經文﹕ < 馬太福音 >28 ﹕ 16-20 ﹐ < 使徒行傳 >1 ﹕ 8
這是 HCC 的使命。它定義了我們的身份和我們的工作。 在過去的幾個星期裡﹐我們學習了有關敬拜上帝和研讀並教導聖經的使命。 今天早上﹐我們要著重討論宣教 , 傳福音 的使命。
“ 19 所以，你們要去使萬民作我的門徒，奉父子聖靈的名，給他們施洗。 20 我吩咐你們的一切，都要教導他們遵守。這樣，我就常常與你們同在，直到這世代的終結。” 這是耶穌在復活之後的四十天內聖經所記載的少數幾段話之一。這是我們通常所說的大使命。正是這段話﹐給了許多人勇氣和力量走遍千山萬水﹐足跡遍布世界各地﹐將耶穌的福音傳遍天下。 正是這段大使命﹐在 19 世紀把大衛李文斯頓 , 威廉克而禮 , 馬理遜和載得生從英國帶到非洲﹐印度和中國。 這導致載得生說 , “ 如我有一千條生命 , 我會全部獻與中國 , 如我有一千英鎊 , 決不留下一鎊不給中國 .” 也正是這大使命﹐把五個年輕的美國人和他們的家人在 1955 年帶到南美傳福音﹐卻在剛剛接觸當地的印第安人時被殺害。
你知道嗎 ? 因為有了這大使命﹐我們今天才來到這個教會。
如果要對這經文有一個正確的認識﹐就要對當時發生的事件有一個了解。“ 17 他們看見耶穌就拜他，但仍然有些人懷疑。 18 耶穌上前來，對他們說：天上地上一切權柄都賜給我了。” 當門徒們來到加利利山的時候﹐遠遠地就看到了耶穌。當他們看到耶穌的時候﹐就敬拜他。為什麼﹖因為他們知道耶穌是基督﹐彌撒亞﹐從上帝那裡來的﹐他就是神。他從死裡復活﹐不僅如此﹐耶穌告訴他們天上和地上的一切權柄都賜給他了。當耶穌剛開始在世上事奉的時候﹐他受到魔鬼的誘惑和考驗。其中有一個誘惑是﹕如果耶穌跪下拜撒旦﹐撒旦就把世上一切的榮華都給他。耶穌駁斥了魔鬼﹐因為他知道他得到這個世界不是通過跪拜魔鬼﹐而是必須要經歷受苦﹐死亡和復活的過程。在世上的三年裡﹐耶穌通過教導和行神跡﹐建立和顯示了他的權威。當他從死裡復活的時候﹐就是他的能力和權柄的最終彰顯﹐他不僅擁有地上的大能﹐也被賦予天上的一切權柄。這是一個完整的權柄。門徒們敬拜他﹐因為他就是萬主之主。
不僅自己擁有一切權柄和能力﹐耶穌也將他的能力賜給了門徒們。 < 使徒行傳 >1 ﹕ 8 “可是聖靈降臨在你們身上，你們就必領受能力…… ” < 使徒行傳 > 記載道﹕在耶穌說了這番話之後十天﹐聖靈就降臨到他們身上﹐門徒們也都領受了能力。
“ 19 所以，你們要去使萬民作我的門徒，奉父子聖靈的名，給他們施洗。 20 我吩咐你們的一切，都要教導他們遵守。” 傳統上﹐很多基督徒著重在“去” 這個字上﹐但是﹐真正的主要動詞是“作我的門徒” 。門徒是學生﹐跟隨者的意思。耶穌基督的門徒就是跟隨和效仿耶穌的學生。 < 約翰福音 >8 ﹕ 31 說“你們若持守我的道，就真是我的門徒了。” 門徒要學習神的道﹐遵守神的道並且活在神的道中。神的道﹐也就是聖經不只是一些需要儲藏在腦中的知識。學習和遵守神的道一定會導致生命的改變。
< 約翰福音 >13 ﹕ 35 “如果你們彼此相愛，眾人就會認出你們是我的門徒了。” 耶穌的門徒要彼此相愛。用 Francis Shaeffer 的話說“愛是最好和最終的辯解。” 如何使人成為門徒呢﹖成為門徒的過程是怎麼樣的﹖
教導神的話語。除了洗禮以外還要做什麼﹖“ 我吩咐你們的一切，都要教導他們遵守。” 帶領人歸主不單是做一個認罪的禱告﹐更重要的是教導他們遵守耶穌的教訓。 耶穌教導了什麼﹖登山寶訓﹐神國的憲章﹐關於偽善和純潔的教導和比喻﹐有關耶穌再來的預言。換句話說﹐塑造一個門徒就要用一切神在聖經中啟示的內容來教導他。
大使命要去哪裡施行﹖“去使萬民……”耶穌說﹐無論去哪裡﹐為他塑造門徒。 當你從一個村莊去另一個村莊﹐從一座城市去另一座城市﹐一個國家到另一個國家﹐無論你是去探親訪友或者從事生意談判﹐都要為主塑造門徒。在 < 使徒行傳 >1 ﹕ 8 說“……並且要在耶路撒冷、猶太全地、撒瑪利亞，直到地極，作我的見證人。” 在任何地方都要為主塑造門徒。大使命沒有疆界。我們要向不同語言﹐不同文化﹐不同血統的人傳福音。
