What We Learned Together Sunday February 19, 2023
Here at New Life Fellowship of Graham our purpose is “to cultivate a ministry based upon the Bible which Equips the saints to Glorify God, to Worship Him rightly, and to accomplish His Great Commission through making disciples who lead others to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Making Disciples is our mission as disciples of Jesus. Making Disciples is Intentional, Personal, Transformational, and Relational. Discipleship means being disciples making disciples. A disciple of Jesus is someone following Jesus, being changed by Jesus, and committed to the mission of Jesus. In Matthew 28:18-20 we read the words of Jesus directing these matters as disciples of Jesus making disciples is our mission as His church. As H.B. Charles said “the last command of Jesus must be the first priority of the church.” Here in this Scripture passage we see His majesty, His authority, His glory, and His commission. In the context we are told twice that the disciples worshipped Jesus in verse nine “and worshiped Him” and in verse seventeen “they worshiped Him . . .” This means the worship of the resurrected Lord Jesus does produce in His disciples the heart of obedience to His words in the matters of His Great Commission.
First, we see the Foundation for the Mission of Making Disciples Is Our Resurrected Lord Jesus [28:18]. Both His Authority declared And His authority described. Here Matthew places focus upon the content of what He said with the emphasis on the words of Jesus to His disciples. Also the testimony of this reality as a church which shows His authority. [Ephesians 1:20-23; Philippians 2:9-11]
Second, we are told the Instruction for The Mission of Making Disciples by Our Resurrected Lord Jesus [28:19]. Both His Assignment declared And His Assignment described. Jesus’ words communicate one command personally directed about others becoming disciples of Jesus. His command “make disciples of all nations” calling us to go to all peoples. These words are only found here but an expansion and explanation of these words of Jesus included elsewhere further detailing the message, manner, and ministry of making disciples [Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-49; John 17:13-20; Acts 1:8]. Making disciples of Jesus meaning people become learners, followers, believers, and worshippers. Christlikeness the calling for every Christian also means we would make disciples as He made disciples during His earthly ministry. Every one of our ministries at New Life Fellowship and all of our activities seeking to obey the command make disciples. Making disciples after the pattern of Jesus in the Gospel accounts takes time, requires truth, needs teaching, involves trials all of which are relationships produced by faith, filled with love and covered in prayer. So many examples of Jesus making disciples in the Gospel of Matthew through walking and talking, questions and answers, counsel and comfort, conversations and sermons. Like Jesus and becoming more like Jesus with making disciples as our mission. Jesus’ words emphasize three participles actively concerned about others being disciples of Jesus. “Therefore Go . . .baptizing . . . teaching . . .” Every one of us is here because someone obeyed these words of Jesus! These three activities can be defined as prepared action, public confession, and personal communication. All of the teachings of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew are the basis of our teaching His commands for disciples of Jesus [5-7, 10-12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21-23, 24-25]. Six areas of the teachings of Jesus can be the emphasis in our making disciples through our focus on believe, love, live, serve, give, and forgive. Making disciples is not the greatest command which is found in Matthew 22:37-39 love the Lord our God and love our neighbor as ourselves. As we obey the greatest commandment we will indeed obey the great commission of our Lord Jesus! Here is the primary mission of the disciples of Jesus making disciples.
Third, we are given the Motivation for the Mission of Making Disciples from Our Resurrected Lord Jesus [28:20]. Both His Assurance declared And His Assurance described. Jesus clearly says, “and behold I Myself with you I am even until the end of the age.” The very promise of His presence in these acts of obedience to fulfill the requirement of making disciples as those with the assignment going, baptizing, and teaching. Living in the reality that the Lord Jesus coming again at the end of this age for all things will not continue as they are forever. There is limited time for making disciples with all of us having limited days for making disciples of Jesus. Being disciples of Jesus making disciples is our mission!
So let us consider these words of Jesus. Our purpose as New Life Fellowship of Graham is “to accomplish His Great Commission through making disciples.” How are we fulfilling our purpose in this season of our ministry together as a church body? Who will be the disciples of Jesus on that day when your friends and family have your funeral? Do you want to do what Jesus wants you to do with your passions, in your practices, and for your priorities? Finally, being a disciple making disciples is more than agreement with these words of Jesus but having this mission as our assignment from Him and for His church. Consequently, this activity of making disciples should be our testimony as His disciples because of the reality of His promise. Remember the Parable of a little lifesaving station.
Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.