19 Jun 2016
Matthew 28:19-20 Our Main Business Pastor Mike Redick 19 June 2016 Jesus saves us out of the world to remain in the world. He has sent us on His business. His business should therefore be our business. Discover what it means to be about "our main business".
Jesus saves us out of the world to remain in the world.
He has sent us on His business. His business should therefore be our business.Discover what it means to be about "our main business".
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Turn your Bibles today if you have one, if not, we'll show it on the on the screen. Very, very familiar passage found in Matthew chapter 28, verse 19, and verse 20. We had a wonderful camp two weeks ago. And I just felt that I want to put a punctuation mark on what was said at camp. And for those of you that were not here, at camp with us, don't worry, you'll get the idea here through the message today. It was a wonderful week of camp. We taught and learned some wonderful stuff. We’re reminded of what our main business is. And so I just want to take a few moments this morning to share some thoughts from Matthew chapter 28. Now I know that this is a familiar passage to most of us; we could probably quote it. I'm sure over the years, we've heard lots of sermons, but we'll trust God the Holy Spirit to take his word this morning and speak to our hearts in a new and a fresh way.
I heard a story about a lady and her husband who were coming off an airplane. And she had been been talking to a very, very handsome man. Well, her husband was the jealous sort of guy. And so, as they stepped off the airplane, he looked at his wife and said, “Honey, what did that man talk to you about?” And she got a smile at her husband said, “No, he didn't say too much but he did ask me a very odd question. He asked me. ‘Are you a Christian?’” And the husband responded, and he said, “Well, why didn't you tell him it was none of his business?” So the wife put her arm around her husband, looked at him with a big smile upon her face, and she said, “Honey, because if you would have heard him speak, you would have known that it was his business!”
A First Taste of Discipleship
Friends, there is no greater business than the business of making disciples of men. And I remember the first time I realized that my business was the business of making disciples of men. I was 24 years of age, Lisa and I were living in San Francisco. I was working as a chef for Hyatt Hotels. And in the hotel, I worked with a young man by the name of Ricardo Hildago. Ricardo was 200 pounds of absolutely pure muscle. You see, because he was a part-time chef, and he's a full-time bodybuilder. I used to watch Ricardo at lunchtime, and I kid you not when I say this: He would sit down and eat an entire side of salmon in one sitting. That's a lot of fish! Okay. But he used to say to me, and of course, you know, not being a body builder [myself] - and I could hear somebody saying, “Yeah, we could look at you and tell that was never your issue in life.” But not being a body builder, he told me that he needed the protein, you know, to bulk up the mass. And so he'd sit down, and he'd eat an entire side of salmon.
Well, one night, my wife and I invited him out for dinner. So we're sitting in this little San Francisco cafe eating a wonderful garlic and clam 02:47 pizza. That's worth an “Ooooh!” you know! I mean, it's okay. Anyway, you guys have your coffee this morning? The early morning was a little bit more lively than you guys, all right? And I was eating garlic and clam pizza. And the Lord opened the door for me to share the gospel with Ricardo. He'd come from a very nominal Roman Catholic family. So, he was open to the Gospel message. Shared the message with him. God did His work in his heart. And there over a beautiful garlic and clam pizza, he put his faith and his trust in Jesus Christ.
And I remember looking into the eyes of this 200-pound mass of pure muscle and Ricardo had a tear in his eye. But he had a smile of heaven on his face. Then he began to do something that was quite unusual. He began to go [gesturing with his hands repeatedly], “I feel like, ‘it’ began to go. I feel like, I feel like,” I thought to myself, “You feel like what?”. And finally I got it! I said, “All you feel like a large burden has just been lifted from your shoulders.” And he says, “Yeah!” He says, “That's it! I feel like I had been carrying this, this backpack full of rocks, and it has just been lifted.” And I said, “Ah, you see, that is the burden of sin being lifted from your shoulders.”
My wife and I went home that night, and I think we were on cloud nine because [for] the first time in our life, we realized that God could use us to be making disciples of men! And I worked with Ricardo for the next two years and had the joy of helping him become a follower and an imitator of Jesus Christ. And I even saw him bringing other people into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ, and helping them to become imitators and followers of Jesus Christ because, there's no greater business than the business of making disciples of men.
The Great Commission
The Lord shares that idea with us here in our passage in Matthew chapter 28. When we come to this passage, I look at it as that last business meeting of the Early Church. And of course, Jesus is the CEO. There's only one item on the agenda this day and that is making disciples. And Jesus to His disciples said this, He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that which I have commanded you and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.”
And you know, when Jesus said to His team, “Go therefore and make disciples”, He was giving a command. Making disciples is a mandate. It is a command from Almighty God to every child of God. This is not an option for us. This is something that God has laid upon us. We are all to be about the business of making disciples. And yet, in making that statement, He was given to us as a body of believers as the Church of Jesus Christ. He was reminding us of our mission. He was telling us the very reason that we, as the people of God, exist.
