Make Disciples

Dec 15 Worship

*This was a recent sermon preached at SSFBC and the sermonic elements remain.

Introduction

You made the decision to attend a church service this morning.  Yet, in reality, you did something much more important. You made a decision to gather with God’s people and catch a vision for God’s plan for the church.

Today starts a four-week sermon series titled Gather.Grow.Go.  Gather.Grow.Go is the discipleship strategy of First Baptist Church.

Before we get to the specifics of Gather.Grow.Go., today we look at a foundational passage.  If we want to thrive, we must live out Matthew 28:16-20.  Join me in reading the familiar passage of Matthew 28:16-20.

Disciples who make disciples.

If we want to thrive, we must be disciples who make disciples.  I love the introduction that Matthew provides to this familiar passage: Some worshipped. Some doubted. Or it could be translated some worshiped but they doubted. This scenario has not changed. There are people in this room who are worshipers of the risen Lord. Yet, there as some who doubt.  Thus, this passage is meant for everyone in this room.

The heart of this passage is the mandate to share Jesus Christ.  Yet, you can’t share what you do not have.  Some of you today need to make the confession: “I’m not a true worshiper of Jesus” and you need to make Jesus your Lord and Savior.  Invite you to do that today.

Once you are a disciple, you are called to make disciples.  How many of you are active in discipling another person?  I won’t ask you to provide a show of hands because it would be awkward and painful.  The definition of a disciple is one who follows Jesus and makes more disciples.  I would argue that if you’re not making disciples – then you are not a disciple.  Yeah … I said it.

Jesus instructs the original disciples to make disciples, baptize, and teach.  We call this passage the Great Commission.  Dallas Willard wrote a book titled the “Great Omission” reflecting on the idea of how it is far too common to omit disciple making from the Christian life.

Today I want to challenge to no longer omit disciple making from your life.  Who are the people in your life that need to hear the good news of Jesus?  Who are the people in your life that need you to encourage them to greater faithfulness?

If First Baptist is going to thrive … we need to be disciple makers.

Disciples who make disciples of everyone.

Disciples are to make disciples of all nations.  We hear “nations” and think borders and governments.  Yet, we should think people. Jesus was telling disciples to take the message of salvation to all people.  Leave no one out!  Let all hear the good news!  If we want to thrive, we must be disciples who make disciples of everyone.

God placed SSFBC on this corner to reach the community.  Your family was put in your neighborhood to reach your neighborhood.  You were put in your workplace to speak life to your coworkers.

We typically stress the “Go” in “Go and make disciples.”  Thus, we turn this passage into a mission trip passage.  In reality the emphasis is placed on “make disciples.”  And it might be better translated, “As you are going make disciples.”

As you are going about your week … make disciples.

As you are going to the ballfield … make disciples.

As you are going to the classroom … make disciples.

As you are going through the office … make disciples.

As you are going about the neighborhood … make disciples.

How do you make disciples?  Teach them the things God is teaching you.  Every time God reveals something to you, share it with someone else. Think for a moment: What lessons has God taught you in the last 3 months? 6 months? Year?  Think that through and boil it down into a 3 to 5-minute conversation.  Then share it with those around you.

Sarah had a season in life when she faced trouble at work and trouble with her health.  She received a poor performance evaluation at work and poor test result from her doctor.  It seemed too much to bear.  She spent nights staying awake.  She spent nights in tears.  Eventually she laid her burdens at the feet of the Lord.  She took his yoke upon herself and found the Lord’s yoke to be light and easy.  She found rest for her soul.  Now when a coworker expresses fear, worry, or anxiety, she says, “I’ve been there and I’ve done that.  Eventually I gave it to the Lord.  You want to hear my story?”

If First Baptist is going to thrive … we need to reach this community.

Disciples who make disciples of everyone in the power and presence of Jesus.

We can’t do this in our own strength.  If the church functioned in our own strength it would be placed on life support. I love to walk through this building and think about the 160-year history of SSFBC.  I picture previous pastor’s proclaiming the gospel.  I picture the countless volunteers that have served in the preschool, children’s, youth departments.  I think of the faithful people that have served as Bible study teachers.  I think of generations of people offering cries for help to the Lord. None of this is accomplished through human strength and effort.

We can only function as a church because the presence of Jesus is with us and the power of Jesus enables us.  When disciples make disciples of everyone, we are given the promise that Jesus will be with us to the very end of the age.

Do not fear.  Do not hesitate.  We can only function as a church because the presence of Jesus is with us and the power of Jesus enables us.  That means that nothing is beyond our capabilities. If you limit this church – you limit Jesus. Don’t do it.

If First Baptist tis going to thrive – we need to rest in the presence and power of Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

You made the decision to attend a church service this morning.  Yet, in reality, you did something much more important. You made a decision to gather with God’s people and catch a vision for God’s plan for the church.

Over the next three weeks we will look at the specific discipleship strategy for SSFBC: Gather.Grow.Go.  Don’t miss it.  Commit to be here for the entirety of the series.  You’ll be blessed.

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