"Make Disciples."
October 13, 2021, 8:37 PM

Our devotional today continues our series on “The Purpose of the Church.” We started this series by looking at Mark 8:27-33. In that devotional we noted that the foundational confession of the church is that Jesus is the Christ. To say that Jesus is the Christ is to recognize that Jesus is the descendant of David that was promised to David himself. David was promised that one of his descendants would inherit the throne and would rule forever. This kingdom would be an everlasting kingdom. To say that Jesus is the Christ is to say that Jesus is the descendant from David that Israel had been waiting for. This means that Jesus is King and will rule an eternal kingdom. Jesus is the Christ is the foundational confession of the Christian church.

We also defined the church as “the people of God in all ages called out of the world through Jesus Christ.” This definition comes from the theologian John M. Frame. What does it mean to be called out of the world? It means that we are different from those who do not confess faith in Jesus. It means we have transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and have been set free from the mastery of sin over our lives. However, we are not just called out, we are called with a purpose.

Our devotional last week focused on Acts 2:42-47. This passage describes how the early Christians devoted themselves to fellowship, breaking of the bread, the teaching of the apostles’ teaching, and to prayers. Simply put, they devoted themselves to the Word of God, to praying together, to spending time together, and worship God together on a weekly (and sometimes even daily) schedule where the Lord’s Supper was a frequent part of their worship. Like the early Christians, every Christian today is called to be devoted to these things as well. This is best done by belonging to a local congregation that is also dedicated to these things.

So far, we have defined the church, talked about what Christians should be dedicated to, and we have looked at the foundational confession of the church. This sermon series is on the purpose of the church, and yet we haven’t defined the purpose of the church. So here it is:

  1. purpose of the church is to glorify God.

The goal of everything that the church does is to bring glory to God. That means our worship is aimed at bringing glory to God – therefore the sermon is always based on the Word of God. This means our fellowship is always aimed at bringing glory to God – therefore Jesus wants us to love one another in the church. When we demonstrate sacrificial, unselfish love in our congregations we show the outside world a different way of relating to each other.

We bring glory to God by spreading the message of forgiveness through Jesus Christ to all people. This is what our Scripture passage from Matthew is focused on. Jesus gave this commission to the church to bring people into the church. J. Mack Stiles, pastor and author, says that the church is God’s strategic plan for evangelism. This section from Matthew is known as the Great Commission. It is Jesus’ command for His disciples (every Christian who confesses Jesus as the Christ is a disciple). Our faithfulness is not optional. Every congregation and every individual Christian is called to be faithful to this commission. Let’s take a closer look at the command itself.

First, the command itself is rooted in Jesus’ authority. Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth. Because that is true, Jesus can demand His people to be faithful. The amazing thing about Jesus’ commands, is that He has given us the Holy Spirit to enable and encourage us as we seek to obey Him in our everyday lives. Jesus roots the Great Commission in His authority, but He promises to be with His disciples forever. Verse 20 is Jesus’ promised presence.

Second, the core of the command is “make disciples.” This itself is the command. So, what does Jesus commission His disciples to do? To make disciples. How are we going to do that? We make disciples by going, baptizing, and teaching. To go means that we are not supposed to be passive. This is an active commission. We go and tell others about forgiveness of sins through Jesus and call people to repent. When people believe that Jesus is the Christ, they are to be baptized. Baptism is the door to the church. It is a public declaration that the person being baptized believes in Jesus. Baptism isn’t the end of the process, after someone is baptized, the church (older believers) has the responsibility to continue to teach what Jesus taught. Every disciple of Jesus should be a life-long student of Jesus’ words in the Gospels. This is another reason why preaching is always a feature of our worship together on Sunday mornings.

Third, to whom do we go? To the nations. This means that every people group, and language deserves to hear about Jesus. The gospel of Jesus Christ does not come with dividing lines or walls to keep others out. The good news of Jesus Christ is for all people everywhere. The good news is for those in far-away lands, as well as for our neighbors in our communities.

How do we stay faithful to this commission? There are many ways that we can tell others about Jesus. But we must remember that the most important aspect of being faithful to Jesus’ commands is to rely on His grace for us to do so. Jesus has given us commands on how to live and how to treat others. “Love your enemy” is not a suggestion, it is in the form of a command. Thankfully, Jesus does not leave us on our own. He promised to send the Holy Spirit to help His people. At Pentecost, Jesus fulfilled that promise. If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, then you are filled with the Holy Spirit. Because of that fact, you are never alone. Jesus is always with you through the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us encouragement and strength to live faithfully to our King Jesus.

Today, ask God through prayer to show you how you can be faithful to the Great Commission in your life. Maybe there are family members, friends, or co-workers that you can invite to church with you. Talk to people in your life that you know don’t go to church and begin to let them know how much Jesus means to you. Identify people in your life that you can pray for on a regular basis. Jesus has called every one that believes in Him to be faithful to His commands, including the Great Commission. Start seeking ways that you can tell others about Jesus.