DISCIPLES ARE TO GO. These were some of the last words Jesus spoke before he ascended to the throne. He said GO. This is what I want to talk about today – GO!
By Pastor Delbert Young
Scriptures: John 8:44; Matthew 28:19-20; Matthew 10:1; Matthew 10:5-8; Matthew 21:42-43; 1 Corinthians 2:2; Matthew 10:19
We will finish our series today called Disciple. My goal was/is to challenge you concerning how you perceive your walk with the Lord. I have attempted to cause you to redefine. I want you to know how it is supposed to be if you are a Christ Follower and not to be simply status quo and part of a “Christian belief system.” We should have some idea of the difference between a DISCIPLE and a “Christian.” The two should be identical. However, they are not, at least not in our society today. To me, it is sort of like the Jews in the days of Jesus and some today. They “believed” because they were descendents of Abraham’s, they were “bound for heaven.” The truth was they were deceived and children of the devil bound for hell and destruction.
John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.
We don’t want to be deceived that way. To begin today, I want to ask you something. If you knew that what you were about to say would be the last thing you would say to people, what would you say? For example, if I knew this would be my last opportunity to talk to you before I died, what would I say to you? Out of everything I have said over the 20 plus years, what would I chose to say last? I think I know what it would be, but because this is not that time, I won’t try. However, I do want you to see the last thing Jesus said to his DISCIPLES before he ascended. It’s the heartbeat and philosophy of his ministry.
Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore GO 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 I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(1) DISCIPLES ARE TO GO. These were some of the last words Jesus spoke before he ascended to the throne. He said GO. This is what I want to talk about today – GO! Jesus is talking to DISCIPLES. He tells DISCIPLES to GO and make what? …make DISCIPLES – learners, pupils, imitators. He did not say go make Christians. It seems to me that church today is in the business of making Christians, i.e. “Do you “believe” that Jesus is…” and we allow people to stop there under the assumption that is all there is to it. Have you allowed yourself and your children to stop there? If I allow that here, I am not doing what Jesus told DISCIPLES to do. Jesus said make DISCIPLES.Baptize them in the name of – persons, not only water. Teach them everything you know. DISCIPLES are to GO!
Let’s think about that a minute. Is that how we do it today? It seems we changed the GO to come.We do all we can to get people to come. We try to get people to come by having buildings and billboards. We try to do it with productions like Easter Dramas and Christmas plays. We do concerts. Even our Vacation Bible Schools (Kings Kastle), student ministries, children ministries, etc focus on getting people to come. You name it and we will do it to get people to come. Don’t hear me wrong. I think we should do everything with excellence and in a way that people will want to come and comeback. However, what did Jesus say to do? He said GO.
In Matthew chapter 10, Jesus is sending out his DISCIPLES. Let’s draw some simple principles from this concerning how a DISCIPLE should GO.
Matthew 10:1 He called his twelve disciples to him and GAVE THEM AUTHORITY to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
Jesus actually gives his DISCIPLES – learners, pupils, imitators – authority. He empowers them to deliver and empowers them to heal. Yet, I do not see a lot of “Christians” doing much of either. You might ask yourself, “When was the last time I prayed for someone to be healed or delivered?” Every single disciple is listed in verses 2-4.
Matthew 10:5-8 These twelve Jesus SENT OUT with the following INSTRUCTIONS: “Do not GO among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. GO rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you GO, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
(2) DISCIPLES GO WITH INSTRUCTIONS. Notice the specifics and clarity of the instructionas to who you are to go. According to prophecy, Christ must come and first offer the gospel of the kingdom to Israel (Dan 9:24-27; Deu 32; etc) who would reject the gospel and the Christ. That demonic religious system would be destroyed and, as we read previously, the instructions changed and the gospel would go to the nations – Gentiles. (Mat 21:43; Mat 28:19; Isa 28:16).
Matthew 21:42-43 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? “THEREFORE I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.
My point is that God had a plan thousands of years ago to reach you and make it possible for you to come into the kingdom of God. He implemented that plan through DISCIPLES. Now it is your turn. To whom has Jesus given you instructions to GO? Are you GOING to anyone? It could mean GOING overseas as a missionary, or it could mean GOING to that person sitting next to you at school. It could mean GOING to a friend, or it could mean GOING to an enemy. My point is not one DISCIPLE is released from INSTRUCTIONS TO GO.
For years on the first Sunday of each year, I give you outreach cards and ask that you write the names of people you want to see enter the kingdom. We light a candle and pray for them, but do you ever GO to them? To whom did you GO so far this year?
Matthew 10:7 As you GO, PREACH THIS MESSAGE: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’
That’s it? That’s all they were to tell people? What about hell? Shouldn’t we tell them about hell? What about the Great Tribulation? Shouldn’t we tell them about that? What did Jesus say to proclaim? “The presence of God is so near to you.” Here is my point. (3) DISCIPLES GO WITH A SIMPLE MESSAGE. Sometimes we think we have to be theologians with at least an Associate’s degree in Biblical Studies to tell someone about the kingdom of God. Jesus said to tell people the kingdom of God is near. They can access it through Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul said it this way…
1Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
The truth is sin separates you from God. You know in your heart sin does that without anyone telling you. That is why God hates sin. It separates people from him. He is a holy pure God, but he loves you and wants you close to him. So, through Jesus, God made a way for you to enter the kingdom of heaven – God’s presence and the way things should be done on earth. The way is through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Through Christ’s sacrifice and blood, God forgives your sins and now you can experience the presence of God in your life. You can experience God’s love, God’s peace, and God’s joy. Pretty simple message, right?
