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A Commissioned People

A Commissioned People

Matthew 28:16-20

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


Discussion Questions

  • The purpose of the church is defined by its relationship to three different audiences: God, the world, and each other. What does it mean that we have an obligation to God?
  • What does the authority of Christ have to do with the church’s mission?
  • How does the personal involvement of the Lord (see v.20b) influence how we should think about church?
  • Cory suggested that asking the question, ‘What does He want?’ is the appropriate starting point. What happens if leaders don’t start there? What happens if individuals are unwilling to ask that question? (the opposite is to ask, “what do I want for the church?)
  • What is our obligation to the world? What are some things that we can do as a church to fulfill our mission to the world? What contribution can you make?
  • What is discipleship and why does it matter?
  • What is the difference between knowledge and obedience? Do you tend to accumulate knowledge or emphasize obedience?

Application
  • What are your key takeaway(s) from the sermon?
  • What opportunities has God given for you to practice your key takeaways?
  • How is this helping you to grow spiritually?

1.7.2024

Transcript

A COMMISSIONED PEOPLE

*This transcript is generated from the sermon audio. This document has not been edited for spelling, grammar, or exactness.

You all right? If we are able to go ahead and find a Bible and get with me. Let’s go to Matthew, chapter 28, the bibles that we have here. This is on page 857. 857. I’m going to read verses 16 to 20. We’ll spend most of our time in verse is 18 to 20. But I want to read the context here. So we’ll start in verse 16. I’ll read to the end. Then we’ll pray, and we’ll get to work. It reads like this.

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.

Let’s pray. Lord, we’ve opened your word together. We’ve read from it, but we’re praying now that by your spirit, through your word, you would speak. We want to hear your voice loud and clear, and we want to know what your desire is for Park City church. So we just commit this time to you. We ask that you would please have your way. We pray this in your name. Amen.

If I look tired today, it’s because I am. Harrison had a bad dream last night and woke up, and then I got him back to sleep, but then my brain was like, let’s go. So I’ve been up since about 03:00 a.m. And I’m feeling it. So I’m praying that the Lord carries me through the assignment today. But what we’re doing now is we’re going to spend several weeks thinking through who we are as Park City church. We’ve continued to grow, and new people show up week by week. And it’s exciting, but we want to do a good job of thinking through who we are and clarifying that for ourselves and for others as well. And so we go to this famous portion of scripture, it’s called the great commission, where the Lord is commissioning his people to do what he wants them to do. And we find here, really the purpose of the church. What I want to note here is that there are three different responsibilities. So when you say, what should we be doing? We actually have to answer in regard to whom, because there are three different vocations that we have. So to speak. These aren’t my ideas. I’ve borrowed them from other places as well. But three things, I’ll share them with you. Then we’ll work our way through the passage. So every church is commissioned by the Lord and has these three realities standing behind it.

