Hudson Taylor is legend in missionary circles. He spent 51 years in China, brought more than 800 missionaries to that country in his lifetime. Started 125 schools and more than 300 outreach stations. He spoke five different chinese dialects and led more than 18,000 people directly to Jesus in his lifetime.
Jim Elliot was a missionary to the Auca indians of Ecuador and was so committed to taking Jesus to the unknown tribe of the Waodani. He and four others were killed in 1956 by the Waodani tribe.
Mother Teresa went to the poor of Calcutta. For 45 years she took care of the poor, the sick, the orphaned, the dying. She also guided the expansion of her society to 610 missions in 123 countries an won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
Billy Graham started preaching in the 1940’s and preached more than 420 crusades around the world touching Billions of people.
I thank God for those people—those leaders—those champions. But I also must confess other feelings when I hear them.
Feelings of inadequecy, failure. Feelings like I’m not doing something right, or maybe I’m not good enough. Feelings that maybe if I’m not doing that—then I’m letting God down.
Especially when we look at the passage of scripture we want to look at this morning.
We began two weeks ago this theme of “The Greatest”.
We looked at the Great Omission of the Church---to go and make disciples, which is in fact the Great Comission of the Church.
Last week we looked at the greatest need---to simply obey that mandate.
This morning we look at the greatest direction----Go to the World.
Those were Jesus words—some of his final words---there with his disciples—He lays out the plan. He brings it down to the simplest form. There in Matthew 28:
“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.”
That’s the plan. For people who are disciples, followers, to make more disciples or followers. That’s the only mandate. The only command in those 61 words is to make disciples. But he does give us process in accomplishing that mandate.
And this morning we want to look at the direction----Go.
There is a potential for this command to bring great frustration, guilt, self judgment, pride, arrogance, condemnation. We use it to motivate people, but also to beat people up. We think of those famous who have gone---and figure this verse must mean those people, but could never mean me.
That misunderstanding, I believe, is one of the major reasons the church in our culture, in our time is getting weaker, not stronger. Jesus never meant for this instruction to be only taken by a few. He also did not mean that every person was to leave their home country and travel to foreign land. But he did mean this verse for everyone who wants to be a disciple.
The actual translation of the word Jesus used there means as you Go.
In your moment by moment living-----make disciples. As you Go to work, as you go to school, as you go home, as you go about your day, as you go----make disciples of all nations---everywhere you go.
And my goal this morning---is for us, rather than feeling afraid or defeated by this verse, this instruction of Jesus, I want us to see how to embrace it and actually enjoy the fulfillment of it in our lives.
So—a few truths about Going and some “How To” this morning. Ok?
Truth #1—My relationship with God needs to be healthy and growing.
Here’s the reality of this truth. You don’t have to encourage people that have a healthy, growing relationship with God to Go make disciples. It happens. We, by nature, share our positive experiences with other people. When we move from being a church member, to a follower of Jesus, we will tell others about the blessings of that relationship. Discipleship is simply telling someone else your story of God’s participation in your life. If we get our relationship with God healthy----the going becomes part of us. We must give attention to followers maturing—not just getting older. I heard of one lady who realized this truth. She said she had been a one year old Christian 21 times. She joined---got the routine—but never grew in the relationship.
Next month we are going to work on some ways for our relationship with God to grow.
Truth #2—My Life perspective must center around eternity.
It is so easy to get distracted to the temporary. Temporary desires and joys, and success. If I live my life for only the time I’m on earth---I have no reason to make disciples. If I am focused on me and mine and what I can get and do while I’m here----I really don’t care enough about anyone else to take the time. But---as followers, everything changes and it is about so much more then just here and now. I must live with a eternal perspective to be a disciplemaker.
Truth #3- Each of us has a unique way of partnering with God to touch the world.
I think one of the great frustrations of this verse is trying to copy other people who are successful. And there is always something to learn from successful people---but each of us is unique—and God wants to use that.
