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I MISLEAD OUR CHURCH

I didn’t mean to mislead anybody, let alone our Church Family. It was completely unintentional. It was one of those times when I wasn’t as thorough as I could have been in preparation for Sunday’s sermon. It was a case of being so focused on making one point that I missed something even more foundational in our understanding of mission.

The emphasis on that particular Sunday morning was what we call “The Great Commission” – at least, Matthew’s version of that great calling. I think most Christians would say that the commission is found in Matthew 28/19,20

 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

The point I wanted to make was that those two verses were not the full story. In fact the Great Commission begins in verse 18 Matthew 28:18 (NLT)
18  Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.

The authority or the right to engage in mission is the fact that Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth and it is in His Name and by His authority is authorityHis that we dare to go into all the world and make disciples. Without His authority delegated to us, we are being incredibly presumptions to think that we have any right whatsoever to make disciples.

Without verse 18, there can be no verse 19 or 20.

I was feeling rather good about this critical observation as it related to the local Church and mission.

But as I reflected a little more on the passage, I discovered that I had, in fact, mislead the Church. In my haste to make the point about Jesus’ authority as it applies to those to whom we are to go and make disciples, I left out something that is, arguably, even more critical i.e. our response to Jesus’ authority in our own lives. We need to go back 2 verses.

Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.
 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!
(Matthew 28:16-17 (NLT)

Mission begins when we recognise Jesus’ authority in and over our own lives and we respond in worship. I offer this as a definition:

Worship is the total response of our whole being to the revelation of God

True worship is always a response, never an initiative. If God does not reveal Himself we cannot respond in worship. Anything that happens without that revelation can only be an aberration.

So, first comes revelation, “ When they saw him……”

Then comes the response, “ … they worshiped him...”

Then comes the delegation of authority. “….. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT).  This is the right we we have to go.

Finally, we are assured of His presence and power to see this through to a conclusion, “…. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” This is the might we have to make disciples

I mislead the Church. But you can be sure that this unintentional omission will be corrected in the very near future so that “omission” once again becomes “commission”.

 

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