South Sydney Anglican Church
31 January 2021

Christians have been Commissioned to make Disciples

Speaker: Matt Johnson

Bible Passage: Matthew 28: 16-20

Big Idea:       Christians have been Commissioned to make Disciples

 Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 28:17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Mt 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 28:20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Point 1:          Christians have been Commanded to Make Disciples

Point 2:          Christians are Compelled by love to Make Disciples

Point 3:          Christians can make Disciples because Jesus is with us

Big Idea:       Christians have been Commissioned to make Disciples

Intro:              Well morning friends and visitors. My name is Matt Johnson and today we are beginning a new sermon series called; “Making Disciples”. Christianity is not meant to be a private religion where we simply read the Bible and keep it to ourselves. Rather, what we learn about God(and Jesus) is meant to be shouted from the rooftops and shared with the world. So let me pray as we begin this new sermon series.

PRAYER:

 Well friends, I am excited about this Sermon Series because we are now preparing for a Mission Week (in the last week of March). Now I know some of you will be thinking; “Matt, what is a Mission Week?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Every couple of years our church partners with Moore Bible College to have one full on, intense week, where we try to share the good news of Jesus with as many people as possible. We hand out FLYERS. We run SAUSAGE SIZZLES in the park. We have special MENS and WOMEN’S events – so we can share our Christian faith.

So in the last week of March Moore College in Newtown will send us 11-12 students and a Bible college lecturer to help us share the good news of Jesus. This gives the college students an opportunity to learn AND it gives us 11-12 extra people to work full-time for an entire week. Now remember  (SLIDE 2) our CHURCH VISION is to be a communbity overflowing with faith, hope and love in Jesus. That’s what we want to see happening. Jesus touching more and more people’s lives. Now the way we overflow with faith, hope and love is (ENTER) by each of us living by faith, hope and love, each of us growing in faith, hope and love and finally each of us sharing our faith, hope and love. The problem is many Christians never get to step 3; sharing their faith, hope and love. That is – we really do steps 1 & steps 2 well. We are real Christians who trust in Jesus and are going to heaven. So you are saved.

But there comes a point where mature Christians actually start sharing their faith, hope and love in Jesus – with other people. As we mature as Christian’s we begin to realise that THE BEST THING we can ever do for another person is introduce them to Jesus. That is absolutely the best thing any of us can do with our lives. Help another person become a Christian. That’s why OUR VISION inlcudes the world OVERFLOW. We want to be peoplewho are so filled with the good news of Jesus that it fills us and overflows through us to others. That’s the goal.

But I also know that for many of us sharing our faith is hard. We either don’t know where to start OR we’re introverts and we just don’t want to start. So we are doing this sermon seriesto think about the WHY, WHAT and HOW of Making disciples. Then in March (this year) we are going to have some MOORE COLLEGE STUDENTS spend an entire week in our church helping us apply and do the things we have learnt in this series. So my first point today – is that; 

Point 1:         Christians have been Commanded to Make Disciples

Show:                        Matt.28:18-20 (READ)

Explain:        Well these are some of JESUS’ FINAL WORDS to his disciples. After DYING on the cross for our sins and then RISING from the grave – Jesus told his disciples to go and make more disciples. This is what Christians are meant to do – make disciples. This is what churches are meant to do – make disciples. This is not Jesus’ great suggestion. This is Jesus’ great commission. This what he told us to do. Make disciples. Overflow…

Now there are a couple of things in this passage I want to draw to your attention (that don’t automatically come out in the English) (Slide 3). Now first, please notice the word “ALL” gets repeated four times in the original. Greek text. Jesus’ command to MAKE DISCIPLES is all encompassing, all embracing. It is a UNIVERSAL command, with UNIVERAL application. First, Jesus gives this instruction with ALL authority. There is no higher authority than Jesus.  No authority that can nullify or over-rule this command. Second, this command is inclusive of ALL people. There is no people group who should be ignored or written off. Third, the command is to include all of Jesus’ teaching. Not watered down or changed. Rather, we are to teach people ALL Jesus said – even the hard bits. And finally, Jesus command is for always. Literally “all ages”. There is no age between Jesus’ first coming and second coming where the church stops making disciples. This is an all encompassing, universal command that Jesus has given to the church. What do we do? We make disciples.

 And the key word in this whole instruction is “MAKE”. The word “MAKE” is a COMMAND. It is an IMPERATIVE VERB. The words go (or going), baptizing and teaching (all in yellow) are called PARTICIPLES. They are dependent on the word make and they explain how to make disciples. We make disciples by going, baptising and teaching. But the key word is “MAKE”. We the church are meant to make disciples.

