GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES
Key Verse 19 : "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"
Thank God who has blessed our conference thus far! In this closing message, we will learn about the Great Commission. Jesus commanded his disciples and each of us to go and make disciples. In brief, it is to share the good news, the gospel, which we and others received freely from God.
Read verse 18. “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’” Through his resurrection from the dead, Jesus conquered sin and death and became the King of kings and Lord of lords. He rules eternally in the kingdom of God. King Jesus has all authority. In our world today, there are many evil people who live by the philosophy, “Might is right,” and use any means possible to make others submit to their authority. But all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus. These days, we see many of our brothers and sisters around the world die as martyrs because they rather submit to the authority of Jesus, than evil men. Though they die they will rise again but those who do evil will be very surprise when they face Jesus on Judgment day. When we submit to Jesus’ authority we are submitting to his lordship over our lives. That’s why we call him Jesus Christ our Lord and King.
What did King Jesus command his disciples? Read verse 19. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The word “therefore” means that Jesus is in charge and gives us a command to do, which is to go. Does that mean each of us should buy a plane ticket and fly to another country tomorrow? Luke 24:47, “…and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” It starts from where you are right now. Making disciples involves going. It means going out of your comfort zone and sharing your life with others, like Jesus did when he left heaven to be with us. But that is not all. A disciple of Jesus is a follower of Jesus. He must first come to repentance and accept Jesus Christ as his or her Lord. Then they need to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit so that God’s spirit lives in them. Then God himself can empower them to live as His disciples. That’s the beauty of disciple making it is self cultivating, like the flowers and trees that are growing around us.
The process that begins it is the seed which is the word of God. Verse 20a reads, “…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” It is to teach the Word of God, the Bible, to new believers so that they will grow in their knowledge of God. We have no power in ourselves to complete the Great Commission, the worldwide scale of evangelization. Where can we get this power from? Verse 20b Jesus continues, “…surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” That’s real power because Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit to be in us. Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Jesus is our power source, and that power lies behind the life of effective evangelization. Christians become ineffective when they rely on their own will power, which eventually runs out, and they become like cars with empty gas tanks. The task of reaching the world is only made possible by the power of Christ that is present in us. We can’t do it but Jesus can do it through us.
Thank God that to fulfill the Great Commission is not up to us with our limited power and resources. Making disciples starts at where you are at now and continues to where God will put you in the future. We have only to submit our lives to Jesus our King. He will lead us and help us obey His command, “go and make disciples of all nations,” because he will be with us to the end of the age. I thank God who called my wife and I when we were studying in the university in Chicago more than 30 years ago. Through Bible study, learning from mature Christians and maintaining a personal faith in Jesus we could grow as disciples of Jesus. In obedience to Matthew 28:19, “go and make disciples of all nations,” with our four children we left Chicago, our good jobs and our growing ministry to come to Ukraine. Many people told us that we were crazy, many Ukrainians want to come and live in America but we wanted to go and live in Ukraine. By God’s grace we could remain in Ukraine for the last 12 years even after our four children left and are now back in Chicago. Not only has God been with us He also used us to begin a church four years ago in Podil near Kyiv Myhola Academy University serving young people there with our English club. There God has been slowly and steadily raising disciples of Jesus as we share our lives to be with them and teaching them the Bible. Today Ukraine has many difficulties to overcome, but I have the assurance that Jesus is with the people of Ukraine. May God bless Ukraine to be a Bible believing, disciple-making and a missionary-sending nation. May God raise disciples of Jesus through us. Amen.
(m. John Peace)