A MINISTRY TOWARD GOD: WE EXIST TO GLORIFY GOD

In the first place, we have this ministry toward God. We are to glorify him, that every church is meant to do that. The church exists to glorify God. So first off, we think in terms of that vertical relationship. But then he gives us, in the commission, two other audiences that we ought to pay attention to. The first is the world. We have a ministry to the world. The world is meant to be exposed to the reality of who Christ is and what he has done and what that means for them. The shorthand for this is the word evangelism, which is the activity of sharing the Evangel, the gospel. And so we want to be a church that is attentive to that calling. We’re to make disciples. Then the other group that we’re supposed to pay attention to, that we’re obligated to, is ourselves, that we’re to do something in the midst of our congregation that actually builds each other up. And the shorthand for this one is discipleship, meaning we need to do things in a way that people can become christians but then can become mature in their faith. And so those are the three different things. A ministry toward God, a ministry toward the world, and a ministry toward one another. Let’s look at them here in our text. First off, we are called to glorify God in verse 17. When the disciples arrived at this location that they were told to go, they saw Jesus, they saw the Lord, and they worshipped him. But some doubted. It’s an interesting thing, and we’re not going to spend a ton of time here. But what I want to say is, when people encounter the Lord, we have to create an environment where those things can happen simultaneously, where on the one hand, people can worship him because they see him for who he truly is, but on the other hand, there can be expressions of doubt. And we have to be willing to do this because otherwise we lack authenticity. So we don’t want to create a church environment where everyone comes in and they pretend to worship. They pretend, well, that’s what I should do. I’m here, so I’m going to pretend to worship. No, we want to create an environment where some of us see the glory of Christ and we fall down in worship of him. And some of us will have an experience where we say, I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on here. I don’t know what I believe. I don’t know how I land on these different things. So we want to create an environment where this is true. But then look at verse 18. He says, then Jesus came to them and said, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Jesus is telling us before he commissions us, he’s showing us who he is and his authority over all things says, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, here’s what I need you to do. So it’s drawing our attention to him, first and foremost, the church. And whatever the church is, and whatever the church would do is his prerogative. It’s his concern. He’s authorized over all things, but particularly when it comes to his people, he has a concern for us and for what we’re doing. So on the front end, we talk about his authority, but then on the back end, we talk about his own involvement. Skip down to verse 20 at the end there, halfway through verse 20, he says, surely I am with you always to the very end of the age. So we’re sandwiched between the authority of Christ and his participation in the activities of the church. The Lord is telling us whatever the church is and whatever the church might be doing, it is his concern. So he has authority over all things, and this is wielded for the sake of his bride. I’m going to share with you a paragraph from Ephesians, and we’ll put it up on the screen. You don’t necessarily have to turn there, but there’s this paragraph where Paul is writing to a local congregation, the Ephesian church, and he’s explaining what he’s hopeful for them, what he’s praying about in regard to them. But in there, he tells us the same idea, the authority of Christ. But then he gives us a purpose clause there. And it’s breathtaking, it’s surprising. Let’s look at it. It says, God raised Christ from the dead and seated him at the right hand in the heavenly realms. We’re wondering where Christ is right now. He’s at the right hand in the heavenly realms. He’s far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked not only in this age, in the present age, but also in the age to come. So he is exalted. He is above all things. He is over all things. He’s above every rule and authority, power and dominion. He’s over all of that. There’s a supremacy to the person and work of Jesus Christ. He’s above it all. And then look at verse 22. And God placed all things under his feet. This is the language of authority. Everything is subjected to him. Everything is under him. Everything is under his concern and his rule. And it says, God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything. Here’s the surprising part for the church, the authority of Christ over all of creation. He is wielding that for the sake of his bride. All authority is his and he is using it for the church, which is his body. The fullness of him, who fills everything in every way. Think about that, friends. This is breathtaking, what we’re doing right now, sitting together as a congregation. This is not small potatoes. This is at the very center of what God is doing in the world, the supremacy of Christ. And how he’s wielding his authority over all things is for the sake of this. As we work our way through a series and we discuss the local church and who we are, particularly, this is at the very heart of what God is doing in the world. So this is a big thing. This is an important thing. Jesus is Lord over everything and particularly Lord over the church. So the first audience we think about is him. That means the question that we ask is, what does he want? And that’s an important question. And not every church is asking that question, what does he want? If he’s Lord over it? What would his desire be? What would his design be for us? What does he want? Now there are places and leaders and individuals who don’t ask that question. They ask this one, what do I want? How can the church experience be for my glory? And as a leader, I feel that. I feel that often where I think about, how can I design this thing in such a way that it would be to my benefit? That’s the wrong way to go about it. We need to be thinking about the prerogative of the Lord. It’s his church. He has authority over it, he participates within it, what does he want? And then on the other side of things, for the individual, we also need to be asking that question, what does the Lord want for the local church? What is his desire? Because if we come in and we go, what do I want? The church is meant to serve me. The church is meant to be for me. And we start to look at the church and we think through, what do I want? What do I want? We ask that question. You might come in here and you go, well, you’re not doing what I want. I’ll go find another church who will. And that’s the wrong way to go about it. First off, we recognize we are called to glorify God because he has authority over his bride. And the question that we ask is, what does he want? And what I’m going to try to show you here today and in this series is, I think that there are particular things that he has for each local congregation. What does he want for Park City church, which would be different than hope church or life church or state line? What does he want for us in particular? That’s an important question that we will seek to answer along the way.