In fact, did you know that you could understand the book of Matthew, from Matthew chapter one to Matthew chapter 28. I mean, you could understand it and all of its parts. But if you’ve failed to grasp these closing words here in Matthew chapter 28, you've missed the entire point of the book! In fact, we could say in a broader sense, this passage known as the Great Commission, these final words of our Lord, is our main business. We can say this is the focal point. All right, this is the climax of the entire Bible itself. This is it! This is the very reason that we, as the people of God, exist! In fact, we know the central message of Scripture is this: Jesus Christ came to seek and to save the lost. By way, do you realize that message likewise is our mission? You remember what Jesus said to His disciples in John 20 and verse 21. He said, “As the Father sent Me into the world, so I send you into the world.” In other words, Jesus was saying to us, as the Father sent Me to the world to make disciples, so I send you into the world that you might make disciples. Friends, that message is our mission. That is, without a doubt, our main business. And yet sadly, I think not everybody understands that.
For What Reason Does the Church Exist?
I read a survey some time ago that asked 1000 church members this question, “What is our main business?” Why do we as the people of God exist? Interestingly, 89% of those interviewed said this, The Church exists to meet my and my family's spiritual needs. Question. What do you think about that? Is that the purpose of the church? Is that why Pastor Jason and the elders exist? Is that why we're here? You know, just simply to meet the needs of the body? No! Listen, now that is part of the work of the church. But our main business is the business of making disciples of men. Interestingly, only 11% said that our main business is the business of making disciples. And I think if we were to take a survey of the average church, maybe take a survey here, and we would ask that same question, “What is our main business?”, I think we would receive a variety of answers, would we not? I think some people would say this, “Well, you know, the main business of the church is Bible study.” Some would say, “Well, the main business of the church is praise and worship.” Others would say, “Well, you know, the
08:04 main business of the church is fellowship.” Especially if there's food involved! Right? Because we all love fellowship around food more than we like fellowship around people. Come on, be real!
We would look at and say we exist for these reasons. But here's a thought for you. Do you realize that if the main business of the church was simply Bible study, or it's simply praise and worship or simply fellowship, I believe that God would have taken us to heaven? The moment we were saved, because we could do those things far better in heaven than we could ever do on earth. You know, in Bible studies, we have lots of disagreements, theological arguments, right? Hey, in heaven, there's going to be no argument. God is going to set us all straight. All right? You know, in fellowship, you know, I guarantee there's some of you here won't fellowship with that person because you don't like them! It's not going to be that way in heaven! It’s is going to be perfect in heaven! And we could do those things far better in heaven than we can do on earth. In fact, the only reason I think that we are allowed to remain is that we might fulfill His business. And that's the business of making disciples. Because the only thing that we can do on earth that we'll never again do in heaven is to make disciples - to make disciples of all nations! And that is, without a doubt, our mission.
HOW TO DO DISCIPLESHIP
And since so many people I think, are confused on this issue, I want us just to stop for a few moments, and look at this passage and get some clarity. All right? So here's what I want us to do this morning, I want us to step into this last business meeting of the church. I want us to ask Jesus a few questions. All right, so just pretend we're sitting around the campfire, Jesus is with his team, we're listening in and Jesus gives this commission. So I want to ask this verse some questions for some clarity. Question number one. All right. Question number one. Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples” Here's a question: What does it mean to make disciples? Good question, right? He said, “Go therefore and make this up commanded us by the way to do it. So, what does it mean when he said, “Go make disciples?” Here's what it meant: It means that we are to go make followers, and imitators of Him! Simply, what it means. It means that we as believers, are to go into our world and bring other unbelievers into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. And then teach those now new believers to be imitators and followers of Jesus Christ so that these now new believers would go back into their world and bring other unbelievers into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. And then, teaching them to be imitators and followers of Jesus Christ so that these now new believers would go back into their world and introduce others into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ, and now teaching these new believers to be imitators and followers of Jesus Christ so that - Are you getting it? Yeah! That's what it means to make disciples! It means that you and I, we go into our world and we introduce unbelievers into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ, then we teach them to be followers, and imitators of Jesus Christ so that they now would go back into their world and do for others what we have the joy of doing for them. You see, that's what it means to be a “disciple-maker” or to make disciples.
What It Means to Bear Fruit that Remains
In fact, I think Jesus summed it up when He said to us in John 15, and verse 16, He said, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you.” What did He choose us to do? He chose us to go bear fruit. And that fruit should remain. I think what He's simply saying is this: He says, “I have chosen you to do what? To fulfill the Great Commission - that you might go back into your world and introduce others into that life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. And then, take that now new believer and teach them to be imitators and followers of Jesus Christ, so that, that now new believer would go back into his world and do for others what you had the joy of doing for them! That's what it means to make disciples! All right - which means this - all right - it means then, that our main business is not simply to preach the gospel. Listen carefully! It means our main business is not just to preach the gospel, get people to raise their hand and pray a simple prayer [of] faith. Now that's important! And that's necessary. But that alone is not the main business of the church. Are you listening? Our main business is not simply, you know, to gather together Sunday after Sunday.. month after month.. year after year.. the same people teaching them the precepts of Christ. Now that's important, right? But that's not the main business of the church! That alone is not making disciples. You see, the main business is not simply baptizing a boatload of believers, and then teaching these same believers, the precepts of Christ.
