I am not a theologian. In fact, sometimes I think we can get so caught up in our attempts to interpret the intricacies of Scripture that we miss the mission Christ laid out for us.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)
It moved me when I realized the first word in this commissioning I had memorized years ago, the first word is Go. Like, leave your church walls. Get to work. Build relationships with people in all nations. Baptize them. Teach them. We need some knowledge to do this. I concur.
But I read all of this online conversation and I often wonder, do nonbelievers even care? Do they see us fighting over theological details and find our Jesus irresistible? Are we teaching new believers to study and love God’s Word? Or do we alienate them by appearing to be elite experts?
Are we missing the forest for the trees, as they say?
Let’s go a step further. Walk with me into our churches. The ones we often complain about.
They’re too exclusive. Full of hypocrites. Too flashy. Too modern. Too traditional. Too boring. Too loud. Fill in the blank yourself: Too ____________.
Do these details that we pick apart every single Sunday have anything to do with making disciples? Is it really about your preferences?
Jesus never stopped practicing Judaism. He pointed out its flaws. He blasted its leaders. But if you study the Gospels, you see He still attended synagogue. Often, he taught within its walls. He traveled to Jerusalem to participate in the festivals.
Jesus lived Jewish.
He knew a place that taught us how to have a relationship with our Father had a place in our communities. The importance of fellowship and accountability. Ultimately, He saw a redeemed church. Full of believers like you and me. A structure. A people.
Perhaps, in addition to easing up on some of the debating, we should stop critiquing how folks decide to do church. And get back to what Christ commissioned us to do.
Our churches should be about welcoming, and investing in, those who choose to enter our doors.
Be the hands and feet of Jesus to the woman who hasn’t attended church in years. But life has her so desperate, she’s decided to give it a try.
Schedule some time to sit down with that new believer who has posted some questionable things on Facebook. We know living Christlike means being set apart from the ways of this world. But it takes a lifetime to figure out what that means.
Rather than continuing to debate among ourselves, start a small group or a class. If you have your debate arguments all polished up, there are believers who can benefit from your knowledge of the Word.
I find it interesting that Jesus included baptism in His commission to believers. Perhaps because it publicly shows our commitment to Christ. Water carries a tremendous amount of symbolism all throughout Scripture. Baptism carries great symbolism for us too.
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4
Infant or child or adult. Immersion. Sprinkling. In a church. Standing in the river. At the community pool. We teach other believers about obedience through the sacrament of baptism.
It breaks my heart to read statistics about how uneducated the average church attendee is regarding Scripture. We need to tell them about Jesus. The world needs examples of Christlike followers. But we do them a mighty disservice if we don’t teach them to study Scripture for themselves.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness... 2 Timothy 3:16
As Jesus walked this earth, He served mankind. Teaching them. Healing them. I am convicted that our time on this earth should be spent doing these very things as well.
Linking up at: October Sunday Share.