福音在之後的幾個世紀繼續得到傳播。以中東地區為中心﹐在歐洲大陸往東南西北各個方向傳播﹐然後跨過了海洋。 在主後 800 年﹐福音傳到了中國﹐但不久就在中國失傳﹐一直到 1000 年以後 再重新而來 。 首先福音傳到沿海地區﹐至 1876 年﹐已經傳到許多內陸地區。今天﹐福音依然在那些從未聽過耶穌基督的地區迅速地被傳播。
1 當我們想到大使命的時候﹐要首先記得我們是一個群體﹐一個敬拜的群體。敬拜上帝必須佔據我們生命的首要地位。不僅只是星期天的早上﹐每一天我們都要敬拜這位天地之主。 祂是那掌管一切的神 . 不錯 , 撒旦有能力恐嚇或嘗試影響我們 , 但在我們身上它是沒能力的 . 就如你在散步 , 忽然有一隻狗跑出大喊 , 嚇你一跳 . 再仔細看一下 , 發現狗是被繩子拉住 . 你看 , 耶穌因為從死裡復活 , 已勝過了撒旦 . 它好像很兇 , 但是被繩子所拉住 .
在十九和二十世紀﹐歐洲教會向世界各地派出大量宣教士。許多在日本﹐中國和東亞地區的宣教士都是來自荷蘭﹐德國﹐丹麥﹐挪威﹐芬蘭和瑞典。他們在這些宣教的國家忠心地事奉﹐教導神的話語。但是﹐在同一時期﹐你知道在歐洲大陸發生了什麼事﹖正統的基督信仰正在被淡漠。 神學院不再教導聖經是上帝啟示和無誤的真理。 很快﹐教會就停止教導聖經。當那些宣教士在二十世紀初和中業的時候回到歐洲﹐曾經熟悉的教會變得陌生。 一位北歐的宣教士說“我回到教會﹐發現一切都不認得了。她已不在教導聖經了 . 我忙碌于在亞洲分享和教導福音﹐但是我自己的祖國卻變得陌生和世俗化了。”
3 我們不可以對大使命硬性的分類。 耶穌教導我們﹐無論去到哪裡﹐都要使萬民做他的門徒。 在聖經裡﹐沒有本地和普世宣教的區分。 我們無論在哪裡都應該為主塑造門徒。我們週圍的同學﹐同事或者家人可能從未聽過耶穌基督﹐那麼﹐我們就要走到他們中間﹐向他們分享福音的好消息。當我們去理髮店的時候﹐也可以向邊上正在剪髮的人傳福音。當我們去熟悉的飯店吃飯時﹐就可以和服務員以及經理成為朋友﹐向他們傳福音。 我想到徐牧師﹐他是如何在餐館服務員中傳福音﹐在他們中間成立聖經學習小組。 當你的公司把你派往海外的時候﹐你可以在那裡傳福音。 我想到一位在北卡教會的弟兄﹐他是一位工程師﹐被公司派往德國法蘭克福工作五年﹐在德國﹐他幫助當地教會﹐向該地區的學生和家庭傳福音 , 並教導門徒訓練 。
有時候﹐你可能因為生意或者度假的關係去世界各地旅行﹐你要把福音也帶去那裡﹔有時候﹐神會特別呼召你去其他國家﹐學習當地的語言﹐為主在那裡塑造門徒。聖經從沒有說過世界宣教比本地宣教重要。這不是聖經的教導。大使命教導我們無論去往哪裡﹐要使人成為耶穌的門徒。在 HCC ﹐和其他許多教會相同﹐我們也有本地和世界宣教的使命。我們區分本地和世界宣教的事工只是為了行政管理上的方便﹐而不是因為兩者有任何主次上的區別。大使命 是不分 本地 或海外 。
在 < 馬太福音 >28 章﹐我們讀到了耶穌託付我們的大使命。在 < 使徒行傳 >1 ﹕ 8 ﹐我們讀到了一個非常類似的對大使命的表述。在 < 使徒行傳 > 裡﹐我們看到早期的基督徒是如何遵守耶穌的大使命﹐把福音傳到所有他們知道的地方。但是﹐我們有沒有注意到大使命沒有在後來的使徒書信中被提起﹖我們知道耶穌的教訓是﹕盡心﹐盡力﹐盡意地愛神﹐愛鄰舍如同愛自己。 在 < 使徒行傳 > 中﹐我們看到門徒們是如何彼此相愛。在新約的其他章節中﹐我們看到使徒們如何繼續教導這主題和耶穌其他的真理。為什麼大使命在使徒的書信中卻是相當的沉默呢﹖
舊約聖經是指向耶穌基督 . 福音書和使徒行傳是記載那位已來臨的耶穌 , 祂的生平事跡 , 教導 , 和早期教會的發展 . 使徒的書信繼續解釋與擴大耶穌的教導 . 為要幫助信徒成長 , 成熟 , 象耶穌基督 , 要我們學習如何成為耶穌基督的門徒 .
因此﹐教會的首要工作是在於塑造門徒。 我們要完整地教導神的話語。 當我們忠心地教導信徒要愛神和愛人時 , 幫助信徒順服神的話和成長時 , 那麼與人分享福音就成了生命自然的一部分。故此我們說﹐無論在本地和世界各地﹐傳福音不是一件要做的事 , 仍是一 種的生活方式 , 生命的一部分 .