OUR MINISTRY TOWARD THE WORLD: EVANGELISM

Secondly, we have an obligation to the world. We have an obligation to evangelize the world. Let’s look at verse 19. Jesus says, all authority is given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. This is where we get the idea of being on mission. The church is sent. We are the missionary people of God. Jesus says, go, therefore go. You are deployed, you are sent, and you go out with this task in mind. You are to make disciples everywhere of all nations. You are to make disciples of all nations. And you want them to come to a place where they are baptized, baptizing them into the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit. So not only hearing the news of Christ, I’ll explain that in just a moment, but actually coming to a point of decision and trusting in him and then publicly declaring that commitment to Christ, sharing with him in baptism, going under the waters and being raised to a new life, to publicly declare I am with him and to enter then into the community of faith through that initiatory thing of baptism. So it’s saying, this is what we do. We have an obligation to the world. The world needs to know about Jesus Christ. We need to make disciples. And it doesn’t tell us exactly how to do that, which is an important thing for us to figure out. How do you make a mean, do you get a project list going and do you go retrieve the materials and then you start building this thing? How is a disciple made? And again, we don’t have it here in our paragraph, but if we look at the rest of the Bible, we can figure it out. A disciple is somebody who has committed themselves to Christ. A disciple is somebody who has been born again, a disciple is somebody who has been saved. And when we start to think about how does that happen? The Bible answers it for us in Romans chapter ten. It tells us somebody is saved when they believe in their heart and confess with their lips that Jesus is Lord. Everyone who does this, Romans chapter ten says, will be saved. It also tells us in Romans chapter ten, this happens on account of hearing the message of Christ. You hear the good news of the gospel, you hear it with your ears, then you believe it with your heart, and you confess it with your lips. So it tells us. Romans 1017. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. So there’s a message when we’re told all authority in heaven and on earth is given. Therefore, go and make disciples. That’s what we’re talking about. We’re proclaiming the gospel. We’re announcing the gospel so that people could hear it and then trust in it. We’re telling them, here’s what God has done. He sent his son. His son lived a perfect, righteous life, and he laid that life down, and he died as a sacrifice for us, paying the penalty for our disobedience and gifting us the righteousness that he alone performs. We trust in him, and we experience salvation. First, Peter says the same thing. It says that you’re born again, not by a perishable seed, but an imperishable seed. And this seed is the word of God. So he tells us, here’s what you’re to do, church. Go and make disciples. So what does that mean? It means that we want to announce the good news of the gospel so that people hear it and believe in it, that people trust in Christ for salvation and become his followers. That’s the work that we’re called to do. We’re to make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

OUR MINISTRY TOWARD EACH OTHER: DISIPLESHIP

Third, we’re called to build up those disciples. We don’t just make disciples and create spiritual orphans. The language of navigators. We’re actually supposed to make a disciple, but then help them mature. So how do we help them become who God wants them to be? Look at verse 20, teaching them to obey everything I’ve commanded you. So make disciples, but then mature them. Mature them up in the way of Christ. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. So this involves, obviously, taking the information that God gives us in his word. But it’s so much more than that. We don’t just want information. This is helpful, but what we seek to do is application. Teach them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you, not teach them to know all these things about what God is up to, but teach them to obey so as a church, we consider that a part of our calling. We need to figure out how do we help people mature in their obedience of faith? How do we help people become followers of Christ who are living out the way of Christ in real time? So this means we got to figure out application. We don’t just come to church and go, you know, I just need to hear more Bible. No, you probably have plenty of that. What you need is how are you going to live that out? How are you going to take the lessons of what God is saying and then seek to apply them? I’ll give you some ideas on this in a moment. But here we have in Matthew chapter 28, this idea that’s called the great commission, and it really is a charter document for the church. We want to be a church that is obedient to these three different audiences that we are obliged to. So I’m going to talk now about who we are specifically because I believe that every church, though this is universal, any local congregation should look to Matthew 28 and go, okay, I’ve got some marching orders here. But then when it comes to the specific congregation, what I’m going to argue is each specific congregation has a unique calling. So who are we? I mean, we’re going to be different than some of the other local churches around here. What makes us different? That’s what we’re going to seek to answer.

OUR UNIQUE IDENTITY

Now, this idea comes from a few different places. I’ll share an idea from scripture, and then I’ll give you an example of this in real time. At the end of the Bible, there’s a book called revelation. And in there, there are letters. This is chapters two and three of revelation. There are letters to seven different churches. And what’s interesting is Jesus is addressing these seven churches and they’re each different from each other. And there’s a pattern in the way in which he writes. And not every church gets all three of these, but they get almost all of them do. Here’s the pattern. He writes to a church and he draws attention, first off to himself, to something about him that will be relevant for them depending on their situation. So, for instance, he says, I’m the alpha and the omega. I know the beginning and the end, says that to a church that’s wondering how are things going to shake out? And he draws on his authority, on his person and his ministry, and then what he does, here’s the pattern. He draws attention to himself for them. Secondly, he praises them. He goes, I’ve noticed this about you guys. There’s something that you guys are doing exceptional at. You’re doing a great job, and I praise you for that. He praises them, though there are a couple that don’t get a praise report because it’s just that bad. So he praises them. Then he says, nevertheless, I’ve got this against you. Nevertheless, I hold this against you. And he brings up an issue and he says, even though you’re doing wonderful over here, this is a concern to me. And he’s calling for reform, for change. And he’s saying, I can commend this over here, but there’s something that needs to be addressed. Here’s what’s interesting, though. You zoom back and you go, each church has a different letter. Each church has a different thing that the Lord is praising them for and a different thing that the Lord is correcting them on. Every congregation in all of those seven congregations are different. Why? And if you start to think about it, there are reasons for it. One is their context. So every church is in a different location, so they’re dealing with different things. So a church that’s close to the hub of Judaism is experiencing persecution, and he’s talking to them about that. A church that’s further away is dealing with other things, but each church has its own stuff that it’s working through. The other reason why every church is different is it has different leaders and different spiritual giftedness. And so each congregation has something that they’re doing well at, but also things that the Lord wants to address. Now, let me give you an example in real time. There’s a church in South Barrington, Illinois. And I’ll say it, and many of you will probably be familiar with it. There’s a church called Willow Creek Community Church. And Willow Creek historically has been exceptional at making disciples. They’ve organized themselves in such a way that people who are far from God can come to their church and hear the good news of what God has done in the sending of his son. And people come to saving faith under the ministry of Willow Creek Community Church. And they do just a wonderful job at that, a stellar job at that. Right up the road from them is another church called Harvest Bible Chapel. And here’s why this illustration popped in my brain. There was a staff member from Harvest Bible Chapel who said, and I quote, what we do is we end up getting a lot of the new converts from Willow Creek coming to us because they’re looking for discipleship. So they become believers over here. But then as they long for more and more growth in their obedience, they go elsewhere to find that in harvest Bible chapel. That’s something that they’re actually pretty good at. And so these people come over here and then what’s interesting is as they mature people with the spiritual gift of evangelism, what do they do? They mature and then they go, I don’t like it here anymore. I need to go back to where I can use my gift and serve in that way. It’s interesting. Every church has a particular gifting that God has given to it. And in fact, though these churches would maybe talk about each other in not healthy ways, I don’t like that. I don’t like that either. But here’s the truth. South Barrington is better for having both of those churches because each of those congregations are leaning into a particular thing that they’re gifted to do. So we need to think through. Okay, core, here’s the question that might be emerging. Who are we? What is our unique calling? What are we situated to do? What’s our context and what’s our giftedness, and what are we supposed to do? And I’m trying to suggest it’s going to be different. It’s going to be different than first Baptist Machesney. It’s going to be different than hope. It’s going to be different than life church. Why is park city church here? And what is the vocation that God has given to us? And we can’t divorce it from the three things we’ve found here in Matthew, chapter 28. But we can particularize it. We can make it unique to what God is calling us to do.

