Summary: Dealing with the part of our mission statement that says we are working to authentic faith
Text: Matthew 28:20, Title: RRB 5: Teaching To Observe, Date/Place: NRBC, 7/19/09, AM
Opening illustration: “Jesus did not say, ‘Teach them all my commandments.’ He said, ‘Teach them to observe…’ You can teach a parrot all of Jesus’ commands. But you cannot teach a parrot to observe them. Parrots will not repent and believe, and worship Jesus, and lay up treasure in heaven, and love their enemies, and go out like sheep in the midst of wolves to herald the kingdom of God.” “Religious systems have long specialized in the transfer of spiritual knowledge, but they have an equally long heritage of producing enlightened followers whose lifestyles remain unchanged by that spiritual knowledge.” Minatrea in Shaped by God’s Heart,
A. Background to passage: no real need to remind you of the context. But by way of exegetical intro, remember that the only verb that is in this passage that is not a participial form is “make disciples” The primary task give the twelve, and the church was to produce followers of Jesus. That is the meaning of the word: adhering to the teachings or instructions of a leader and in promoting the cause of such a leader. So the main word of application for us today is: are we putting forth people who walk like Jesus, talk like Jesus, live like Jesus, love like Jesus at New River.
B. Main thought: in the message today, we will note three things about authentic faith
A. It’s Knowledge and Practice
1. Jesus commands us here to have a teaching ministry as a church. Both knowledge and practice are affirmed here. One must have the knowledge before he can put it into practice. The word “observe” can also be translated to guard or keep, and it means to watch carefully or narrowly. But even though knowledge is required, it is not the goal. Living faith out loud is the goal. Allowing the world to see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.
3. Illustration: “In the bible, faith is not something you possess, but something you practice,” Jesus does not seek to impart information but to awaken commitment to himself. “The new life of a disciple is a life of obedience to Jesus’ commandments or it is not a new life at all. It is worthless to acknowledge the Lordship of Christ in baptism and then ignore his commandments. So all disciple-makers must be teachers and disciples must be continual learners.”-Piper,
4. Sunday School teachers, VBS teachers, RA/GA, Mission Friends, etc, you are carrying out the direct command of Jesus to teach, as long as you make application, and demonstrate with your lives. “If you want to encourage a man to study the bible daily, invite him to meet with you and see how you do it…Otherwise he will become tragically dependent upon others for being fed from the Scriptures.” We have a bible belt culture that is well known for its knowledge, use of scripture, and profession of faith, even for connections with church; but we are not known for having roles of people whose lives have been radically altered by Jesus. We don’t live much of what we know. We must strive to teach others. By the way, all of you are teachers, even those not in an official teaching position. Each one of us are called to teach others around us. All of us must take seriously that Jesus says our discipleship is based on us knowing and observing diligently all that He commanded. Do we take seriously His command to love our enemies? To give our shirt and our coat? To walk the extra mile? To not put asunder what God has joined? To take up our cross and follow Him? To do good to those who do evil to us? To fast, and pray, and tithe? To love one another in truth? To watch every idle word? To pray for the Lord to send forth laborers? To take the gospel across the street and across the ocean? To visit the sick, poor, and imprisoned? To love Christ more than family, comfort, or money? To turn the other cheek? And the list could go on…
B. It’s Religious and Transforming
1. Authentic faith has a religious aspect to it. Proper religion is devotion and service. To visit the widows and orphans (service), and to keep oneself unspotted from the world (holiness). And this devotion or holiness flows from deep heart felt love relationship with God, rather than a list of rules. It is devotional in nature. But it is also geared toward transformation. Religion has a tendency to become routine. Now it can be routine in a good way, in that your pattern of life is to constantly be in communion with God. Or your normal course of your day begins with you meeting with Jesus. But it can also become hollow. Much like the Pharisees who were like whitewashed tombs. They followed ritual traditions that produced no change of heart.