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"One Last Thing..." Jesus

Updated: Aug 30, 2022

The book of Matthew ends with Jesus commissioning his disciples, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Teach these 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." Matthew 28:18-20

John MacArthur, in his commentary, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Matthew 24-28, wisely writes, "If a Christian understands all the rest of the Gospel of Matthew but fails to understand this closing passage, he has missed the point of the entire book." Further, the New Testament would fail to inspire us to great things without Jesus' command to make disciples of those in our lives.

When we follow God's command to love him and others with everything we are, it only makes sense that we would want to tell others about Jesus. Why would we want to keep such a wonderful thing to ourselves? And yet, that seems to be the last thing that most churches focus on. Our churches struggle so hard to survive that we can only see in rather than out. The financial weight of most churches presses the congregations into crisis mode, leaving little time, money, and energy for anything but keeping the church afloat.

I think we are past the time when churches focused on building elaborate buildings, staging professional-quality worship, and hiring multi-pastor staff. We no longer have the money for that and outreach. As fewer and fewer congregants are willing to do ministry, but instead, lay it at the feet of the pastors they have hired, less and less evangelism will occur.

That is why I believe churches of the future must look very different from the churches we are familiar with today. I believe we can't assume that ministry is what we hired the pastor to do, we must see ministry as a layperson's responsibility, as well. In the early church, growth would have been stymied if only the original 12 "went and made disciples." Everyone whose life was changed by Jesus shared the good news with others. Every one of us whose life was changed by Jesus needs to do the same.

I think the future of Christianity will be in house churches or small groups of Christians gathered to study the Bible and do ministry together. The groups will be like family, helping each other through life's trials and growing in their faith. We will know each other well, help each other with temptations and hold each other accountable to the Word of God.

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