Now at one level Jesus has just told us how to make disciples. We make disciples by going, baptising and teaching. But what does that look like in our daily lives. Do go to Ward Park or NCIE swimming pool AND jump on people while their swimming and say “in the name of the Father , the Son and Holy Spirit I baptize you….” I mean we could try that. We’re going to the pool and we’re baptizing people… But I suspect we may end up with black eyes and a few of us will probably get locked up. So lets NOT do that in Mission Week. The reality is – as we go through life AND go about our business we are meant to ENGAGE with people as Christians. WE NEED to be honest about being Christians. WE NEED to be as willing to speak about Jesus as the gay communbity is willing to fly the rainbow flag. AND WE NEED to have the courage to challenge people’s misconceptions about Jesus. To start the whole making disciples process we need to begin by engaging with people who are not yet Christians.

Illustrate:      So for this mission week in March we are going with the theme Eternity (Slide 4). We are going to use the Eternity image for our Mission week. Arthur Stace (who made this word famous in Sydney) was born in Redfern in 1885 – the same year our church was built. (1885). He was born to alcoholic parents here in Redfern and by the age of 12 he became A WARD OF THE STATE. By 15 – Arthur was also an alcoholic. He supported his alcohol addiction through break and enters AND by being a lookout for his sister’s illegal brothel. He was constantly in and out of prison for petty crime. Arthur was the real deal – a Redfern boy through and through. But in 1930, aged 45 – Arthur Stace heard a sermon in St Barnabas Anglican church on Broadway (and became a Christian). He gradually gave up the grog. Then about 12 months later Arthur heard a sermon about Eternity (by a guest preacher) named John Ridley. It was based on Isaiah 57:15 which says; (ENTER). Now Arthur was illiterate. He didn’t know how to read or write.

But he taught himself how to write “Eternity” in perfect cursive script. And wherever Arthur went he carried white chalk in his pocket and he wrote “Eternity” on the sidewalks of Sydney to get people thinking about the bigger things of life. This was Arthur’s contribution to making disciples for Jesus. He got people to stop and think – about 1) God, 2) eternity and 3)Jesus. And incredibly, thanks to this drunk man (who converted to Christianity) Sydney was confronted by the word Eternity on NYE in the year 2000. Who says God can’t do amazing things with drunkards and petty criminals from Redfern?

Apply:            So this is our HOOK for our Mission Week. ETERNITY gets people to think about the BIGGER THINGS of life. ETERNITY has strong links to REDFERN. AND ETERNITY speaks of the power of Jesus to change even the most broken of lives. So the Church Councilthought this would be a perfect theme for our Mission Week. We’re going to make up postersand postcards and business cards with the word Eternity upon it and we’re going to start throwing them around to everyone we can. THAT’S THE START. Then as people ask (whats this all about) it’s going to give us the opportunity to 1) tell the story of Arthur Stace, 2) talk about the work of our church with hurting people in Redfern and 3) hopefully create an opportunity for us to share the good news of Jesus. Now this is our strategy And we’re orgainsing all this as a church because Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples. But we’re NOT doing it simply in OBEDIENCE. We are also doing it in love

Point 2:         Christians are Compelled by Love to Make Disciples

Show:            Matt.28:18-19 (READ)

Explain:        Just think for a moment – WHY did Jesus give us this command in the first place? (PAUSE) Was it because he thought the church needed something to do? You know, maybe to avoid boredom. Or did Jesus give us this command – because he was on a ego trip? You know, Jesus wanted to have more followers than any other religion. Was that his motivation? Friends, we know that underneath Jesus’ command there is a sincere love for the world.

Because Jesus is God’s Son, he has a very clear grasp of Eternity. Jesus knows that in Eternity there are only two outcomes – heaven or hell, with God or without God. Ultimately, everyone is going to die. A) Those who die without Jesus face eternal judgment. B) Those who die knowing Jesus as their Savior and Lord will receive eternal happiness, joy and security in the arms of God forever. This is what Jesus taught. Now knowing that in Eternity there are only two outcomes – Jesus went out of his way, left heaven and died on a cross, so that people had a chance of heaven.

(GOSPEL) The penalty for sin is death and alienation from God forever. If you say here and now – A) I don’t want to have anything to do with God, B) God will honor that decision in Eternity. God will give you in Eternity what you have chosen for yourself in this life. But that is a terrible outcome. To be cut off from God is to be cut off from everything that is good and beautiful in this world. To be cut off from God – means to be left in a place that is without light, without love and without hope – forever. Sadly, this is THE CHOICE many people are making. But Jesus went out of his way to help people make A BETTER CHOICE. Jesus left heaven and died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. Jesus did the time for our crime. And Jesus did this to demonstrate God’s love for us. Despite all that we’ve done – God still loves us enough to die for us.

