THE GREAT COMMISSION
At the end of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus appears to the disciples and gives them their marching orders. This passage articulates one of the main purposes for the church’s existence. But in this passage, Jesus does not commission the disciples to make “converts”—people who assent to truths or have their sins blotted out. He commissions us to make “disciples”—people who imitate Jesus.
MEANS OF DISCIPLESHIP, PART 1: BAPTISM
Jesus tells his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations in Matthew 28:18-20. He then gives two modes of disciple making—two tools that help to shape people into the image of Jesus. The first is baptism. Often, baptism is merely thought of as an initiatory ritual. But how might we think of baptism as an ongoing contributor to our spiritual growth. Baptism unites us to Jesus, it mediates the gospel to us, and it summons us to Christlikeness.
MEANS OF DISCIPLESHIP, PART 2: TEACHING
Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20 to go and make disciples. He then gives two tools for the church to use in helping people grow spiritually into the image of Jesus. One is baptism, which was covered last week in Part 1. The other tool is teaching. Teaching is more than Sunday School or a one-on-one Bible study. Teaching is done through worship, through Christian living, and through study. By these means, we teach the commands of Jesus as they are found throughout the Bible. In our teaching and in our obedience, we become imitators of Jesus.
I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS
In this final message on the Great Commission, we look at Jesus’ statement that he would be with his disciples always. That Jesus would be present should come as no surprise—after all, he is called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” What is radically new is the way in which Jesus continues to be with us. Jesus is present by his Holy Spirit.