在座的每一位 , 都是因為有人信了主 , 受了洗 , 學習並教導神的話 , 而來到這教會 . 現在 , 這話語竟來到了你這裡 , 你相信了 , 也在學習這聖經 , 今天當你回家時 , 明天回學校和工作地方時 , 就要與別人分享這福音 . 如 載得生 所說 , “大使命不是我們要考慮的一個選擇 , 仍是要服從的一個命令 . ”
Text: Matthew 28:16—20, Acts 1:8
Title: A People of Witness
Theme: The Great Commission is to be an integral part of our life style
This is the mission of HCC. It makes a statement of who we are and what we do. During the last few Sundays, we have looked at Worship and Word. This morning we want to focus on Outreach.
“ 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," 20 "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” These are the few recorded words Jesus spoke to his disciples during the 40 days after his resurrection. It is known as the Great Commission. These words became the driving force of taking countless people going over the mountains, crossing the oceans to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ all over the world. This great commission brought people like David Livingston, William Carey, Morrison and Husdon Taylor from England to Africa, India and china in the 1800’s. This leads to Taylor ’s famous words, “if I have 1.000 lives, I’d give them all for China . If I have 1000, I will not leave one for myself.” The same commission took 5 young Americans and their families to S.America in 1955 and were killed at the first contact with the native Indians.
And you know what? Most of us, if not all, are here because of this Great Commission. This morning I want to make several observations about this Great Commission and see how it was applied to the early Christians and what it means to us in the 21 st century.
