Gray Road Baptist Church exists to glorify God. One of the ways we seek to glorify God is by engaging the world with the gospel. What does this look like? Well, we engage through our missions giving. We engage on mission trips. We engage through community events like VBS and the Fall Festival.
We engage as the gospel goes out from our pulpit on Sunday mornings. We even engage as we sing songs of the gospel as a congregation. In our singing, we “declare [God’s] glory among the nations, his marvelous works among the peoples!” (Ps. 96:3).
However, there’s more to engaging the world with the gospel. More than all these wonderful, needed activities. Notice, all these are corporate activities, but sharing the gospel is not meant to be only corporate. It’s meant to be personal...very personal.
Every week, every one of us should have engaging the world with the gospel on our minds. That’s not a typo. Every week, every one of us should have engaging the world with the gospel on our minds. It’s a pretty bold claim, isn’t it? But is it true? Is it really true that every single Christian should feel the weight of responsibility in reaching the world? Or is this just some sort of pastoral hyperbole?
To answer that question, we should go to our Source – the Bible. There, we’ll find our answer, and we’ll find it in a familiar place. The Great Commission. It’s a pretty familiar passage from Matthew 28. After His resurrection, and as He is ascending to heaven, Jesus says this to His eleven remaining disciples: “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...” (Mt. 28:19-20).
These men were given a message. It was a message of repentance and forgiveness (Lk. 24:47), and they were to preach it in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Through the preaching of this gospel, disciples would be made (Acts 14:21). These new disciples would confess their faith in the waters of baptism (Mt. 28:19; Acts 2:41), and they would need to be taught (Mt. 28:20).
Sounds good so far, right? We’re all on the same page. This makes sense. If I believe the gospel, I profess my faith through baptism. Then, I spend the rest of my life learning and growing as a disciple. That means I learn what God says, and I do it. I’m a doer of the Word and not just a hearer. Check.
However, there’s one more piece to this puzzle. Jesus leaves no wiggle room on what must be learned and what must be obeyed. He says every disciple must be taught “to observe all that I have commanded you...” (Mt. 28:20). No command of Jesus should be left out. All of them must be obeyed. So, disciples aren’t given the choice as to whether they can commit adultery or not. Forgive others or not. Love one another or not. Commit murder or not. We must obey.
Now, ask yourself this question: where is the closest command, so I can start obeying it? It’s in this same paragraph. It’s actually back at the beginning of this sentence. Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples...” Or a more literal translation: “As you are going, therefore, make disciples...”
Wrap your mind around this. Jesus tells His disciples to make disciples. Then, those disciples are to teach the new disciples to obey everything Jesus commanded. One of those commands – the last command, the “Great” command – was this: make disciples. In other words, the disciples were to make disciples who would make disciples. This command from Jesus, like all the others, is handed down from one generation to the next, and today, it’s been handed to us. To each of us.
So, are you a disciple of Jesus? Have you believed the gospel? Have you professed your faith in baptism? Are you seeking to grow in knowing and obeying all that Jesus commands in the Bible? Then, don’t leave this one out. Make disciples.
As you go, make disciples. As you go to work. To school. To the waiting room at the dentist. To the salon. To the ball field to watch your child play sports. To the homeschool co-op. To the gym to work out. Wherever it is we go, pray that God would use you to make disciples. Have open eyes to see opportunities, an open heart to want opportunities, and an open mouth to seize the opportunities God gives you in the course of your everyday life. The opportunities are there.
So, the answer to your question about pastoral hyperbole is no. No, it’s not an exaggeration. Every disciple should engage the world with the gospel. It should never leave our radar because disciple-making is an integral part of the disciple’s life.