Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 28:18-20

"And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 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, even to then end of the age." Amen." -Matthew 28:18-20

To whom is this command spoken?

This command is spoken to the disciples that had gathered in Galilee on the mountain that Jesus had appointed.

What does this command require?

Go and make disciples of all the nations by baptizing of them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and by teaching them to observe all things that Jesus had commanded.

What truths do we learn through this command?

Let's just break this down by the various phrases of these verses.

Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth. He is the Master. There is no one who has authority over Him. Surely this is a reason to obey Him. Keep in mind that Jesus begins this final command by appealing to His authority. He is God.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations. This is perhaps the trickiest part of the command. Is the command 'Go' or is the command 'make disciples'? In the Greek, the imperative in this phrase is 'make disciples.' What we have translated as 'Go' literally means as you are going. Some use this knowledge to excuse their disobedience. Jesus doesn't excuse not going, but rather He assumes that His disciples will go as a part of their disciple-making. Going is essential to making disciples of all nations. The only way that Jesus disciples would reach some from all nations is going.

What does it mean to make a disciple? The word disciple literally means learner. So disciple-making innately involves making learners of Jesus. I believe that all of Jesus' disciples are to be life-long learners. Learners never stop learning. Learners keep studying and keep obeying Jesus until they meat Jesus face to face.

Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Baptism is a matter of obedience, not preference. Jesus commands it as part of making disciples. As a disciples of Christ, you must be baptized. There is much truth here regarding the doctrine of the Trinity. Notice that Jesus says that there is one name, yet three persons. Three in one, one in three, oh what perfect tri-unity.

Teach them to observe all that Jesus commanded. This phrase is why we began this study in the first place. In order to teach all that Jesus commanded, you must know what Jesus commanded. Read through the Gospels and search for the commands of Christ. Seek them not just for knowledge but also for obedience. Put into practice that which you seek to teach. Follow all of Christ's commands, not just some of them.

What are the blessings of obedience and the consequences for disobedience?

Reaching the lost and seeing disciples grow into disciple-makers are two of the blessings of obedience. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing one of your own learners seek someone out to teach themselves. This honors God and brings Him glory.

Disobedience to this command results in failing to reach the world for Christ.

Disciples, seek to be obedient to your Master. Honor Him by making disciples of all the nations. By the way, He will be with you always, even to the end of the age.

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