Missions Emphasis Month 2012 Third Sunday Message
Making Disciples of All Nations Matthew 28:18-20
Introduction We are now on the third Sunday of our Missions Emphasis month with the theme “God’s Heart is For All Nations.” We learned that God wants to bless all nations on earth through Abraham and his descendants. The spiritual descendants are the believers/disciples of Jesus Christ, which is the Church. God blessed the church to serve as channels of blessing for all nations on earth. We also learned the importance of praying for all nations especially the unreached people groups such as the Tribes, Hindus, Unreligious, Muslims and the Buddhists (THUMB). Today’s message is “Making Disciples of All Nations.” (Read Matthew 28:18-20) Let me share two important points from this passage. I. The Main Task of the Church – “Make disciples” Making Disciples is the main task of the Church. This is the plan of God to accomplish His purpose – To glorify Him. A right understanding of this will lead us to a right direction, a right attitude, a right program and priorities and a right use of God’s given resources. Matthew 28:19-20 is known as the Great Commission passage in the New Testament. Looking at the two verses, there is only one main verb and the other verbs are participles. The main verb is “to make disciples.” And this is the main task of the church of Jesus Christ. A. What does it mean “to make disciples?” A disciple is a “learner,” “a pupil” or a “follower.” So a disciple of Jesus simply means a learner, a pupil or a follower of Jesus. To make disciples simply means to make people learners and followers of Jesus Christ. Our task as a church then is to make people to become learners and followers of Jesus Christ. B. What are the ways of making disciples? Jesus Christ gives us three ways how to accomplish the task of making disciples 1. Go. Jesus commanded us to go. For what? For sightseeing and enjoy the beautiful sceneries God has created? NO! We are commissioned to go and proclaim the Gospel (Mark 16:15). Let’s us call this part as “Proclamation.” Why do we need to proclaim the Gospel? It is the only power of God for the salvation of those who believe in Jesus (Romans 1:16). (You may add illustration relevant to your church context). 2. Baptize. Baptism is one of the two sacraments or ordinances given by our Lord Jesus Christ. It is an initial act of obedience to the command of Jesus Christ. It is a means of
acknowledging Jesus Christ publicly as personal Savior and Lord. It speaks of our faith and identity in Christ. Let us call this part as “Incorporation”- incorporating the new believers in the church. 3. Teach . To nurture and equip the new believers to become responsible disciple of Jesus Christ. Jesus says, “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Let us call this as “Equipping.” Every believer should be equipped for the ministry (Ephesians 4:11,12) to accomplish God’s purpose and plan. They should be taught and mobilized to be obedient to the commands of Jesus Christ. This results to the worship and glory of God. II. The Scope of the task of the Church – All Nations We just learned that our main task as church or as a congregation is “to make disciples.” The question is what is the scope of this task? Looking back at our text, Jesus says, “make disciples of all nations.” Take note of the phrase “all nations.” He did not say, “your nation,” nor “some nations,” nor “many nations.” He said “all nations.” We already learned the definition of the ”nation,” on the first Sunday. To remind us again, “the word “nation” in this context is “people group.” Based on the research of Joshua Project, there about 16,700 nations in the world today. So to make disciples of all nations is to make disciples the 16,700 nations in the whole world today. God’s heart is indeed for all nations. Why? Because of several reasons” 1) He created every nation on earth (Acts 1:26,27). 2) He wants to bless all nations on earth (Gen.12:3); 3)He wants all nations or peoples on earth to worship Him (Psalm 67:3,5); 4) He designed the temple to be a house of prayer for all nations (Mark 11:17); 5) Jesus died for all nations ( 2 Cor. 5:15; Rev.5:9); 6) Church in every nation is the given sign of the end of the world (Matt.24:14); 7) Every nation, people, tribe and language are all represented in heaven (Rev.7:9). Let us expand the scope of our discipleship ministry from our church or community to all nations. This is missions. But let us start with a heart with God for all nations. May be, you say, “ I am not called to go the other nations to make disciples.” Yes, not all are called to go. But all are called to involve in blessing all nations. All believers are called to make disciples of all nations. Brethren, you may think of yourself as just a mere a local church member, however, God wants you to possess a global mindset – a world missions mindset. It is a mindset of God that thinks and loves all nations on earth. We learned that that there are about 16,700 nations or people groups in the world today. And these 16,700 nations are the nations that Jesus wants us to include in our ministries of making disciples. Why? Because Jesus has mandated us to make disciples of all nations. Out of 16,700 nations in the world today, there are now about 9,800 nations that are considered “reached with the gospel.” This means Christianity in these nations are more than 2% already and most of them are already capable to reach out or evangelize their own people. In fact, they no longer need missionaries coming outside from their people group. On the other hand, there are still 6,900 nations or people groups that are considered as “unreached.” This means that the church of Jesus Christ has still a big task to do. Since Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all nations, and has still 6,900 least reached peoples with the Gospel, therefore, we need to be strategic in our ministry of making disciples in order to
finish the task. Jesus said â€œAnd this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony of all nations and then the end shall come (Matt.24:14). Get involve with world missions in the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Letâ€™s do it intentionally, aggressively, passionately and strategically. Give the least reached people groups a space in our hearts and do something so that they will experience Godâ€™s love and His wonderful plan for their lives. Let us support financially the ministry of making disciples to the unreached people groups. Let us give to missions cheerfully, generously and regularly. However, this can be done meaningfully when we have a heart like that of God who loves all nations. May the desire of our heart is to see more of the unreached people groups such as the Muslims, Hindus and other tribes be transformed by the Gospel worshipping and glorifying God. Indeed, missions brings more worship and worshippers of God worldwide. Conclusion The task of making disciples of all nations is indeed a great task. It is challenging and encouraging. It is challenging because it calls as a church to be strategic in finishing the task. Besides, most of the remaining task are the most difficult to reach out with the Gospel such as the Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Tribes and Unreligious. However, it is not impossible. Let us just have a heart like God for all nations. On the other hand, it is encouraging because Jesus who gave us this task promised to be with us always until the end of this world (Matt.28:20b). Let us intentionally, strategically and passionately involve in world missions by making disciples of all nations.
Note to the Pastor: 1) You may give additional point and illustrations relevant to your church context. 2) You may challenge each member at this time for missions pledge giving.