Authored by Mike Fry
Easter Sunday celebration 2020 is one that will be riveted in all participant’s minds, believers or not, we will never forget! Right? Remotely together through the Internet we worshiped our God and exalted Jesus, our resurrected Lord and King.
What are followers of Jesus to do now? We must peer back into Scripture to discover for the first time or be reminded of what happened to the disciples who witnessed the life and resurrection of Jesus.
I always enjoy studying Jesus’ post resurrection interaction with the disciples because it was a pinnacle moment in time where he gave clarity on “what’s next” for their lives – he did not leave them in total confusion. The last chapters of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke describe the commissioning by Jesus to the disciples and the Gospel of John concludes where Jesus gives shepherding instructions to Peter. Luke also records a commission in Acts 1:8 which is in unity with the others. But l will focus on Matthew 28:18-20 for now:
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” - ESV
This Great Commission summarizes marching orders given to the disciples to “go”, “baptize”, “make disciples”, and to “teach” all that Jesus commanded. We could say that he only commanded the disciples to do those things, but, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” means that all future disciples are to observe the same things the disciples where commissioned to do - so that includes us too. As followers of Jesus we are always to be learning and growing in the above actions. This is unified with Jesus’ calling of the initial disciples to “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt. 4:19b, cf. Mk 1:17 and Lk 5:10-11). At the core of being a follower of Jesus is the privilege to lead others to him and guide them in discipleship to be a real Christian. Here are two things we must be mindful of as we consider our spiritual growth in following the Great Commission; 1) All scripture is inspired by God, so we have instruction by him throughout scripture to observe, not just from the printed black letter or “red letter” words of Jesus in various Bible versions and 2) Jesus said that we receive “power” when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, so we carry out this Great Commission in the POWER of GOD and Jesus is always with us! Now that should make you excited… it does me!
I find great joy and motivation to obey Jesus when I further consider who God is as a trinity. The Father loved me so much that he sent Jesus to pay for my sin, the one whose appearance was marred beyond human semblance and his form beyond that of the children of mankind (Is 52:14) and with his wounds and stripes he brought healing for my soul (Is 53:5-6). Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth and wants me to make disciples. Even more, we go out in the power of the Holy Spirit in us (Acts 1:8) and with the power of the Gospel which is God’s power to bring people to salvation (Rom 1:16) – I am a messenger of the All Mighty God.
Now, what can we do after our virtual, but real, celebration of Easter of 2020? I could expand on the two greatest commandments that Jesus taught…1) to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; and 2) to love your neighbor as yourself. Or, I could expand on others like abiding in him, worshiping God in truth and spirit, loving your enemy, praying always and so forth; but, I will to stick with Matthew 28:18-20...
Go. This is a tricky one with Covid-19 hanging around. We should not fear, but are to be wise, unselfish, and without pride. Here is a bullet list of options where some suggestions are only valid after the virus passes:
Check with pastor Dustin, the elders, or life group leaders for opportunities to serve our neighbors and locals.
Go ask one or more neighbors who live near you if they have a prayer request that you can pray for or a desperate need that the church may be able to help with (be careful to not promise money),
Invite someone to coffee, tea, or a meal with you and another friend and pay for It.
Join a team to help with disaster relief who also have an evangelistic strategy.
Go on a mission trip locally, to another state, and or to another country.
Make Disciples and Teach. Making disciples includes sharing the Gospel in various ways and helping someone learn how to follow Jesus. Not all people have the “gift” of evangelism, but there are still ways you can do this. Do not be afraid to ask a pastor, elder, home group leader or their spouses for help if you want to learn how to share Jesus with someone. ** As you read the items below, please know that modeling the life, actions, service, discipline, speech, and love of a follower of Jesus is critical to teaching others as a lifestyle. This helps minimize the risk of being hypocritical between what we teach and what we live.**
First, do you know without a doubt if God has forgiven you of your rebellion (sin) against him and that you have entered a relationship with him? Do you know that he knows you?
Read through a tract or section of the Bible that shares the core message of Jesus.
Go online and find videos on how to share the Gospel such as the “Three Circle” method or “The Story Method”. Then practice sharing with someone you know.
Share how Jesus changed your life with family and others. Invite them to The Fort Church, to view a video at home or online, or attend an event or study where the Gospel is shared.
Take a discipleship class on how to share Jesus.
Help someone else learn how to study the Bible in a simple, repeatable way; make sure you know how first.
Help someone else learn how to pray. Has anyone shown you? If not, ask for help.
Help someone learn how to serve the church, worship God, to give, to share the message of Jesus, to discern good from evil, to forgive, to love the enemy, and etc.)
Make a list of people in your life who most likely do not know God or who may be a church goer, but not a true Christian. Pray for them and invite them to church functions.
Pray for opportunities to share what you are learning about God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit and the Bible.
I hope and pray that this is helpful for you. The things were taught to me over the past 20 years in various ways and give my life meaning.