A Note from Michael Gossett
Dr. Michael Gossett

A Note from Michael Gossett

 

DISCIPLESHIP MATTERS

Discipleship is central to every believer and truly matters to every follower of Jesus. Have you ever considered what it truly looks like to be a disciple of Jesus? Following Jesus is more than a simple “commitment” that reduces a true following to a nominal Christianity. Cultural Christianity exists in a life that proclaims Jesus verbally (when comfortable) but has no difference in the way we live. According to Jesus, this type of Christianity is not possible. Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.” A living sacrifice (quite the paradoxical lifestyle) is the expectation from Paul for every believer not just the Christian elite. To be a disciple is to be a living sacrifice for Christ.

WHAT IS A DISCIPLE: A disciple follows Christ and the commands He gave. A disciple is committed to the great commission that states all disciples go and make disciples. In essence, the disciple is a disciple-maker. The word disciple appears 266 times in the New Testament.[1] When it comes to truly following Jesus, you must consider the cost of laying your life down for the sake of God’s Kingdom. Jesus makes this claim precise in Luke 14:28: “For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?”  The disciple is committed to following Christ and surrendering completely to His will. The disciple is willing to sacrifice personal ambition for the sake of following Christ. They are one who is willing to give up earthly gain including present or future possessions. The disciple is not only a learner of God’s word, but they work in accordance with the Spirit to apply His word. Disciples have their lives refined by regular and consistent time in God’s word. Disciples abide in Christ through daily prayer, which bears fruit in their lives. Disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit and their lives are marked with obedience and surrender. Disciples desire involvement in the mission of Jesus to make disciples in the local church, both locally and around the world.[2]

UNDERSTANDING THE GREAT COMMISSION: Jesus begins the Great Commission declaring his authority before arriving at the central command to “make disciples.” He proclaims that “all authority” which is in Christ Himself will be given to the disciples as they adhere to the task of discipleship. The authority transferred to a disciple allows them to proceed in the power and authority of Jesus as they carry out the mission of Jesus. Jesus’ mandate in the Great Commission gives us insight into our purpose, which is to glorify God by going and making disciples.

[1] Dave Earley and David Wheeler, Evangelism Is…, 22.

[1] Ibid., 22-25.

The structure of the Great Commission gives clarity to the method required to fulfill God’s plan to rescue the world. The command begins with the participle “go.” There is great consensus among evangelical and biblical scholars that the main purpose of the Great Commission is to “make disciples” (μαθητεύσατε).[3] The weight of the sentence structure is placed on the verb, “make disciples.” Bill Mounce prescribes to the belief that the participle πορευθέντες (go) is best understood in the framework consistent with Daniel Wallace, who states there is an expectation tied to the command “make disciples” (μαθητεύσατε).[4] Mounce and Wallace emphasize that the command to go and make disciples is the expectation of every believer. The command to baptize and to teach all that Jesus commanded is prescriptive not only for the church, but for the individual disciple. Understanding the participle is important to the process of discipleship, but also to the understanding of the verb μαθητεύσατε “make disciples.”[5] A disciple must “go” in order to “make disciples,” which means a disciple is participatory in discipleship both locally and globally.

Understanding the Great Commission in this way speaks directly to the application of biblical discipleship the local church. The command to “go” must carry the same weight as the command to “make disciples” because both are necessary for discipleship to occur. Making disciples cannot occur apart from the participles listed in the Great Commission.  The three participles, πορευθέντες (“go”), βαπτίζοντες (“baptizing”), and διδάσκοντες (“teaching”) serve as the formula and expectation that Jesus gave for the discipleship process. This understanding allows the emphasis to stay on the imperative verb which should also be the center of the church’s commitment to be and make disciples.[6] The Great Commission is the crescendo of the Gospels and of Jesus life and ministry on this earth. The local church, carrying out the Great Commission, is God’s plan of proclamation to the world.

CONSIDER THIS: What is your part in the Great Commission according to God’s word? I love the free resource offered by Green Acres called, “Discipleship Guide.” This guide is designed specifically as a resource to help you walk with others in a discipleship relationship. The Discipleship Guide will be available in the Connection Suite this weekend and is also available to download HERE. Grab someone from your Connect Group, a friend, a mentor, or a younger believer and commit to going through the guide together. I know you will be amazed at the fruit from relationships such as this. Hold each other accountable. Pray for one another. Grow together in the likeness of Christ. Stay tuned next week for more…..

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD DISCIPLESHIP GUIDE

[1] Grant R. Osborne, Matthew: Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, edited by Clinton E. Arnold (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 1080.

[1] Bill Mounce, “Great Commission and Participles,” For an Informed Love of God (Blog), Bill Mounce May 26, Accessed: November 1, 2019, https://www.billmounce.com/monday-with-mounce/great-commission-and-participles

[1] Daniel B. Wallace, “The Great Commission or the Great Suggestion?” danielbwallace (Blog), February 17, 2014, Accessed: November 1, 2019, https://danielbwallace.com/2014/02/17/the-great-commission-or-the-great-suggestion/

[1] Bill Hull, The Complete Book of Discipleship: On Being and Making Followers of Christ (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2006), 26.

 

THIS SUNDAY: I am so excited to be preaching the end of our series, Epic Faith, as we look at the faith of David. David’s life is full of incredible moments. The shepherd, the anointed King of Israel, the failure, and the grace of restoration. How does faith allow us to walk with the Lord through the highs and lows of life? Come and join us this Sunday at 8:30 or 11:00 am at the Tyler campus or 11:00 am at the Flint campus as we look at this epic faith of David and how your faith can grow in exponential ways.

SUMMIT: Have you considered being a part of what God is doing at Green Acres? If so, but you have been hesitant about jumping in or knowing your place, then I invite you to join us at THE SUMMIT. Our Green Acres Leadership Summit is designed for everyone who is currently serving, or those who are considering how to serve. Make plans to join us on August 14th, at 4:30 pm. You can sign up HERE

SIGN UP TODAY! I am so excited to announce the inaugural Green Acres Classic golf tournament that will be hosted by the Green Acres Baptist Church Foundation. The tournament will be on Monday, September 26, 2022, at Willow Brook Country Club. All proceeds will benefit the next generation of ministry leaders by supporting the Residency Program. This is just another thing I LOVE about our church family. We believe in raising up leaders so that the mission of God will continue to advance.

The newly developed Residency Program is designed specifically for those called to full-time vocational ministry. Residents serve on our ministry staff for one year while being developed and discipled by our staff team and have an opportunity to further their ministry education through a partnership with East Texas Baptist University.

Maybe you don’t want to play in the golf tournament, but you can still support this incredible new ministry of our church. Your support of the Green Acres Classic is an eternal investment that goes beyond the boundaries of this world! Please visit gabc.org/classic/ to support this ministry. To learn more about the Green Acres Baptist Church Foundation, visit GABC.org/foundation.

Church family, please be in prayer for all the 5th and 6th graders who are attending CROSSOVER this coming week. This trip is designed to help students CROSSOVER from Kid’s Ministry to Student Ministry. This is such an important milestone as we join together in building the next generation of Jesus followers.

 

I cannot wait to worship with you this Sunday!

 

You are loved and prayed for!

Michael Gossett