Bringing Light to the World

Being a disciple of Jesus Christ can never be reduced to merely producing Christian character in ourselves or loving one another, as important as those things are. Being a disciple of Jesus means making other disciples, because that is what our Lord has commanded us to do. God’s sovereign purpose in this world is to create a redeemed people to worship and enjoy Him eternally, but He has chosen to accomplish that purpose through human beings. He has made us stewards of the gospel, placing that precious knowledge in earthen vessels, in the fragile container of our lives.

I assume you are reading this because you are a Christian, and you understand that sharing the good news of eternal life through faith in Christ is every Christians responsibility. You may know that and still not tell anyone about Jesus. Do you think you do not know enough to be an evangelist? Do you think you need more training? I doubt that is your problem. In the unlikely event that you knew absolutely nothing about the Bible before you began reading, you know enough to tell someone how to become a Christian. You could take the verse on the Cross and salvation and lead someone to Christ.

The problem for most Christians is not knowledge but obedience. It is not that we do not know what we need to do or how to do it. What we lack is the intention to do it. We have not made up our minds that the commands of Jesus will come before the demands of this world. When we genuinely deny ourselves and follow Him, when we offer ourselves as living sacrifices, our minds and hearts will be transformed. As disciples of Jesus, our first priority will be to make other disciples for Him.

Why the Church is Here

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. — Matthew 28:19-20

Do you ever wonder what our real purpose is in the world? Here is the end of your confusion. Our purpose is to make disciples of all the nations. The risen Jesus Christ gave this command to His apostles just before He ascended to the Father, but He intended it for all of us. That is why these verses are known as the Great Commission. It states the mission of the church.

In the original Greek, there is only one verb here — “make disciples.” That is imperative. The other words that seem like commands are actually participles modifying the main verb. What I mean is that the main verb in the sentence is “make disciples,” which you do by going, baptizing, and teaching (all participles).

To make disciples in another nation, you have to go where people do not know about Christ. Once you get there and they come to faith in Christ, you have to baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. That is to say, you need to bring them to an understanding of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which is demonstrated in baptism.

Baptism is important not because it saves, but because it is the public confession of salvation. Then you instruct them to be obedient to their Lord, teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded. You are not alone in this enterprise. Jesus says, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Until the time is completely done for evangelism, I will be with you helping you to make disciples.

How would you answer if I asked you the reason for the church? Why are you still on earth? What should we be doing?

Some might say we should be living a holy life. That is a good thing, but it is not the main reason we are here. If that is all the Lord wants, we might as well on on the Heaven, because we can’t really live a perfectly holy life down here.

Some might say we are saved so we can be in fellowship. That is good, too, and we do have fellowship with other believers. But the fellowship is very imperfect, as you must know from experience. We have all kinds of problems getting along with another as Christinas. We don’t actually do fellowship very well down here.

Some might say the real priority for us is worship. We do work on worship in the church, but we don’t always get that right, either. Sometimes our minds wander and we find it hard to focus on God. Sometimes our emotions are swept away by music, but they go to a place that has little to do with God. We are fickle creatures, easily distracted.

All of that is to say that our holiness is imperfect, our fellowship is imperfect, and our worship is imperfect. If those were our top priorities, then we would do better to go on to Heaven. When we get to Heaven, we will be perfectly holy; our fellowship and worship will be perfect. That leaves us with only one reason to stay here on earth. There is one thing we can do on earth that we cannot do in Heaven — that is make disciples of all nations.

The Great Commission is given to us individually and corporately as the church.

Make sure you are involved in carrying out this commission. No one is exempt from this joyous duty. Go to people who do not know Christ. Tell them about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Encourage them to acknowledge faith in Jesus Christ and to demonstrate that by baptism. Follow up by teaching them to obey the things Jesus told us to do. And do it all knowing that Christ Himself is with you as you accomplish His purpose for you.

He will be with you to the very end.

This Little Light of Mine

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven. — Matthew 5:16

Excerpted with permission from The Heart of the Bible by John MacArthur, copyright John MacArthur.

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Your Turn

You don’t need a prestigious education to share the gospel! It’s something that is for all of us, every single Christian, to share in! Come leave a comment about spreading Jesus Christ all over the globe. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, president of the Master’s College and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry. In more than four decades of ministry, John has written dozens of bestselling books, including The MacArthur Study Bible, The Gospel According to Jesus, and Slave. He and his wife, Patricia, have four married children and fifteen grandchildren.

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