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August 27, 2021 12:01 am
Every Christian is called to be an active participant in the building of Christ's church. Today, W. Robert Godfrey considers the importance of discipleship and how our making disciples now bears eternal significance.
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Is it is surprising that when Jesus says go make disciples.
She sums up disciple making into very brief points.
If somebody said what would it take to make a disciple of Jesus Christ.
How long would you go on for how many points would you have Jesus only has to do Robert Guthrie will talk about those two points today you on Renewing Your Mind. Welcome to the Friday edition of our program.
I believe joined by our president and CEO Chris Larson and the Christians we think about the great commission. I think about the great privilege we've had come alongside the church to be part of that disciple making process and for so many years that we are celebrating McNair's 50th anniversary this year really August is our birthday month and this is not so much about our birthday as it is remembering God's faithfulness.
Through the years as the word of God has been taught through Renewing Your Mind. Just listen to this testimony that came in from Austin up in Charlotte North Carolina.
He says I was a committed atheist by the time I left high school when I was saved as a young adult I knew the gospel was true but had so many questions. A friend recommended Dr. Sproles Renewing Your Mind podcast I listened every single day for two solid years that bore so much fruit in my life. I'm about to finish seminary and in preparing for the ministry.
I really don't think that would've happened without God's kindness to me through Dr. scroll thank you and just to say thank you to our listeners and to continue to pray for men and women whose lives are being changed by the preaching and teaching of God's word.
Thank you, Chris, and we look forward to having you join us on several other programs throughout the rest of this year as we mark 50 years of ministry, but for now let's listen to this message by your teaching fellow, Dr. Robert Godfrey is titled go therefore I don't usually quote movies but did you ever see first Bueller's day off if you watch the credits at the end.
No one stays to watch the credits to the end. But at the end of the credits first viewer reappears and says why are you here, go, go, and that's what I'm supposed to talk about today. Why are you here all and so our text is the great commission. Matthew 28 verses 16 through 20. This is God's own word now the 11 disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them and when they saw him they worshiped, but some doubted. 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. You know, I've heard many sermons on the great commission, but I'm always struck and I don't know that I've never heard anybody really preach on it that they worshiped him, but some doubted.
I keep thinking back to that question how you counsel someone struggling with unbelief. Maybe that's averse to turn to her and say look, a couple at least a couple of the disciples themselves standing in the presence of the risen Lord, probably on the mountain where he preached the sermon on the mount of doubted so we all need encouragement. We only direction we all need help, why are you still here when it your goal. Go therefore Jesus said, and I want to think with you about that and then will be time to go Jesus ago make disciples and I we spent some time in this conference talking about the difficult circumstances. The increasingly difficult circumstances, it seems they which we find ourselves as American Christians. So the question how do you make disciples is perhaps more pressing, more crucial than ever how we make disciples and I have. You'll be amazed to hear three points that emerge from what Jesus says here he says go make disciples go as the church I think sometimes we miss that our lease don't emphasize this enough in this great commission that Jesus gives us. I think we have often in the past. Very much dressed. The responsibility of individual Christians to be witnesses for Christ and that's true and that's important that's vital. I don't want anything I say to seem to undermine that but I think Jesus here is primarily thinking more communally. He sends disciples to make disciples and when he sends disciples out. He usually sends the more than one of the time he wants disciples to go make disciples in Luke we read about sheep making sheep go to lost sheep of the house of Israel as sheep but Jesus is sending, not angels, but fallible human disciples to make more disciples and we go as the church at the center of Jesus thinking is the church of the church is at the center of what Jesus is doing. He's building a church is building a people. He's building his new Israel are. He's building that new humanity that will be his forever in glory and ascending us out together to call people into a new community that's crucial for us to bear in mind, we are never called as Christians will never, we are hardly ever most of us never called us Christians to be Christians along. There are times when Christians feel entirely alone, but God wants us to feel and experience and be part of a community of faith and were to go together were to go as disciples as those linked together in a common faith to pursue a common goal of building the church of Jesus Christ around the world discipling the nation's it's a community confronting a community to build a bigger community.
And so this is crucial that we see that that were called to be serving Christ's great commission as the church. If you don't have the church you need to find one that's the calling of Christ and don't be a floater. I'm well past that age where he began to help floaters in your eyes, little black spots that flowed by their Christians a right to the church. That way there little spots that flowed by, and other Christians who are constantly single.
This church is quite good enough. I'm gonna move onto the next and then the next, and then the next, and then the next. We are not called to be floaters where called to be constituent parts active participants in the building of a church, not primarily a physical building, but a spiritual building up a family or community that cares for one another.
