Last week we talked about the Great Commission, the mission Jesus left to his followers-to go and make disciples of all nations. We find these instructions on Matt. 28:18-20. Last week we learned that this mission is global because it includes all nations on earth. Jesus wants his disciples to make disciples of all ethnic groups on earth. All people matter to God.
WE discussed the fact that every disciple in the Bible was baptized. Jesus commanded to baptize those who were to follow him as disciples. It was a great joy last week when right after the service, we have two believers of Jesus committed to be baptized. It was a great Sunday for the kingdom of God when people commit to doing what Jesus commanded.
Last week we started the Sunday school class with the question, what comes to mind when you hear or read the Great Commission. We at SICC are committed to the Great Commission. What does that actually mean?
The Great Commission found in the Bible in Matt.28:19-20 is Jesus’ final instructions to his disciples before he went back to heaven. It is the last command Jesus gave his followers. It is the mission Jesus left for those who are his disciples.
We began to talk about the kingdom of heaven. Jesus inaugurated this kingdom when he came to earth and began preaching “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” We talked about that the Sovereign reign of Christ is not here yet. God’s people are to long for his coming kingdom, the time in which Jesus will return to earth as the King of kings and Lord of lords. As we wait for Jesus to return, have you ever wondered what you are supposed to do in the meantime? We are to continue spreading the good news that God’s kingdom is at hand and people need to repent and come to Jesus for salvation.
Most people would like to think that when they die they would go to a place the Scriptures called heaven. Heaven is one those topics we need the Bible to redefine our theology and misconceptions we have regarding this place everyone wants to go; we know so little about heaven because we let our ideas, presuppositions form our beliefs, rather than Scripture.
Today we will talk about one of the most misunderstood teachings in the Bible; hell. Most people don’t believe hell is a real place; others claim that they would not believe in a God who sends people to hell. According to Lifeway Research 60 % of Americans believe that hell is a real place but you have to be real bad to go there. 67 % of Americans believe heaven is a real place. 45% believe there are many ways to heaven. The beliefs about heaven and hell come from the Bible, but people have been making these beliefs more palatable as they continue to refuse the authority of the Bible and create their own beliefs in order to feel more comfortable. Ed Stetzer said it right. “People like to believe in a generic Christian-ish god with cafeteria doctrines”
This is why we must redefine our theology, our beliefs and in order to do so, we must go to the Scriptures. Jesus believed in hell and he spoke many times about this dreadful place.
Last week we talked about prayer. We discussed that Jesus modeled prayer and his followers were committed to it. We also learned that what most people know as the Lord’s prayer is truly a model prayer; a prayer given to his followers as a pattern or model. Prayer is not meant to be about meaningless repetitions.
I am sure you have heard many sermons or lessons about faith, trusting God. The Bible is filled with passages about trusting God, We all may profess to trust God but our actions don’t reflect it. Why is trusting God so hard at times? It doesn’t come naturally; it requires us to not be in control at times and most of us don’t like that. Trusting God goes against our reasoning; it goes against our comfort. Therefore it’s hard. Would you trust God even when it doesn’t make sense?
People have so many different ideas about Jesus’ identity. Today people think Jesus was a great teacher; the founder of Christianity; a Jewish rabbi. There are religious groups that have certain beliefs about Jesus. Jehovah Witnesses believe Jesus is Michael the arch angel; Mormons view Jesus as a god, but again everyone can become a god in their theology. They also see Jesus as Satan’s spiritual brother. For Islam, Jesus was a prophet like Muhammad.
With so many beliefs about Jesus, don’t you want to shout: Would the real Jesus please stand up?