Reproducing: That Christ May Be Formed in Each Believer
What is our main business? Our main business is to go into our world, and preach the gospel, bringing people into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. And then, teaching these new believers to be followers and imitators of Christ, so that these now new believers would go back into their world and reach other unbelievers with the gospel and teaching them to be followers and imitators of Christ so that - Are you with me? That's what Jesus was saying when He simply said to us, “Go make disciples.” All right? So, I hope you got it, all right? Because we're not going to go back over. It's all right. Pretty simple, though, right? We're just reproducing. We're just reproducing. So, here's the second question.
HOW DO WE CARRY OUT GOD’S COMMAND?
All right. How do we do it? That's what we're to do! But so how do we do it? Here's the good news. The good news is that Jesus in our passage, told us exactly how to do it. Notice what He said. He said in Matthew 28, He said, “[Now] Go therefore, and make disciples.” Now, here's a little grammar for you. Make disciples is the main verb is telling us what to do. We never have to come to God and say, you know, “God, what do You want me to do?” He's already told us! He's already told us. But that's why it's our main business. We know, all right, not only is it a command, but it's the main verb of the passage. And He has commanded all of us to be about the main thing. And the main thing is to make disciples. So, question: “How then do we do it?”
Going, Baptizing, Teaching – The Nuts and Bolts of Doing This
Well, in this passage, He gives us three participles. All right, and those participles explain the verb. They tell us how to do what the verb is asking us to do. So how do we do it? Well, three words: “Going.” Can you figure it out? It's in yellow. “Baptizing” and “Teaching”. So how are we to be about the business of making disciples? Well, we need, first of all, we need to be going. Then we need to be baptizing. And we need to be teaching. When Jesus said in the first part of Matthew 28, verse 19, “Go therefore and make disciples”, He was simply reminding us of this fact.
If we're going to be making disciples, it begins by you and I, evangelizing the unbeliever. Making disciples begins with evangelism. Jesus had that in mind when He said to us in His passage, “Go therefore, and make disciples”. It's by going. [It’s] simply by you and I going after souls. It's seeking to save the lost. It's going and reaching out to people. It means this: It means it's not enough for us if we're going to make disciples [to] fulfill the Great Commission - be about the Lord's business – and [it] means it's not enough for you and I just simply pray for people to be saved! Now, please listen. That doesn't mean prayers aren’t important. But it's not enough for simply to pray that people would be saved! We need to be going! And while we're going, we need to be praying! But simply praying without going is not enough! Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. And so, it's not enough simply to pray for people to [be] saved. We need to be going therefore, to make disciples! It's evangelism.
Living a Godly Life is Not Evangelism
Also, it means this. It means [not] simply live a good and a Godly life before people hoping that my good testimony will point people to Jesus Christ. Now God wants you to live a good life. God wants you to be holy. All right? God wants you to live set apart! God wants you to be distinct, for sure! But simply living like that is not enough. It's not enough to point people to Jesus Christ.
Let me give you an example. Some years ago, a man was saved in a gospel meeting. 16:35 And the next day, he came to work and he told his boss that the night before he got saved in the gospel meeting. And his boss was excited. He said, “Man, that is great!” He said, “I too, am a Christian, and I had been praying for your salvation for years!” The man was shocked. He says, “You're all what?” [The boss] said, “I'm a believer.” [The man] says, “Wait a minute. You're the very reason I have not become a believer all of these years!” And now the man was shocked. [The boss] says, “What do you mean? I've always tried to live a good and a godly and a moral life before you.” And the man said, “That's the problem!” He said, “You live such a good moral life before me. But you never told me that it was Jesus who made the difference. And I reasoned if you could live such a good life without Jesus, then so can I.”
Actively Go After Souls
See friends, it's not enough simply to pray for people to be saved. We need to pray. [But] that's not enough. We need to live a godly life. But simply living a godly life before people is not enough. We need to heed the Lord's command. And we need to be – going – after - souls. Without a doubt, we need to go after them. It was Jesus who said to us in Luke 14. You remember the passage. He said, “Go into the hedges and of the highways and compel them to come in.” And Jesus, remember, He always practiced what He preached. It was Jesus, you remember, who went after Andrew and brought Andrew into a life-changing relationship with Himself. Andrew, now following the example of Jesus, did what? He went after Philip and brought Philip into a life-changing relationship with Jesus. Now Philip, following the example of Andrew and Jesus, went after that Ethiopian eunuch and brought that eunuch into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. Hey, listen! They went after souls! They sought the lost. And that's where making disciples begins. [It] begins by going.
