August 4, 2019 - INSCRIPTIONS FROM THE HEART
Making Disciples of All Nations: Going Deeper in Jesus
The Great Commission passage of Matthew 28:18-20 is a familiar text in evangelical circles. In actual practice however, the mandate to make disciples of all nations may inadvertently be limited to grow the local church or given the requisite lip service. How can we make sure we take specific steps in making disciples in our local area, our city, our province, our country and ultimately, the whole world?
I believe we need to hear the Great Commission in a new and fresh way by taking to heart the Great Commandment. We can read these in the following Scripture passage… “18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV) 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 NIV
In becoming a Great Commission church, praying is our fundamental service to God. We need to pray even to the point of our own peril just like Apostle Paul and Moses. Romans 9:1-4a (Paul speaking) “With Christ as my witness, I speak with utter truthfulness. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm it. My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them. They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children.” Exodus 32:31-32 ESV “So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.”
We need to pray even to the point of desperation, yet God remains faithful. Romans 11:2-5 NLT “No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning. Do you realize what the Scriptures say about this? Elijah the prophet complained to God about the people of Israel and said, “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” And do you remember God’s reply? He said, “No, I have 7,000 others who have never bowed down to Baal!” It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel have remained faithful because of God’s grace—his undeserved kindness in choosing them.
Prayer increases our affection for other people. Prayer increases our concern for the glory of God.
May I echo what the apostle Paul said in Romans 15:17-21 The Message “ Looking back over what has been accomplished and what I have observed, I must say I am most pleased—in the context of Jesus, I’d even say proud, but only in that context. I have no interest in giving you a chatty account of my adventures, only the wondrously powerful and transformingly present words and deeds of Christ in me that triggered a believing response among the outsiders. In such ways I have trailblazed a preaching of the Message of Jesus all the way from Jerusalem far into northwestern Greece. This has all been pioneer work, bringing the Message only into those places where Jesus was not yet known and worshiped. My text has been, those who were never told of him—they’ll see him! Those who’ve never heard of him—they’ll get the message!”