Summary: The beginning of a 10-week look at how we can and should fulfill Jesus' Great Commission from Matthew 28:19-20.
Turn over to Matthew 28. This passage might be pretty familiar to you, but that’s ok. When you get to Matthew 28, we’ll read verses 19-20. Pay attention to this passage…as it lays the foundation for what we’re studying today. Let’s read our passage for today…again, it’s Matthew 28:19-20.
It says: “19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
If you were here a couple of weeks ago, you’ll recall Mac Burberry spoke about what churches in other nations are doing…that seems to have been forgotten in the American Christian Church. He talked about how…the purpose of all of this…the reason you exist once you come to Jesus and are baptized and become a part of his church…is to follow the instructions which Jesus gives here at the end of Matthew.
What Jesus said to his disciples around 2000 years ago still applies. We are supposed to “Go” into all the world and…make…disciples…of all nations. Then we’re ordered to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and teach them to obey everything that we’ve been commanded by Jesus. But where we as a church…where we as Christians seem to struggle…is with understanding what a disciple is…what disciples are to do…and how we go about “making” them.
*So, spring-boarding from Mac’s message…we’re going to take the next several weeks to focus on this important and vital call to the church. But to start…we need to understand what a disciple is. Because… again…we can be confused about what a disciple is. We’re going to look at three aspects this morning to help us learn…or be reminded…of what it means that we are disciples. If we’re going to make disciples…we need to know what it means that we’re disciples.
**Often we identify ourselves as “Christians,” right? Because that’s the word that was first used at the town of…Antioch…right? And we’re comfortable with that title. But…for a lot of “Christians”…it’s merely that…a title. And so they show up to church once, twice, or maybe even three times a week and they think that they’re all good.
But what we should maybe identify ourselves as…are disciples. Now, I know that there were only 12 men who were Jesus’ personal disciples. And I’m not talking about the more “liberal” branch of the Stone-Campbell Movement. But Jesus told his disciples to make more disciples…and that’s what we are. So what should that mean for us? First, it means that a disciple is a repenter.
Apparently, “repenter” isn’t a word. Every time I would type it, the red, squiggly line would show up underneath it. So maybe I’m creating a new word. But it describes what we are supposed to be as a disciple. We…need to be repenters.
That’s one of the first things we need to do when we make the decision to become a “Christian.” We need to repent. Why? Well… because that’s what Jesus says we need to do. Do you know what the first words of Jesus’ first sermon were?
If you don’t…that’s ok. Turn to Matthew 4. Here, Jesus has already been tempted by Satan and rejected him three times. And his cousin John the Baptizer has been put in prison. So he went throughout the land to fulfill what the prophet Isaiah had said…and in verse 17 we read the words of Jesus’ first sermon. It was short. It was simple: “Repent…for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
Before Jesus ever called one of his disciples…he was telling the people what they needed to do. They needed to repent. They needed to stop living how they had been living…which was in sin…and turn around and live for God instead. If they had already been living for the Lord, that wouldn’t have needed to be his message, would it? But the people…because the kingdom of heaven was near…needed to repent.
You’ve heard that word, right? It means that…if you’re living a life of sin…you do a 180* turn and do the opposite of living a life of sin. Instead you live for God. You do what he’s commanded you to do. That’s one of the first things we do when we come to Jesus and are baptized, right? Or at least it should be.
It’s not that we’re having our sins washed in the water and them being forgiven by God. Making that choice also meant that you became a repenter. And it meant you needed to repent time and time again if you went back to a life of sin. Do we know what that means? If we go back on our repentance…and start living for this world and its sins once again…then we aren’t truly being a disciple of Jesus. …