This week on the blog we’ve said that a just church is a disciple-making church. A just church proclaims the Gospel to anybody and makes disciples of everybody. Finally, a just church teaches obedience in everything. Consider our key text again:
Matthew 28:18-20—“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.”
How do we make disciples? If we look at the three participles in this passage, we see it should happen wherever we go, it begins with the symbol of baptism, but then what? In verse 20 Jesus tells us: teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
Making disciples means teaching obedience in everything. By the way, this is not merely about teaching the words in red print in your Bibles. Yes, the words of Jesus are important, but they are no more important than the rest of your Bible. All of Scripture is the word of Christ. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
If we’re going to teach obedience in everything we need to talk about the evils of abortion and racism, the importance of caring for the poor and the dignity of work, the good gift of singleness and the good gift of marriage, the responsibility of government and the role of the citizen, the goodness of generosity and the wisdom of saving, the gifts of feasting and fasting. We need to talk about hard things like gender and sexuality, sexual intimacy, marriage, divorce, alcohol and drug abuse, social justice vs. biblical justice, and more. We need to talk about difficult doctrines like the Trinity, the sovereignty of God, election and predestination, the incarnation, the reality of hell, and more.
Like Paul in Ephesus, we need to be able to say: “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27).
How can we possibly do all of this? First, we need to be okay not being cool. So much of what the Bible teaches is increasingly foreign to our culture. And we have to be okay with that. After all, Jesus said if they hated Him they’ll hate us too. Second, we need to be in it for the long haul. There’s no way we can cover all this week-to-week. Your pastor needs to be committed to preaching God’s Word week after week and you need to be faithful to hear it.
The church’s job is to make disciples, and to do that justly we must teach obedience in everything. Yes, many people will suffer great injustices in this life. But if they have joy and peace in the next, this light momentary affliction is working for them an eternal weight of glory. The mission of the church is not to make people more comfortable in this life. It is to prepare them for the next. A just church is a disciple-making church.