Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Mission of the Church

*this is an excerpt of a sermon preached at the GBCB Youth Camp this Summer*

Matthew 28:18-20

Yesterday we spoke quite a bit about what the Church is; today I want to talk about the work of the Church. You may think that the work of the Church is not all that important to you. You are not one of the pastors, you’re just one the youth. But the fact of the matter is that this is important for you. Remember, the Church is not a building, or localized to just one group of believers. The Church consists of everyone who is a follower of Jesus. If you would consider yourself a follower of Jesus then the work of the Church is important to you, because you are part of the Church.
There have been countless causes taken up those claiming to be the church. Some were noble, some were not so noble. Take for instance the Crusades. For those of you who are not brushed up on your history, the Crusades were a serious of wars fought between the Ottoman Muslims and the European Christians. These wars were fought over land in the Middle East, not the least of which was the city of Jerusalem. As is the case in war thousands died. What makes this relevant to our subject is that the claim that these wars were fought by the church for God. In fact, many soldiers were recruited through an appeal to religion. In some cases individuals were told that if they went and fought for the “Holy Land” and died they would receive penance and go straight to heaven. The question that we are left with as we look back at history is, “were the crusades a legitimate work of the church?” Are wars, political agendas, and social causes what the church has been called to labor at? As we look at what Scripture has to say I think that we can definitively answer, no. The Church has been called to a much higher purpose than this. The church, which is Christ body, has been left a mission. In His last words on this earth Christ left us with a mission, and He left us with the tools that we need to accomplish this mission. What is this Mission? We find the answer to that question in Matthew 28:18-20.

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority
has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and bmake
disciples of call the nations, dbaptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, aI am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

I. The Work of the Church.

a. The Local Mission

Do you see what the mission is? There is a lot there, but to begin lets boil down to one thing, make disciples. Our Lord’s mission for His people is to make disciples. I think that we can all agree that it is important for us, as the Church, to follow Christ command, but what does it mean to make disciples? The force of this command is for the believer, who is a disciple of Christ, to duplicate himself wherever he may be. The term disciple means pupil, or follower, or even apprentice. With all of these words in mind I think that it is best to think of a disciple of Christ as a student learner submitted to his Teacher. This is the work. I think that it is worth pointing out that to become a student learner of Christ takes more than just a profession of faith. Let me explain what I mean by this. In order to be faithful to this mission we must do the work of evangelism, but it does not stop there. Jesus is commanding his own disciples to invest their lives in others with the purpose of making others disciples. In other words, Jesus commanded His disciples to do what He had done for them. Are you fulfilling your commission? Are you living your life in such a way that disciples are being made? These are question that we must constantly be asking. Whether or not you tell someone, “hey I am discipling you” does not matter. The goal is to get to know them, and to love them in a distinctively Christian way by doing them good spiritually. This could mean sharing what Christ has done in your life with someone who has never known Christ. This could also mean helping your Christian friends understand why you choose not to do some of the things that they choose to do. This is all a part of being the one body, a community of believers helping each other to glorify God.

to be continued...

(by the way blogger has not been publishing my pictures and I cannot figure out why, if anyone has an answer I would love to see it)


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