Summary: As the body of Christ, we witness because Jesus has commanded us, empowered us, and wants to use us.
Our Purpose: Witness
Text: Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Rom. 10:14-15
1. Read Matt. 28:18-20
2. Illustration: A man was talking with a friend about a statement another friend had written. He said, "I think it is a beautiful statement. I like the adjectives he uses, but I also want to see more verbs." As you know adjectives are descriptive words; verbs are action words. We can speak with glowing adjectives for lost souls. But we need to demonstrate our concern with verbs. We need to put our concern into action.
3. Every organization, whether it is a buisness, civic group, or church, has to know its purpose in order to be successful.
a. A business has to know what its product is and who it plans to sell it to.
b. A civic group has to understand who its constituency is and what is its function.
c. A church needs to understand why it exists and what it is supposed to do.
4. A business or civic group gets its purpose from a number of different sources, but a church discerns its purpose from the Bible - God’s Word. According to the Bible our purpose is five fold:
5. This morning we are going to look at the first of those five purposes: witness.
Thesis: As the body of Christ, we witness because Jesus has commanded us, empowered us, and wants to use us.
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 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"
a. Contrary to what many people believe, the command here is not "go."
b. Go ye is actually a participle and conveys not a command to go, but the assumption that the listener will automatically be going. In other words, the idea expressed is that "as you are going" make disciples.
c. It’s not the command itself, but it is an assumption based on the command.
d. In Jesus mind it is a no-brainer, we’re going!
2. The real command or imperative is to teach or make disciples.
a. Teach: 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. We must then teach them how to follow.
c. 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
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. Jn. 14:15 "If you love Me, keep 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.
Transition: Another reason we witness is...
II. Because Jesus Has Empowered Us (Acts 1:8)
A. You Shall Receive Power
1. Jesus tells his disciples in verse 8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
a. Again, this is a command. It is a command with a future twist to it. "You shall be..."
b. This is the commission that still holds for today. This is not given only to a corporate body, to the church as a body; it is not a corporate commission. This is a very personal command to each believer—personally, privately.