“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
The mission of the Little Church on the Prairie and Lakewoodgrace is to make disciples and grow disciples who share the love of Jesus with all people. We exist to make and grow disciples. The mission statement of the Little Church and Lakewoodgrace comes straight out of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28.
Jesus told the disciples that the Great Commission is why the church exists. This was the last thing Jesus told his disciples before he ascended into heaven. He wanted to make crystal clear the main purpose of the church.
- It’s not about keeping people entertained
- It’s not about making people happy
- It’s all about disciples!
What kind of disciples? First, the kind of disciples we are to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. These are new Christians. The disciples are in the business of making new disciples. Jesus tells the disciples, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
But there’s a couple of things you ought to know about the Greek.
- “Go” is written in the present tense imperative. What that means is that this is not a one time going, but an on-going going. The best way to understand this phrase is to translate it as “While you are going…”
- The second thing is that “make disciples” is one word in the Greek. In the way English Bibles translate this makes it sound like “make” is the verb and “disciples” is the object or the noun. But this is not the way it’s written in the Greek. Disciple in the Greek is a verb. The best way to understand this is to phrase it as “While you are going, disciple people around you to become kingdom people…”
The purpose of the church is to disciple people around us to discover their own place in God’s kingdom. And every single person that receives Jesus as Lord and Savior and begins living as a disciple automatically becomes another person who is about the business of discipling others to Jesus Christ.
The second purpose of the church is to grow faithful disciples. Jesus tells us, “and teach them to obey everything I have commanded.” That’s what being a disciple means – a disciple is literally a follower. We follow the lead of Jesus Christ. We do what Jesus does. We go where Jesus goes. We resemble Jesus Christ because we follow Jesus Christ. We do that through obedience.
It’s not enough to just believe. Belief leads to obedience. In fact, without obedience we have to wonder whether we believe to begin with.
So, it begs the question: What do disciples look like? What are the characteristics of a God-honoring disciple?
I am so glad you asked. That’s the question we will be answering in the next three days.