Proclaim despite Persecution
Remember that great passage? In Acts chapter five? The Church of Jesus Christ had just been arrested. The disciples, the 12, had just been arrested. And they were put in jail. I mean, the first persecution they had received at this point. And God did a marvelous jailbreak for them! The Bible says an angel of the Lord came and opened the jail and delivered them. And I can imagine in my mind's eye that - give me a little bit of liberty, [all] right? I can imagine in my mind's eye that they stepped out of jail. And their heart was trembling, realizing, “Wow! We have just been arrested for preaching the gospel!”
And I would imagine they were a bit fearful now, a little bit timid about preaching the gospel. And the Bible says that the same angel that delivered them from prison came to them, and spoke to them these words. Words found in Acts [chapter] 5 and verse 20, which read this way - “An angel of the Lord came and said, “Go stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life”. In other words, he was saying, “Go!” And friends, that is the tenor of Scripture”.
Evangelizing Beyond Our Doorstep
You see, if we're going to reach this world with the gospel, if we're going to be making disciples, if we're going to be fulfilling our main business, if you're going to be doing what God wants us to do, then we must be evangelizing the unbeliever. It is interesting, though, in this passage, that our responsibility to take the gospel doesn't stop at our doorstep. But it does demand you and I taking the gospel, not just across the street, but a willingness to take the gospel across the seas. In fact, notice Jesus said to these men, He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” All right? And so, He's reminding us that, “Wait a minute, our responsibility to take the Gospel doesn't stop at our doorstep. You know, we need to be willing to take the gospel, yes, across the street and across the city, but it's also taking the Gospel across the seas.”
In fact, do you realize today that there are some 7 billion people on planet Earth? And out of those 7 billion people, it has [been] said that 4 and a half billion of those do not know Christ. And out of those 4 and a half billion, 2 and a half billion of those have never heard the name of Jesus Christ, [not] even one time. Does that stir you? It should. Considering the world in which we live with all of our technology? Do you realize that in this great big world in which we live, 2 and a half billion people still have never heard the name of Jesus, [not] even one time?
A few years ago, I was in India, traveling with the national pastor. And I remember the national pastor looked up in the rear-view mirror. And he asked the taxi driver this question, he said, “Sir, do you know who Jesus is?” This taxi driver with absolute sincerity, looked back and said, “Sir, I do not go to the movies. And I do not keep up with the stars.” 21:24 You see, here's a man who had never, even one time heard the name of Jesus Christ. And in hearing the name of Jesus, he thought Jesus was some kind of a movie star, or some kind of a music star. But do you realize that this man represents one of them 2 and a half billion people around this world who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ, even one time?
Friends, if we're going to be about His business, that's the business of making disciples. And it's making disciples of all nations. But our main business, the business of making disciples does not end with evangelism. [It] starts there, right? But it doesn't end there. You see, once we've evangelized the unbeliever then what? The Lord tells us in this passage that it's not just evangelizing the unbeliever, we need to begin discipling that new believer. Because that's exactly what Jesus had in mind when He said to us, “Go therefore” That’s evangelism.
Being baptized means being wholly inspired to obedience
And then He says, and do what? And “baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, [and] of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things which I have commanded you.” You see, when using those words, “baptize” and “teach”, He's referring to discipleship. All right? He's talking about discipling these new believers. You know, it's interesting, the word “baptize”. When you hear the word “baptize”, what do you think about? I know what you think about. You think about water. You think about getting wet, don't you? Yeah, that person is going to get submerged. He's going to get sprinkled. He's going to get poured. You think about water when you think about baptism. But I want you to know something. The word “baptize” includes more than just water. All right? I think when the Lord was saying, “Go, therefore, and baptize”, what was He doing? He was saying, “Go therefore and inspire people to obedience.” Because isn’t that what baptism is all about? Isn't it you and I, inspiring people to take that step of obedience, and following Him and believers in baptism? That's why the amount of water is not an issue. What's the issue at baptism? Hey, it's an issue of the of the heart! Thank you. So, when the Lord said to us, “Go, therefore, and baptize”, He was saying, we need, yes, to disciple that new believer. And here's where it begins. It begins by inspiring people to obedience to take that step of faith, and then plugging them into the local body of believers. Because the word “baptize” has always identified people within a church! And so that's what He's saying! Listen. If we're going to baptize, if we're going to disciple, we need to baptize, we need to inspire them to obedience, and then we need to plug them in to a local body of believers.
