Ordinary Means of Grace
As Christians, it is easy, as time goes by, to lose our focus on what we’re supposed to be doing and why we’re doing it. And when we forget what our purpose in life is, we can look awfully silly.
It’s not uncommon for churches to forget what their mission is and to get involved in all sorts of activities and programs that do not serve that mission.
And so we must be clear about our mission as a church and how we are to fulfill it. In Matthew 28:19-20, as well as in parallel Gospel accounts, particularly in Luke 24:44-49, the risen Lord Jesus spells this out.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19-20).
"Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, 'Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things'" (Luke 24:45-48).
The words in these passages represent a summary of what Jesus commanded and taught the disciples over the forty days between His resurrection and His ascension.
It was the Spirit of Christ applying the truths their Lord has taught them that transformed these men. From being confused, discouraged, and fearful bunch of followers they became bold, courageous, and determined witnesses of Christ willing to die for their faith and mission.
Our Lord’s teaching and command in Matthew 28 and Luke 24 are not just for the apostles or for those in full-time pastoral ministry. Every member of Christ’s church in every generation is to be a witness of the Lord Jesus. He must be involved in seeking first the kingdom of God making it the priority in his life.
We all must make Christ’s purpose our purpose. Here, our Lord Jesus spells out what our mission is and how we are to fulfill it.
Our mission is to make disciples of Christ (not our followers) from every nation. Our message in disciple-making is the gospel, the good news of salvation by the grace of God through faith in Christ alone.
And how does the Church accomplish that mission? The ordinary means of making and growing disciple of Christ is the Word of God and the gospel-centered and gospel-rooted sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper.