“Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28.18).
Our mission as a church is to make more and better disciples of Jesus Christ. This mission was given to the church by Jesus himself, when he told the first disciples, “Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28.18). What is a disciple of Jesus Christ? A quick answer is someone who gives their life to follow Jesus. To drill down a bit more, we could ask, what does it look like to follow Jesus? Ah! I am glad you asked!
Being a disciple of Jesus and following him is comprised of three elements. First, is knowing Jesus. This knowing is both personal and theological. What I mean is this: because Jesus is risen from the grave and alive, we can know him. Really know him. This is the personal aspect. We don’t just know the teaching of Jesus, we can know him personally. But there is also a theological side, a teaching aspect. That is, we know Jesus, as we know his teachings. We come to know Jesus more and more by reading about what he said about himself, and God, and what he came to do.
As we know Jesus, we start to trust him enough to do what he says to do. This is the second element. We start obeying Jesus’ commands. He commands us not to worry. He commands us to be humble. He commands us to love others, even enemies. He commands us to forgive. He commands us to pray. You get the picture. His commands are for our good and for our joy. And like I said earlier, as we begin to trust him, we obey him. We don’t obey perfectly, but we take steps of obedience.
What is beautiful is that as we start to obey Jesus, we know him more. And as we know him more we trust him more, we are obeying him more. As this relationship between knowing and doing continues to grow, we become more and more like him. Our identity, our heart attitudes, our desires, our thoughts, become conformed to Jesus, and we start to look more and more like Jesus in all areas of our lives. This is the last aspect of discipleship, and it’s the goal of discipleship, that we would be like Jesus, conformed to his image. May God graciously help us fulfill our mission together.