Preaching is neither education nor entertainment. We’re called to fulfill the Great Commission, which means making disciples. Here are three foundational passages for anyone who longs to preach about something more than a fire-insurance relationship with Jesus:
His Command: Making Disciples
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.” (Matthew 28:16-20)
1. If heaven is the ultimate goal of the gospel, then discipleship is merely an option, like a choice in the cafeteria. But making disciples is not a choice; it’s the mission. There is something lacking in each one of us until we become disciples and until we make disciples of others.
2. Discipleship is open to anyone willing to worship Jesus. Intellectual curiosity is not the ticket in, nor are good works. And here is the really good news: Doubt does not disqualify you from worship.
3. At the place of worship, we discover that Jesus considers us partners in his mission. He never intended the original 12 disciples to be the only ones; he intended they would reproduce themselves. Amazingly, he intends the same for us as well.
Our Destiny: Conformed to His Image
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)
1. The good news is better than we think: Making disciples means that the Father intends that each of us become conformed to the image of his Son. This is staggering: If we are disciples of Jesus, the Father has set a destination for each of us—Christlikeness!
2. Jesus is unique: the only begotten of the Father. Yet that same Father is determined to have a large family. He sends a spirit of adoption into our hearts. We see him as our true Father, and we discover our older brother is none other than the Lord of glory.
3. When we first heard the gospel presented as Jesus’ sacrificial death on our behalf—how many of us imagined the Father had a destination in mind better than Heaven itself?