According to Matthew, the Great Commission is not about proclaiming the gospel around the world. That is part of the larger picture, but here Jesus sends the Church into the whole world to "make disciples."
In Matthew 10, the mission of The Twelve was merely to proclaim the gospel to the towns in the region of Galilee. If a town would not listen, they simply moved on to the next one. The strategy and method of the Great Commission is very different. Now, Christians are called by Lord Jesus to be Christian everywhere we go. At times this will involve sharing the facts of the gospel of Jesus. At all times it involves demonstrating the rule of God in our lives as we conform to Jesus rather than to the nations and world in which we live.
In this way, being disciples is how Jesus through us will make disciples who will also follow him.
Recording notes: Due to technical difficulties, only the last portion of the sermon was recorded. So, the description above offers more of an introduction than usual, so that the recording makes sense (hopefully!). Also, there is a one minute portion of the sermon recording where we watched a YouTube video. When that time comes, simply click on the picture above to play the video. You will want to pause the audio of the sermon while you do that.
Jesus identifies himself with the Christian whom we have never met. He says, "I was a stranger, and you welcomed me." We are daily being tested. Do we honor Jesus's name more than our own "comfort zone"? Jesus's teaching in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats guides us to pass these tests with joy and confidence.
1 Corinthians 13:5
We must serve Jesus diligently in our job for his kingdom. Yet, if we do that without love then we fail to meet his calling. We will not be welcomed into Heaven in the end. How do we make sure that we incorporate love in the way we serve Jesus? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 identifies fifteen virtues that all are a part of godly love. The common root of them all is that attitude that says, "I am here for you."
Jesus is coming soon. Christians must be sure to be found busily working the jobs Jesus has given us to do.
Prayer is much more than something else we do to practice our faith in Jesus. Faithful prayer is crucial for a vital connection to the life of God. There can be no "fruit" without it.
Guest speaker, Chris Watts, of Dewey, Oklahoma encourages us to follow the example of the first Christians. Chris identifies five areas that are needed for Christians to make disciples in the community in which we live.
The event of the transfiguration of Jesus showed Peter, James, and John who Jesus is. Followers of Jesus trust the testimony of those three disciples. As we learn to worship God in the way of Jesus, God provides the strength and comfort to live faithfully to Jesus's way.
It is true that Christians have the hope of "going to Heaven" at the end of God's plan for history.
But that is not the good news that calls each of us to follow Jesus.
In this passage in Matthew 16, Jesus exposes the heart of his call to discipleship--to following him and his way. It is the call of the master to his servants. Jesus warns that anyone following him for other reasons will lose the very thing they hope to gain.
Instead, Jesus invites every human being to embrace what we are: servants of God. Jesus invites every human being to devote ourselves to the only worthwhile object in this life: living for the happiness of God. Jesus sounds this call, because the truth is that God alone is worthy.
In any time, there are always many reasons to wonder whether Christianity can survive much farther into the future. Yet, regardless of the challenges, Christians can rest assured that the Church will survive the worst her enemies can muster. This confidence rests squarely upon Jesus's promise to Peter, "I will build my church," (Matt. 16:18).
Jesus teaches that evidence of what God is doing in our time in history is as plain as a brilliant red sunset. But that does not mean that those signs are easy to understand. The experts in religion in Jesus's day were baffled by the signs of the kingdom of God that stared them in the face. Expert Bible knowledge is necessary, but there is much more to it than that. Disciples are expected to learn how to listen to God as he leads his Church through each season of history.