match our talk, God’s name is blasphemed.
That is why discipleship, and making disciples is so important. Discipleship is the antidote to hypocrisy.
My point here is that the goal and the command of the church isn’t just for more people to call themselves Christians, but to help more people become people who both believe and live for Christ.
Where are we to do it?
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
From these two verses, I want to very quickly give you four places we are to make disciples. The first place is…
Jesus told the disciples to start in Jerusalem, right where they were.
If you’re like most people, you tend to think of missions as being in Africa or China or something. And while it’s very important that we go there, we need to remember that there is a need right here.
You know, I’m just going to take a wild guess and say that not everyone in this area is a follower of Christ.
Not everyone has taken the gift of eternal life that Jesus offers and is living for Him, right? So I’d say there’s still some work to be done around here.
But two things: first, don’t use that as an excuse to not consider serving somewhere else. Second, if you are going to use that as an excuse, then you’d better be doing something to help reach this local area for Jesus, and not just talking about it.
Am I getting a little too close for comfort? Too bad. It’s the truth, and we all need to hear it now and again.
So look at the needs of those locally who need Christ.
The second area we need to consider is…
What I mean here is to consider what might be happening in other parts of South Dakota or North Dakota.
You know one of the neediest places in the world, both in terms of material needs and spiritual needs?