Great Commission ‘about discipleship, not just evangelism,’ Evans explainscomment (1)
March 8, 2012
By Jennifer Davis Rash
When Jesus says to baptize them in Matthew 28, “He’s not telling you to get them wet,” Dallas pastor and radio personality Tony Evans said. “He’s saying to Trinitize them ... like Paul said in Romans 6 ... raised to walk in newness of life, that’s your baptism.
“If you don’t look different, I don’t care how wet you got.”
Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, delivered the closing sermon of the Alabama Baptist State Evangelism Conference (see story, page 4), held Feb. 27–28 at Eastmont Baptist Church, Montgomery.
Attracting an overflow crowd of nearly 1,700, he detailed an hourlong exposition of the Great Commission, using a description of football as his backdrop.
Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, described Evans’ sermon as “the most fresh, refreshing and inspiring exposition of the Great Commission I have ever heard.”
Evans also reminded the racially diverse audience of past and present racial issues and urged it to be different from the culture.
As Paul told Peter in Galatians after Peter was pressured by his race not to mix with the Gentiles, “it is no longer about you. It is about Christ who is in you. You are supposed to be crucified with Christ.
“It is easy to be unified here today because this is a safe place,” Evans told the crowd. “The world is not in here tonight. It’s just us Christians hanging out together.
“But when you go to hostile territory, do you still represent the Kingdom or do you acquiese to the culture?
“God works through the Church to detemine what He’s going to do in society,” Evans said, pointing to Ephesians 3:10. “If you belong to Jesus Christ, you aren’t supposed to be a secret agent citizen. ... It’s about implementation, not merely information.
“Jesus said, ‘Teach them to observe whatever I have commanded you. ... Teach them how to live what I said, not just teach them what I said.’
“You make disciples; you don’t just have church,” Evans said, pointing to the Great Commission at the end of Matthew 28. “The Great Commission is not about evangelism. The Great Commission is about discipleship, but you start discipleship with evangelism, with the good news of the gospel.
“The message of evangelism forgives your sins and guarantees you heaven,” he said. “What it does not do is give you earth. That is discipleship.”
Jesus says to deliver the word that Christ has come and “the grace of God is available to all who come to faith alone by Christ alone for the gift of eternal life,” Evans said. “But that’s just the first participle (in the phrase). There are two more.
“You and I are living in a world today that is greatly divided ... politically ... racial division ... culture ... class and on and on,” he said. “In the midst of all the calamity that engulfs the culture, God has a ... team that can’t be owned by the home team or the visiting team.”
Similar to the team of referees in a football game, God’s disciples “are owned by the Lord.”
The Great Commission was delivered during a scheduled meeting of the disciples called by Jesus after He had risen from the grave but before He ascended into heaven, Evans said. “Jesus takes the podium ... and says, ‘I’m in charge now’ ... not only in the sweet by and by but in the nasty here and now; in heaven, where perfection reigns; and on earth, where evil is dispensed.
“I would like to suggest most Christians don’t believe that,” Evans said. “They’ve gotten intimidated by the plays on the field, the voices in the crowd. ... They’ve forgotten they have a (league) commissioner sitting in the chair.
“[Jesus] says to make disciples. ... The problem is not that God does not have enough Christians. His problem is that He doesn’t have enough disciples.”
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