Summary: As the body of Christ, we witness because Jesus has commanded us, empowered us, and wants to use us.
True Values: Reaching the Lost
Text: Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Rom. 10:14-15
1. Illustration: The Bear and the Atheist
An atheist was walking through the woods looking at the beautiful trees and flower that had just bloomed. Because he was an atheist he couldn’t thank anyone for the beautiful landscape that he was witnessing. As he was gazing at the sky he saw a bear running toward him, he jumped up and began to run up the hill. Not knowing any better he continued to run up the hill, a bear runs best up a hill because of his strong hind legs, it is better to run down a hill, but any way… The atheist fell to the ground and thought a second and said well I don’t believe there is a God but maybe this one time I will call upon His name. The atheist said “God, I need help!” Since I don’t believe you exist, I have a request. Will you make this bear a Christian? Just then the wind stopped howling, the creek stopped running and the bear stopped - knelt to the ground and said “Dear Lord, Please bless this food that I am about to eat!”
2. As Christians, we have certain non-negotiable truths that we live by, and one of those truths is reaching out to people who have yet to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus.
3. As a church, we value reaching the lost because:
a. Jesus commanded us
b. Jesus empowers us
c. Jesus wants to use us
Thesis: As the body of Christ, we witness because Jesus has commanded us, empowered us, and wants to use us.
Transition: We value reaching the lost because...
I. Jesus Has Commanded Us (Matt. 28:18-20)
1. In this text, known as the Great Commission, Jesus tells his disciples "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:"
a. Contrary to what many people believe, the command here is not "go."
b. Go 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. Make Disciples: 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
c. If you are here this morning and have never submitted yourself to water baptism, then you need to see me after the service.
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 be a witness.
a. Witness to those who live next door.
b. Witness to those we work with.
c. Witness to those we go to school with.
d. Witness to those we come in contact with on a daily basis.
6. We must also keep in mind that witnessing is not just something we do, but something that we are.
a. We witness in the way we walk, talk, and live.