Monday, January 6, 2014

Instruction, Theology and a Promise

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Matthew 28:19-20

This is a great passage to start the year out with - it's got instruction, theology and a promise all neatly wrapped up in two verses. Matthew closes his account of Jesus' life with these final words and they are not an afterthought or a post script, but a gift of direction and power for the believer.  So let's dissect these verses for a few minutes:

INSTRUCTION - Go, Make, Baptize, Teach

Go - get out there, leave your comfort zone, be active not passive. You have a message and it needs to be heard, so get going!  There is urgency in this word - is "urgency" a word that describes your life?  We are ambassadors of Christ (II Cor. 5:20) as well as imitators of Christ (Eph. 5:1) and there's a big, dying world who needs the remedy we hold.  That word "therefore" basically means this - Jesus is saying because of everything I have done - my life, death and resurrection - because of this, you need to respond by "going." The gospel always produces a response - either rejection or action.  So what are you going to do?

Make - discipleship is the consequence of salvation, your discipleship by Christ and the discipleship of others by you.  Who are you following, Satan or Jesus?  If you are a follower of Jesus, then your life is a pursuit of Him - run after Him, chase after Him and those around you will get a picture of what a Christ-follower looks like.  The call to make disciples is the call to spread the gospel of Jesus - show the world that Jesus is alive and well!  But this call to "make" is another active word - it takes work, effort, strategy, pursuit - urgency.

Baptize - identify with and immerse.  Yes, the church is in the business of baptizing and baptism is an act of obedience by believers. But there is another calling here - baptism is not just getting in the tank but it is the act of identifying with something and the complete immersion with that something - so identifying with God and immersing yourself in Him.  We are called to not only give the gospel to the lost but to be a part of that immersion process - in the tank and in life in general.  Marinate on that for while...(this is a blog and I don't have enough space to explain that one)

Teach - instruct, example, study and pass along - live it out.  Teaching those around us to observe the commandments of Christ implies we know them, are living them out and then teaching others.  You can't teach what you don't know. You can't lead where you haven't gone. You can't give what you don't possess.  Again, this is an active command from Christ - it will take effort and it will cost something.

THEOLOGY - the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit

There it is.

If you've ever looked for the Trinity in scripture, it's right here.  God is One - He is One in Three.  Three persons, One God. Notice it doesn't say the "names" of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit but "name" - singular, one.   In these two verses, Jesus instructs that we are to point the world to the truth that there is only one option for life and that option is found in the Holy Trinity.  God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit - One God in Three Persons.  There's a bit of theology to chew on...

In baptizing the nations in the Trinity, we are called to identify with and immerse ourselves in the truth of the Godhead.  We do not serve three gods, but One - this is a really hard theological truth but it is truth nonetheless.  No One Person of the Godhead is less than Another, and therefore None should be ignored, underemphasized or minimized.  So how are you at understanding the Person and Work of each One in the Trinity?  Confused yet?  Or do you have some study to do?

PROMISE - I am with you ALWAYS

This is the best news EVER!  Here's my thought process:

  • God is not a liar
  • He is a God of covenants
  • When He makes a promise He will keep it
  • If He says He will be with us ALWAYS - He's allowed to use 100% words because He means it
  • So guess what?  I am NEVER alone because He is ALWAYS with me
In ladies study next week, we are going to see that the promise of God's presence is the best promise to get from God.  If He is with us and will never leave us, then what do we have to fear?  Do you battle loneliness?  Cling to the promise!  Are you in a storm? Cling to the promise!  Do you feel abandoned, lost, confused or depressed? Cling to the promise!  Do you feel that God is far away? Cling to the promise - stop living by your feelings and KNOW THE TRUTH!  

The promise of Jesus' presence in our lives is not priceless, by the way.  His presence was pricey - the highest price ever was paid so that He could be with us ALWAYS.  

Doesn't this fact change your life?

Lots of truth in two verses - things to do, things to believe, promises to cling to - May the Word of God dwell richly in you this year and may you grow in your faith as you cling to His promises!

Happy New Year!

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