Sunday, November 26, 2006

Our Purpose



Matthew 28:16 - 20

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."



Last week we read scriptures about how we are to obey the laws of the land, and how even Jesus obeyed them.

We talked about the difference between submitting to the rulers and authorities, and how unless they contradict the scriptures, we are to follow the laws of the land.

We also talked about many figures in the Bible who did not obey the rulers and authorities when they directly contradicted the Holy Scriptures, and how God has given us the ability to observe the laws given to us and determine whether or not they contradict God’s Word, then we can determine if we are to obey them.

The example I gave was abortion, and how this is a direct contradiction to the scriptures, and we read many references on that matter, and how just because the land decides something is legal, does not necessarily make it OK with God.

This is one of the reasons why it is so important for us to read the Bible and educate ourselves on what pleases and displeases God.

It will do you no good on Judgment Day when you stand before Christ and say “But the laws said it was OK!”

The laws in the time of Daniel said it was OK to worship the King as God, but that doesn’t make it so.

We need to be mindful of God’s laws and how the devil is going to work overtime to get you to commit sin.

Although we all sin, even if we are saved, we should not live in sin.

Let me explain the difference from being a sinner (for all have sinned) and living in sin.

Anger is not always a sin, we read in the Bible that God became angry, and we all know the story of when Jesus was angry and kicked everyone out of the Temple.

But anger turns to sin such as when it is selfishly motivated:

Or when God’s goal is distorted;

Say someone does something against me or to me.

I become angry, and allow that anger to determine my behavior, and that behavior isn’t godly or won’t bring good fruit in a situation as we are instructed to live for God’s glory.

I’ve just sinned.

The proper response as a Christian when the sin is recognized, is the following;

  1. Confess my sin.
  2. Repent (stop doing)
  3. I receive forgiveness for that sin.

That’s the process.

If I do not do steps 1 & 2, I will not receive 3 Forgiveness.

Without forgiveness, I’m living in sin.

This is where we DON’T want to be because this is outside of God’s will, protection, blessings and benefits, as well as salvation.

There are many scriptures describing what will not be allowed in heaven, to do these things listed, you must be living in sin.

Someone who is living in sin is unforgiven.

They have either NOT confessed their sin to God, or they have NOT repented (or stopped doing) their sin.

This causes them to be in a state of unforgiven sin, or what we call, living in sin.

And this is where the devil wants all of us, so that we are living outside of God’s will, protection, blessings and benefits and in danger of eternal hell.

So we need to be mindful of the law that judges us on Judgment Day, and ensure that we are not breaking that law, because therein lies sin.

Daniel refused to worship the king as god because this was contradictory to the Holy Word of God.

Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego refused to bow to the idol made of gold because this was contrary to the Word of God.

These men obeyed the laws of the land until it meant sinning against God.

So we understand that we need to obey the laws of the land, and today, as we do, we fulfill the legal requirements to be recognized by the State of Michigan as a church.

Namely, the Constitution and Bylaws.

Of course, we are already a church, because anyone who belongs to the Body of Christ is part of “The Church.”

But we do need to be recognized as such so that we can worship in a building and function within the community fulfilling the Great Commission and Duty Christ has given to us to fulfill God’s will for us in our lives.

This brings us to the next part of our Constitution and Bylaws, entitled “Our Purpose”.


We first read in our scripture reference today in Matthew 28;

17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.”

We generally think that Thomas was the only who doubted. Although he may have been more vocal about his disbelief, we see here in the scriptures that there was more than one disciple who had a problem believing.

But faith is the first step in following Jesus Christ’s instruction.

Faith in God’s Grace for salvation.

Faith that His Word will do what it says.

Some doubted, but Jesus still spoke to all, those who believed and those who doubted.

The Holy Spirit is doing the same today.

Speaking to all, whether or not they believe.

Why? Because the scriptures promise that none will be with excuse on that last day.

No one will be able to stand before the Lord and say, “You never gave me an opportunity”.

Jesus spoke to all of them, even those who didn’t believe.

First, He wanted them to know by what authority He had to say what He was about to say.

Jesus wanted the disciples to know that what He was about to tell them was the next step of a bigger plan.

