18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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,
Jesus has ALL authority and power over everything in heaven and earth – Satan, demons, angels, government, nature, etc.; and even over every moment of every life that has been or will be lived.
And this is the basis of the Lord’s command…make disciples.
The Great Commission does not begin with man’s efforts or intentions. It starts with the Lord Jesus.
Jesus is all powerful and has absolute power over everything. He is supremely positioned to call us to the task.
This is important because we need to understand Who He is that is calling us. He is the basis of our authority and source of our power. And since He has all authority we should obey Him but not only that, since He has all authority we also have no need to fear when we obey Him.
No matter how He leads us, where He leads us, when He leads us, no matter what the situation or circumstances are – He is in total control. He has all authority and is worthy of our full and total obedience. His power and authority must be the driving force of our mission because we are incapable of accomplishing it on our own.
We do not go out into the world to share Jesus with our own authority and power. We go on the authority and power of Jesus!
Let’s read together Matt. 28:16-20 together…
The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Today, we talk about His plan. God doesn’t just tell us to go with His power, He tells us also to go with His plan.
What is God’s plan for making disciple? Three simple things…first…
• TELL, v.19a.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
There are many ways or methods of sharing the gospel. I remember when I first joined ECM in 1990 we went and visited homes in the barangays of Poblacion, Bel-air and San Miguel Village as part of our (house-to-house) evangelism effort. We distributed gospel tracts and bibles. We also shared the gospel of Jesus. Some welcomed us, but others would not even entertain us. In spite of that, we were able to harvest souls for the Lord.
Learning from that experience, I believe one of the most effective ways of sharing the gospel is to love first. You must make the love of Jesus known through you because love builds relationship.
I remember one on my friends named Jun. Right now, I’m praying and working hard to be a friend and blessing to him. I won’t be surprised if one day we’ll see him here, joining and becoming part of our worship service. Why do I think so? Because by then, I will have established a relationship of care and concern with this person.
So what are we to do in order to establish relationships? We can…
• Talk about Jesus, Acts 1:8.
Acts 1:8 (NIV)
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.”
If we are to go out and be Jesus’ witnesses, then we need to speak. Can you imagine a “witness” who just sits and does not even talk? A silent witness is not a good witness. Witnesses are expected to give an account…so naturally, they have to talk. You might say “Pastor, I’m not a preacher…or an evangelist…I’m not good at speaking. I’m just an ordinary Christian.”
Yes, you may be “just an ordinary Christian”, but every Christian, regardless of age or ability is commissioned to go and make disciples. As a matter of fact, the entire church is called to missions. We have to go and tell people what Jesus did on the cross – He died for you. We have to go and tell people the gospel of Jesus. We have to talk about Jesus:
• At all times.
v.19 says, “go.” The Greek word for “go” is a present participle which means that it is suggesting continual action. In other words, the word “go” is better translated “as you are going.”
It does not really matter what your actual profession is, as a Christian, your primary purpose is to make disciples. If you are a doctor, “as you go”, your primary purpose is to make disciples. As a student, or even as a teacher, your primary purpose is to make disciples. We are to make disciples at all times. Not once, not twice, not sometimes, not occasionally…but at all times!
• TAKE them in,
v.19b. baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
When a person is baptized, he/she joins the fellowship of the church. Baptism is the way we are initiated into the new community. We need to love people and give them a community. We need to take them in. We need to keep them.
• Connect them to the church.
God did not intend for His children to live as individual islands of faith, but rather as a community of believers, interrelated with each other and part of something much bigger than themselves. That “something” is the Church.
• Connect with them.
Make them feel that they are now part of the family of God. Build relationships with them: care for them, support them, affirm them. Help them grow in the faith. Listen to them, understand them. Model a life of faith and dependence on God. Be a stepping stone and do not be a stumbling block to the new converts. We do not want to lose the harvest…we intend to keep them!
Q. What are you doing today to keep the harvest?
• TEACH, v.20a.
…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
There is a heavy burden in my heart to make disciples. After all, we have what it takes. God has equipped us to carry this out. All we have to do is to take this to heart.
Jesus said, “make disciples”. He did not say that we are to make church members, religious people, and good people. He said to make disciples.
Do we really love the Lord? If we say we do, then why are we not telling others about Jesus? Why are we not making disciples? If we are not discipling others our model becomes broken. Are we committed to Jesus’ church? Are we committed to the vision of Jesus? Then we must make disciples.
How do we make disciples?
• Instruct them in the Word.
