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Summary: The Great Commission Jesus left his followers is about discipleship. Making disciples, baptizing disciples, and teaching disciples the whole counsel of God is the particular way the church is to focus her efforts to glorify God.

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Report to Headquarters

(Acts 14:21-28)

1. Many Americans do not take honesty seriously. A boss asked one of his employees, 'Do you believe in life after death?'

'Yes, sir,' replied the new employee.

'I thought you would,' said the boss. 'Yesterday after you left to go to your brother's funeral, he stopped by to see you.'

2. But sometimes we Christians fudge too. Even about church. It is easy to think we are doing God's work, yet fail to connect our goals to the Great Commission.

3. Matthew 28:19-20, "Then Jesus came to them and said, '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.'”

5. Paul and Barnabas were called by God to bring the Gospel to other regions with the church back home in Antioch, Syria supporting them. Show Map Here

Main Idea: The Great Commission Jesus left his followers is about discipleship. Making disciples, baptizing disciples, and teaching disciples the whole counsel of God is the particular way the church is to focus her efforts to glorify God.

I. The Individual Church is God's BASE of Discipleship in a Community (21-23)

→Biblically, government's role is to punish evildoers, provide justice and protection; Modern governments do much more, sometimes at the expense of their basic calling.

→The church is about developing disciples. The modern church has taken much more upon itself, but sometimes at the expense of our basic calling.

A. Disciples need to be DISCIPLES

1. A group of tourists were visiting a picturesque village. They walked by an old man sitting beside a fence. In a rather patronizing way, one tourist asked, "Were any great men born in this village?" The old man replied, "Nope, only babies." (Gordon Curley, SermonCentral)

2. Disciples are made; modern Christianity understands little about what it means to be a disciple. It does not necessarily mean to be a leader.

3. A disciple is a learner, a student of a Rabbi, a memorizer, and an imitator.

B. Disciples need to be STRENGTHENED, encouraged, and FORTIFIED (22-24)

He could have headed back to Syrian Antioch, the home church, through Tarsus. But Paul understood that the Great Commission is not just about evangelism, but making disciples. He was not going to substitute a part of the commission for the whole. He wanted a solid, maturing and outreaching church to be established in each location.

1. Alerted to the DANGERS intrinsic to our faith

2. Learning about and how to defend the FAITH

3. SHEPHERDED by elders (24) (show Early, Tanzanian, and American elders)

a. Shepherds are both disciples and leaders

b. Were these elders new believers (yes).

c. How does this mesh with I Tim. 3 (the ideal).

The Great Commission Jesus left his followers is about discipleship. Making disciples, baptizing disciples, and teaching disciples the whole counsel of God is the particular way the church is to focus her efforts to glorify God.

II. Disciples Are To SHARE the Attention of God's Servants As They Reach Other People Groups (24-25)

A. The Elders could not possibly teach like PAUL what a let-down!

B. But the individual church knew it was not just about THEM

C. It is so easy to make church about pleasing US

Even within a church, believers sometimes do not want to share attention. When I first came to HPC, organized so pastor gave lots of attention to the elderly

One thing I love about HPC is that I have a ministry with kids from age 3 in AWANA Cubbies all the way through to the nursing home. Not every pastor gets that privilege.

D. God's will is clear: we must REACH OUT

The elders could do the job of feeding & tending the sheep, even if not Pauls!

Philip Keller was a sheep rancher. In his book, "A Shepherd Looks at the Twenty-third Psalm," he says that sheep they require more attention than any other livestock. They just can’t take care of themselves.

Unless their shepherd makes them move on, sheep will actually ruin a pasture, eating every blade of grass, until finally a fertile pasture is nothing but barren soil. Sheep are near-sighted & very stubborn, but easily frightened. An entire flock can be stampeded by a jack rabbit.

They have little means of defense. They’re timid, feeble creatures. Their only recourse is to run if no shepherd is there to protect them. Sheep have no homing instincts. A dog, horse, cat, or a bird can find its way home, but when a sheep gets lost, it’s a goner unless someone rescues it. [source: Melvin Newland, Sermon Central]

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