Jesus was willing to do all this becaudse he knew there was no other way. There was no other way that sin could be paid for. There was no other way that people would truly comprehend the heights, the depths and the breadth of God’s love for them – until they saw it in Jesus’ arms spread upon the cross. This is how much God loves you. Love compelled Jesus to come to earth and die for our sins. Love compelled Jesus to give us the Great Commission – so that others could be saved. And love needs to compel us – to invte our friends to events, be open about our Christian faith and where appropriate share the gospel ourselves with other people.

Illustrate:      So while ETERNITY is our hook, LOVE needs to be our motivation. People need to see and hear more than the word Eternity. They need to know more than the story of Arthur Stace. They need to know about Jesus as their Savior and Lord. They then need to make A DECISION? Will they believe or not? So throughout the Mission Week we are going to run different events where we will share the good news of Jesus dying for our sins. (Slide 6) If you look at this EXCEL SPREADSHEET you can see the Moore College Team will be with us for two Sundays. They’ll help in the Church services on both Sundays. Then on the Monday night we have a women’s night – and we’ll link up with Viorica and we’ll use that as an opporunity to share the gospel. On the Tuesday – the students will all have a day off to relax and prepare for different events during the week. On the Wednesday we’ll do something special for the BBQ lunch (we normally run) and Wednesday night we’ll have a special Men’s Event. Thursday, we are partnering with Anglicare to do a special BBQ Lunch in Poets corner across the road. And Thursday night we’re going to do a young adults event. (You can work out for yourself if you fit into that category?) Friday we’ll do another BBQ in Redfern Park and get the students involved in Friday Food. And finally on the Saturday, we’ll host a special outreach lunch for our Chinese congregation and Saturday night – we’ll host a complete church event – details still pending.

Now what I’m asking everyone in the church to do is commit to TWO EVENTS during the week – apart from church on Sunday. So A) if you’re a woman we’d love you to come to a women’s event Tuesday night and the church-wide event on Saturday night. B) If you are man, it would be the men’s event and and the church-wide event on Saturday night. C) If a young adultThursday night and Saturday night. Of course, you can come to more than two events. But I’m asking you to at least commit to two events and start praying about who you could bring. And if you say your too busy or you can’t be bothered – check your ATTITUDE and check your VISION of Eternity. So I’m asking you to commit two nights to God’s kingdom in that week and start thinking about who you can bring…

Now I know some of you are thinking – I can’t get the time off OR I can’t invite anyone because I’m an introvert. But I want to say you can do it – because Jesus is with you and will help you. All it takes is a little bit of faith…

Point 3:         Christians can make Disciples because Jesus is with us

Show:            Matt.28:18-20 (READ)

Explain:        Please remember – there is nothing Jesus commands us to do, that he doesn’t also help us to do. What Jesus commands, Jesus enables. So don’t think you can’t do this. That’s Satan whispering lies. You can do this because Jesus is with you. Look again at the end – (verse 20) And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age…Now of course, Jesus is with us always as Christians. But I’d go so far as to say – that there is a special way that Jesus is with us when we take the great commission seriously. The salvation of the lost is close to Jesus heart. So when we take making disciples seriously and really step out in faith – Jesus is with us – often in miraculous, supernatural ways. In the history of the church– revivals in England, America and Africa have often been accompanied with miraculous happenings. Doors that seem closed are suddenly opened. Hearts that seem impossibly hard are melted.

And sometimes in the midst of Christian revivals – blind people have seen and the deaf have heard, and the lame have walked. Read the stories of the Welsh revivals or the Great Awakening under Jonathan Edwards or even some of the stuff in Africa with Reinhard Bonke. Every Christian conversion is a miracle of God.

Apply:            So when Jesus says he will be with us in the venture of making disciples we need to trust that this is TRUE. When we take seriously the very thing that is closest to Jesus’ heart – he promises to be with us. So who can you invite? How can you help us organize these event? There are people who are dying (and going to hell) without Jesus in Redfern, and in our workplaces, and among our friends and sadly, even in our own families. Do we care about these people enough to have a crack? You may think they’ll say no? You may think it will make no difference? But that is the whisperings of Satan. Jesus is saying you must do this and you can do this – with his help?

This may be the time your SON truly accepts Jesus as his Savior and Lord. This may be the time – your HUSBAND is humbled or your ATHEIST FRIEND recognizes their foolishness. Friends, we are church that is constantly mission (and we have baptisms every year) to prove that the gospel message works and Jesus is with us. Miracles are happenig in our midst – drug addicts are getting clean. God is using people like Arthur Staces to change the world. And in the last week of March – we are upping the ante – for one week. Eternity is forever. So who can you invite? How can you help? Start praying Gd blesses our efforts

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