At its core, discipling is teaching. We teach them the very word of God. We teach all the words Jesus taught his disciples. Our teaching is both corporate and interpersonal. In our church we have adopted the three strands of discipleship. We call it:
Celebration (Disciples of Jesus meet together in order to worship the Lord and participate in the full expression of the local body of Christ. Coming to church every Sunday is very important because we worship the Lord together. Worship is not an option! Worship must be primary! If you have other things to do set them aside and make worship a priority.
Cell (this is the nurture group this size allows for teaching, discussion and sharing); and
Core (this is the place where intimate sharing and personal ministry happens).
The best approach is an optimal combination of all three methods. And we only have one book as our basis for teaching…we call it – the Bible.
Q. Do you give time to be equipped so that you may equip others?
• Invest in them,
1 Thes. 2:8.
“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well…”
Paul in his great love for the Thessalonians shared not only the message of Jesus Christ but also his own life (his innermost being). Now that’s investment! Investment is life on life. We nurture the person we disciple. Investment involves a long-term commitment. Each of us, regardless of our maturity level, should continue to be discipled as well.
Q. How much of yourself is invested on discipling others?
• Impact others.
Instruction from the Word and investing of life will lead to growth. Growth leads to impacting others.
Who was the Great Commission intended for? The disciples.
What was Jesus commanding them to do? To make disciples.
In other words, the discipleship process is not complete until the disciple has further established other disciples. We call it – discipling disciple.
Q. How much of the life of Christ in you is passed on to others?
IV. What now?
For the last 46 years (ECMI was founded April 1971) what we are today, how we got here is all by the grace of God. We have pursued the vision of Jesus through thick and thin…in sickness and in health…Our task as His followers/disciples is to help other people become followers of Jesus as well. We have kept this in our hearts and we are committed until the end. That’s the heart of Emmanuel!
What are we going to do about it?
We need to pray more. We need to pray together! And as we pray together, we need to ask the Lord to do what He has to do. We then ask that this, will be done.
Matthew 9:36-38 (NIV)
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Only “the Lord of the Harvest” can call laborers out into the harvest field. Bt we must pray for those laborers that He calls. We must pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send our workers into the harvest field. Pray for ourselves and each other as we go out to spread the good news. Pray MORE! Pray TOGETHER!
We need to be very intentional in preparing ourselves so that we’ll be ready to step with Him in this God-sized task when He says “GO.” The truth is, no matter what is going on in your life right now, – busyness, workplace issues, financial shortages, relationship concerns… whatever it is, the reality is that you are still here and God is not done working in you and through you. You are still here because God wants you to accomplish your mission of leading more and more people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and making them disciples as well.
The entire church is called to mission. God’s people are never a “sit and wait” people. We are called to be a “go and tell” people. We must push ahead for more of what Jesus desires for us and His church. So as we, pray more…prepare more…we must practice more. And as we practice more we need to GO more…SAVE more… and DISCIPLE more!
Going with God’s plan begins by TELLING others about Christ…TAKING them into the fellowship of the church…and TEACHING them to follow God’s way. God calls us to GO: ANYWHERE…at ANY COST. The key to GOING is G.O.D.!
Love GOD…the Greatest Commandment
Love OTHERS…the 2nd Greatest Commandment
Make DISCIPLES! the Great Commission
Everything we do must come from this three. Our love for God will move us to love others and loving God and loving others will get us to make disciples. Go and make disciples is not something we have to do…this is something we get to do…We just have to come alongside God.
The Great Commission – go and make disciples. We have a great commander – the Lord Jesus Christ who has all authority in heaven and on earth. And He gives us a great challenge – To be a great soldier of the cross of Jesus! A soldier understands that he has a mission. A soldier understands that he has a commander. Soldiers take orders…soldiers serve…soldiers sacrifice. They give themselves to the cause to make a difference. A true soldier of Jesus is a disciple maker.
Are you willing to BE what the Lord wants you to be;
to DO what He wants you to do;
and to GO where He wants you to go…at any cost?
I challenge you today…be a soldier of Jesus. Will you stand today and say, “count me in Lord, I’m stepping up.” I want to make a difference because I want to live my life with a purpose…fully and abundantly.
This message, “Go with God’s Plan”, based on Matthew 28: 16-20, was prepared and delivered by Rev. Gernan Villegas at Emmanuel Church Ministries International at Makati last Sunday, 12th of March 2017. It is part of the Great Go-mission Series. This was slightly edited for publication purposes.