PLAN: God’s overall plan is for me to make disciples.
THE AUTHORITY SANDWICH OF JESUS CHRIST
Notice the authority in which Jesus tells His disciples to go and make disciples.
I call this “Jesus’ Authority Sandwich.”
Notice that the command by Jesus to go out, or the way He sends out the disciples is with His authority (20:17). We don’t go out into the world to share Jesus with our own authority. We go on the authority of Jesus.
How big is this authority?
“Heaven and Earth.” This means that Jesus’ authority to send us out is universal.
The employer has authority in the workplace over the workers. But when 5pm rolls around, the authority stops.
The police has authority to make the neighborhoods safe, but that authority is limited. It is limited by local jurisdiction.
Government officials only have authority over various, limited places: Cities, counties, states, countries.
There is no world-wide authority, except Jesus.
But the other side of the sandwich is an authority over time. Notice that Jesus ends the command with “to the end of the age.” (18:20) What does this mean? It means that Jesus has authority over us to share the gospel with others who need to hear it, until He returns. The “age” is the present age, the age we live in, the age of the church. So Jesus has authority over this time period. In the beginning of the command, Jesus says He has authority over space. At the end of the command, Jesus says He has authority over time.
PROCESS: God revealed a process to help me accomplish his plan to make disciples.
“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, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:19–20, HCSB)
THE COMMAND: MAKE DISCIPLES (16:19-20)
In the original language, “make disciples” is the main verb of the passage. The other “verbs” in English are participles. This means that they hang on to the verb.
The umbrella concept is “make disciples.”
The other commands fall under this main command. What are the parts that hand under the verb?
STEP #1: To help make disciples, God wants me to connect.
“baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
Baptizing means to dip, to immerse. We speak of baptizing people in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This relates to the Trinity, and it means that we belong under the name of God.
To put it another way, when one is baptize, one joins the fellowship of God. So Fellowship is the purpose of baptism. I identify myself with God’s family when I decide to be baptized. But we don’t get baptized into the general family of God. That happens, but the purpose of baptize to identify with the local church, the local family of Christ. This is why someone is baptized before they decide to join this church family. It is the purpose of fellowship.
STEP #2: To help make disciples, God wants me to grow.
Teaching is the idea of growth. The purpose of growth, or discipleship.
STEP #3: To help make disciples, God wants me to serve.
“observe everything I have commanded you”
What did Jesus teach us to observe? Two commands: Love God and Love one another (John 15:17). This idea of loving God and loving each other is a self-less act. It requies that I serve others and not myself. It requires that I give, not get.
No Jesus didn’t explicitly say for His disciples to worship Him in this command. Why? Because they were already worshipping Him by coming to Him. So we come in an act worship, and we go as an act of worship. We gather, we give, we grow, and we go, all as an act of worship. Worship is tied to doing Jesus’ command to love one another. If we don’t love one another, we are not worshipping Jesus.
In the church world, we use the word “minister”. To minister means to serve someone else. Unfortunately, that word’s meaning has changed to represent the “person” known as a pastor. However, when Jesus talked about observing His commands, He meant that everyone of us should do the “work of the ministry.”
Paul lays it out in Ephesians 4:11-14.
There are people who equip others for the work of service. The pastors equip the church members to go out and serve. But this based on an example of service.
When Jesus had his Last Supper with his disciples, He washed their feet, and He gave us an example of serving others.
Jesus even said that He came “to serve and not be served.”
So, to observe, means to “serve.”
“This is what I command you: Love one another.” (John 15:17, HCSB)
“He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”” (Matthew 22:37–40, HCSB)
STEP #4: To help make disciples, God wants me to go.
This literally means, “as you travel”, make disciples. So the idea of missions is not that we send people far away to an unknown. It means that while we are on this journey, we make disciples. In this case, missions is on-going. I share Christ on a daily basis. Sometimes I speak. But going, means that I am sent by Jesus to reach out to others who need to know about Him.
Thus, I go to others to make them disciples of Jesus. This “going” is the purpose of missions, or evangelism. It means that I represent Jesus when I meet with others who need to hear about Jesus.
CHALLENGE: God wants me to balance all of the steps so that I can accomplish His plan: to make disciples.