God’s plan.

“18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

All authority has been given to Christ. His is more than the head of the church, His Body, He is above ALL THINGS!

Remember, the authority of Christ belongs to His body, and we, the church, are the body of Christ.

Therefore we do all things in the name of Jesus, because that’s where our authority on earth lies.

Matthew 16:18 – 19

18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock (What rock? The revelation that Jesus is the Son of God!) I will build my church, and the gates of Hades (place of departed souls) will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

This is why when people pray they pray that sicknesses and such are bound.

Of course people pray that the devil and demons be bound as well, but you cannot bind the devil and his demons.

If you could, the devil would have been bound thousands of times by believers, and we would see the results because of the lack of his presence here on earth.

But that’s not the case.

The scriptures tell us that the devil will be bound by a mighty angel and cast into the pit for the thousand year reign of Christ on earth after tribulation.

At the end of the thousand year reign, the scriptures say the devil will be released for a season to gather armies and come against the Lord one last time, of course he will fail, and this will usher in Judgment Day.

So Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth.

And we see in Matthew, when we believe in our hearts, and say with our mouths that Jesus is the Son of God, we become a part of the body of Christ, the church that Jesus Himself promises to build.

A church that not even death can overcome, because Jesus is constantly building it, and adding members to His body.

And when we become part of the Church, the body of Christ, Jesus promises here in Matthew that He will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, and authority to bind and loose!

As Jesus prayed with the disciples, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Whatever is bound or loosed by us, because of our authority as part of the body of Christ, it is done in heaven, and will be done on earth as well!

Revelation 1:18

“I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”

Again, Jesus telling us an important fact here, He is telling us “WHY” He has authority.


  1. “I am the living one” - He is God.
  2. I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! – He died for us, and rose again.

And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Jesus decides Who dies, and when. And Hades is the Greek word for Sheol, which is the place of the dead, where all who died before Christ went.

Why did Jesus need those keys? To let those know that all those who died before Christ were not forgotten.

Because the scriptures say you cannot go to heaven without Jesus Christ. Therefore all of those who died before Christ went to the place of the dead. The righteous and the unrighteous.

Jesus had the keys to Sheol, to retrieve the righteous who died before Christ came on the scene in time.

So it is in this authority that we operate as the body of Christ.

This is why when we pray we say things like “in the name of Jesus”, or “In Christ’s name.”

Because we have no authority outside of the body of Christ, but as members of the body of Christ, we have His authority, and He is above all things.

So the first thing Jesus tells His disciples, even the ones who had a hard time believing, was that He’s in charge, and above all things.

“19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”

Therefore…why are we going to do what He is about to instruct?

Because ALL AUTHORITY in heaven and on earth has been given to Him!

So He instructs, and we obey!

To NOT do what Jesus is saying here is direct disobedience to the scriptures, and to Jesus Himself!

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”

We are to “make disciples” of ALL nations, and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

How do you make a disciple?

It’s more than just telling someone about Jesus.

Jesus didn’t walk up to the 12 and say, “Do you have Jesus?”

Or, “Have you ever accepted Christ?”

He went beyond a casual introduction of himself.

He took people in, and taught them the way.

Jesus instructs us to do the same here!

How do we bring people in and teach them?

First of all, we need a building, a central point for the lost to come to when the Holy Spirit calls them!

Many come to church without introduction from anyone but the Holy Spirit.

That’s how I first came to the First Baptist Church.

No one invited me, but the Holy Spirit.

So we need an established place of worship for those who the Holy Spirit has called to come and meet Jesus Christ and experience first hand, the love of God.

Secondly, once they come, they need to be instructed in the word.

Disciples don’t happen over night, they are filled with the Word of God, and raised in the way until their hearts are so full of God’s Word it starts to overflow from their mouths and they begin being DOERS of the Word!

Then they recognize the calling God has placed on their lives and the talents they were given by the Holy Spirit, and they go out preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ bringing others to knowledge of Christ.

Remember the scriptures say that “It is God’s will that ALL are saved and come to knowledge of Jesus Christ.”

So our purpose is to establish a local place of worship, and evangelize the world.

This means local & foreign missions.

