Go and Make
Go and Make
The Bible is ultimately a story of restoration.
God wants to restore humanity to have a right relationship with Himself.
As believers, we are called to be a part of that restoration process. God, in His infinite ability, could use countless means to present His truth: speaking audibly to people or even writing it in the clouds. Instead, He has invited the church to be a part of this mission. Look at some of the final words he shared with his disciples.
And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Let's walk through these verses.
An authority figure is one that has power or control over another. We have numerous authorities in our lives: parents, employers, and local police officers to name a few. Jesus states that he has authority "in heaven and on earth." Jesus is in control of the world.
Will you allow Jesus to have all authority?
Here's a churchy word. What is a disciple? If you wanted to rewire your house, you could watch some online tutorials and give the task a shot. Maybe that is not a great idea! You could also shadow a master electrician and learn how he approaches rewiring houses. By observing how he plans for projects, troubleshoots problems, and utilizes tricks of the trade, you would be much more equipped to do the job. In the same way, Jesus had some men follow him around for three years. These twelve observed how he connected with and ministered to people, dealt with issues that would arise, and obeyed His Heavenly Father. Being a disciple of Jesus is following him and striving to become more like him.
Are you willing to be a disciple of Jesus?
Go and Make
Jesus commanded believers to "go and make disciples." This is not a command for specially qualified people. This is not just for preachers and missionaries. Making disciples is for all believers. In Acts 1:8, Jesus says, "…you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." That is far-reaching; from your family to the other side of the world.
Are you willing to make disciples of others?
Baptize is another churchy word. In short, baptism is an outward expression of an inward change. Paul states in Romans 6:4, "We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Baptismal waters have no special power, and one's salvation is not received at the moment of baptism. Following through with believer's baptism is simply being obedient to the command of Jesus.
Are you willing to be baptized and publicly align yourself with Jesus?
Teach and Obey
Believers are commanded to teach others what they have learned. Are you sharing newfound insights with your spouse, roommates, or friends? Not sure if you know enough to do this? One pastor used to say that all you have to do to disciple someone is find one person dumber in the faith than you. You can do that!
Are you willing to teach others what you have been learning?
With You Always
Jesus began this with a big statement and ends it with another one. He is about to leave them physically, but they will not be alone. When He states these words, He is pointing ahead toward the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Do you believe that Jesus is with you always?
Jesus commands us to be active in this restoration story. Will you fulfill your call to be part of God's mission?
The Ministry of Paul
Let's dig deeper and look at the apostle Paul's ministry.
As Paul's life and ministry come to an end, he makes a big statement: There is no place left for me to work in these regions. How in the world could he make this statement? What area is he referring to?
"But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions…" (Romans 15:23)
Pull out a map of the New Testament world. Find Jerusalem in the southeast and the area of Illyricum in the northwest. These are separated by approximately 2000 miles. Is Paul saying that he has personally ministered to or shared with every person in these regions? Based on his ministry detailed in Acts 13-20, he labored in these areas for less than 15 years. The population at that time was 25,000,000. To say that Paul could not have spoken to each person is more than fair, so how could he say there is no place left for him to minister?
In Acts 20, a group of men accompanied Paul in whom he had invested: Sopater from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy from Lystra, and Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia. Pull your map back out and see where these cities and areas are. They are dotted all across the New Testament world. During his missionary travels, Paul had invested in these men to continue the work and ministry that was started in these particular places.
By investing in and training these men to make disciples who would make disciples, he was able to confidently state that there was no place in the New Testament world without a church and gospel presence. Because of this multiplying effect in gospel proclamation and leadership development, Paul was able to say that he had "fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ…" (Romans 15:19)
What was Paul's plan to reach the known world? Acts 14:20-23 provides an example of what he did throughout his three journeys.
After the disciples gathered around him, he got up and went into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe. After they had preached the gospel in that town and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium, and to Antioch, strengthening the disciples by encouraging them to continue in the faith and by telling them, “It is necessary to go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” When they had appointed elders for them in every church and prayed with fasting, they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
1. He entered new places. (Verse 20)
2. He preached the gospel. (Verse 21)
3. He discipled believers. (Verse 22)
4. He formed churches. (Verse 23)
5. He multiplied leaders. (Verse 23)
Why do we participate in missions?
"For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."
"After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…"
A multitude from every tribe, tongue, nation, and people group will worship and glorify Jesus, and the glory of God will cover the earth like the waters.
"Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."
Everyone will ultimately be judged, and if people never believe in Jesus and repent of their sins they will be thrown into the lake of fire for eternity.
What can you do?
How can you ensure that there is no place left for new missions work?
If we truly believe that those who never turn to Jesus will be eternally separated from Him, we will be motivated to attack that lostness with the good news of Jesus Christ. How can you be involved in that? Of course, everyone cannot and should not go and serve as a full-time missionary. So what can you do?
You can pray.
Stay connected with workers on the mission field by praying for them. Pick up prayer cards to serve as reminders. Message them regularly to let them know you are praying for them. Rejoice with their victories, and mourn in their times of struggle.
You can give.
The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions is a wonderful instrument to take part in missions. Each December, Southern Baptists from around the world collect these funds to send mission workers around the world. Would you consider taking part in that this year? We have FBC members and partners that are serving around the globe in both short-term and long-term capacities. Connect with these to know how to best serve them.
You can go.
In the coming year, FBC has international missions opportunities in Lesotho, Portugal, Belize, South Asia, and Canada.
Are you willing to take time from your schedule to serve in one of these locations?