What is Disciple-Making (3)
18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciplesof all nations, baptizingthem in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teachingthem to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Last week we stated that the “first step in the process of making disciples is encapsulated in the word “Go” or perhaps understood by the translation “as you are going.” Goingmeans more than traveling across geographical borders, although this is part of Jesus’ meaning. The point is that we believers are active; we are not passive. Goingmeans crossing boundaries to make disciples—going across the street, going to dinner with an unbelieving friend, going into the inner city, going beyond one’s comfort zone to make the gospel accessible to the lost. Living life is “going” with a purpose, every day. Simply stated “going” is for all of us … living life purposefully introducing people To Jesus Christ.”
Today we are going to look at the second facet in disciple-making. It is found in the word “baptizing.” Baptizing new disciples means having them publicly profess their faith. Through this onetime, public witness, they make their declaration of allegiance to Christ. This is a new believer, disciple, going public and identifying with other disciples.
Your baptism declares your faith in Christ, it shares Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, it symbolizes your death to the old way of life, and it announces your new life in Christ. It is also a celebration and declaration of your participation and inclusion in God’s Family … the church. Both expressions of it: Universal including all believers everywhere AND the local expression of the Church.
This is why baptism is so vital to the process of disciple-making. A person comes to personal faith in Christ and their first order of business is to publically declare it and find a church family to share it with. Baptism doesn’t make you a part of God’s family; only faith in Christ does that. Baptism, however, does publically demonstrate that you are a part of God’s family. Baptism, is like a wedding ring, it is a visible reminder of an inward commitment made in the heart.
The following are the words that Philip Henry, father of Matthew Henry (great puritan biblical expositor), wrote for his children that became their baptismal statement:
I take God to be my chief end and highest good.
I take God the Son to be my prince and Savior.
I take God the Holy Spirit to be my sanctifier,
teacher, guide, and comforter.
I take the Word of God to be my rule in all my actions
and the people of God to be my people
under all conditions.
I do hereby dedicate and devote to the Lord all that I am,
all that I have,
and all I can do.
And this I do deliberately, freely, and forever.
See You Sunday,