Nobody Grows Alone
And then He says, “teach”. Then we need to begin teaching people to be followers and imitators of Jesus Christ. And so that's what God is calling us to do. He's calling us to evangelize the unbeliever. And then we disciple that new believer by inspiring them to obedience, plugging them into the body of Christ, and then teaching that individual to be a follower and an imitator of Jesus. And the reason discipleship is important is for this reason: [it’s] because nobody grows alone. The reason discipleship is important it’s because nobody reaches their God-given potential - nobody becomes all that God wants him to be, by themselves! You know, just as a child will never reach maturity without the love, the care and the influence of a mother, the same way, a new believer will never reach their God-given potential, never become the very person God wants him to be. Never be about God's business without the love and the care and the influence of another Christian. Because nobody grows alone. 25:07
Why People Drift Away from Fellowship
Here's a thought for you. You know, the primary reason people drift away from church? 25:15
The primary reason people drift away from church, it’s said because they've never befriended somebody in the body. And helped establish them in the faith. People drift away because nobody comes alongside of them. Nobody befriends them, and helps establish them in their walk and relationship with God.
In fact, I read a survey some time ago, amongst some 240 new believers who stayed in the church, and 240 new believers who drifted away from the church. And here's what it said. It said that 89% of those new believers who stayed, stayed, because they built a relationship with [the] person who evangelized them. And that person helped establish them in the faith. 89% of everybody who stayed, stayed for that very reason. Because they built a relationship with that person who shared the gospel with them. And that person then helped to establish them in the faith. And 71% of those who drifted away from the church drifted because they said that they never built a relationship with the person that witnessed to them. Therefore, they viewed the witness, as a salesman, rather than a friend. Isn't that sobering? Viewed him as a salesman, and not a friend.
“I Will Never Come Back to Your Church.”
Remember, a few years ago, here at GLCC, we had led a lady to Lord during one of the services and she came to the church for about three months. And all of a sudden, you know, like many people [who] just disappeared. And one of the ladies in the church recognized that she was no longer with the church. And so, she called her on the phone, and she began to talk to her about her, you know, “We missed you. You're not here.” And invited [her] to come back. And the lady said this. She said, “I will never come back to your church.” Now, I don't know about you. But that's kind of always hard to handle, especially, you know, if you're the preacher, you’re the teacher, you’re the leader, you’re the small group leader to say [to]. That's always hard to hear about your church, right? “I'm never coming back to church.” And of course, she asked the second question, which would be “Why?”, right? And here's what she said. She said, “Because when I come to your church on Sunday morning, I always feel like an extra.” Do you get what she was saying? She was saying, “After the time of worship, I go out in the lobby, and I stand there. People just passed me by. People just passed me by. Nobody comes and says ‘hello’”. Nobody takes the time. You know, like two ships in a night just passing, blink their lights as they go by, right? Nobody's taking the time. Nobody befriended her. And nobody helped ground her in the faith. You know, we lost her as a church. Not because of our evangelism. We lost her simply due to our poor discipleship.
The Power of a Mentor to ‘Spiritually Make it”
Because everybody who spiritually makes it, everybody who spiritually makes it had a mentor. Everybody! The disciples spiritually made it. You know why? Yeah, thank you! Because they had Who? They had Jesus as their Mentor! He came alongside them. I'll show you that in a moment. He came alongside of them, and what did He do? You know, He brought them into an understanding of who He was, and they trusted Him. Then He spent time with them. And discipled them. And helped them, you know, to become followers of Himself. They spiritually made it.
Paul spiritually made it. You know why? He had a guy by the name of Barnabas, right? Barnabas came alongside of Paul, and he discipled Paul. Hey, listen! John Mark spiritually made it. You know why? Because he’s had a young man by the name of Timothy who came alongside him. And what did he do? You know, he began to disciple him. He inspired him into obedience. He plugged him into the body of believers. And he began to encourage him to be a follower and an imitator of Jesus Christ. Everybody who spiritually makes it has a mentor.
You know, the name John Wesley? Founder of the Methodist Church? Shook two continents for the glory of God? Hey, he spiritually made it! You know why? He had an older man by the name of Peter Boehler. He came alongside of him and mentored him in his walk and relationship with God. William Carey. You know the name? Father of modern missions. First missionary to India. Opened up that whole country with the Gospel. He spiritually made it! You know why? Because he had a man by the name of Andrew Fuller, who came alongside of him. And what did he do? He inspired him to obedience. He plugged him into a body of believers. And he taught him to be a follower and an imitator of Jesus Christ. My hero of the faith? A man by the name of D.L. Moody. The greatest evangelist of the Victorian era. [He] spiritually made it. You know why? Because he had an older man by the name of Edward Kimball, who came alongside of him. And what did he do? Inspired him to obedience. Plugged him into the body of believers. And began to teach him to be an imitator and follower of Jesus Christ.
