Love Where You LiveApril 4–8
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)
LOVE WHERE YOU GO: OUR LEADER
“He is a leader both on and off the field.” These words have been consistently said about Tim Tebow throughout his college career, NFL career and now Minor League baseball career. It’s a phrase we often use to describe an athlete who is not only a hard working leader in their sport but also demonstrates the same character, work ethic and desire to contribute in everyday life. They don’t stop being a leader when they step off the field or their environment changes.
In Jesus’ final words of His earthly ministry, He in essence reminded His followers that He was their leader on and off the field. Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” He was about to ascend back into heaven but wanted them to know He still had all authority here on earth.
Pastor Jim reminded us that God’s mission for us, as His followers, is not just a Sunday morning church mission. It is an everyday mission. God’s plan for us does not just involve going to heaven, but it includes our everyday living. And because of Jesus’ power we don’t have to live out His mission for our lives in our own strength. He gives us the strength we need. Do you know what God’s mission is for you on the field of everyday life? Do you feel worthy or equipped to fulfill that mission?
Praise Jesus for His unprecedented power. Ask God for clarity and power to live out His mission for your life.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)
LOVE WHERE YOU GO: LEARNERS
There is a Mercedes Benz TV commercial which shows their car colliding with a cement wall during a safety test. Someone then asks the company engineer why they do not enforce their patent on the Mercedes Benz energy-absorbing car body, a design evidently copied by many other companies because of its success. He replies matter-of-factly, “Because some things in life are too important not to share.”
As Jesus was leaving earth and headed back to heaven, He reminded the disciples that our message of the gospel is too important not to share. Jesus told his followers to “go and make disciples.” The word “disciples” literally means learners. Go help other people learn what it means to follow Christ. Making disciples is the God given mission of every Christian. And our target area is “all nations.” We accomplish this the same way you eat an elephant, “one bite at a time.” Or in our case one person at a time.
Later this week we will look at other clues in the text on how we make disciples. However, in the meantime, when is the last time you tried to help someone understand what it means to follow Christ? Who do you know that seems hungry for answers right now but is not a Christian?
Thank Jesus for what you have learned about following Him and the people who have discipled you. Pray for an opportunity to share with someone you love how they can have a personal relationship with Jesus.
Matthew 28:19 (ESV)
LOVE WHERE YOU GO: OUR LIFESTYLE
When Julius Caesar landed on the shores of Britain with his Roman legions, he took a bold and decisive step to ensure the success of his military venture. Ordering his men to halt on the edge of the Cliffs of Dover, he commanded them to look down at the water below. To their amazement, they saw every ship in which they had crossed the channel engulfed in flames. Caesar had deliberately cut off any possibility of retreat! Now that his soldiers were unable to return to the continent, there was nothing left for them to do but to advance and conquer! And that is exactly what they did.
In Matthew 28, Jesus did not want His followers retreating after His departure. We learned in the sermon that our mission is to make disciples. Today, we look at one of the ways Jesus taught we would go about making disciples. That is by going. The word “go” in Matthew 28:19 can better be translated, “as you go.” Jesus told the disciples to make disciples while they were going about their everyday life. The mission was to be a lifestyle of making disciples.
God has given all of us spheres of influence that can be used to point people to Christ. God doesn’t want us to retreat in some areas and only save spiritual conversations for the Church. God wants us to have spiritual conversations “as we go.” Where are a few of the areas that you spend the majority of your time where you could have more spiritual conversations?
Ask God what making disciples looks like “as you go.” Ask God to help you recognize any opportunities to have spiritual conversations today with people who don’t know Him.
“baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”
Matthew 28:19 (ESV)
LOVE WHERE YOU GO: OUR LABEL
A New York family bought a ranch out West where they intended to raise cattle. Friends visited and asked if the ranch had a name. “Well,” said the would-be cattleman, “I wanted to name it the Bar-J. My wife favored Suzy-Q, one son liked the Flying-W, and the other wanted the Lazy-Y. So we’re calling it the Bar-J-Suzy-Q-Flying-W-Lazy-Y.” “But where are all your cattle?” the friends asked. “None survived the branding,” the rancher replied.
In the Christian life, baptism is our branding. It’s the first way we tell the world that we now belong to God and are Christ followers. As Jesus continued His teaching on making disciples, He told His listeners that part of making disciples was leading people to a place where they would be baptized as a symbol of following Jesus.
The above story jokingly said that none of the cattle survived the branding. For the most part, proudly identifying yourself as a Christian through baptism will not cost you your life. Unfortunately, there are some places in the world where it will cost you your life. And thankfully through the years people have given their life so we could hear the message of the gospel.
Have you been baptized and identified yourself as a Christ follower? If not, what is stopping you?
Thank God for the privilege of being in His family and identifying with Him.
“teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. ”
Matthew 28:20 (ESV)
LOVE WHERE YOU GO: OUR LIPS
A little boy complained to his mother of having a stomach ache. His mother told him not to worry, his stomach was hurting because it was empty and as soon as he got something in it he would feel better. Later that day the pastor of the church came by to visit. When asked how he was doing by the lady of the house he replied, “I’m fine, except my head has been hurting today.” The little boy chimed in, “That’s OK preacher, your head is hurting because it is empty, it will feel better as soon as you get something in it!”
Naturally, children learn to imitate their human parents. As spiritual children of God, we should learn to imitate Jesus. In Matthew 28:20, Jesus taught that another part of making disciples is teaching people everything Jesus taught and teaching them to obey His teaching. All of us need to be discipled and all of us need to be discipling others. That means all of us need to be taught and all of us need to be teaching.
Who are a few people that have taught you the most about following Jesus? Who are a few people that you have taught about following Jesus?
Thank God for both the people who have discipled you and who you have discipled. Ask God to lead you to anyone He wants you to help disciple.