Our Authorized Purpose by Pastor Paul Becker
In Matthew's gospel, Jesus gets the last word. After appearing to the disciples and many others after his resurrection, Jesus met the disciples on a mountain where he said they should meet him. When the disciples saw Jesus, he was not near to them. Despite the distance, the disciples worshipped him, meaning they fell to the ground to acknowledge his Lordship. Matthew tells us that some of the disciples doubted. What should we make of those who doubted? We can be assured that though we may profess faith in Jesus' resurrection, we may have seasons of life when we are not near to Jesus and are haunted by doubts about him. In such seasons, we must be with other believers who are assured of Jesus' promised presence. We also need to join them in the worship of the Lord. In doing this, we experience the nearness of Jesus.
Jesus drew near to the disciples and established his relationship to them by saying, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." His assertion begs an important question: Authority over what?
Scripture reveals that Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of Lords (1 Tim 6:15).
Matthew and the other gospel writers offer proof that Jesus is Lord over all creation, as attested by his many miracles.
John's gospel establishes that Jesus is the Word of God who spoke and created all things.
The writings of the prophets and the four gospels establish that Jesus exercised authority over sin and death.
Having established his authority in all things, Jesus gave his disciples their mission in what we call The Great Commission. Most English translations of the Great Commission make it look like Jesus gave two commandments in this commission: Go and make. However, in the original Greek language of the gospels, there is only one commandment. An accurate reading of the Great Commission looks like this:
Make disciples, in your going, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the of Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.
It is Jesus' desire that we observe the same commandments given to his disciples. Therefore, the Great Commission is your life's commission. It is also the Great Commission of the First Presbyterian Church of Bakerstown. It must shape everything we do here. There is no way to escape this truth by transferring it to pastors, evangelists, elders, or even bible study teachers.
What does it look like when every believer orients their life to the Great Commission? There is no way to cover this in an article or a sermon, but here is an attempt:
We participate in disciple-making when we pray for opportunities to point people to Jesus and invite them to meet him. An invitation to a gathering of the body of Christ on Sundays is a solid place to start. And if your invitation is denied, leave the door open to the subject and promise to return to it at another time. Continue to love and serve the person who needs Jesus. When that person is ready to come to worship, it is essential to observe Christ-centered worship and receive a personal invitation to follow Jesus from you, a Pastor, or another disciple. The invitation to follow Jesus is marked by baptism. At FPCB, baptism is an act of the Holy Spirit and the entire church. In baptism, a person is united with Christ and his Bride, the Church. Then, all who are united with Christ worship God together, even though some may be in a season of doubt. United believers also read scripture together, join in the Lord's Supper, read scripture and pray together, and love one another, providing care for one another according to need. The making and maintenance of disciples is communal.
Our authorized purpose is to make disciples. This purpose should affect our schedules and treasures. It should also motivate our presence and participation in the body of Christ. Sinners must see that our faith in Jesus has truly and richly transformed our lives. They must see Jesus amid the body of Christ and say, "Hey, I want what you all have. Give me Jesus!"
Every Sunday at 10 AM, you are invited to know and follow Jesus with us!