How Pastor Mike Himself was Discipled
I want you to know I spiritually made it. Well, I'm spiritually making it. But as a young man, I spiritually made it. I got on my feet spiritually. You know why? Because I had a man come alongside of me. In fact, I got saved at the age of 18. First Christian in my home. Humanly speaking, I should have never spiritually made it! The only time I ever heard the name of “Jesus” in my household, it was used in a curse word. And when I put my faith and trust in Jesus at 17, my father did everything in his power to drive Christianity out of my life.
But I had a man 15 years my senior. 35 years of age. And by the way, when you're 17, 35 years of age [is as though] he might as well [have] been 135. Are you with me? Isn't that the way it is? And this guy, and I had nothing in common. He was married with two kids. He was short. He was round. He was Hispanic. He was missing a finger, okay? We had nothing in common! And as a 17-year old cool kid, I didn't want to do anything. I didn't have anything to do with this guy! But this guy just came alongside of me. And he loved me so much that I just started spending time with him. I remember the first time I [had’ ever missed church. After church, he called me, “Mike, I missed you.” Next Sunday, he was at my door. He says, “I'm here. This way, you will never miss church again.” He was mentoring me.
I remember that he and I were working together in a kitchen. And I just want you to know something - that I was not always the angel that I am today. And I had a hard time with my language, with my mouth, okay? And I could just string out a string of vulgarities. And so, I was working in the kitchen and a little bit of pressure. So, one day, I was just - I would just give this waitress every bad and dirty word I could think of in my vocabulary. But I was just going at it - like a machine gun. You know, I can preach pretty fast, right? And it's always been that way! And I was just giving it to her. And I remember Jim was over there. And all of a sudden, Jim, I mean, he was 35 years of age. He was short, he was round, he had one finger. But he came up to me. And he, I'm not kidding you, he slammed me against the wall. He took his stubby little finger. He put it in my face. And I remember looking at Jim kind of horrified, “What are you doing? I'm getting embarrassed.” And [he] began to shake his little finger in my face. I began to see tears stream down his face and he says, “Mike, don't you dare take the name of my Lord like that. He says you are Christian. Start acting like it!”
You know what is discipleship? Because [you know] what it did for me? You can guess. That was the last time, as far as I know. All right? If I get to heaven, and I'm proven wrong right now, okay. You can all just look at me, and I know what you're looking at me about. All right? As far as you know, that was it! My mouth was cleaned up. I spiritually made it because of that man. Spiritually made it. When I graduated from university, he was there. When I got married, he was there. You know, when I graduated from Bible college, he was there. I mean, this guy. I mean, for next 20 years of my life, he was checking in on me. He doesn't check in on me anymore. That's okay. But I made it! I spiritually made it because everybody who spiritually makes it has a mentor.
A Risque Encounter & Discipleship Matters
[I remember] in the late 1990s, I was invited by Andersen Air Force Base on the island of Guam to preach a revival meeting for the United States Air Force. And we had good meetings. We saw many people come to trust God as their Savior. And at the end of those meetings, the chaplain and his wife, my wife and I went out to dinner.
And we went to one of these western steak houses, you know? I'm talking about - I mean - you walk in [and] there's like peanut shells all over the floor, all the waiters’ cowboy hats... you know? Cowboy vest, ropes on the wall, and it was a steak house, you know? And so, he took us to dinner. And as we're sitting there eating dinner, I did not know that it was one of those steak houses that in the middle of dinner, every like every 15 minutes, this line of ladies come out and they line-dance. You don't [know what] line dancing is? Should I give you an example? The first service said that too. And I said, “Not a chance!” Okay? I'm not going to embarrass myself, all right? Because you'll get distracted, you know? I can't do it. But you know what line dancing is?
So, these 12 ladies came out and they hooked arms, and you know, they began to, you know, line dance, kick their legs. And the interesting thing about these ladies is how they were dressed. Cowboy hat, 34:32 bright red tube top, all-exposed, short shorts, cowboy boots... Okay. So, they come out and you know, sure enough, right? These two preachers [with] their wives [in the] middle [of] the table, and they’re right next to us! [They were] just kicking their legs! You know, doing their line dance.
I'm looking down on my steak. “Look at this preacher! I'm just [trying] to get a rise out of you, you know?” (What Pastor Mike thinks the ladies are thinking). And so, I'm sitting there eating my steak. Try not to pay attention. And all of a sudden, one of these ladies, these line dancers, drops to one knee, puts her elbow on my knee, her head on her fist or chin. And she looks at me in the eyes and she says, “Preacher…” I'm thinking, “Is there a sign on me or something? How do you know [I am a] preacher?”
She said, “Preacher, I was in your meetings last night, and I placed my faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Thank you for preaching the word.” 35:25 She got up, and she continued her line dance. And remember, I looked over at the chaplain, I said, “Chaplain, 35:35 if that young lady doesn't get discipleship, she's not going to spiritually make it.”
