“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!”
I never considered myself a teacher of anything until recently. The idea of trying to get someone to understand something always seemed out of my capacity. I feel that way my brain views the world through the eyes of a puzzle solver. Breaking things down or building them up is easy for me. “There is no way to teach someone how my mind works, so just let me go do what needs to be done.” “I can get this done quicker if I do it and don’t have to stop and show somebody else what to do.”
Could the fear of failure have kept my teaching abilities at bay? Or that I struggle with relationships and the fear of being misunderstood was more prevalent? The idea that I would open and share a thought, and no one would listen to me paralyzed me. Feeling insecure and insignificant was easy to hide when I never opened my mouth. The problem was God had me with a purpose and calling. I was not living up to that calling, and I was allowing the spirit of fear to control my life. I didn’t see myself the way God sees me.
So now I am looking at verse 20 of Matthew 28. And it is Jesus’s final words before he ascends into heaven. He says disciples are to teach disciples to observe all that He commanded. As a disciple of Jesus Christ, this statement belongs to me. The guy who struggles with the concept of teaching anyone anything. I would say that I wrestled with this for a while, but that’s not true because I was not intentionally making disciples. And If I wasn’t intentionally making disciples, this verse doesn’t have a lot of weight in my life.
The preacher we listened to this past week made an interesting observation about these passages I have talked about for the past seven weeks. If Jesus’s last words on this earth were to make disciples, teaching them to follow what He commanded. Could His first question to us in heaven be, “Where are your disciples?” If nothing else, his observation had me thinking. How are we, “the church,” living a life worthy of the calling? Where are the disciples making disciples? How important is it to the men in the church to lead their family or the guy next to them?
Last week in part 6 of this series, I talked about how broken-hearted I am because of the state of children in this culture, how they are trying to cope with life with all the wrong things and are headed down paths of destruction. Do you think it could be that they were discipled to be who they are becoming? Were they taught to run to sex, drugs, and alcohol instead of Jesus? How many kids at a church camp do you think have church-attending parents? Does it add up to you? There is a gap between men being Godly disciple makers and men just being in the church, and the next generation is paying for it.
Is there a perfect generation? No. Does every generation suffer the consequences of ages before? Sure. But right now, in this time, what I see is time for men to step up and be Godly men. To quit being passive in their leading of the family. Stop being blinded by how their inability to allow self-control in their life impacts the spiritual needs of those around them. We need to wake up! Stop being so self-centered! Find our purpose and become who God has called us to become! What are you becoming? A consumer of God or a servant of God?
Father, I need Your help teaching others to follow your commandments. I need help following Your commandments. I am a prideful sinner who tends to do what I want instead of what you want. But you are a gracious God that loves me, and through your loving kindness, I am led to repentance. Thank you for being a marvelous God!