“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
These are the last two verses of the gospel according to Matthew. These are the final instructions that Jesus gave his disciples before ascending to heaven. It is better known as “The Great Commission.” Jesus has wrapped up His earthly teaching to His disciples with one last command. Go and make disciples. Take all your life experiences and everything I have taught you in the past three years. Please bring it to other people in your life. Follow my example and find those to follow Me through your example. And Jesus’ last statement is, “no matter what happens, I will be with you!”
Have you ever publicly declared anything about yourself? Maybe in an ice breaker game for some group. The game was “Tell us the most interesting fact about yourself.” It goes around the room, and people say the most exciting thing about me is “blank.” By revealing this fact, did it change the definition of who you are to the group? Did you start feeling more self-conscious about your actions after revealing this fact and the need to fulfill your life with this new definition? And if it weren’t for the truth being told, you wouldn’t change anything in your life?
How are you living out your faith? Does anyone know that you are a Christ-follower? Do your convictions align with the words that come out of your mouth? Are you conscious about your actions, and are they on a path that is becoming Christ-like? Do you have people in your life that know you and can point out shortcomings in your daily walk of faith? We are our worst false prophets, and living a life of secrecy prevents us from having accountability. Accountability begins with publicly declaring we are Christ-followers.
I think of the demonstrations of baptism in the bible and wonder what life was like in that period for those that chose to follow Christ. Most examples I can think of were people becoming a believer and immediately going to a body of water to declare their confession of faith—the bible talks of thousands coming to faith and being baptized. There was no hiding what you had done. The word was out that you believed and followed Christ!
I am not saying that we hide our faith today or that thousands don’t know of our faith. But how are people seeing what you believe? The command is to go and make disciples of all nations and baptize them. We must live out our identity in Christ, including our baptism. Our profession is we are buried with Christ. A profession that we died to worldly things. We declare that we take up our cross daily and do the will of the Father. We give up our pride, lust, and control to crucify it daily so that we are raised with Him. A new creation!
Put on the new!
Our baptism signifies that our old self has died, and we a new in Christ. Why would we keep living a life where we say we are new, and yet it seems that our life professes nothing is new. We can’t seem to get away from our addictions. Our thoughts race and focus on the immediate pain relief sin offers and never really get to the point of trusting God with our pain. Again, not saying we are perfect people. But are you becoming? Are you trying to know God amid your pain and trusting that He is good? Or are you reading scriptures daily, which is good, but why? Are you reading to solve your problems? Are you begging God for something to be different in your life, a problem to be solved? Would you rather have a handyman in your life, or would you rather know God and have a relationship with Jesus?
Is that what we need? A solutions expert in alleviating all the pain points. I know God is completely capable of solving all the problems. But if he solves all my problems, does that make Him good and just? For me to get what I want? No, we must believe and demonstrate our faith that even though life seems out of control, God wants what is best for His children. And through the chaos, He is a good Father, and I can trust Him.
Father, help us live out our professions of faith. Guide us in being a light for this dark world. To know You and reflect Jesus to those searching, those who need hope and encouragement. Let us press on to the prize of Christ Jesus toward the ultimate goal of knowing God. Then live it out by obeying His commandments and teaching them to others. Amen