Week 34 August 19 - 25, 2018

What We Should Know When Jesus Says “Go”            

In the final moments before His return to heaven, Jesus charged His followers with a vital task to continue building His heavenly kingdom here on earth.

Known as “The Great Commission,” Christ made His instructions crystal clear in Matthew 28:19-20. He boldly tells all believers to “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.”

Therefore, if Christ’s final words should be our first priority, there are several things we should know when Jesus says “go.”

First, when Jesus says “go” He expects us to make Christian disciples.

A disciple by definition is someone who follows their leader’s steps and also emulates their leader’s actions. Jesus is not interested in believers who simply acknowledge His identity and power in theory, but instead He desires to make disciples who put that theory into practice. We are called to be His hands and feet as we spread the good news of salvation and minister to the world through both word and deed.

Our job is to be a true disciple of our Lord, and we do that best by making disciples of others along the way.

The second thing we should know when Jesus says “go” is that He wants us to take the gospel message to all nations.

Although Christ first broke into humanity through Israel, His ultimate plan was for all nations of the earth to be blessed through His people. This idea of “nations” is not referring to geo-political states but individual ethnic people groups through the world. An organization known as The Joshua Project reports in 2018 that there are approximately 17,000 people groups in the world today, and 7,085 of those groups still remain unreached with the gospel. This means they have never heard the good news of Christ and have no hope for eternal salvation.

This is why when our Lord commands us to go to all nations, we need to go now and go quickly.

Thirdly, when Jesus says “go” He calls us to baptize in His name and teach His commands to new believers.

Simply put, if someone is going to be a disciple of Christ, they need to publically profess His Lordship and join a local congregation of believers. Once they are members of His body, they also need to be taught His commands so they can live in obedience to His Word and become progressively conformed to His image.

The final thing we should know when Jesus says “go” is that we are not going alone because He promises to always be with us.

We should never forget although we have a Great Commission, we also have a greater promise: Christ’s presence. There is no area we are called to go where He will not go with us, and no task we are called to complete where He will not empower us. It is Christ who is building His church, and Christ who will one day return to announce His work is finished and consummate an eternal kingdom.

We must remember as we seek to go and complete the terms of our commission, we are called merely to be faithful and to trust in the Lord’s abundant grace. It is only when we learn to abide in Him that our commission will be fulfilled and He will be glorified through us.

What We Should Know When Jesus Says “Go”

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The Intimacy of Immanuel

Another popular prophesy of the Old Testament that is fulfilled in the book of Matthew is found in Isaiah 7:14, which says, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Celebrated each year at Christmas, this prophesy points directly to the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Matthew 1:23 further illustrates this miracle through explaining the deeper meaning of the name Immanuel as “God with us.” Ironically, as Matthew begins by announcing God’s intimate presence through Christ, the book also ends with a promise that He will be with us to the end of the age.

Crying Out From the Cross

The opening phrase of Psalm 22 has a familiar echo that many Christians are familiar with from Matthew 27. Verse 1 says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” and these are the identical words of Jesus during the crucifixion in Matthew 27:46. Through a closer examination of both passages, several additional connections between Psalm 22 and Matthew 27 immerge as clear messianic prophesies fulfilled by Christ at Calvary. These prophecies include Jesus being mocked by those who “wag their heads,” Christ being told to trust in God to deliver Him from the cross, and soldiers who divide His garments among themselves by casting lots.

Why God Chose the Weak

Throughout the story of Scripture, God continually choses weak and sinful people to accomplish great works for His kingdom. While some may be confused why he consistently chooses these unlikely characters, Paul points to the main reason why: Pride. As he reveals in 1 Corinthians 1:27-29, “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”

Week 35 Readings:  August 26 – September 1

-Day One:  Isaiah 23-25; 1 Corinthians 3

-Day Two:  Isaiah 26-29; Psalm 65; 1 Corinthians 4

-Day Three:  Isaiah 30-32; 1 Corinthians 5

-Day Four:  Isaiah 33-35; 1 Corinthians 6

-Day Five:  2 Chronicles 28; 2 Kings 17; Psalm 66; 1 Corinthians 7   


Tips to Keep You on Track

          In this week’s reading assignments we will dive deeper into the book of Isaiah as we explore chapters 23-35. Isaiah is a major prophetic writing of the Old Testament that includes 66 chapters of the trials, tribulations, judgement, and eventual redemption of God’s people. The book points to numerous messianic prophesies that would later be uniquely fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Through these prophesies, God declares the good news that He will bring glory to Himself through redeeming and renewing His people while the nations of the world watch and also come to salvation. When you read through these chapters in Isaiah, pay attention to the theme of hope for sinners through the coming of the messiah. Take time to meditate on how these promises fulfilled by Christ will usher in a new world where scars will be healed and sins will be washed away. As is says in Isaiah 35:10, “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”