If you are anything like most people, the thought of GOING out and talking about this horrifies you. It’s just because you need some practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets. You fear you may get in a conversation where you don’t know what to say. “What if someone asks me a question? What if I get in a place where I’m supposed to answer, and I don’t know the answer?” Well, hopefully they will ask questions. When Jesus told his DISCIPLES to GO, they too must have been concerned about this same thing. What would happen if they did not know what to say? Here is what Jesus told them and this will work even when under extreme pressure like being arrested.
Matthew 10:19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. AT THAT TIME you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
At that time, at that moment, God is going to give you the words to say. This is one of the most amazing promises in scripture. You GO where God instructs you to GO, and he will give you the words to say every time. I cannot tell you the times this happened to me. I would be talking to someone and they would ask something. I did not know what to say. I kind of smile, stall, and inwardly pray, “God, give me something to say.” And then a verse of scripture pops into my mind, or a word of wisdom comes. Sometimes people think I am so sharp when actually all I did was stall long enough for the Spirit of God to speak through me.
Matthew 10:7-8 As you GO, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ HEAL THE SICK, RAISE THE DEAD, CLEANSE THOSE WHO HAVE LEPROSY, DRIVE OUT DEMONS. Freely you have received, freely give.
(4) THE DISCIPLE WILL GO CONNECTING THE SIMPLE MESSAGE WITHCOMPASSION. One is incomplete without the other, but when you combine the message with compassion, they become an irresistible force. I know people full of the message, but empty of compassion. I know people full of compassion, but empty of the message. Allow me to vent. Some churches claim to be “evangelical” meaning their emphasis is “getting people saved.” They sort of have the message part, but when it comes to healing, or delivering, they say something like, “If it’s God’s will to heal them, he will.” They do not believe in laying hands on people today for healing or deliverance. The other side of church is people who want to lay hands on each other for healing and deliverance, but do not seem to care if people are going to hell. A DISCIPLE combines the message with the ministry of compassion. Here at Life Gate, I try to do both and to teach you to do both. So, when was the last time that you told someone the message about Jesus and his kingdom and combined that with compassion?
I don’t necessarily mean you had to lay hands on them and cast out a devil. I mean when was the last time you did something sweet for someone with the intention of making a DISCIPLE? You might say that is doing something nice with an ulterior motive. Exactly. Is that not what Jesus did and told his DISCIPLES to do?
I read something that spoke to me concerning this. I need to ask you a question. How many would say you have at least one pound of extra body fat on your body? How many wish you only had one pound of extra body fat on your body? Did you know that it cost about $1.50 per month to maintain that extra pound of body fat? One dollar and fifty cents worth of food a month will maintain one extra pound of body fat. So, if you have many pounds… What’s your point Delbert? Leave us alone, right? Well, here is the point. One dollar and fifty cents per month is more than ninety percent of Christians gave to missions last year. I thought about last year when I taught on OUTREACH. I asked you to add a few dollars a week to go totally toward reaching people. It embarrassed me how few responded. I talk to you frequently about alms giving so we can show compassion to needy and poor people. Jesus said “when you give alms,” not if… It is sad how few of you give alms and it is not because you do not know to give. At least, you do not give here.
What does that say? Christians – those in the Christian belief system – do not have compassion. “Christians” believe in Jesus, but they do not follow the instruction to GO. They do not take the message of the kingdom and if they do, they do not combine the message with compassion. Most often, they do neither. To me, there is a profound difference between a Christian and a DISCIPLE.How much did you give last year to missions and alms? Don’t hear this wrong. It’s not the lack of your giving money that breaks God’s heart. It’s the lack of compassion. Giving is simply a thermometer. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat 6:12). Giving simply shows where the heart is.
We have compassion on stray dogs and cats. We love our houses and cars and clothes. We will spend $20 to have a car detailed, but never even think about giving alms. We will agonize about where we want to go eat and spend $50 when there are kids all over the world that did not eat today. There are babies being born with AIDS this moment. There are countries infected with disease and pandemics. There is poverty in our own community and around the world, and we just don’t care that much. It’s not that we don’t care at all. It’s that we find some way to NOT think about it because if we think about it we will have to GO and do something. And, honestly, we don’t want to do anything. We would rather be comfortable. We were not called to be comfortable Christians. We are called to beDISCIPLES who GO and change the world by reaching one person at a time.
How many of you have been blessed by God? Have you really? Let’s read that passage one more time with compassion.
Matthew 10:7-8 As you GO, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. FREELY YOU HAVE RECEIVED, FREELY GIVE.
(5) A DISCIPLE WILL GO AND FREELY GIVE. You have so much and you have so much to give. You have education and abundance. You have talents and abilities. God has so blessed you and you received it FREELY. You have no problems receiving. It’s now time to give. I hear so many “Christians” say, “I’m blessed. I’m blessed. I’m blessed.” Well, that’s just great, but that’s not the question. Are you FREELY GIVING? A DISCIPLE will freely give.
How many see clearly that Jesus told his “DISCIPLES”… GO WITH INSTRUCTION, GO WITH A SIMPLE MESSAGE, GO CONNECTING THE SIMPLE MESSAGE WITH COMPASSION, andFREELY GIVE? Pretty clear, right. Okay, it’s that time of the service to challenge us. Let’s pray.
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