I've never done this before but I've decided to preview the message that I'm going to share Sunday here on my blog site. It is a simple one that's titled, "To the Lost, the Last and the Least". The central theme is that God calls us to reach out to our world with His good news and His compassion. He commands us to reach to these three basic groups of people: the lost, the last and the least.
To the lost. Matthew 28:18-20 is probably the most familiar verse associated with missionaries sent out from the church to reach the lost of the world. Here, Jesus says, "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 everything I have commanded you..."
The "command" word here is not "to go" but rather to "make disciples". It might even best read, "As you are going..." giving more of a passive but continuous action for the follower of Jesus to obey. It in truth presumes that "as we go" and "wherever we go" we will be doing what comes naturally to a follower of Christ and that is to make disciples. The command is in fact to make disciples. Another way of stating it is, "As you are going, disciple the nations..."
I would garnish that most people's interpretation here is that this verse is for sending out missionaries. But it appears to be more for the average Joe and Jane of the church to be about the business of disciple making of the nations wherever they are.
So this passage is not as much a challenge for the missionary to go to some dark continent taking the gospel but more about you and me, as we go about our lives, to have as our life's goal and practice making disciples of all the nations we encounter.
Keep in mind that "all nations" doesn't refer to geo-political nations with boundaries as we understand them (e.g. the USA, China, Brazil, etc.). It refers to the Greek, "panta ta ethne" meaning language groups and population segments of the world.
If you go to the grocery store today to shop for groceries, how many "nations" will you meet along the way? If you live in a fairly homogenous section of the USA (such as my home town), how can you be about Jesus' command of making disciples of all nations?
I desire to be a disciple maker of all the nations whether I live in rural Tennessee or urban Asia. I can do this by actively making disciples of those I come in contact with. I can also facilitate the making of disciples through my prayers and gifts through my local church.
I just need to constantly remember that as I go, I am to go about making disciples of all the nations.
Next blog: to the last...