Thursday, October 18, 2007

Making Disciples (part 8)

Verse 20 – “Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” Discipleship through cognitive teaching of God’s Word and obedience to it is commanded here. Teaching (didasko) is done through the actions of the church (baptisms, communion, worship in song, preaching, prayer, special services, pastoral visits, laity visits, service order, Sunday school, small groups, evangelism). Churches and individuals must be careful not to narrow down teaching to just classroom sessions and/or Sunday school. The discipleship principle here is nothing new.

­ - Discipleship involves teaching God’s Word

The goal of teaching is obedience to God’s Word. Matthew 28:20 reads, “Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” “Observe” is the Greek verb tereo and means to keep, to observe, and to be obedient to Jesus’ teachings.[1] This is more than just a heady knowledge of God’s Word, but a hearty knowledge affecting decisions and will. Our obedience to God should come from our love for Him. Jesus says, “If you love me you will keep my commands.” Love and obedience go hand in hand for Christians. This adds another aspect to our principle teaching God’s Word. We must teach God’s Word for the purpose of obedience to Him out of love. The complete discipleship principle is:

­ - Discipleship involves teaching God’s Word for the purpose of obedience out of love.

The task of the church is to work together in accomplishing disciple-making. As we noted earlier the Great Commission was first given to Jesus’ disciples for the purpose of rearing a family of believers known as the church. Through the continuation of this process over the past two thousand years, disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ have continued to be made from generation to generation. The discipleship principles behind Jesus’ instructions in the Great Commission are why we have believers today. Now it is time to turn our attention to those principles behind the Great Commission.

[1] Verlyn D. Verbrugge, NIDNTT, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000) pg. 562, 563.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Making Disciples (Part 7)

Verse 19b – “Baptizing” This is a public declaration of commitment to follow Christ. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward act. Our old self is buried with Christ and the new self is raised with Christ. John the Baptist called for repentance when he baptized in the wilderness. Repentance was a change of mind and action toward God. By authorizing the church to baptize, Jesus makes the sacrament of baptism something to be done within the community of believers.

Matthew writes that we “baptize them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Baptism gives believers the chance to make a public declaration of their relationship with God. The Trinitarian formula used (i.e., Father, Son, Spirit) shows the depth of our relationship with God. Believing in the Father’s Son leads to acceptance of His Spirit. This allows us to participate in an intimate relationship with the three Persons of the Godhead. This relationship starts and begins with belief in Jesus Christ as God’s Son. Jesus said if we know Him we know the One who sent Him (John 8:19). Like human relationships, our relationship with God requires constant communication from both parties. Primarily we hear God through His Word and He hears us through prayer. Another principle for discipleship emerges here.

­ - Discipleship involves a growing relationship with Jesus.

Any thoughts?