18 And Jesus came and said to them, h “All authority i in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 j Go therefore and k make disciples of l all nations, j baptizing them m in 1 n the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them o to observe all that p I have commanded you. And behold, q I am with you always, to r the end of the age.”
18 καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς λέγων· ἐδόθη μοι πᾶσα ἐξουσία ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ [τῆς] γῆς. 19 πορευθέντες οὖν μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, βαπτίζοντες αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος, 20 διδάσκοντες αὐτοὺς τηρεῖν πάντα ὅσα ἐνετειλάμην ὑμῖν· καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ μεθ᾽ ὑμῶν εἰμι πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ἕως τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος.
What is a disciple-making church? Introduction Our 'DNA'. Re-cap last week: in a gospel-centred church, we want all of our lives to be explicitly controlled by the reality of the gospel. By who we really are, in Jesus. Gospel-centredness is the 'why?'; disciple-making is the 'what?' I.e., in light of the glorious gospel, what should we do? Answer: make disciples. We'll think today about what that means. Next week is the 'how?' question; how do we make disciples? That gives rise to our third value, being 'simple'. In other words, by intentionally structuring church so that discipleship can happen in community and relationships. What is a disciple? 'Learner' Life long apprenticeship to Jesus through all of life, for all of life. Growing up into what we already are. Brought into union and communion with the tri-une God, cf v19 'Discipleship' is a word for the whole package; mission and maturity. Discipleship is about the real world; about being restored to Genesis 1. This is so important today, when unprecedented levels of things nudge us to live in an abstracted world, away from real people and real relationships. 'Mission' is actually someone with a name. Your own front door is the church's front door. We can go online, we can go to a conference, we can use an app, we can watch a video or listen to a podcast. All those things separate us from the actual people around us. Why make disciples? v28 All authority - the fulfilment of the great plan. New Adam, back in God's place, ruling over all. God has a multi-national people to 'uncover' and 'gather'. We are totally confident in this! v20 Jesus is with us always How are disciples made? Link to last week: how do people mature and grow? Through the gospel cf Colossians 1.23-28 and Colossians 2.6-7 v19 It's local and global 'As you go'. Hasn't this been your experience? By the word and in community [Sundays; CGs; smaller contexts]. It's always plural in the NT (and nearly all the OT - except the 10Cs] It happens at heart level first and foremost. 'Famous, loved, and followed'.Don't believe this? Look at how the NT defines 'fruit'; they are character features that come through habitual heart-level decisions. Discipleship only happens in, through, by, with, and into Christ. If it is not about Jesus, it isn't discipleship. We 'learn Christ' cf Colossians 2.6-7. His call is come and follow 'me', not a system. What is a disciple-making church? (and what is it not)? Where we order our lives around mission and maturity. Both/and, not either or. Individual and family level; relationship clump level; whole church level. But if it isn't happening at individual level, it isn't happening [cf economic illustration, or blood flow illustration] Where we keep bowing our hearts to the Lord Jesus, along with our heads and hands. Hence, we need to be gospel-centred in order to be disciple-making. Not getting angry with people for where they are in their journey/growth; you simply do not know the truth. You can't walk a mile in their shoes, even if you're sure you can. Instead, the question is always, 'what's the next step in my/your discipleship?' The goal is not growth, the goal is disciple-making. The goal is not cultural transformation, the goal is disciple-making. The goal is not a neat, tidy, orderly community, the goal is disciple-making. How are we doing? These questions are not to crush or condemn us, but to make us think. For some the answer will be 'yes', in which case thank God for the grace he has given you. If the answer is discouraging, ask God for help. He is our helper! Decide what the next step is. Who are you intentionally pursuing? Who are you intentionally praying for? Persisting in prayer for? Can you show us any proof of this if we were to ask? If you're a parent, are you teaching your children a system, or teaching them Jesus? Some tests of discipleship: Feelings towards God; Feelings towards other Christians; Feelings towards suffering; Readiness to serve and to lose; In general, a God-centred and cross-shaped life Will you love the people in front of you? cf John 13.35 - not just some kind of apologetic to the wider world, but a crucial proof of whether you know you're a disciple! What fears hold you back from the risks of getting to know unbelievers, or sharing your life in community? What idols, like comfort, security etc? Do you love the people around you here? Have you committed and chosen to love them; to like them? When were you last in someone at TCC's home? When did you last have someone over? Wrap-up What is a disciple? Life long apprenticeship to Jesus through all of life, for all of life. Growing up into what we already are. What is a disciple-making church? Where we order our lives around mission and maturity. Why make disciples? Because Jesus the man is Christ the Lord on the throne. We are a new people together in him. What's your next step?