I. The Great Commission begins with worshipping the Lord of all.
To have a full understanding of this commission, it is important to know what took place earlier. In vs.17, 18, “ 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, "“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” As the disciples arrived at the mountain in Galilee , they saw Jesus in a distance. Some doubted, meaning not sure who he was. Then he came near and spoke to them. When they saw him, they worshipped him. Why? They knew he was Christ, the Messiah, the one from God, he was God. He had also risen from the dead. Moreover, Jesus told them that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him. When Jesus started his earthly ministry, he was tempted by the devil. One of the temptations was that if he would bow before Satan, then he would be given all the kingdoms of the earth. Jesus rebuked Satan, for he knew that his authority over the kingdoms was not acquired by bowing to Satan, but through the path of suffering, death and resurrection. For 3 years, Jesus, through his teaching and miracles, demonstrated his authority. And when he resurrected from the dead, it was the ultimate manifestation of his power and authority, not just over the earthly kingdom but the heavens as well. It is total authority. The disciples worshipped Him because He is the Lord of all.
There is more to this. Not only has he the authority and power, the disciples, too, have his power. In Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…..” 10 days after his instruction in Acts 1:8, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they all received t he power.
Before they obeyed and carried out the Great Commission, the disciples worshipped and received power from the Lord of all.
II. The Great Commission’s objective is to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
Vs.19, “ 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," 20 "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Traditionally, many Christians put the emphasis on the word ‘go’. However, the main verb is ‘make disciples’. A disciple is a student, a learner. A disciple of Jesus Christ is someone who learns and follows Him. A disciple is someone who is willing to take up his cross and follow Christ. A disciple is John 8:31, “…. If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.” A disciple is one who reads God's word, obeys the word, and lives in God's word. God's word, the scriptures, is not just knowledge tucked somewhere in the brain. Knowing and obeying the word will always lead to the transformation of life.
A disciple is (John 13:35), “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” A disciple of Jesus Christ is someone who loves others. In Francis Shaeffer’s words, “love is the final apologetic”. How to we make disciples? What is the process?
Baptism. The disciples are to baptize the disciples in or into the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. This means that as individuals come to know and believe in Jesus Christ, they are to be baptized. Baptism is an outward act to confirm an inner relationship with God.
Teach. What else beside baptism? “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” To make a disciple is not just bringing someone to pray the sinner’s prayer. There is more to this. To teach them to obey all that Jesus has taught. What did Jesus teach? The Sermon on the Mount, it is the constitution of God's heavenly kingdom, the parables, teachings on hypocrisy, purity and his second coming. In other words, disciples are made by teaching them all that God has revealed to us in the scriptures, the whole counsel of God.
III. The great commission is without border.
Where will this baptizing and teaching take place? “Go therefore….to all nations,..” The literal translation is : as you go, make disciples of all nations. As you’re going from one village to another, one city, one nation to another, as you go to visit friends or doing business, make disciples. This is further expanded in Acts 1:8, “and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria , and to the end of the earth….” Make disciples wherever you are, locally or in distant cities and nations. Whether the people are receptive or hostile, make disciples. There is no border, no boundary for the Great Commission. It includes peoples of all languages and ethnicity.
What did this Great Commission mean to the early disciples? They heard it and obeyed it. Within 30 years after Jesus' ascension into heaven, the gospel message reached Rome , the center of Roman Empire . Wherever the disciples went, they taught the Word.
The gospel message continued to spread throughout the centuries. With the Middle East as the center, it went towards east, west, north and south of the European continent, then across the oceans. By 800 A.D., the gospel had arrived in China, but disappeared shortly after until almost 1000 years later. By 1876, the gospel had reached many of the inland provinces. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is still moving today to places that have never heard of Jesus Christ.
What does all these mean to us today?
When we think of the great commission, we must first remember to be a people of worship. Worshipping God must be a priority in life. Not just on Sunday mornings, but everyday, we worship the Lord of heaven and earth. He is the sovereign God over the entire earth. Yes, Satan has the power to scare and influence us, but he has no power over us, for he was defeated. It is like walking down the street. Then out of nowhere a dog comes barking at you. You are scared but after taking a second look, the dog is on a leash. You see, because of Jesus resurrection, he had overcome the devil. The devil may look fierce, but is on a leash.
