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Mar, 2023

Together for Making Disciples

So, what's one of the most important things you can do with the rest of your life? What's one of the most important things you can do with the rest of your life, no matter how old you are, you can be under 20 you can be in your twenties, in your thirties, in your forties, in your fifties, in your sixties or seventies or eighties or nineties or hundreds, uh, wherever you are on the spectrum. What is one thing, one super important thing that you can do with the rest of your life? One thing that doesn't just positively impact your life right now because there's a, there's a lot of good things we can be doing right there. There's lots of good things we can do every day, every week. But, but not just something that's positive for your day today, but something that lasts longer than just today, something that, that lasts longer than, than the normal things in life. Something that's this longer than just Palm Sunday and longer than Easter and, and longer than Christmas. Something that's longer than high school or, or longer than college or, or longer than working with the company. For 30 years. Something that's this longer than just getting a plaque at the church with your name on it for something that's been donated or, or getting your name etched in the concrete of a building somewhere. No, none of those things are bad. All of those things have their place, but none of those things last forever. Right. They don't, I mean, how many buildings in our community in the last 12 months that had someone's name etched on it have been torn down. So it's not that those things are bad. But, but we're talking about something that lasts longer. We're talking about something that has a tremendous impact on your family and your friends, not just for the next 50 years, but for the next 10,000 years just that's a little different. That, that's a, that's a one thing that it's least worth our time to listen to. We continue our series together for Good, where we're looking and engaging with the values of a healthy local church. And, and why would we do that? Well, we do that because the world is full of bad and we wanna be together for good and we wanna be together for the best. Good. And what is the best? Good. Well, the best good is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And why is that the best? Good. Well, it's the best, good because the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not just good for Sunday morning. It's good for every single moment, every breath you take and it is death defying good for the moment. When you take your last breath. It is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ that helps us discover and find this one thing that is super important for us to do for the rest of our lives. And what is that one thing? Well, here's a hint. the title of the sermon today is together for making disciples. We're going to be looking at making disciples and we're going to be in Matthew 28 verse 19. The scene here is, is Jesus talking with his closest friends and, and it's been described as this moment being the dynamic conclusion to all of the whole work of the gospel that he did on earth. So what does Jesus have to say to his closest friends in this dynamic moment? And what does it have to do with you right now? Well, let's see if we can find out Matthew chapter 28 verse 19. Jesus says, go therefore and make disciples. Jesus is about to leave the earth. And so he's in this moment of giving his final instructions, his last words, so to speak. And what are his last words? What, what is this dynamic conclusion to the work of the gospel, so to speak? Well, his last words are go make disciples, go make disciples. The verb is not go, the verb is make disciples go is just a, a part. It's just something kind of helping the flow of the sentences. It's, it's reflecting something that he had already said. But, but the verb here is make disciples and here's why that's important. We can go, oh man, we can go, we can get the video series, we can go, we can get the group together and we can go, we can send the money, we can go. But if we don't make disciples, then we didn't really go. We may go and make converts and leave them as spiritual orphans. But the making disciples is what we've been called to actually do. Jesus didn't call us to make a sanctuary. He didn't call us to make a gym. He didn't call us to make a choir or make a praise team or make an organ or make a piano. He didn't chore. He didn't call us to, to make a youth group or a children's ministry or, or anything else that we do and none of those things are wrong. All of them are fantastic but they're not what he called us to do. And yet we find ourselves talking so much more about the things that he did not call us to do than we do about what he called us to do and he called us to make disciples. What's the disciple? Well, on the simplest terminology, it's, it's a learner when I was a kid playing little league baseball. One of my coaches, one year for the all star team at our first practice. He said the boys, I'm going to learn y'all how to play some baseball and you know, that stuck with me all this time. You know, I learn you boys how to play some baseball. Well, well, that's what Jesus did. He, he took a small group of men and he learned them how to follow God. Now, did Jesus speak to huge crowds? Absolutely. Did Jesus have hundreds, maybe even thousands of people that were truly following him. Absolutely. But his priority was not the crowd. His priority was not the congregation. His priority was just a small group. That, that was where Jesus poured his life. That's where Jesus did his greatest work. So let me ask you a question. Who are your disciples right now? Now you may say, well, I don't have any disciples every single one of you. You have at least one disciple. You do you know the the big word today is, are you an