Summary: We were commanded to share the truth of the gospel with every living creature.
New Life On Purpose: Witness
Text: Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Rom. 10:14-15
1. Illustration: The Bear and the Atheist
An atheist was walking through the woods looking at the beautiful trees and flower that had just bloomed. Because he was an atheist he couldn’t thank anyone for the beautiful landscape that he was witnessing. As he was gazing at the sky he saw a bear running toward him, he jumped up and began to run up the hill. Not knowing any better he continued to run up the hill, a bear runs best up a hill because of his strong hind legs, it is better to run down a hill, but any way… The atheist fell to the ground and thought a second and said well I don’t believe there is a God but maybe this one time I will call upon His name. The atheist said “God, I need help!” Since I don’t believe you exist, I have a request. Will you make this bear a Christian? Just then the wind stopped howling, the creek stopped running and the bear stopped - knelt to the ground and said “Dear Lord, Please bless this food that I am about to eat!”
2. This morning we are going to look at the second of those five purposes: witness.
3. Why is witness a part of our purpose?
a. Because Jesus has commanded us.
b. Because Jesus has empowered us.
c. Because Jesus has chosen us/
4. Read Matt. 28:18-20
Proposition: We were commanded to share the truth of the gospel with every living creature.
Transition: We witness...
I. Because Jesus Has Commanded Us (Matt. 28:18-20)
1. In this text, known as the Great Commission, Jesus tells his disciples “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
a. Contrary to what many people believe, the command here is not "go."
b. Go is actually a participle and conveys not a command to go, but the assumption that the listener will automatically be going.
c. In other words, the idea expressed is that "as you are going" make disciples.
d. It's not the command itself, but it is an assumption based on the command.
e. In Jesus mind it is a no-brainer, we're going!
2. The real command or imperative is to teach or make disciples.
a. Make Disciples: to cause someone to become a disciple or follower of—Louw & Nida: NT Greek-English Lexicon
b. The telling or the witnessing is only the first part.
c. We must then teach them how to follow.
d. Reaching the nations is not merely a matter of education but the full process of discipleship, i.e., teaching and training, beginning with conversion.
3. A part of making a disciple is baptism.
a. The disciples were to baptize people because baptism unites a believer with Jesus Christ in his or her death to sin and resurrection to new life.
b. Baptism symbolizes submission to Christ, a willingness to live God's way, and identification with God's covenant people. —Life Application Bible Notes
c. Baptism takes our commitment to Christ to a whole new level.
d. Romans 6:3-4 (NLT)
3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?
4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
e. Baptism is the point of no return for the Christian
4. The command is to make disciples, but you cannot make disciples if you do not tell them, and you cannot tell them unless you go.
5. We are to go — whether it is next door or to another country — and make disciples. It is not an option, but a command to all who call Jesus "Lord." —Life Application Bible Notes
B. Not An Option
1. Illustration: A third grade Sunday School teacher was giving a Bible lesson on the commandment "Honor thy Father and Mother." "Now does anyone know a commandment for brothers and sisters?" the teacher asked. One particularly perceptive child raised her hand and confidently responded, "Thou shalt not kill!"
2. This text is called "The Great Commission," not "The Great Suggestion!"
3. It was such a strong commandment that Jesus automatically assumed we would do it.
4. John 14:15 (NLT)
“If you love me, obey my commandments.”
5. If we want to be Jesus disciples, then we have got to do what his commanded us to do, and that is to witness.
a. Witness to those who live next door.
b. Witness to those we work with.
c. Witness to those we go to school with.