Visions from the Vincents

September 29, 2008

Evangelism Mythbuster #5

Filed under: baptism,Evangelism — Joshua @ 5:22 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

5. The goal of Evangelism is a decision. The bible clearly communicates that the  goal of evangelism is discipleship.

The Great Commission

Matthew 28:18-20 is commonly referred to as the Great Commission (too often it is also the great omission of the church!).  There it says,

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.”

This verse can be used for missions,–taking the gospel across geographic, cultural, or linguistic boundaries– or evangelism–to proclaim the gospel to those with fewer boundaries (both are shortened definitions that should be expanded).  Jesus leaves his disciples in the book of Matthew with these final words, enlisting them to herald the Kingdom that Jesus ushered in with his life, death, resurrection, and ascension.  Many place the emphasis of this verse on baptizing, thinking it some great service to baptize a lot of people.  Don’t get me wrong, I am intentionally baptistic, because I believe in regenerate church membership and find conversion to be an amazing thing to, which baptism points.  I would never take anything away from the significance and meaning of this divine drama.  And of course, we must decide to follow Jesus.  But, what is more important than a decision, or a Baptism, or filling out a membership card, is that one is presently following Christ.  That is the mark and goal of an authentic decision.  Discipleship is the goal of the Great Commission.  This is evident clearly in the English and even more clearly in the Greek. The focus of evangelism rests in ongoing Christian vitality.  So, where their is no fruit, there probably is no root.  Instead, the plant is probably severed from life, life that is only found in real authentic faith in Christ.

Implications

Individually, this means that practically, our focus should be much more intense than looking for a decision.  When we evangelize we should be looking to the whole person.  We need to see in what ways we can develop long lasting relationships in which we can cultivate the seeds we plant.

As a church, it means that you should be building into your corporate lives a mechanism to invest in the lives of those P.W.E.s (post-water experiences).  You should make it clear to those you baptize the faithful church membership is a natural out working of true grace.  To love God is to love his people, and that it is in this atmosphere that Christians are discipled best.  Moreover, one-on-one disicpleship should be encouraged and provided for christians young and old (in his case, especially young).

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