influencer? Guess what? We're all influencers? Every single one of us? We're, we're all influencers right now. You are influencing people's lives. You have disciples, you have people that are following you and they're listening to you. So who are your disciples? Who are you influencing? And, and what are you teaching them? What are they learning from you? What is it that's happening in the discipleship? Relationships that you're in? And and please don't be confused here. I'm not using disciples as a religious term here right now. You have disciples of something you're discipline somebody with, you know, your favorite hobby, your favorite team, your favorite, you know, whatever. So, so who are your disciples? You know, there's an old saying and, and it consistently rings true. Only one life it will soon be passed. Only what's done for Christ will last. It's only the, the good news, the great news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That's, that's going to last. So, so who are you influencing right now? Who are you discipline right now? Who are you teaching to learn and follow? Who are you helping to believe in Jesus? Now, immediately some of our minds and hearts are going, oh, I, I can't do that. That's, that's what, that's what pastors do. That's what preachers do. That's what evangelists do. That's, that's what the, the youth pastor does or the children's pastor or the family life minister. That's, that's, that's what they do. I'm, that's not my thing. That's, that's what, that's why we take people to the church. That's, that's what they do. They make disciples. Other people say, well, I, I can't do anything like that. I mean, I haven't been to seminary. I don't, I don't know the Bible, I don't know all that stuff. I, I, I can't make disciples. Other people will say. I, I don't know, I, I got some bad habits in my life. You know, I got some things that I, I'm, I'm scared, I'm going to learn them the wrong way. You know. Let me ask you a question. Is that how we approach anything with our kids and our grandkids or maybe our, our younger brothers or sisters when it comes to, to learning how to brush your teeth or make your bed or tie your shoes when it comes to learning how to, to throw a baseball or softball, when it comes to learning how to kick a soccer ball or swing a seven iron when it comes to, you know, things like school work or, or, you know, learning how to change oil in a car or wash clothes or clean the house or rewire a kitchen or build a deck when it comes to cheering on our teams when it comes to Clemson or, or Carolina or Georgia or the Cowboys or the Steelers or the Braves or the Yankees or, or whoever it is it, is that how we approach it? Do we approach it and go, ah, ah, ah, ah, or do we just do it? Do we just go to the game? Do we just buy the jersey? Do we just stand out in the front yard and throw the ball? I mean, do we, do we just hand him the toothbrush and say, here's, don't, don't we just do it? But for some reason when it comes to the thing that Jesus called us to do we go? Mm. I can't, I can't do that. I, I, I don't know how to do that. I'm, I'm, I'm not sure. I know which way to move on that. We don't have to have perfect knowledge to make disciples. We, we just have to know Jesus like serious. We, we just have to know Jesus. So do you truly know Jesus? Have you surrendered and yielded your life to Jesus? Have you received his salvation? Are you following after him? Is, is he the priority of your life? And do you have a Bible? I, I promise I'm not trying to be silly here. Do you truly know Jesus? Are you breathing? And do you have a Bible? If so you can make disciples? You, you can do it. You're you're qualified to make disciples. You're qualified to help people find Jesus. Help people follow Jesus and help people learn from Jesus. I love what Charles Spurgeon said about this. He said, Jesus said go to some very imperfect disciples and then he goes on and describes it. He says, who is to go out of that first band of disciples? It's Peter the rash and the headstrong. It's John who sometimes wishes to call fire from heaven to destroy people. It's Philip with whom the savior has been so long and yet he has not known him. It's Thomas who must put his finger into the print of the nails or he will not believe. And yet that's the crowd. That's the group that Jesus says, go, go, go make disciples. We don't have to be perfect to go. We don't have to be perfect to make disciples. I had a pastor years ago. He said, you know, go here is like, well, look since you're going anyway, since you're going to do life at home and work and school and everyone go and make disciples as you go. So why is Jesus saying this to the disciples in this moment? Well, what what's happening in this moment? Well, in this moment, he's giving this bold and dynamic, conclusive instruction to his disciples because of something pretty significant historically and practically Jesus of Nazareth was brutally crucified on a cross outside of Jerusalem. And then he was placed into the tomb that was borrowed from a man named Joseph. And then on the third day, God raised Jesus from the dead, not not to die again, but to never die again. So the disciples are seeing the risen Jesus, they're seeing Jesus alive when they saw him brutally killed. They're seeing Jesus alive. When they saw him put in a tomb, there was no confusion in their mind. This was not some mythical legendary fairy tale Jesus was dead and now they're seeing him alive by the power of God. And what happened? Listen to verse 17. And when they saw him, they worshiped him, but some were doubtful, got any doubt in your life right now. Ever had any doubt, ever, ever doubt the existence of God, ever doubt that all these things about Jesus are, are really true. Ever doubt that you really are a Christian. Ever doubt that, that you just don't have what it takes to kind of talk about Jesus and, and help people find Jesus. Well, welcome