An Excerpt from a sermon on January 22,1984
We Must Have Strategies to Pursue the Lost
These three truths lead to an inevitable conclusion about the priorities of Bethlehem Baptist Church.
1.Truth one: God sent his Son into the world to save sinners from every nation so that they would glorify him for his mercy (Romans 15:9; 1 Timothy 1:15).
2.Truth two: this purpose of God has not yet been completed.
3.Truth three: Christ has passed on to the church his mission to seek and save the lost. As long as this age lasts, our charge from Jesus is to tell of his salvation with our lips and show his love with our lives so that people from every tongue and tribe and nation (Revelation 5:9) will be saved by faith and give him glory for his mercy.
The conclusion that follows from these three truths is that strategies and actions to seek and save the lost (especially where they have least opportunity to hear the gospel) must have high priority in the life of our church.
The Gospel According to Matthew has multiple purposes. We should see the Great Commission at the end as giving us one of these purposes (possibly the most important one). That purpose is “go and make disciples.” Making disciples consists of “baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that [Jesus] commanded and that he is with them always.”
It is in this Gospel (and the others) which gives us our understanding of baptism. It is here that we see more clearly the doctrine of the Trinity. The teachings of Jesus are abundant. However, not only do we read what Jesus taught but how he taught it. If we are to teach the disciple all that Jesus commanded we need to look back to what preceeded the Commission.
In discipleship, content and method are the essential elements. We see Jesus teaching and then showing the disciples how to do it by way of example. So, teaching the disciple to observe is not merely repeating facts. And this cannot happen if the teacher is not with the disciple. By this I think I mean two things: (1) The teacher with the disciple and (2) The Teacher (through the Holy Spirit) with the teacher and disciple.
Over the next few months, we will walk through the Gospels attempting to see various aspects of discipleship. Now let’s observe the content and methods used by Jesus. I hope to point out the big picture items and the methodology of Jesus beginning in Matthew.
Here are a couple observations from Matthew 1:1-17 (written by one of Christ’s disciples)
- This is not the beginning but the revealing of the Promised One. Therefore, we should work hard at teaching fulfillment in Christ.
- This is proof enough that disciples should read the whole counsel of God. Reading and hearing the word is vital in discipleship.
Acts 19:9-10 9 But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. 10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.
This is our hope and desire of discipleship.