This past week, we had the pleasure of examining the Great Commission. I call it a pleasure, not because it is always fun and easy to do (although sometimes it certainly can be); rather, I call it a pleasure because it should be pleasing to us that God would use us to do the work of advancing His Kingdom. If you are a believer and a follower of Jesus, then you are His disciple, and the Great Commission tells us that Disciples of Jesus submit to His authority by obeying His command to make more disciples. And here is what we learned about being and making disciples:
1. A disciple’s heart is marked by obedience, worship, and submission. (vs 16-18)
A. Are we willing to obey, regardless of what it takes? In a world where we get upset about not getting the closest parking spot at the store, we should be amazed that the disciples walked nearly 100 miles to meet with Jesus. Obedience can be hard.
B. Are we willing to worship? Even when we doubt; even when we are unsure of what God is doing, God is worthy of our worship. All. The. Time. Not just when we feel like it, or when things are going good. We turn to Jesus in our doubt, and despite our circumstances in order to ascribe to Him the glory He is due.
C. Are we willing to submit? When the King of kings and Lord of lords is present, we worship; when He speaks, we listen; when He commands, we obey. Making disciples is not a suggestion from a friend… it is a command from God. There is no greater authority than God Himself. When we do not submit, we make ourselves to be the Lord of our own life.
“to set our will against the will of God is to dethrone God and make ourselves supreme in the little kingdom of Mansoul.” – A.W. Tozer
2. A disciple’s commission is to Go and Make Disciples! (vs 19-20)
Jesus says to “Go.” The verb could actually be translated “As you are going.” As we GO to the places we go every day, and as we GO about our lives, we are to make disciples. For some of us, that might actually mean going to various places of the earth as a missionary; for the rest of us, we can make disciples right where we are – our home, family, work, school, neighborhood, and social activities.
While you are going to these places, the two primary ways that we make disciples are through evangelism and through teaching.
A. Are you prepared to share the good news of Jesus with people? As disciples, we should all be ready to share the gospel with others. If you don’t already know how, ask for some help. If you do know how, then pray for God to provide the opportunities for you to share. Our aim is for people to believe in, and identify with, the death and resurrection of Jesus so that they are ready to declare that faith through baptism.
B. How can you teach, help, or encourage other believers? Spiritual growth does not stop at the new birth (baptism) any more than physical growth stops at natural birth. First, ensure that you are being taught, primarily from the Scriptures. Second, find ways to teach others. Be a mentor or a friend who helps others to walk closer with Jesus and worship Him more. This will look different for each person, so pray about what this looks like for you. Don’t underestimate the impact you have on family, friends, co-workers, etc.
3. A disciple’s strength is found in the presence and authority of God. (v 20)
Jesus concluded with the wonderful promise that He will be will us always. Always. The physical person of Jesus may not stand beside us as we carry out the Great Commission, but the person of the Holy Spirit does dwell within us.
Bottom Line: When we obey, worship, and submit to Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He commands us to join Him in advancing the gospel. We do this by sharing the gospel with unbelievers, and encouraging fellow believers to continue in obedience (which includes their obedience to the Great Commission as well). He doesn’t send us out alone, though. He empowers us with His own sovereign authority!