I read a story this week of a man who drove a shuttle bus at an airport. He drove for one of the rental car companies. You know the job, they drive to the terminal, pick up people and take them to their rental cars, and pick up people checking in their rental cars and take them to the terminal. Kind of a thankless job—if you let it be. This guy----made riding his shuttle a joy. He only had 5 to 8 minutes with people, but changed their day. He was scanning the curbisde, looking for anybody who needed a ride, and he would tell thos on the bus, “You know, I’m always looking because sometimes people are running late. You can tell it in their eyes. I’m always looking for people’s eyes because I never want to miss one. Hey, there’s one now.” He’s jumpin off the bus and grabbing luggage and smiling and greeting. He was always saying, “I know your all eager to get where you going—and I will get you there as quick as I can.” He had people wanting to stay on his bus, just to be around him.
His unique way of “As you go”.
Truth #4—Jesus invites all disciples to be part of the adventure.
This is not just a “calling” for some with special gifts. This is an invitation to be part of something life changing. Something significant—and something that everyone can do. When we become Christ followers, we become the antibodies---placed in this world to fix the disease of sin. Everywhere we go---since we are changed—people will be blessed—and Jesus will be discovered. That’s the adventure------and we are invited.
Now---those are truths----but How do we Get it done? How do we join this adventure? How do we make disciples---as we go?
How To #1—We must mentally change the address of the church.
Jesus said---As you go. Where ever Jesus has you going—you are the church.
Jesus did not call the world to come to church, he called the church to go to the world.
Everywhere you go this week---the church goes. Everywhere you find yourself—there the church is. It’s paying attention to the little things.
True story told by a software manager. He realized one day that he did not know the people that worked for him. Even in the office, all communication was done through email. He determined he would change that. Next day, he needed to wrap up on a project---had the brief email half typed and remembered. He got up, walked over to a young man stood by his cubicle. He told him he had done a good job and the final touches were approved and it would be finished. He told the young man he was glad he was on his team, and thanked him for a good job. The next day, the young man walked in with an xbox game system and set it on the managers desk. What’s this for?? Asked the manager. That’s for my life replied the young man. I have heard you say that your wife says this is not in your budget, and you would like to have one—so I sold my gun yesterday and bought this for you. I had been practicing loading and pointing the gun at my head for the last month. I had decided last week, that if no one noticed me or spoke to me, I would finally pull the trigger. That day, you walked up to my desk made the difference. I sold the gun, I bought the xbox. This if for my life.
The manager said in that moment everything changed forhim. He was no longer a manager he was a warrior. This was no longer an office it was a battlefield.
Everywhere we go this week----the church goes and the gates of hell cannot prevail.
If we are changed, they will be blessed, and Jesus will be found.
How To #2—Use Jesus techniques. Matt 9:36
Jesus is teaching, healing, traveling through towns and cities.
Vs 36—When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them.”
God’s heart is for every person, every living human being to be reconciled, to be brought to a loving relationship with him. That does not happen with judgmental attitudes. We cannot go to people with anger or demeaning speech. People come to God through compassion and care.
A couple chapters before this, we find what has been called the Golden Rule.
Matthew 7:12—Jesus teaching said,
“In everything-----do to others what you would have them do to you.”
This is not just something we tell our children when they misbehave—this is the essence of following Jesus. It is about how life works in the kingdom.
At the end of that verse Jesus says—for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. This sums it all up---think about how you want to be treated as you seek to come and know and follow God. Now be that person to others.
One Pastor called it Living with Golden Rule Eyes. Seeing every situation, with everyone we come in contact, a chance to live out the Golden rule. If you were waiting in traffic—what would you want?? If you were working hard, what would you want? It moves us from our me—centered auto-pilot lifestyle and puts me in position to change every life as I go.
The beauty of this is I don’t need a high IQ. I don’t need a lot of money. I don’t need a title. All I need to do is be to people what I would want them to be to me. To imitate Jesus----
The have made the Great Commission a big, frightening concept---when it is actually a very simple, energizing part of following Jesus.
As we go----because we have been changed by our relationship with Jesus, we are a blessing to other people---and they in turn discover the one who transformed us.
Jesus---gathered with his disciples---looking into the future of mankind---said, Here’s the plan. As you go---you make disciples, baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and then teach them to obey everything I taught you. And don’t forget—I’m always with you.