This Sunday is “Mission Sunday”, an opportunity at the beginning of the ministry season for us to be reminded what this mission is that Jesus has called us to, and how we can be more effective at living it out.
Our mission statement for Cross of Grace Church is this: “We exist to glorify God by making disciples through treasuring, living and proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.” This is how we live out the mission Christ has given us. To be disciples who make disciples.
Text: Matthew 28:16-20
1. Our Mission: Follow Christ (vv. 16-17)
The literal definition of “disciple” is “one who follows” – one who is trained by walking in the footsteps of another. That’s what Jesus’ disciples did. They followed Jesus.
Every person who truly follows Christ and worships Christ is a disciple. And that begins with a personal relationship, one-on-one, with you and Jesus. You repent and turn from your sin. You trust on Christ for forgiveness. No one can do that for you – not a parent or pastor or spouse. Each of us must know Christ personally, and respond to Him sincerely.
And when you trust on Christ, being His disciple means that is your identity. It has to be a noun before it’s a verb. You have to be before you do. We have to be a disciple of Christ before we can go and do anything in the name of Christ. Before discipleship is an activity, it must first be our identity.
2. Our Mission: Help others follow Christ (vv. 18-20a)
In the original language, verse 19 reads, “Go, all of you, disciple all nations.” Go…disciple…nations. Look at each of those words:
-“Go” – there is a sending out. But this also means “in your going, as you go”. It means starting right where you are. Right where you live – in your job, your neighborhood, your school, your home. Be intentional to go, and as you go, make disciples.
-“Go disciple” – There’s the action word. Followers of Christ help others follow Christ. Discipleship is intentionally helping someone else, little by little, to see Christ more clearly and to follow Christ more closely.
-“Go disciple nations” – We start right where we are, but we don’t stop there. The gospel call has no borders. We should be making disciples of every people, every language, everywhere.
This is our daily mission. We want to be disciples making disciples – in the community where we live and everywhere we go. We want to be followers of Christ helping others to follow Christ.
3. Our Mission: Follow Christ together (v. 20b)
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus was always careful to remind his disciples that He would never leave them. Even as He was ascending to heaven before their very eyes, even as they would watch Him leave this earth, Jesus lets them know He will never leave them.
He is telling them “I promise that I’ll always be with you.” This togetherness, this closeness, is purposeful. Jesus is reflecting unity – the perfect unity that the Trinity experiences: Father, Son, Holy Spirit, perfectly united, in perfect relationship and community with each other.
As Christians, as disciples of Jesus, we are called to reflect this unity with one another. We are not in this life alone. We need each other. And we need to help each other get plugged into a gospel community so that we can all grow together.
That means our lives together must never be contained to a Sunday morning. Disciples live life together in community, walking together, praying together, laughing together, hurting together, worshiping together, doing the work of ministry together, following Jesus…together.