Thursday, October 16, 2014

Don't Lose Sight of This!

It’s the economy stupid.” It was an obnoxious, laser focus line that controlled everything that was said in the 1992 presidential campaign by Bill Clinton. “It’s the economy stupid.” Why did they have such a laser-like focus? Because they knew, that this was the issue that controlled their destiny. If they talked about foreign policy, they were sunk. President Bush had just overseen an awesome victory over Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War, and there was no way they were going to win on that topic, and so in a brilliant strategy move, they decided to keep the discussion to the thing that mattered most to them for them. The economy. Which is why they drove it into their teams head, keep your eyes fixed on what is most important, don't lose sight of this!  

I’ve often thought that there is a lesson for churches. In the final words of Matthew, Jesus declares that “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”, and in light of that he says “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." In John 20 we read, “As the father sent me, so send I you”, and in Acts 1 we read, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."  

With these words, Jesus says , I have a task for you. Make disciples. Nurture disciples. Teach disciples. Build up disciples, knowing that I have authority and I am with you because I lived the life you should have lived and died the death you should have died, and now have risen. Keep your eyes on this. My commission to you is to make disciples, just as I made disciples. Don’t forget that.  

The final instructions are very important. They tell us what is most important to that person. Before He ascends, in His last times with His disciples Jesus says this is it. Disciple-making. And just as the Clinton campaign had a laser-like focus, so too must we.  It’s so easy to lose focus. We all live busy, packed lives with lots of demands. And yet if we are not careful, we can lose sight of this command and think that it’s someone else’s job. We must be on guard to not let this happen. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus talks about how some people are “like seed sown among thorns”. Who hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word”. The result is that they are made “unfruitful” (Mark 4:18-19). We must not allow that to happen in our lives. We must keep Jesus commands firmly in view. When we are called to faith in Christ, we are given a mission and commission. We are to be actively and intentionally seeking to lead people to faith in Christ so that they too become disciples of Christ who make disciples who make disciples. We do this through love, through service, through living holy before the Lord, through obedience to everything that He has taught us, but most importantly we do it through words. By opening our mouth and inviting people to faith in Christ. This is the mission Christ has commanded us to fulfill. 

Be disciples who make disciples who make disciples. Don’t lose sight of this command. It’s so easy to lose sight of it, which is why we need to remind ourselves of it daily. Just as we need to remind our-selves of the gospel daily, in a very real way, we need to remind ourselves of this daily. We all do. Myself included. If you come behind my desk, you’ll see a whiteboard with the words, “it’s disciple-making stupid!” on it. I keep it there for one reason. I can get so bogged down with the running of the church, and the this and the that, that I too need to be reminded. I too drift. I too get trapped by the thorns. And so I need to say to myself it’s disciple-making stupid. Don’t lose sight of this command. The call to me, and to you, and to all Christians, is that we are to be disciples who make disciples. Remember that this is our final instruction. Don’t lose sight of this command. We are called to make disciples, and if we are not, we’re not obeying our Saviors final instructions and we are showing ourselves to be false disciples. May we be disciples, who are obediently making disciples, who make disciples.

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