to the club from, from the very first followers of Jesus to every single Christian who has ever followed after Jesus. All of us struggle with some type of spiritual doubt. We all struggle. So how does Jesus respond to their doubt? What, what does he say to them? Well, let me ask you a question. Do you have any authority in your life? Do you have kids? Do you have grandkids? Are you a teacher? Are you a supervisor at work? Do you volunteer somewhere where you're in charge of the volunteers? Are you in law enforcement? Are you an elected official? Are you the bingo caller at your weekly bingo match? You know, or are you the guy that takes up the ticket at the til to world at the fair? You know, all of us have a little bit of authority somewhere in life. We, we understand what it means that that somebody has to come through us for something to happen. So Jesus in their moment of doubt immediately turns to them and says this verse 18, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. That's a little more authority than your supervisor at work or being the bingo caller. Right. That, that's a little more authority than being the president of the United States or the king of England or a queen or, or a prince or anything else in the world. There's a little more authority here and this authority, all the authority of heaven, all the authority on earth is given to Jesus Christ, the babe of Mary, the son of God, the Messiah, the king of kings, the Lord of Lords. All authority has been given to Jesus Christ. So dear Christian, this is not religion and this is not denomination and this is not American. This is the sovereignty of the most high God in our savior, our redeemer, our friend, all the authority of the entire universe is in Jesus Christ. And that authority. And through that authority, Jesus says to us, here's your authority. Go make disciples. You don't have to have it all together. You don't have to be perfect. You don't have to always know exactly the right thing to say. There's no video series. You need to memorize, there's no four laws or seven laws or 10 laws. You have the authority of all of heaven and all of earth in you given to you to make disciples. You've been given the authority by Jesus Christ, the fuel the energy to help people find Jesus and follow Jesus and love Jesus and learn from Jesus. That's what we've been given. In other words, we can do this like, like we really can, the, the authority of heaven is behind us. So, so we can do this because we're cool and, and smart and imaginative. No, no, we can do this because we've been rescued and we've been redeemed. Tammy was telling me earlier that in her life group Wednesday night, they were talking about how people know what you love. You know, I mean, people know what you love. So, so what I would love is that at your funeral, I don't have to just talk about your favorite team. It's fine if I do, but I'd love to if I could be at your funeral. And I get to say, well, this person made disciples, you know, and you're in this room because not because they were cool or they were fun or, or they made a mean burger but, but you're in this room because you found and kept finding and kept following Jesus because of your relationship with this person, this imperfect person. We don't do it because we're smart and creative and cool. We make disciples because we've been rescued and redeemed and we've been rescued and redeemed and made right with God by the one who has all authority in heaven and on earth. So if we've been rescued and redeemed by the one that has all authority in heaven and earth, what are we afraid? Of really when we go to vote in primaries or go to vote in elections in November, what are we afraid of? All authority from Jesus Christ? All the authority of heaven and earth is somehow unexplainable in our lives. What are we afraid of? And we're afraid of, of making disciples. The, the one thing he's called us to do. We don't have to be, we can do this. We, we can do this and we must do this because if we don't do this, we might actually show that we are not disciples. I heard somebody put it this way. Imagine you're a parent and you tell your child to go clean their room. Hour later you go and, and the room's not clean. And your child says, I know my room is not clean but you know what? I memorized what you asked me to do. I got it. Listen, let me, let me just show you go there for and clean my room. See I got, I, I got it. I memorized it. I, I, I did that from memory. I didn't have to read notes or anything. And then then the next week you tell your child to clean their room and, and you go and, and later in the room is not clean. They got, look, I know my room is not clean but look now I can say go there for and clean my room in Greek and Hebrew. I, I, I, I can do this. I, I even understand the burbs. I've looked up the, the, the transition. I, I, I know it all like I got it, I got it. And then the next week you go and you ask your child to, to clean the room and you go back later and check the room is still not clean. And they say, well, look, I know my room is not clean. But guess what, I've been meeting with some other kids after school and we're having these amazing meetings where we're talking about opportunities and strategies for cleaning room. We've planned a conference and a video series to try to instigate and stimulate people to, to love what it means to clean your room. Look, the call of Jesus is not confusing it, it, it's really not go and make disciples. We don't need to memorize it or maybe I could say we don't just need to memorize it. We don't need to, to just be able to, to look at it in the original Greek and Hebrew. We don't just need to say, well, I've been to a conference on it and we don't just need to listen to a sermon on it. We actually just, we just need to do it. We, we just need to actually go and make disciples. So how do we do that? Well, there's the first thing we have to do