Last night at Double Springs Church we looked into what is commonly called “The Great Commission” of the Lord Jesus Christ
“All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” Matt 28: 18-20
What and awesome text! We could actually divided up and exposit from basically every word some great truths that the Lord Jesus was giving us….bot today, lets focus on just one thing – the emphasis.
Understanding the risk of getting a bit technical here, let’s check out the linguistic of the verse. English translations of the Bible often put “Go” at the beginning of verse 19 and usually capitalize it and set it apart with a coma….Whats the problem with that? Well, it leads us (the readers) to erroneously assume the real emphasis on the passage is “going”. When this is coupled with the God given propensity we have for missions and evangelism, that assumption grows even stronger!
Let me be clear- we should be a “going” people. There is no doubt called has called us to be, as Acts 1:8 teaches, witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Please understand we are called to go with the Gospel!
However, the actual linguistic emphasis on this text is not “going” but the emphasis, the heart of the text is on “making disciples”. Understanding this is key in building a truly Transformational life and transformational church.
Jesus doesn’t say, “Go, therefore, and make converts” but “make disciples”.
Why the emphasis on disciple making? Simple- the process of discipleship (growing in Gods Word) leads to our “being conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom 8:29). In short, when we’re being discipled, we’re becoming more like Jesus.
So, how is the church doing these days when it comes to “making disciples”?
In his book, “The Shape Of Faith To Come”, Brad Waggoner gives us an account of a large survey he conducted among American Churches to gauge the spiritual growth of members. What he found was alarming in one sense, expected in another. Here are a couple of the reports he gave…
*On Questions that measured Basic Spiritual Formation- only 17% of American Church goers had an acceptable result
*On Questions Concerning 12 Basic Doctrinal and Behavioral Qualities in a christians life- less than 60% passed
After he reported his findings to the surveyed churches, he came back a year later with the same questions and found little improvement.
Before you dismiss this study as flawed or limited in scope, consider that it is backed up by similar research from Gallup, Barna, Pew research Group, and Lifeway. The fact is, the behaviors and beliefs of the American Church arent much different than those of the non believing world.
The question- What can we do to change this trend?
The answer- “make disciples”
We’ll continue this topic throughout the week and learn together what that means and how we are to do it.
Until then, Happy Labor Day…I love you and Soli Deo Gloria!