go"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)

Matthew's Gospel ends with these words spoken by Jesus Christ.

As disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have been authorised by Him to make disciples of all the nations, not just our own nation, nor just the safe nations, but of all the nations. This mission of disciples making disciples for Jesus is the mandate given to all the church by the risen Lord Jesus. Our mission continues to the very end of the age, when Jesus personally returns.

We have the confidence to make disciples of all the nations because all authority has been given to Jesus and Jesus is still with us through His Holy Spirit.

Fact: In 2017 there are over 2 billion people on earth considered unreached. They will never hear the gospel unless someone goes to them, learns their language and speaks and embodies the gospel.

Now, we are to be gospel people, going and telling the good news of Jesus. To go, we need good feet. Do you have beautiful feet? Listen to these words from the Bible written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Rome, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How can they call on Him unless they believe in Him? How can they believe in Him unless they hear about Him? How can they hear about Him unless someone preaches to them? And how can anyone preach without being sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.'" (Romans 10:13-15)

As disciples who are making disciples, we aren't to just have beautiful feet but we are also to be beautiful people. By that I mean people of good character. God has a mission and He commands and authorises us as part of His church, to join Him in His mission. It's not our mission, but His. We have the privilege to join Him in it. By joining Him in His mission we do more than just delivering the message. We become part of the message. Who we are as the deliverer of the message is important too.

We become part of the greatest story. It began at creation, a high point. It soon moves on to the moral and spiritual fall of humans, a low point. The story continues on to the highest point which includes the birth, the life, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It's an unexpected story. The Creator of the universe became a baby, grew to be a man who lived among people, and then died a horrific death on a cross, rising again three days later. And the story is not over yet. God is still drawing people to Himself. He's working this
very day. We aren't central to the story. Jesus is. We have been drawn by God into the story, to live for Christ and the gospel.

As Christians, we have been sent by Christ into the world with a special task. People need to be saved and that is only possible through God's grace, by the power of the Holy Spirit. People must respond trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ. In order to do this they must clearly see and hear Jesus. So we are sent to preach Christ, to preach the gospel in all its wholeness. The gospel changes everything. We are to become different. Although living in the world and suffering the rubbish like everyone else, we have gospel values, eternity in our heart, because of God's call on our lives. Our DNA as disciples is to be like Jesus, to love people, love justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before our God. (Micah 6:8)

We are sent by God into the world to tell His story. This story doesn't revolve around you and me. It revolves around Jesus. We are part of a bigger story than just our own. We are part of God's story to bless the world, to bless the nations.

Disciples are to make disciples. But all disciples become disciples of Jesus. Matthew 28 doesn't stop there. We are also to baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The goal of evangelism is always to make disciples. Disciples are formed by being taught authoritatively, not tentatively, to follow Jesus. The Lord gives us His authority to do so. We are to make disciples of Jesus Christ. We evangelise, we baptise, and... we teach them. Jesus said, "Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others." (2 Timothy 2:2) We are to be giving people the tools to access the Word of God themselves. It's not just biblical literacy but biblical competence we aim for. Getting the confidence of using the Word of God and knowing that it is not lucky
dipping and not treating it as a magical book is hard work. Disciples are to be seriously getting into the Word so they can seriously get something out of the Word.

There are huge needs in our own country as well as in the rest of the world. It can seem overwhelming. We don't do this alone, but by prayer and in partnership with others. Let's work together to bring the gospel to the unreached. Be motivated by Christ's love and live in dependence on Him, to make a difference in our world for Christ and the gospel. The greatest way we can love someone is to point them to Jesus, to be saved, baptised and taught to be a disciple, a wholehearted follower – all for the honour and glory of Jesus Christ. Yes, a true disciple of Jesus.

Karen Brookes
GC3 Chair

 

 

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