Pastor Steve Ellison
The Bible speaks a lot about fruit bearing. Adam and Eve were told to be fruitful and multiply. Noah was told be fruitful and multiply. Jacob was told to be fruitful and multiply. God told the prophet Jeremiah that He would send the Righteous Branch so that God’s people would be fruitful and multiply. The gospels mention fruit 38 times, three by John the Baptist and the rest by Jesus. The New Testament speaks of thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and hundredfold Christians. Nowhere does the New Testament speak of zero-fold Christians. Christians are to be fruit-bearing. The only way for couples to be physically fruitful is to be in close intimate union with each other. The only way for a Christian to be spiritually fruitful is to be in close intimate union with Christ.
Jesus left His disciples with a final set of instructions and a powerful word of encouragement as He prepared to return to His place at the right hand of the Father. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus declared that all authority had been given to Him. Because He had all authority, Jesus could commission and empower His disciples. These men stood in front of Christ possessing no money, no building, no organization, no power, no First Amendment rights, no anything, and yet Jesus was about to order them into all the world making disciples of every ethnic group. If any group of people ever needed encouragement, this group did. Surely the disciples could believe Jesus’ declaration that He had all authority. After all, they had seen Jesus exercise power over nature, disease, blindness, demons, and even death, and finally not only others’ death but His own death as well.
This authority and power was well placed. It was given into the hands of the One who knew best how to use it, who loves best, and who can distribute it best. This One who holds power and authority over everything has power and authority to empower and anoint His soldiers. He has power and authority to judge His servants. He has power and authority to reward His followers. Jesus first word of encouragement was that all authority had been given to Him. His second word of encouragement to his disciples was that He would be with them until the end of the age. Christ is with His disciples on good days, bad days, Fridays, Mondays, during success, during failure, during time of favor, during time of persecution, and every other day until the end of time. What greater encouragement could this group have than to know that Christ who possessed all authority would be by their side from now on?
Now these men were ready to receive their final instructions. They were to be in such close union with Christ that spiritual fruit would be birthed. In other words, as the disciples went about their daily lives, they would share the good news about their Savior. This would result in people being “born again”. Christ also told them to make disciples which would include teaching these newborn creations in Christ to observe (obey) all that Jesus had taught. This command to make disciples is not given only to the original disciples but to all subsequent disciples as well. If a Christian is not actively engaged in making disciples, he or she is living outside of the will of God. The demise of the Church has not come because of government regulations, a bad economy, a filthy entertainment industry, etc. Rather, the church is experiencing a reduction in attendance, commitment, and influence because we have not faithfully carried out the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. You have been commissioned. I wonder if at the Judgment Seat of Christ, we will be presented with a list of people we have discipled, however short it may be. ..……..…..firstname.lastname@example.org