“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” – Matthew 28:18-20
God’s heart has never changed. (Malachi 3:6) Existing in His heart has always been an everlasting desire for all men and women to understand Him and to be with Him. (1 Timothy 2:3-4) Armed with this understanding we can gain more insight into the scope of His love by going back to the beginning. God created man, then woman, then immediately commanded them: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth…” Genesis 1:28 From the very beginning of time, God’s heart was focused on Global Domination!
Before the creation of our world, we know Jesus was with God (John 1:1) and we know he is the image of the invisible God and the firstborn over all creation. (Colossians 1:15) Thousands of years later, we learn in Jesus’ last words to his disciples that not only was he the image of God but Jesus also had the heart of God: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20
Jesus spent three years creating 12 disciples. Immediately after making them into images of himself, he gave them the same command God gave to the man and the woman. He calls his disciples to be fruitful, to increase in number, and to go to all the nations, filling the whole earth. He finishes by showing the same longing God has always displayed – a desire to be with his people to the very end of the age.
Watching Jesus choose to emulate the heart of God is quite amazing and is certainly an upward call because we too are made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27) Our challenge as true followers of Jesus is to imitate our Lord and savior. While we’re made in God’s image, we also must decide to emulate the heart of God by committing ourselves to the task of being fruitful and filling the whole earth by making disciples in all nations. In our modern vernacular, we commit to Evangelizing the Nations in Our Generation!
Evangelizing the nations will take nothing less than our complete obedience to the greatest commandment to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 As a disciple of Jesus, you must choose to have the heart of God and strive with everything you have to make God’s dream come true. Collectively as a church we must do our part by evangelizing this great city of Denver and the surrounding areas and making disciples through the entire Mid-Atlantic. Then as a world-wide brotherhood and God’s modern day movement, we must stay committed to the cause, until we reach the same goal our 1st century brothers and sisters reached – Global domination of the Kingdom of God!
Detailed on the next page is our “Crown of Thorns Project.” This is our concerted effort as a modern day movement of God to give our father His dream of being with as many of His children as possible so they can bask in His glory and he can show them His glory for all eternity!
Treasure is the key word in understanding the heart which drives the Kingdom. To every disciple of Jesus the Kingdom was exactly that – a treasure. It was worth more than silver or gold. It took precedence over everything else. All our lives, we looked for something worth pouring ourselves into. For those of us who are a part of God’s Kingdom we know that we’ve found that treasure and we understand that our sacrifice buys the kingdom and lost souls.
Jesus held his disciples to the highest of standards – everything. With him it was all or nothing. To the rich man in Mark 10:21 his charge was “Go, sell everything.” To the crowds of potential followers in Luke 14:33 he drew his line saying, “ ..any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” Jesus expected his followers to be “Sold Out” by being willing to literally sell everything to follow him and win the world for his cause. We must be careful to not allow even a hint of greed (Ephesians 5:3) to creep into our lives and take our unwillingness to serve Jesus and his Kingdom with the Sold Out heart he demands.
Proof of Jesus’ intentions with these rigorous commands is found in the response of his disciples! They became Sold Out and gave up their own personal time to be devoted to the Apostles teachings, to be devoted to individual and group prayer, and to be devoted to one another. Their equal devotion to giving up everything gave them everything in common, making them completely unified! Because of their unity, the Lord added to their number daily, until they won the world in their generation. Selling out to Jesus makes us powerful, effective, and gives us that same unity. Certainly we must commit ourselves to the same course if we are to win the world in our generation!