People can't care for you if you flowed in and out, they won't know you. You can't care for others of you flowed in and out, you will know them itself is a wonderful time to take a bit of personal inventory and ask MIS connected with my churches. I would be the fun thing in these conferences to talk about what's wrong with all those other people. So since I can leave soon. I can be more annoying and asked us what's wrong with us.
All we really connected to a church will be part of the church. Do we have a sense that were part of the community do we have a sense that if we let this community, they would be sorry to see us go. They would feel impoverished.
This is why the reformed voice of discipline is part of the true church elder should have watch over your souls. If you're an elder you want to be watching over the souls of your people, your to know who's there and who's not there, you know, the Dutch reformed all things perfectly and they had an institution those called Heights pursuit house visiting the elders would come to every family at least once a year in Geneva was four times a year so that your little slacking off but think that coming to your house once here to ask how goes it spiritually are you are you growing in grace. Are you connected to the church. Can we hear what you think about how things are going in the church. No were not here to hear endless complaints about the ministry where here to see how we can all grow closer together how we can all grow closer to Christ and I really believe as we live increasingly in a world in America where families are falling apart. Where neighborhoods have fallen apart where we don't know people anymore for all sorts of people are are isolated the church as community of love and faith in discipline is going to shine ever more brightly in this world to people who are lonely some years ago we had friends whose grandson little boy was killed in an automobile accident and the highway patrolman came to visit them.
A day later and he said to them, you must be Christians and they said yes why he said because are so many people coming to visit you he said you can imagine the homes I visit were tragedy has hit and there along no one is there no one is coming and what a light to the world that the church is the place of love and care and compassion and so ask yourself, am I doing what I ought to be doing to be part of Christ Church because the commission is to go as the church and then to go. According to the commission were not to go just with our own bright ideas. I hate to be the bearer of bad news. I really you know I'm easy-going, Bob. I'm optimistic everything is good on the bearer of bad news you're not that bright you're not that clever.
You need to go with the commission that Christ has given us. Can you still be surprised by the great commission do not so well that there's nothing in it that surprises you isn't surprising that when Jesus says go make disciples. He sums up disciple making into very brief points.
If somebody said what would it take to make a disciple of Jesus Christ.
How long would you go on for how many points would you have Jesus only has to one of them is about baptism not surprising that for a lot of us who were asked how you make disciples of Jesus Christ. We might eventually get to baptism, but we probably wouldn't start with the way Jesus does you know, it's very important to let the Bible surprises sometimes and when the Bible surprises you, shocks you number two pies to say this but Orono is you, that's the time to pause and meditate and reflected. Ask what am I missing here that it surprises me. I think it Jesus is giving us a summary of what it takes to make disciples, partly to say it's not that hard. It is hard but is not better to things to make disciples bring them in and build them up about that bring them in and build them up. That's what Jesus did for us. To me, he brought a sin to build sup how is baptism be used here to describe the bringing the men well I think it encourages us to reflect on the fact that we shouldn't think of baptism narrowly. I don't think Jesus is just referring to the moment of water. Now that's clearly in his mind. It's a sort of culmination of the bringing them in, but I think he he's encouraging us to think sort of all that we were taught about baptism. In particular, may be to go back in our minds to John the Baptist in some versions. John, the Presbyterian alright alright alright what we read about John knowing about John that he just came with water right. He didn't come about.
A firehose sprinkling everybody he could get with water and that was all he did no were told he came preaching good news. He came preaching. Good news, and what was the good news.
The kingdom of God is at hand. The King is coming so baptism in the broad sense of what John was doing was first will preaching preaching good news about Jesus and salvation in him preaching the call to repentance, you need a new life.
You need to be a new person.
You need a new identity. You need to change. That's what John came preaching and he said pretending he won't do. Going through the motions won't do.
Just having the water won't do you have to hear the good news believe the good news repent and bring forth the fruit of repentance, so bringing them in isn't having them sign a decision hard bringing them in is a big deal. It involves a lot a lot of telling, a lot of helping a lot of instructed and then bringing them to the new identity that the waters of baptism represent and so this bringing them in is really crucial, and the waters of baptism, the preaching that surrounds baptism. It's a new covenant. It's a new covenant, and all of those of you who is who hasn't have spent time meditating on the 16th century Dutch reformed baptismal liturgy. The 16th century Dutch reformed baptismal liturgy is a marvel, and has these arresting phrases and and one of them is all covenants have two parts that's important to remember about covenants they have two parts and the first part of the covenant, the new covenant. The John has breached the Jesus will inaugurate fully. This new covenant. First of all, has promises and baptism speaks of the promises of God, and bringing people into be disciples requires our knowledge and embracing of the promises of God and this form takes note of the fact that Jesus is baptizing in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit and if used, stop and think about that for a minute in terms of promises you could begin to see the father has promises in the sun has promises in the spirit has promises to us when the gospel is coming to us and calling us to come in and share in the new identity in the new covenant, the Christ is establishing what are the promises of the father that he will adopt us as children and heirs is that good or what that will be adopted as children and heirs.
