Message Title 信息: Sequel to Easter 復活節續集
Message Texts 經文: Matthew 28:16-20
Rev. Aaron Yeung 楊家逵
Message Outline 大綱:
1.) Easter has a sequel
2.) We are called to make disciples of all nations
3.) How do we make disciples?
今天早上的主題是“復活節續集” 。 上周是復活節；我們慶祝得很開心。復活節是一年中最快樂的季節。它提醒我們，在耶穌裡，我們有未來得救的保證；因此，無論世界如何繼續陷入混亂，無論疫情如何繼續變化，甚至是第三次世界大戰，我們都不必沮喪或恐懼
i、 ）“去”： 我知道很多時候在宣教大會上，講者為了宣揚海外宣教，會用它作為主要動詞，即命令去結交門徒。
This morning’s topic is “Sequel to Easter.” Last week was Easter; we had a joyful time celebrating. Easter is the most joyful season of the year. It reminds us that in Jesus we have the assurance of our future salvation; so no matter how the world continues in chaos, no matter how the pandemic continue to change or even WWIII, we don’t have to be depressed or fearful
However, B/S, this does not mean that we can rest comfy, just waiting until the Second coming. No, we can’t; because God’s plan on earth is not done yet. Besides Easter, Jesus’ victory over sin and death, there is sequel in His plan!
Today’s text, Matt 28:16-20, tells us that after Jesus rose from the grave and before His ascension, He appeared to the disciples, and He commanded them to make disciples of all nations! In other words, God’s plan has a much greater scope that involves us. In the sequel Jesus is not the main character; the disciples are now the main characters; they are to make disciples of all nations (i.e. ethnicities).
Of course the Lord Jesus will always be the main character since He is with us unto the end of the age and all authority has given to Him but He is not the visible main character like while he was on earth; rather, the main character is His people, His church, i.e. you and I. Indeed, beside you and I, i.e. followers of Christ, no one else can perform in the sequel; because only those who heard the gospel, believe it and have been saved.
So we must take on our roles to make disciples; if not, our celebration today will instead turn to mourning.
Q: let me ask: if someone tells you that this TV drama has only first episode without sequel or end, would you watch it? No, right, unless you have a lot of time to waste! Or you like to watch NBA: the first 3 quarters your favorite team was doing really well but they did really badly in last quarter, lost by 1 pt, you feel time wasted!
So as we celebrate Easter, let us keep in mind that it is only the first episode, the story is not done yet; we must continue with the sequel. Remember in Matt 24:14 Jesus says the gospel must be preached to all the nations then the end will come. May we be diligent so that when it finally finished, the Lord returns, we may hear Him say to us “good and faithful servants” not “wicked lazy servants.” Amen!
How should we make disciples of all nations? In the passage we read earlier Jesus employed three participles to describe how to make disciples; all of them in present tense, indicating what tasks/actions we need to keep doing in order to make disciples until He returns:
- “Going”: I know that lots of time in mission conferences, in order to promote overseas mission, speakers would use it as main verb, i.e. command to go to make disciples.
Of course oversea missions are important, especially the never reached; but the command here does not necessarily mean giving up career, family, etc, and go overseas to strange people groups. Rather, it means to reach out to people, i.e. not to wait for them to come. A church should not just rely on dynamic preaching or special events; a church needs to go, to reach out. That means you and I need to reach out to people in our life circles, such as family, friends, coworkers, etc. these people only you can reach! In addition, we can intentional about making circles: for example: organize a sightseeing trip; …, join a parent’s club.
ii.) Making disciples involves “Teaching”: Now I know that you might feel you are not qualified to teach because you haven’t had formal seminary training; but note that here Jesus does not meant teaching bible knowledge and theology; he says: “teaching what I have taught you.”
What did Jesus teach the early disciples? From the gospel accounts we know that He taught them such as: Beatitudes, faith in God, loving our enemies, giving to the poor, etc. In other words, “to teach” is not so much teaching doctrines but teaching how to live the new life, how to grow in Christ’s characters, how to treat people, faith in God.
This is the same idea when Paul says deacons ought to be able to teach; i.e. they should teach others to live like Christ. Turn to Titus chapter 2 we see Paul exhorts Titus how to teach people to live: “older men, older women, young women, young men, and teach slaves…..and v.11-14For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Hence, “to teach” is to teach through situations they encounter. When someone in certain situation needing counseling, we help them to apply the gospel/Christ’s life to situation. Also, it is not to teach by words only but also by example, as in English someone has says “discipleship is not taught by caught.”
This is great challenge more than reaching out; but it is not asking us to put out extra effort because this is our own purpose of life anyway so we are not putting more/extra effort in learning just to teach others; rather, we are merely transferring what we have learned to others.
iii.) Baptizing: “baptizing”: You might say “to go, to teach, I can do” but how can I baptize? I am not a pastor”. Yes, you are right. But the reason is not because baptism is a “sacred” task, rather, so as to ensure there is no false baptism. What is false baptism: sometimes people think it is a means of getting saved; sometimes think it is a rite of church membership and so no repentance; that’s why only pastors should perform or at least supervised.
But actually baptism means a lot more than an open confession in Christ; it means becoming a part of the body of Christ.
Ref: in Greek, “baptize” = dyeing, turning a blank white cloth into another color and then placed it aside with the same dyed ones.
Therefore, “to baptize” a disciple means to help him to become a functional part of the church. Illus: it is like in grafting, you know that it often takes some time for the scion to become a branch of the host tree, right! That is because there is a gap between the scion and the host tree. Likewise, it takes investment and time for a new believer to become a part of the church, i.e. functionally speaking. Illus: Perhaps we can think of it as adoption: when a couple takes a boy in, it takes a lot of TLC, lots of nurturing, helping to identify personal weakness and bring out his potential, discover their gifts and their passion in ministry, and provide training, etc.; with purpose for him to become a part of the family.
So B/S, we all can be a part of the sequel if we just use our lives, our experience, and the gifts God gave to make disciples.
- Some of you have big family, or you are outgoing like to talk and have lots of friends, or your profession calls for networking or interacting with customers, maybe you can reach out effectively.
- Some of us are born a little more reflective and tend to think about life issues and meanings, passionate about what is right and what is wrong, maybe you can teach and model the Christian life for the rest,
- Some are good at perceiving people’s feeling and needs… and caring, might be you can mentor new comers, help them along.
Regardless your personality, your gift, and your situation let us work together for a great performance in the sequel!