Sometimes we can think of spreading the gospel as sending missionaries to third world countries, forgetting that there are people living within a stones throw of a church who does not know they need Jesus Christ.

So we not only need to send out missionaries, but evangelize our local community as well.

And we also need to remember that our goal in evangelizing IS NOT TO GET THEM TO COME TO OUR CHURCH, but to share Christ with them.

If we evangelize for the sole purpose of increasing our numbers, then we have already failed.

The ONLY goal for evangelizing is to bring others to knowledge of Christ.

There is many ways to do this.

This is why I believe it is important that many are involved, bringing their own unique talents God has given them, both naturally and spiritually, so that a greater variety will be working for the same goal.

We must be working towards the same goal for there to be unity and success in this body of believers here.

The goal is what Christ told us to do.

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”

So how do we reach the lost?

By establishing ministries and committees.

What’s the difference between a ministry and committee?

A ministry will minister to those outside the church, while a committee ministers to the needs within the church.

Although sometimes these will overlap, this is the general definition.

So we are to develop programs for the sole purpose of achieving the goal Christ has given us.

We MUST remember the goal Christ has given us, and ensure that all we do and work for is for bringing us as a body of believers closer to achieving that goal of reaching others with Christ.

As we grow and work toward that goal, ministries and committees will be started, and closed all in accordance to our needs at that time, and whether or not God is calling us in a particular direction.

Which at this time our goal is to reach as many as possible in Tawas with the Name of Christ!

Our direction may change over the years, but our goal will remain the same, bring Christ to the people.

“19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to church discipline.

Christ’s own Words here, “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

It is so very important that we have and maintain Biblical discipline if we are to function as the Bible instructs.

Biblical discipline is a MUST, and without it, the institution will not function properly.

If you do not believe that, simply watch the news and see how many churches each week fail to serve Christ according to the Word of God because of lack of discipline within the church.

We’ve discussed church discipline before; in fact I have a series on it a while back.

But with great responsibility, comes discipline.

Responsibility without discipline is a formula for disaster.

Discipline is accountability, direction, instruction, structure, and a command of Christ.

We will get more into church discipline, the steps of discipline the Bible gives us to follow as believers, how we are not supposed to discipline those outside of the body of Christ, and how discipline is designed in the Bible to “bring those back into the fold” not “Drive them away!”

If we follow the instructions of the Bible on church discipline, we will become a well tuned, body of Christ, with the ability to achieve greatness for the name of the Lord and God’s glory because of our ability to maintain an obedient membership.

It is possible, or else God would not ask us to do it.

Another goal for us according to Christ’s instruction would be the continuing instruction into discipleship, which would include licensing ministers.

Though it may be a while before we are fully functional as a licensing body, it is important that when we recognize those who may be called to preach and teach the Word of God, that we “teach them” and give them the ability to continue the ministry God has called them to.

If we recognize this within our body, we need to do all we can to school, license, prepare, instruct and give opportunity for experience in the pastoral position so as to prepare those who have been called by God to the ministry of preaching and teaching.

We will have this ability as a recognized church.

The American Baptists call it “Certificate in Christian Ministry”.

And the last thing Christ leaves us with in this scripture, I feel is the most important.

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Why is this so important?

Because we can not achieve anything Christ asked us to do, without Christ!

We need to, as the body of Christ, stay focused on the goal Christ has given us.

The means may change to reach that goal, but the goal will always remain the same.

If we stay focused on that goal, and continue to place Christ first, as the head of us, the body, obeying all He commands, we will live pleasing lives to the Lord, and because of this, when we stand before Him on Judgment Day, alone, with no one but you and Jesus Christ, the Lord will look upon you and say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

If you have never devoted yourself to being part of the body of Christ, or perhaps you feel that you have lost sight of the goal, come forward and I will pray for you.

If perhaps you have never confessed your sin to Christ, and you are still living in unforgiven sin, come forward as a statement of your faith and commitment to Christ.

If you have confessed, but are having difficulties in your life repenting, you find yourself committing the same sin over and over, come forward and I will pray for you, that the Holy Spirit strengthen you.

If you have any other prayer concerns or requests, please come forward and I will pray for you as it says in James.

Do this now during our closing song.

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