and it's back in verse 17, listen to it again. And when they saw Him, they worshiped him, making disciples of Jesus. Christ requires worshiping Jesus Christ. Li Duncan says this, you don't go to the ends of the earth to ask people to bow the knee and devote themselves in discipleship to somebody who's not God. So, so if we're not making disciples, the question then for us is well, do we really believe in Jesus? I mean, do we really believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Do we really believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world? Do we really believe that after all is done? The only thing that will last is Jesus? But the only thing that has lasting grace, love, peace, joy, salvation. It's all found in Jesus. So do we believe in Jesus or do we just go to church because we were raised in the South? And that's what you do or do we just go to church because we want our kids to have a similar experience that we had when we were growing up? Or do we just go to church because we want our family to have a, you know, positive, encouraging experience like listening to k love, you know, or do we go to church? Because we are absolutely convinced that the full and final last voice over the universe is not the president of the United States and it's not the king of England and it's not the queen of Aronda and it's not the Marvel or DC characters of whatever multiplex universe might be out there. We are absolutely convinced rather that Jesus Christ will be the final voice over all the universe. Well, if we believe that, then we can make disciples because all of the authority of heaven and earth is in Jesus, all of it, all authority in life, all authority over death in Jesus. We don't gather together to be good Southern Baptist. Hopefully, we will be a good Southern Baptist. But we gather together as a church because the authority of Jesus Christ is real. We gather to worship Jesus Christ to glorify Jesus Christ. And we gather to do that together. We gather together to try to help each other. See and remember that all of this authority, it's not a fairy tale. We gather together to receive the good news of the gospel. We gather together to believe the good news of the gospel and we gather together to be the good news of the gospel by making disciples. So how do we do that? Well, first, we have to be worshipers of Jesus Christ. That's, that's what the first disciples did. They, they worship Jesus. There was no confusion. They, they knew who they were following. And then the second thing we have to do is we have to clean our room, meaning meaning we have to do it. I googled Christian discipleship and books on Amazon and there were more than 20,000 different responses. More than 20,000 different books and workbooks and study guides on how to make a disciple. That's a lot. OK. And, and there's a, there's just a million different things we could say about making disciples. And, and I've, I've spent most of this week super intimidated because I do believe that this is the most important thing that our church can do outside of strategically glorifying and worshiping Jesus Christ. This is the most important thing that our church can do. So this is like the sermon of all sermons. I can die, go to rushes and wherever and I'm done. You know, this is it. So I've been thinking that all week long. And so I'm like, ah, you can't do that in one sermon. You go, come on. But, but it's gigantically important and it's impossible to cover in one sermon. There are so many different things to say about discipleship. So many different things. There's so many different ways to approach discipleship in its purest form, making disciples is, is helping someone who doesn't know Jesus follow Jesus. That's, that's the purity of it. But, but it also just branches out into so many different ways because the reality is there are people who claim to be following Jesus and are not following Jesus. So you could be in a discipleship relationship with a professing Christian and they might actually get saved. So there's so many aspects and, and so many different ways that everybody talks about discipleship and, and I just wanna be sure that, that we don't talk so much about discipleship that we don't do it. So to make sure that we don't just memorize. Matthew 28, 19. Here's, here's just a starting point. OK? And we're, we're going to go with 20 minutes. 20 minutes don't get excited. That doesn't mean we're going to start having 20 minute sermons. Sorry, it ain't going to happen. 20 minutes. I want you to find somebody and spend 20 minutes with them a week guys. I want you to find another guy and 20 minutes a week read one verse of scripture. Talk about it and pray. No. Now, could there be more or less? Maybe. But at the very least here's just, here's a starting point, guys. Find another guy or, or maybe one or two guys read one verse from the Bible. Take a verse at a time through Philippians. Just read through Philippians together or, or the Gospel of Matthew or, or anywhere in the Bible. Philippians. Matthew. Good place to start one verse. Talk about it and pray 20 minutes. Just, just start it. It's a starting point. Ladies find you another lady or, or one or two ladies in, in 20 minutes. Find a verse. Read the verse, talk about it and pray. Now some of us have experienced this and, and we know what it involves and what it means and we, and we know how life changing it can be most Christians have never experienced it. I, I, I've been a Christian for 40 years now. Um most churches do not make disciples. You know, it's, it's just not something we, we talk about it. We watch the videos, we have discipleship training, we have discipleship weekend. We do all, we have disciple now weekends and you, we do a lot. It just, it just doesn't happen. It's, it's still just more kind of a bible study but making disciples, it, it costs some time. You know, it takes some time. So guys find one or two guys, ladies find