Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I greet you with the grace and peace of our lord and savior, Jesus the Christ. It has been a blessing to worship, grow, and serve with each of you over the past several months. I am excited for what God has in store for us as we continue to grow in Christ-likeness together. An important part of growing in Christ-likeness is discipleship. Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20,
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
One of the things about Jesus’ instructions to us that always stands out to me is the active language he used. He tells us to GO, to MAKE, to BAPTIZE, to TEACH, and to REMEMBER. Let’s take a look at each of these and how they relate to discipleship.
First, Jesus instructs us to GO. As Christ followers, we are called to go out into the world, all nations Jesus says. This means that we must live out our Christ-likeness out in the world, in our community. We cannot stay within the four walls of the church and be followers of Jesus. What are we to do when we go?
We are to MAKE disciples, followers of Jesus Christ. How do we make disciples? The truth is, we don’t. The Holy Spirit moving in and through us does. The Holy Spirit as it transforms us, begins to flow through us and begins to awaken the soul of those we encounter. Through this process, the remedy to the disease of Sin begins to transform our hearts and set us free from the power of Sin and the fear of death. As people begin to follow Christ, community is formed with Christ at the center. This community of people is the Church, the body of Christ.
As community is formed, people are BAPTIZED. Baptism is a sacrament, an outward sign of an inward work of God, in The United Methodist Church. When people are baptized, they are making a vow between them and God and them and the church. Baptism is the first act a person does as they surrender to God and confess and repent of their sin. Before and after being baptized, the church teaches people. What do we teach them?
We are to TEACH them to follow the commandments of Jesus Christ. What are those commandments?
34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40)
To teach not only means for them to know intellectually but also to believe it in their heart. In other words, we have to connect our head and our heart together to become more like Christ. As we become aware of what Christ did for us and we are transformed by the Holy Spirit, we become like Christ and share God’s love with the world. And when we go out into the world, we are told that we will be persecuted and suffer because we do not live as the world lives.
Therefore, we must REMEMBER. We must remember that Jesus is with us. He is with us in good days and he is with us in bad. The sacrament of communion is about remembering. Remembering the salvation history of God’s actions in the world.
So as we continue to grow in Christ together, I invite us to GO, to MAKE, to BAPTIZE, to TEACH, and to REMEMBER. But I also invite us to be intentional. That is why I am focused on helping us develop an intentional discipleship framework that invites each of us into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ through the development of Spiritual Disciplines that share God’s grace with us and therefore, develops Spiritual Fruit within us that then bears Kingdom Fruit through us.
If you feel God is calling you into a deeper relationship with him through discipleship, please let me know. I look forward to growing in Christ with you as we continue this journey together.
Blessings of peace,
Pastor TJ Mount