Your Morning Coffee: 07/25/2022
Updated: Jul 27, 2022
As this is our first time together in this style of devotional, let me give you the lay of the land. We'll be here together, six days a week, with a prayer, a song, and some thoughts and questions about some verses from the Bible. It will be quick, with the idea that we're not replacing your devotional time with God, but sparking it into a full flame. May our brief time here together inspire and encourage you to dig deeper into worship, prayer, and time listening for God in his Bible!
In addition, each Monday's devotional will start the week by briefly revisiting the sermon, reminding ourselves of the main takeaway, and of how to put that into action in our everyday lives. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please let us know!
And with that, welcome to your first morning coffee devotional! May our Heavenly Father's name be made and kept precious in our thoughts. May we be in each moment ever mindful of the sweet sacrifice of Jesus the Son. And may he who is alive and active within us, the Holy Spirit, empower us to be the living miracles of sacrificial spouses, patient parents, faithful family, fearless friends, and abnormal acquaintances. Heavenly Father, in the name of your Son, and by the presence of your Spirit, guide our thinkings, our sayings, and our doings today. Amen!
Your Morning Song: "If I Stand" By Rich Mullins
Your Morning Scripture: Matthew 28:16-20
"Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Just few verses, but so full, so rich, so much to talk about. And if you would like a deeper conversation on these verses than this brief devotional allows, please reach out to us. We'd love to talk!
But yesterday's sermon (7/24) and today's reminder focuses on the bolded words from the verses above, "make disciples." Here Jesus is giving what is known as the "Great Commission" to his disciples. He is telling them to go and share the Gospel with the whole world, making disciples of all nations. And we often make a terrible mistake when we read these verses, or, as for many of us is more often the case, hear them read.
Jesus did not say, "make believers."
When I lived in a small little incorporated town in the western tip of Virginia called Stickleyville, I would often hear this question, "You saved? When did you get saved?" There was a hyper-focus on whether not someone was saved, but hardly anyone ever talked about what was supposed to happen after that. We get too easily caught up in the numbers game of salvation, getting people in the doors of our churches, and nothing more, as if this is all we care about.
This is a very, very serious problem for us. At best someone will experience the initial, opening, beautiful moment of salvation, and then, what? Church services? Maybe Sunday school? A Bible study? Programs? Events? Things to do. Places to be. Another list of boxes to be checked. And maybe someday this now saved someone will invite an unsaved friend to church and hope for the best, not really sure of how it all works or what comes next.
What about discipleship? How is "make believers" different than "make disciples?"
When Jesus says the imperative verb (he's telling you to do something), "make disciples," he describes this "making" in practical details with the three following participles, "Go therefore" (going), baptizing, and teaching.
Go therefore (going) - Jesus did not ask his disciples to make disciples with whoever they happened to bump into by circumstance and coincidence. He was telling them to be intentional, to go with a purpose, on purpose, to seek out those who did not believe in Jesus "in all nations," and make disciples of those unsaved people. How would we describe our "going?" Is it on purpose, with a purpose, intentional? Or is it a happenstance thing that often surprises us?
Baptizing - Jesus did not ask his disciples to make believers and see who could make the most. He did not tell the disciples to baptize believers in their own names. Rather he told them to baptize disciples, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Baptism is not meant to be a badge of belonging only to a certain church, a small slice of the kingdom. Baptism is meant to be an act of obedience, a declaration of eternal allegiance to the Christ of the whole kingdom. How do we understand baptism? Is it an old-fashioned, odd thing that we just all kind of have to do at some point? Or perhaps is it our badge of belonging that we can point to and claim it as a sign of our maturity and discernment? Does baptism speak to our own quality? Or to our obedience, our allegiance to Jesus and his mission?
Teaching - Jesus did not ask his believers to only know what he had taught them. Jesus said, "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." If you will look back at the paragraphs above, I started each section on these participles with, "Jesus did not ask..." Did you notice? He did not ask. He commanded. And now he is telling his disciples to teach others to "do" what he has commanded them "do." Jesus is not satisfied with mere "knowing," of his teachings. He wants "doing" of his teachings. How do we understand Jesus's explanation of "make disciples" by "teaching?" Who is supposed to be doing this sort of teaching? Just the pastor? Maybe some of the elders? Or is it, to varying degrees, all of us? And are we just commanded to teach head knowledge that never reaches the hands and feet? Or are we called to teach that there is no "knowing" without "doing?"
It really is as simple as this. Do I care more about my own goals and dreams and agendas, or Jesus's? Why do I daily do the things that I do? Are they to help me grab my portion of the American Dream? (Spouse, kids, house, job, car, retirement, etc) Or does my day, my stuff, my knowledge, my schedule exist to be used for God's purposes?
Jesus commands us to share the Gospel, the Good News of eternal life in him, with everyone, with our whole lives. Are we obeying him? Or are we daily living out only our own wants? Are we missing the blessing of joining Jesus in his saving work, eating dinners with sinners inviting them to be saints?