Woven throughout the fabric of all we do here at Healthy Growing Churches is this central idea of wanting to see disciples made to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generations of reproduction and to see churches do the same. It is not shocking to most of you within this particular audience that we are not just asked to go out and make disciples, but we are commanded to do so. What a fantastic gift we have to share with the world!
How many of you, having just heard the best news of your life, would keep that news to yourself? I would suggest that very few of you would do that. Imagine the moment you first found out you were bringing a new life into the world or that the miracle you brought into the world is now bringing another new life into the world – your grandchild. You feel a sense of elation, right?
One of the first things you want to do is call or text all of your family and friends and let them in on the surprise and joy. After immediate family and closest friends hear this great news, you then take it to social media so the entire interweb can celebrate with you and offer their congratulations. Sharing the news spurs on conversations from others regarding the birth of their first child or grandchild, and suddenly your life is consumed by an exciting buzz of activity and conversation.
The Very Best News
As believers of Jesus Christ as our Savior, we have the VERY BEST of news. If you get any opportunities to read the stories of the Bible to your children or grandchildren, may I recommend The Jesus Storybook Bible? (I’m not going to lie. Sometimes I sneak away and read it myself with no children around). In this particular book, every single story points you to Jesus of Nazareth coming to rescue His people. No matter how bleak the story, each one ends with a giant “But.” In the story depicting the fall of humankind, the chapter ends like this:
Well, in another story, it would all be over and that would have been THE END. But not in this Story. God loved His children too much to end there…One day, He would get His children back. One day, He would make the world their perfect home again. And one day, He would wipe away every tear from their eyes. (pp. 35-36)
The Good News is: though we messed up everything that God so lovingly created for us, He sent a Son–His Son, Christ Jesus, to rescue us. Jesus came and revealed Himself, even making Himself known and available to the Gentiles! There is room in God’s Kingdom for everyone!
The Great Commission
When we arrive at Matthew 28, Jesus has revealed Himself risen from the dead to the two Marys. The guards at the tomb have taken the news of their experience back to the chief priests, who tell them to lie and say the body had been stolen. And finally, Jesus reveals Himself to the remaining 11 disciples. Jesus says to the eleven:
18All the authority of the universe has been given to me.19 Now go in my authority and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.20 And teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you. (The Passion Translation)
Again, these precious words of Jesus are not merely a recommendation of how to live a Christian life. Instead, this is His command to us! If we are followers of Christ, then we are to do just what Jesus says in this passage. BUT…
Located within the context of this beautiful passage of Scripture lies a promise–one that cannot go unnoticed. At the end of verse 20, Jesus goes on to say,
And never forget that I am with you every day, even to the completion of this age.
He says, I. AM. WITH. YOU. EVERY. DAY.
The Great Commission is not our burden to carry alone. Quite the contrary. Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit to give us boldness, to impart unique gifts to us, and to reveal the heart of the Father all along our journey of making disciples. He also sends us other people to encourage, equip, and empower us to do this incredible work.
As followers of Christ, we can’t help but have a heart that desperately wants others to join us on this journey of faith and trust. We pray consistently for His Spirit to reveal the truth, grace, and love of the Father to those who are far from Him. Maybe some of us have lost heart following the Way, but I encourage you today to remember the promise.
As you go out and faithfully serve and work to make disciples, He is with you. I would rather be uncomfortable and get dirty and messy knowing that in what I’m doing there is Kingdom impact and that He is with me than live in safety, security, and relative comfort having little to no effect on the world around me and not experiencing the beauty of His presence through this promise.
What Do You Live For?
Allow this question to challenge you! Do you truly live for His presence? Do the people around you see His light in you beyond Sunday? Are you longing to see others brought into the family as adopted, chosen sons and daughters of the Father experiencing His glory day by day? Take some time this week to wrestle with these questions truthfully, and if you’re struggling, submit that to Him. Call out other believers around you.
Challenge your staff or those you lead to answer these questions authentically as well. Be bold and full of life, and make sure you are setting the example by personally discipling someone else. If that’s not something you’re actively pursuing, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you someone you need to pour your life into, and then walk through the trenches with that person unafraid of the dirt and muck that you may have to walk through. There are many resources to use to get started. For many of the individuals I am discipling, I use Francis Chan’s book, Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples. Remind yourself and others that you don’t have to be a biblical scholar to get the ball rolling. You only have to be willing and have an understanding that He is with you!