EVALUATING PARK CITY IN LIGHT OF THE GREAT COMMISSION

All right, let’s look again at these different aspects, and I’ll talk through some of the things that we do purposefully to try to meet these needs. Now, I’m going to say we’re trying to be a healthy church, which means we’re going to do all three. And that’s kind of the cop out answer. So I’ll come back around. I’ll tell you how I actually think we shake out here, but glorifying God is an obvious one, right? Like asking the question, what does the Lord want for the local church? Let’s just let that one be a given. We’ll answer it over the course of this series, but let’s look at the other two of evangelism and discipleship. If we’re called to make disciples and then to teach them to obey everything, how are we doing on those? What do we do to try to accomplish those two things? Well, first off, when it comes to making disciples, we have embraced what’s called a model of church called missional so what we want to do is we want to equip and train ordinary believers to actually live on mission. And what we do then is we gather. And you’ll find that this is very important to me. We gather together, but then we deploy, we scatter, and we think that it’s important to recognize that we might share 1 hour together on a Sunday, but that leaves 167 hours to be accounted for. So instead of freighting this 1 hour expecting it to do all these different things, let’s just let it be a place where we’re being built up in Christ, and then we’re deputized and sent out. So at the end of every service, what do I say? You’re not dismissed, you’re sent. Go and be the church, please. We’re trying to remind you and really catechize you by saying that every stinking week you are to go out there, and when you show up at work tomorrow, you’re showing up as a representative of Christ. When you show up at your campus, of your school, you’re showing up as a follower of Christ. And we want to help you do that. Well, we want you to go out with that commissioning of the Lord, recognizing both his authority and his participation. But we need you to know this is our strategy we’re sending you, and we believe that that’s a great way to organize for church. The other thing that we do is we try to leverage our groups to help with this. So we don’t want you to try to do this as a solo operation, but we want you to do it in community, so that way you’re sharing with each other. Here’s what’s going on at my work. Ron, we had lunch just a little while back, and he was talking about something at work. But the beautiful thing is he shared it with his small group, and he had a small group praying for him. And then, lo and behold, God is answering those prayers, and he’s given these opportunities to glorify God in his place of work. And I could multiply that over and over again across the congregation. We want to be in a community of faith that is helping us to live our lives with gospel intentionality, and we’re doing that within the group. In fact, one of the tenets of our group ministry is we want to be paying attention to mission. So we remind our leaders over and over again, not just that you get together, but remind each other that we’re to live on mission, pray for each other, think about these things, talk about these things. We want to utilize groups for mission. We also fund this in the budget that we approved recently. Approved in there, under the group’s budget, is funding for outreach efforts at the group level so that groups will be distributed funds to do outreach events. Meaning we’re not just going to talk about it, and we’re not just going to tell you to do it. We’ll also resource you to be able to do this more effectively. So groups can be doing things like barbecues with their neighborhood or outdoor movie nights or different things, or serving their community in different ways. And we will help to resource that with literal funds. We also create outreach opportunities. I’m sorry. We create these outreach opportunities both physically and digitally, and we’ve done this historically since the launch. As a campus, we will do events where we try to make it easy for people to show up. Parking lot party with an outdoor movie night. We try to draw in the community, and we try to create these opportunities for us to interact with other people who don’t yet know Christ in a saving way. And we’ve historically done that. We do that with physical events that we try to put on the church calendar, and we do that also digitally. This one’s a surprising one, but it’s exciting to me. People live online. It’s the frontier of where the church needs to be invested. And here’s what’s interesting. We pursued a grant with Google Ads to be able to have $10,000 a month in Google Ad money. Now, listen, they don’t send us a check. I wish what they do is in our account, it’s monopoly money. So it looks as though we have $10,000 a month. And what happens is, when people are searching spiritual questions or looking for a church near them, we don’t want to be buried. We don’t want to be seven pages down. Eventually they find Park City church and anything we might do for them, we want it to be right there, nice and easy for them. So we recognize we do outreach physically, but we also leverage the Internet to be able to do these different things. Social media is ministry. It’s not promoting getting people here, it is ministry. And so we’re looking for opportunities to share the gospel there. So we’re seeking to make disciples strategically with these different things. We’re a missional church, and we’re creating these opportunities for people to hear the news of the gospel. All right, how about discipleship? Well, one of the ways that we do discipleship around here is very simply how we gather on a Sunday morning. So you’ll notice, I encourage you to pull a Bible out, and some of you have them sitting on your laps, and we’re reading scripture together, and we’re walking through it together. A part of the way