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Notes from Sermon preached 9 August 2009 – “A Disciple-making Community”
Today we are considering church as a community of people who obey the command of Jesus to make disciples. Our text is Matthew 28 v 16-20.
1. A Great Conference
Jesus calls a conference at some point between the resurrection and the ascension. Not a major conference with audio visual gadgetry, but a simple conference on a lonely mountain top with Jesus and his 11 remaining disciples. What characterised this conference?
The venue: Galilee: this is highly significant because the command to go to the nations was given not at Jerusalem, but in Galilee of the Gentiles.
Obeying Jesus: the disciples went to the place where Jesus had told them to go. If we want to know what Jesus wants us to do, it will be as we do what he has already asked us to do.
Seeing Jesus: the disciples saw Jesus – isn’t that the desire of our hearts – to see Him more and more and for Him to have the first place in our lives?
Worshipping Jesus: here, for the first time in the new testament, Jesus is offered by his disciples ( and accepts from them) the worship that belongs to God alone. The Book of Revelation which gives us a glimpse into heaven is filled with worship of the Lamb. What place does worship have in our lives and in our church?
Doubting Jesus: it seems a strange thing to say, but we are told that “Some doubted”. And today we have to admit that our faith is not perfect. Like any failing, doubt can be overcome by the word (Romans 10 v 17) and by obedience (John 7 v 17)
2. A Great Commission
The Commission is given to go to all nations and to:
Evangelise – every man woman and child needs to hear the message of salvation so that they can turn to God and be saved. So are the bringers of that message. God has no plan B.
Establish – the command is not simply to bring them to Jesus – we are then commanded to baptise them and to teach them to obey all that Jesus has commended us.
Equip – the world needs men and woman who are God’s disciple – makers, men and woman who know how to obey the great commission. As our friend Paul Dando puts it: the task is to turn heathens into missionaries!
3. A Great Challenge
This passage comes at a crucial point in the ministry of Jesus. He has spent three years training the twelve to be his disciple-makers. At this point the baton is passed to them. The eternal destiny of the world is in their hands.
Down the generations it also comes to us… have we heard and responded to the call to be involved in the great task of the ages?
So: where will you go to fulfil the command of Jesus to make disciples?
4. A Great Commitment
The commission is so great and so far-reaching that no one would seriously contemplate taking it on unless Jesus was with us. And yet this is the commitment that he has given to us: “Surely I am with you”. The one who said “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” also said “ I am with you always”. What more could we ask for?
As Brother Andrew said:
“ Not one word has been withdrawn by the One who gave us the great commission. It is still the supreme task of the church. God’s blessing is and will be with anyone who makes this his main task for the rest of his life”