The Great Commission is About Evangelism with Discipleship
And friends, you realize, everybody who spiritually makes it is discipled. And we fulfill the Great Commission. We make disciples. When we are busy about His work, and that is evangelizing [to the] lost, discipling these new believers. And if we're going to faithfully carry out this Great Commission, listen to this, we must then with equal passion - we must with equal passion be evangelizing the lost and discipling these new believers. Did you catch that? It means this. It means, it's not enough for us. And we're not fulfilling the Great Commission if all we're doing is evangelizing the lost. Are you with me? I mean, if we moved to Punggol, and all of a sudden, our 1200 seat auditorium, you know, just keeps growing. And keeps growing. And keeps growing but we're not discipling those new believers, we are not fulfilling the Great Commission! Are you with me? All we're doing is growing. We're not baptizing! We're not inspiring to obedience! We are not plugging [them] into the body of Christ! And we are not teaching them to be followers and imitators of Jesus Christ.
Listen, it's not enough for us simply to preach a gospel message and have people raise your hand and pray a simple prayer of faith. If we are not taking them from there into discipleship and reproducing ourselves in them, we are not fulfilling the Great Commission! Are you with me? Why? Because it demands an equal passion of evangelizing [the] lost and discipling those new believers. And yet, on the other hand, do you realize that - if this church never grows beyond this body - then every Sunday, Pastor Jason is up here preaching to the very same people. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year. If you and your spiritual family have been teaching the same group of people the precepts of Christ, week after week, month after month, year after year, and you've had no new life, you've seen nobody saved. There's been no spiritual growth! Then you're not making disciples. And you're not fulfilling the Great Commission. And we are not about His business. Because you see, evangelism is not complete without discipleship. But you [can] have discipleship without evangelism. Because making disciples demands an equal passion of evangelizing the lost, and then discipling those new believers.
And we need to keep that in balance because as people, we get so out of balance, don't we? You know? We evangelize. All we do is disciple. God wants us to do both! We have to have an equal passion. That’s what it means when He says make disciples. That's what the Great Commission is. That's our main business. It's not just evangelism. And it's not just discipleship. It's evangelism and discipleship, working hand in hand with the body of Christ. And that's our main business. That's why we're here. And that's exactly what God wants us to do.
So here's the third question. And then we're done here. This morning, here it is. What happens when the church is making disciples? All right? So, what happens? Here's the answer: Very simply, when the church of Jesus Christ is with equal passion seeking to save the lost, and discipling those to whom the Lord gives us, we will turn our world upside down. You say, “How do you know that?” Because that's exactly what happened with the early church. They literally turned their world upside down! Because you know, when Jesus called these men to follow Him, did you know that He didn't give them one spiritual meal and say, “Hey, I'll see you at the cross!” Jesus didn't just take them [through] a series of lessons and said, “Well, I hope you make it! I hope you can fulfill the Great Commission. Hope you can reach your world...” What did Jesus do? Jesus made disciples of these men. He reproduced Himself in them. So, they went out evangelizing the lost and discipling those new believers. And they turned their world upside down.
How Jesus Discipled the Twelve
So, here's the question, “How did Jesus do it?” Well, let me give you five simple thoughts. Okay? And this is where the message began. So, we'll be done within the next hour (!) But five thoughts - are you with me? All right, five simple thoughts. All right. Number one, how did Jesus do it? Well, first of all, He called him to follow Him. He said, “Follow Me.” I'll say that was His call to salvation. Follow Me. Trust Me. All right, put your faith in Me. So, He called them to salvation, “Follow Me”. That's the evangelistic side.
And then He had a four-fold approach to discipleship. Number one, what did He do? He simply spent time with His disciples. You just spend time with them. Now, of course, He didn't spend 24/7 with His disciples. But He spent a lot of time with them, did He not? Absolutely. They travelled together. They ate together. They slept together. 40:28 I mean, they ministered together. I mean, He simply spent time with His disciples. And I want you to know something. You will never make disciples. You will never reproduce yourself in a person if all you do is have a series of four lessons, and you spend one hour a week with a person for four weeks. It's not discipleship! You're just satisfying your guilty conscience saying, “Ah, you know, at least I've done something.” Hey, listen! Discipleship demands some time, Demands some effort. Jesus spent time with His disciples. And if you read the Bible, you'll see that He spent a lot of time with His disciples, right? Or are we reading the same Bible? You guys still out there? I see you. We spend time with them.
Number two, He taught them. It's interesting. He taught them. He taught them formally and informally. He had moments like this: Sermon on the Mount. He taught them, you know, didactic teaching. He taught them the Word of God. But most of the time, He taught them informally as they spent time together. And as they travelled, He used the things of life to furnish Him with opportunities to share truth. They were going through a vineyard, and He stopped. And He taught them those great spiritual lessons of John chapter 15. About abiding in the vine. So your fruit, your life becomes fruitful. He taught them. He answered their questions, because He spent time with them. He taught them. You need to teach those to whom God gives us in salvation. And then He simply showed them how to do the work of the ministry as they spend time with Him. And as He taught them, He began to show them how to how to preach, how to teach, how to handle the religious leaders of their day. All right? How to answer their tricky questions. He taught them. You see, when they needed a practical lesson in life, what did He do? He dropped to His knees, and He grabbed their feet. And He began to wash their feet to teach them a beautiful lesson on servant leadership.