That's the new family that's the reunion people look forward to children and heirs and what is the son promise us the promises that he'll wash us in his blood from all our sins and incorporate us into the fellowship of his death and resurrection so that we freed from all our sins are accounted righteous before God promise. What are promises held out to us in baptism in the Holy Spirit what is the Holy Spirit promises that he will dwell in us and sanctify us until we shall finally be presented without spot amongst the assembly of the elect in life eternal, adopted, washed, sanctified, glorified when promise not want to be clear, this is not what baptism does. This is what baptism means. Some Christians of gotten confused and think the water of baptism does something apart from the word in the spirit know baptism means something.
Baptism promises something. Baptism declares as a visible word.
The promises of God to those who need a new identity.
We need to be adopted and washed and sanctify.
That's how we bring them in and out those promises. But in all covenants, there are two parts, and therefore MI by baptism obligated onto new obedience, a new life, a new lifestyle so that I have to be committed to what baptism promises me and that means faith that it means repentance and means a new life. That's what means to bring them in very excited about that is that a wonderful thing that we are a new people and that newness is marked in baptism and the great thing is that that newness is ours. When we embrace it by faith and follow Christ in new life and and we ought to pause and think more often of ourselves as a baptized people. The problem is when we talk about baptism. If we talk about it all will only talk about who want to be baptized in an exit before their some people write about that some people wrong but more important really than who want to be baptized is the question what does God say to me as a baptized person not only at the moment of baptism, but through my whole life, whether I can remember by baptism or not.
The reality of my baptism says constantly to me cosmic promises to you to believe them to follow them as God brought you in if you're brought in. You live out your life in thankfulness for the promises he is made and that he is fulfilling and you that's what it means to make disciples according to the great commission.
And then he closes with this wonderful promise and behold I am with you always, to the end of the age.
There are three holes in this great commission. All authority, all nations, all that I have commanded and then it's a little harder to translate the forth all effectively and English. I think the best way would maybe be an low I am with you all day to the end of the age always is kind of abstract, general it's not general in the Greek it's every day I'm with you encouragement Jesus is with us every day of the life we live serving him making disciples, bringing them in and building them up when encouragement and here I hear an echo of Psalm 23. Say you need to know your Psalter to hear the echoes all through the New Testament, Psalm 23.
Yay though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me.
You are with me. David knew the Lord was with him, David, and the worst struggles of life knew the Lord was with him.
And Jesus reminds us all. I'll be with you.
You don't go to work for me by yourself. You don't go on your own. You don't go without me. I will be with you. I will be with you every day as you do my work. So what's left to say go go.
Are you still here goes the church go according to the great commission with confidence that God will use you to accomplish his purpose and whether we see great things happening hoarsely relatively little happening. Jesus is on with.
I'm accomplishing my purpose. Don't worry.
Don't fret not one will be lost and when I return in glory.
All the elect will be gone and then forever be with comfort one another. We do indeed find great comfort in those words were called to preach Christ into call people to repentance and to trust in him. They were to teach them what Christ has revealed so that they will persevere to the end and inherit eternal life today on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. W. Robert Godfrey is considered the importance of discipleship and how are making disciples has an eternal impact.
Dr. Gottfried expands on this in his table talk magazine article this month. In it he says this church needs theology to make disciples of those who were brought into the church and those who are built up in the truth, we invite you to contact us today so that we can get a copy of this August issue of table talk into your hands and we will continue sending you this helpful monthly devotional magazine for a full year requested today with the donation of any amount when you call us at 800-435-4343. You can also make a request firstname.lastname@example.org and I don't want to neglect thanking you for your generosity to this ministry, believers around the world benefit from the various outreaches of leak in your and your gifts make those outreaches possible. So thank you Dr. RC Sproul was never afraid to tackle difficult topics and doctrines, even those that might be considered controversial. The doctrine of justification by faith alone is at the center of Reformation theology and means critical for all believers today, but this doctrine is under continual assaults, so I hope you make plans to join us next week as RC helps us understand this doctrine more deeply because as he says, without it, there is no gospel at starting Monday here on Renewing Your Mind