that people are learning to be obedient to Christ is Sunday by Sunday through the preaching of the word. And we believe that this is an essential part of what we’re called to do as a church. We’re preaching the word, hoping that people will take this and apply it. But we also recognize this is not necessarily enough. We really want people living out the way of Christ. We need to help. And so one of the things that we’ve done is we’ve actually taken the Sunday sermon, and we’ve wet it to the small group strategy. And what we want is for people to come in here, okay? There’s a thing with knowledge where when teachers and educators study it, they said this, you will only retain around 5% of what you hear. So you come and you listen to a sermon, you’re like, okay, this dude’s talking a lot today. And you’re in your brain, like, where are we going for lunch? And then you head out of here. And according to sociologists, you’re likely to retain 5% of what you hear. Okay? So if this is the strategy for making disciples, it’s not a great investment, right? Not a great return on investment. But what if we actually encourage people who are a part of our church to go away from here and to sit together and not just rehearse what they heard, but seek to apply it, to go through what is the key takeaway that God is giving me on this lesson? And then what are the opportunities that God is giving to me to actually do this, to practice this, to obey the teachings of the Lord? And as we do that, then it gets exciting. It gets very, very exciting. So our small groups are a part of the discipleship strategy of our church. We want to help people become mature. We also offer a thing called rooted, which is a process, a ten week discipleship journey where people are able to learn spiritual practices, Bible reading, and praying, and they’re learning how to share their story, which is a part of evangelism. They’re learning how to do that, and they’re capturing what God is doing through that experience together, because we really want people to become mature followers of Christ, and we want a plan that helps them do that. We want a strategy that helps as many people as possible to do that. Another feature of our church is an emphasis on courses. And we’ve done this over the years, and we’re seeking to do more of it. It’s one of Phil’s passion projects. We’ve been talking about this for years. In fact, I did it with the youth group. So when I was at Moody Bible Institute finishing up my degree, my capstone was a thing that I called the leadership initiative. Tim Keller put it like this. He said, as we become a post christian society, it will become more and more important for regular believers to have high level training, because it’ll become more and more difficult to be a faithful follower. And he was absolutely right. And I think the pandemic just amplified all of that very quickly. And as I observe, I think, I wish we would have had a lot more of this on board. But we need regular believers to have an awareness of church history. We need regular believers to have an awareness of how to interpret the Bible, because there are a lot of different ideas out there. We need every believer to have an awareness of how the Bible works and how to read it and how to do apologetics, which is defending your faith when somebody’s coming at you and they’re like, I don’t believe anything that you believe, but you should have a gentle answer in that moment. And so we’ve been organizing to do this coursework to be able to offer things to you free of charge, where you go through high level teaching, so that way you are equipped and trained to do life on mission. So we care deeply about discipleship. And as I’ve explained, I think we’re trying to do both. We’re trying to do evangelism and discipleship. But let me just get honest with you. If we’re looking at Park City Church and you’re saying, okay, what is the emphasis of Park City Church? How does it actually work? Like, what’s the culture like? To be honest with you, most of our evangelistic efforts are aspirational. We want to do that. There are some in our congregation that are gifted in that way, that are doing things individually. We’re strategizing for it. But the truth is, this is more aspirational. Park City church is more discipleship oriented. And I think part of that is my own spiritual gifting and the way in which we do a lot of the things that we do. We have a very mature congregation. So if the Lord were to write us a letter, I wonder what it would sound like. I think he would probably say, hey, well done over here with discipleship stuff. Stop talking about evangelism and get out there, go do this thing. But I just wanted to be real with you of how I would evaluate it today. I would say we are high on discipleship and we are aspirational in terms of evangelism, and we need to embrace who we are, and I think that’s a part of what we’re doing. But we also need to be attentive to the calling that the Lord has for us.

We have a ministry to glorify God. We have a ministry to the world to make disciples to the ends of the earth, and we have a ministry to one another to build each other up in our faith. The Lord again said this, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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 ends of the age.

Let’s pray. Lord, we thank you for your commissioning. We thank you that you invite us to be a part of what you’re doing in this world. What an awesome privilege. We pray as a local congregation that you would give us clarity around the unique calling that you have for us. And I pray that we would be able to embrace that wholeheartedly and that we would perform that, Lord, for your glory, that we would be able to think clearly about the unique thing that we can do in the state line area, that we would do that well for your sake. So, Lord, help us. We want to be a healthy church, and we want to be pleasing to you. Help us. We pray in your name. Amen.