one or two ladies and, and they may be Christians or they may not be Christians and, and you don't have to make it impossible because some of you think, gosh, I don't have 20 minutes. All right. Let me just hurt all of our feelings. OK? You got 20 minutes. All right. You, you got it. We all got it because you know what? If you need to spend an extra 20 minutes hunting, fishing, golfing, shopping. Um You know, binging the third season of golden girls, you know, whatever, right? We, we know how to give 20 minutes. So, so it's 20 minutes for the only thing that Jesus asked us to do, we can do it. It will be hard and all of us will fight against it a little bit. We'll go. Uh No, I don't even know who to ask. Well, maybe it's somebody that you're already around, you know, it might be somebody at your house. It could be somebody that you work with or go to school with. It could be somebody that you, you know, commute with. It could be somebody they have to, you know, go outside a little bit and it takes a little bit of effort but we can do it and, and look, be creative. You know, it's 2023. The, the best opportunity is face to face. It is, it's just, that's the best. But you know what, for an hour, every week I have someone discipline me by zoom, you know, and, and it's having a huge impact, you know, on my life. Um So it might be a phone call, it might be a, a Zoom link. It, it might be in person, which would be great. But, but just, you know, 20 minutes and that's just an outline, read verse of scripture, talk about it and pray and, and just, just see what God starts to do when we are intentional with what Jesus called us to do. Now. Is that a perfect plan? No, but it, but it's a start, it's somewhere to start. Someone said it's not the terminology that matters the most. It's the reality that matters the most. So we want to be about the reality. And so to help all of us with the reality, here's what we're going to do for the next four weeks for the next four weeks, creatively and graciously, we're just going to ask you if you've got your 20 yet. You know, have, have you, have you put together your 28 just, just to help, you know, it's not going to be mean pressure. It's just going to be, hey, let's, let's just make sure we, we stay engaged, you know, because truthfully it might take some of y'all four weeks to get up the nerve and the energy and coordinate everything to ask somebody to do something like this. So that's ok. But we're just going to hang in there with it together. We're, we're just going to, we're going to keep doing it. And why, why are we going to do this? Why are we trying to make disciples? Well, ultimately, we already know the answer, right? Because Jesus told us to, he called us to, he commanded us to and there's something in the command of Jesus that seems to show us that this really is the most important thing we can do with the rest of our lives. It really, really is. And as a church, if we can put some affection toward making disciples, I so believe because of the authority of Jesus that we will be inviting the spirit of God into the life of Holland Avenue Baptist Church in such a way that we will be overwhelmed with joy, overwhelmed with joy. Mark De said this when you step out of the hallway of this life into the room of eternity. And before I give you the rest of the quote, let's just linger on this. We're in a hallway. Ok. This, this life is a, it's a vapor. It's a, it's a breath. We may have five days left, we may have five years left. We may have five decades left. None of us know. So, so this life, it's, it's a breath. So let's enjoy the breath, man. Let's, let's live life to the fullest in Jesus. But we're in a hallway and when you step out of the hallway of this life into the room of eternity, he asked this, what will you have left behind in the lives of others? What will we leave behind? It's, it's, I promise it's not a guilt trip. What am I going to say at your funeral? What might some of you say at my funeral? You know, Tammy, she wants a two hour funeral case. Y'all don't know this, Tammy wants a two hour funeral tells me about it all the time. So I told her yesterday I was like, you know, I'm dying before you. So it's, you're out, you know, you, you got to figure out and I said, I want a two minute funeral. Um, what's going to be said? I it's fine if we can say we were great fathers and great mothers and great friends and we love the tigers and the game cocks. What? It's fine. But, but don't we really want that when we look at our lives, whether it's said or not, that we are doing something that will impact people 10,000 years from now. That's a thing. That's, that's just a thing. I read an interesting story that from 1933 to 1983 in the US House of Representatives in the, in the chamber. On the occasion of George Washington's birthday, they would always read his farewell address and they pick somebody from among the representatives. Sometimes it was Democrats, sometimes it was Republican and, and they would stand up and they would read well by 1983, they just kind of quietly did away with it partly because nobody was coming anymore to their defense. It's a really, really long address and it took a long time, you know, to read. But, but they stopped reading the address and there was a newspaper article after it kind of quietly went away and the title of the article simply said this, nobody listens to Washington's farewell address. Nobody listens. Let's don't be Christians like that. Let's don't not listen to the farewell address of Jesus. Let's, let's listen to it. Let's, let's love it. Let's take it and let's learn it and let's let it, in other words, let's be together for making disciples. Let's be together for, for 20 minutes. Let's be together because all the authority of heaven and earth is in our lives through Jesus Christ. Let's take all of that authority and let's be together for good.


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