Scriptures: Philippians 2:1-4 & Matthew 28:16-20
Pastor Clyde’s October 2, 2016 Sermon
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, (2) then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. (3) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, (4) not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
(16) Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. (17) When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. (18) Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (19) 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, (20) and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
1. Did you hear about the guy who left his accordion in his car? He went to the mall and got all the way in the mall.
2. Then he remembered that he had left his precious accordion on the front seat in plain sight and had forgotten to lock the door.
3. He ran back to his car and his worst fears were realized. Right there where he had left his accordion were two accordions.
4. We have been discussing what it means to be a good neighbor.
5. We first looked at the story of the Good Samaritan and noted that Jesus said that if we loved God with all our hearts and our neighbor as ourselves then we would have eternal life.
6. The expert in the law then posed the question, “Who is my neighbor?” This led to the parable of the Good Samaritan which said, in essence, that everyone is our neighbor.
7. Last week we looked at the woman with the issue of blood. We said that, to be a good neighbor, we must really see people and stop long enough to help them.
8. We also must be willing to accept help as the woman did and as Jairus did.
9. Today, I want to look more theologically at what it means to reach out to our neighbors.
10. Remember, we said that everyone is our neighbor—both here in Sandbridge and in India.
11. Today we look at what has been called the Great Commission in the gospel of Matthew.
12. In it, Jesus gives us marching orders to go out and help our neighbors.
13. I want to look at three things in the Great Commission that we often miss.
14. First, I want you to notice who has been given authority. Who has the authority to order us to be good neighbors, to share the gospel, and to go into all the world?
15. Is authority given to us? No, authority is given to Jesus Christ.
16. Pay attention to how this is set up. It says that they saw him and worshiped him.
17. Early in Matthew (2.11), the Magi come and bow down and worship Jesus.
18. In the gospel, Jesus is recognized as Lord.
19. So this is not the first time that Jesus has been given special recognition that makes him equivalent to God.
20. But, after the resurrection, Jesus is given special status. They bow down and worship him.
21. Then Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth have been given to me.”
22. So Jesus is given authority. What does he do with it? He tells us to go.
23. We are not doing this on our own. It is the idea of Jesus Christ and he has given us power to do it through the HS.
24. It is wrong to read this as I am doing this on my own; I have all the power.
25. But it is equally wrong to say that it does not matter if I be a good neighbor. Jesus tells us to do certain things in order to be a good neighbor.
26. A second thing that we should notice in this scripture is that the Great Commission tells us to make disciples, not converts.
27. That means a couple of things.
28. One thing that it means is that God and the HS are ultimately responsible for conversion. We just sow the seeds.
29. We should also note that making a disciple means that we help people on the road to following Jesus.
30. Our job is not finished when people make a profession of faith and are baptized because that is only the first step on a long road.
31. This is a call to follow Jesus and to keep on following him.
32. Another point that I want to make is a little complicated.
33. Donald McGavran has been called the Father of the modern church-growth movement.
34. He was a missionary in India for many years and applied many of the principles that he learned there to the church-growth movement.
35. He noticed in India that you could make appeals for conversion to groups of people. Natural leaders could be converted and they would bring their groups with them.
36. From these experiences, he came up with the idea that people should be able to convert to Christ without having to cross the barriers of caste or culture.
37. In other words, one caste could go to one Christian church and another caste could go to another Christian church.
38. His theory took root in America in the sense that many church growth specialists say that we should forget about appealing to different groups of people—they are happy with their own kind.
39. People, McGavran believed, are best converted in places where they do not have to intermingle with people who are very different from them.
40. The problem is that he made the fatal error of ignoring the second part of evangelism.
41. We not only bring people to Christ but we work to make them like Christ as disciples.
42. Integral to the process of discipleship is learning to walk the road alongside other disciples of different ethnic or cultural differences.
43. Finally, we should see that in mission, we are to be teachers and not dominators.
44. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches that greatness in heaven belongs to whoever practices and teaches all the commands that God has given us.
45. Surely he means the Great Commandment of love God and your neighbor as much as he means any commands contained in the Old and New Testaments.
46. If we love, then we will not dominate our disciples.
47. One of the reasons that the church in Africa has grown so much in the last century is that they practice this type of evangelism.
48. They make a disciple of one person and allow that person to then become an evangelist.
49. There is not a list of rules that they must follow.
50. The most effective evangelist that I ever had in my church was an 8-year-old.
51. She told everyone. I could have took her aside and told her that she did not know all the theology needed to tell people about Christ.
52. But, if I had done that, I would have lost about 8 new members.
53. Jesus promises to be with us to the end of the age.
54. Surely the HS is with those who share Jesus with others.
55. In conclusion, it is only with that power of the HS that we can fulfill the Great Commission.