Monday, October 11, 2010

Living the Mission Part 1

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always , even to the end of the age."

Jesus said “Go and make disciples.”In modern church practice, this command has become “Go and make church members,” or “Go and plant churches,” or “Go be a missionary in a foreign country.” But if this is the case, we would all have to become experts in church marketing, church planting or move to a foreign country.

But Jesus meant this to be the ongoing mission of those who followed him. He gave his commission to fishermen, former tax collectors, regular guys. It seems to me that he was giving a reasonable and attainable goal to people who were fit for the task. If Jesus gave this responsibility to these regular guys, and his assignment was doable, do you think maybe we have misinterpreted his command?

Let's set aside what we think we know about making disciples and look fresh at what the Bible says about discipleship. Well, first let's ask some questions. What is it we are supposed to be doing? Making disciples. What is a disciple? A disciple is a learner and a follower.

When we think of disciples, we often think of the twelve, and we see in Mark 3 that Jesus called them out of the many other disciples—many others who were following him—and chose them to be with him. He called them out to follow him more closely, so he could give them a special task of preaching and driving out demons. But they were not the twelve disciples, they were the twelve apostles. An apostle is a person who is sent out, a disciple is one who follows and learns. Not all of us are called to be apostles, but all of us are called to be disciples and to make disciples.

The mission given by Jesus to his followers was: go and make disciples. But to make a disciple first a person has to be a disciple. You have to be a follower and learner.
Jesus said this about being his follower:
Hidden Treasure
Matthew 13:44 "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."

A Costly Pearl
Matthew 13:45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it."

When we realize the value we have in Christ, we are willing to lay down everything we thought was treasure before so that we can embrace the real treasure in Christ. We can do that confidently because the Kingdom of Heaven is also seeking us. God is out there seeking to be in relationship with each of us, he sees in us a pearl of great price. He gave everything, even his own life to pave a way for us to walk with him.

Our primary job in fulfilling the Great Commission is being a disciple ourselves. Then we can invite others to follow Jesus and learn from him along with us. We can show them the treasure we have found in Christ and what great value they have in the eyes and heart of God the Father. Doesn't that seem a little more doable than becoming a church marketing expert? You don't have to sell church to your friends, or sell a particular brand of Christianity. Just follow Jesus and invite the people you meet along for the journey.

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