Showed them how to do the work of the ministry. He showed them how to raise the dead, and how to heal the sick. He showed them how to access, as it were, the power of God. Then He let them do ministry. He let them. He got them involved. Pretty soon, by the time you hit to Matthew chapter 10, it's amazing how quickly time passed, that He said, “Go out now and go out and heal the sick. And cast out demons. Go out and preach the gospel.” And that was His method of discipleship. He said, “Follow Me”. Brought them into a life-changing relationship with Himself. And then He spent time with them. And in the process, He taught them and then He showed them how to live the Christian life. And then, He let them do the work of the ministry.
And here's the question, “Was Jesus successful?” Did Jesus disciple these men? The answer is absolutely, yes! Friends, do you realize that in a span of 40 years - these original 12 disciples and 120 others that they discipled - history says that [they took] the gospel to 30% of the known world. And they became known as men and women who turned their world upside down. And that's what happens when the church of Jesus Christ begins to with an equal passion, begin to evangelize the lost and disciple those who have been saved.
You will turn your world upside down question. Do you want to turn your world upside down? Do you want to see men and women come into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ? [Do] you want to see your family members, your relatives, your loved ones, your colleagues, this city and the world around us come into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ? Then we must take seriously our Lord's words. And we must heed His command. And we must be about His business. And that's the business of making disciples of men. And you see, when we as a church, have evangelism and discipleship, working hand in hand, we're going to make a difference. When this church gets those two things together, evangelism and discipleship, then we're about His business. All of us playing our part. All of us doing something for the glory of God. All of us engaged and involved in this ministry of evangelism and discipleship. We're going to start seeing souls saved on a regular basis. Your family members are going to come to Christ. People are going to get saved. People are going to take notice of Jesus. He is here and He is working in and through you. People are going to be going growing deep in their walk and relationship with Jesus. They're going to begin maturing, reaching their God-given potential. These are going to go on in the ministry. Our church is going to expand. Ministries will be started. Missionaries will be sent forth. Missions will go forward. Each and every one of us will have a deep sense in our heart that we are fulfilling the Great Commission. So, if we're going to reach this world, we must be about His business. And that is the business of making disciples of men.
As I mentioned earlier, there's some four and a half billion people on planet earth, who do not know Christ. You know, if you took these four and a half billion people and put them in a single file line, they would wrap our earth some 25 times. Please imagine 25 lines of people each marching, step by step to an eternal hell. And friends, we who know the truth must take the truth to those who don't. But this is the world in which we live is going to be reached. And that's why the Lord gave us these final orders. That’s why He revealed to us our mission. That’s why He said to us, this is our main business.
And my challenge today is this: Let's somehow in some way, let's get involved in the business of making disciples of men. Let's go for prayer, shall we? With our heads bowed and our eyes closed.
“Lord, we just want to say ‘thank you’ this morning. We want to say ‘thank you’ today that You love us so much that You sent Your Son Jesus Christ to die on Calvary’s cross for our sin. Thank you, Jesus, for Your obedience in going to the cross, living a sinless life, thus qualifying You to be our Savior, our Redeemer, and to be our Lord. Lord, I want to pray today for each and every person who knows You as Savior, and as Lord [they’re] here in this in this auditorium today, Lord, I pray that You would restore to our hearts with the reality of this Great Commission. Lord, I know that this is not a new truth to any of us. But Lord, maybe some of us today are out of balance. Maybe some of us just needed some clarity today. And so, I pray and help us to be balanced, that we would, in obedience [to] Your word, that we would be going. So we could be making disciples. We would go and take this wonderful life-changing message of salvation to a lost and dying world, and yet at the same time. But those whom who You give us in salvation, that we might help them and inspire them to obedience and plug them into this local body, and teach them to be followers and imitators of You. Lord, I pray that You would restore unto us the joy of Your salvation, and renew within our hearts a right spirit that we might serve You in a right way for Your glory. So, take Your word today, stir us to this matter of our main business of making disciples of all nations. Speak now, we pray, and we ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen. God bless you this morning.
More Episodes from Pastor Mike Redick:
23 Jul 2023
II Samuel 11-12 Satisfied?
13 Aug 2017
13 Nov 2016
06 Nov 2016
25 Dec 2015
21 Jun 2015
20 Jun 2015
20 Jun 2015
Episodes from other sermons:
31 Dec 2023
24 Dec 2023
10 Dec 2023
03 Dec 2023
26 Nov 2023
23 Jul 2023
18 Jun 2023
28 May 2023