Before continuing with what it means to be a servant of Christ, we will look at a few more aspects of “The Great Commission” from Matthew 28:19-20,
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always to the end of the age,” (NKJV).
First, we are commanded to “go,” not “stay” and make disciples. I once heard an evangelist say, “It is amazing how much more authority you have just fifty miles from home.” Whether it is the principle that a prophet does not have honor in his own home or the “tyranny of the familiar” that causes us to lose respect for those we know well, for most there is greater authority when they are away from home. It is for this reason those who go out on a temporary mission trip usually come back amazed at how God uses them when they are out.
Next, we see to make disciples we must teach them to observe “all things” the Lord has commanded. This too is rare in our times. We often have certain doctrines we impart that are the emphasis of our denomination or movement, but how many can say like the Apostle Paul that they have presented “the whole message of this life?”
We also see this teaching begins with baptism. The altar call is actually a recent invention, and for many, this has supplanted baptism as evidence of one’s conversion. Baptism is a ritual, yet it is an important and powerful one. In the first century, baptism was performed immediately after one’s conversion, and the affect was profound.
It has been said that the failure to keep baptism as the primary command given here is a major reason why all converts in the first century seemed to be of such greater substance and were all “added to the church.” Today, only a small percentage of those who claim to give their lives to Christ become a part of the church. You cannot be properly joined to the Head without also being properly joined to His body. As we are told in 1 John 1:7, “If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another (Greek koinonia, the deepest kind of union), and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (NASB). If we do not have koinonia in our lives, then we are not abiding in the light.
Church life is intended to be the place where most of our discipleship is not only taught, but walked out. The failure of so many “converts” to be properly incorporated into church life is obviously a major reason for anemic churches and anemic Christians. We also must consider how the quality of our discipleship is eroded when it does not begin with the one thing specified in The Great Commission — baptism.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another,” John 13:34-35.
“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples,” John 15:8.
~ Pastor Rick Joyner
|Pastor Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church.|