Friday, April 13, 2012

From the Crock Pot of My Mind: Great Commission Discipleship

Before I took the kids to school this morning, I used a recipe my wife gave me to prepare tonight's dinner. A couple pounds of burger, some ketchup, and other stuff all got thrown into the crock pot and set to low. When we get home later, we're going to enjoy some tasty sloppy joes.

Crock pots are awesome. Often, the longer something simmers, the better it tastes when you eat it. (Sunday we had ribs and they were "fall off the bone" amazing!)

I use my mind as a crock pot sometimes (not a crack pot). I let ideas simmer there for a long time, and then when they're ready, I pull them out. Here's an example:

The crock-pot of my mind has recently been stewing on this idea of "Great Commission Discipleship". (go ahead, add it to the growing list of discipleship concepts I write about here...or here... or here) I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. I'm thinking if I were to write a book or design a class or do a sermon series on it, I would break it down as follows...
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.
Therefore -- Of course you have to start here. "Therefore" is the bridge from content to application. The content here is Jesus passing His power to His disciples so that they can accomplish His mission...

go -- This is a command that requires activity and intentionality. It is not something that can be accomplished by maintaining the status quo. Change is required to fulfill Jesus' mission.

make disciples -- This is the goal. It is more than evangelism, it is different than transferring knowledge. Making a disciple is a formative process that cannot be truly measured by counting conversions.

of all nations -- Herein lies our greatest argument for global missions. I have a couple of thoughts here:
1)In all nations, we are to make disciples of Christ, not copies of the Western church.
2)I wonder if true adherance to this command means we are more interested in sending out "disciple makers" instead of "church planters"?
baptizing them -- This would be a fun chapter. Baptism is a sign. It is deeply meaningful. A short paragraph here doesn't do it justice...but... It's about "new life", the start of the discipleship process is a recognition of the Spirit's work in making us new and the commitment on our part to be a part of that process.

in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit -- Trinitarian doctrine is cool. When we baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we recognize that they each play a significant role in our new identity and in the disciple making process. More on that below. We also understand that we are made in the image of God, so as we better understand his trinitarian nature, we better understand our selves as relational beings.
  • the Father -- The Father decrees, he elects, he initiates.
  • the Son -- The Son enacts the decree of the Father. He is the key figure in history.
  • the Holy Spirit -- The Holy Spirit enables the work of the Son.
teaching them to obey -- Discipleship is obedience. Our obedience, enabled by the Holy Spirit, allows us to abide in Christ. When we abide in Christ, we find ourselves in fellowship with the Father. Obedience, however, is not legalism. Checking off boxes is not true obedience, it is in fact rebellion. (this requires a little unpacking, but it is rooted in the autonomous choice to reject grace in favor of works)

everything I have commanded you. -- Love God, Love your neighbor, Love each other.

I am with you -- Pretty strong words; Pretty cool concept. Fulfilled in Acts 2. Best unpacked in John 14-16. Jesus is with us through the Holy Spirit.

always, to the very end of the age. -- Confidence prompts endurance. We don't stop making disciples ever, because Jesus doesn't stop being with us, ever.

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