When we think of the Great Commission, we’re also to be a people of the book. We study the Bible and teach the Bible. We study the Bible not only for personal growth, but also to teach others both locally and in different parts of the world. We must not ignore our identity as a people of the Book.
In the 19 th and early 20 th century, the European churches had sent out numerous missionaries to all parts of the world. Many went to Japan , China , SE Asia were from the Netherlands , Germany , Denmark , Norway , Finland and Sweden . They faithfully served in those countries all their lives, teaching God's word to the people there. But at the same time, do you know what was happening in Europe , in their home countries? The orthodox Christian faith was slowly being abandoned. The seminaries no longer taught that the Bible is God's inspired and inerrant word. Soon the churches stopped teaching the word. By the time many missionaries returned in the early and mid 1900’s, the church they once knew was no longer there. As one missionary from the Scandinavian countries once said, “I came back to a church that I no longer knew. She was not the teaching the Bible anymore. I was busy sharing and teaching the gospel in Asia , but my home country has become a foreign, secular land.”
Teaching the word here is just as important as teaching the word in other parts of the world.
We are not to compartmentalize the Great Commission. Jesus taught us that as we go, having gone, we are to make disciples of all nations. In the Bible, there is no local or global outreach or evangelism. We are to make disciples right where we are. We live in the midst of students, professionals and families who have not heard of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore as we have gone to them, living among them, we are to share the gospel message. When we go to the barber shop, we share the gospel with the one who cuts our hair. When we go to those familiar restaurants, we are to befriend the waiters, waitress and managers and share the gospel message with them. I think of how Howard, when he was here, would talk to some waiters and waitress, and started a Bible study ministry among them.
When your company assigned you to another city, you can share the gospel there. I also remember this engineer who, in a North Carolina church, was assigned to Frankfurt , Germany for 5 years. While he was there, he helped the local church; he reached out to the students and families in that city.
Sometimes as we go, whether it is for business or vacation, we share the gospel with others. There are also times when God will specifically call you to go to another country, another culture, to learn their language and make disciples there. The Bible never teaches that global mission is more important than local mission. This is simply not an issue in the Bible. The Great Commission tells us that as we go, no matter where it is, to make disciples. Here at HCC, like many other churches, we have local and global mission outreach. This is for the purpose of administration, not because they are different or that one is more important than the other. The Great Commission refers to here, there and everywhere.
In Matthew 28 we read about the great commission. In Acts1:8, we read a similar but slightly different version of this commission. In the book of Acts, we see how the early Christians were obeying this commission and brought the gospel message to all parts of the world they knew. However, have we noticed that this great commission was not mentioned again in the epistles? We know Jesus' great command: Love God with all our heart, soul, mind and might and love our neighbors as ourselves. In the Acts, we see how the disciples loved one another. In the rest of the NT, we see this theme and Jesus' other teachings were taught and expanded by the apostles. Why is there a silence on this topic in the Epistles?
You see, the OT points to Jesus Christ. The Gospels and the book of Acts show us the reality of Jesus Christ and his earthly ministry, including his teaching. The Epistles further explained and expanded Jesus' teaching. They teach us how to live a life pleasing to God, growing into maturity, be Christ like disciples of Jesus Christ.
Therefore the priority of this and any other church is to focus on making disciples. We bring people to faith in Christ, and we continue to teach them God's word in its entirety. As we teach believers to love God and men, helping them obey and grow, then, telling others about Jesus becomes a part of us. For this reason, we teach that evangelism, whether at home or away from home, is not something we do, it is a way of life. It is a life-style.
Now we’ll have two brothers and sisters come and share with us how this Great Commission works in their lives.
Two testimonies here:
Everyone of us is here, because someone has come to know Christ, was baptized and is taught God's word, and in turn teaches God's words to others. Now that this word has come to you, as you have believed and studied, as you go home today, to work/study tomorrow, share it with others. Quoting Hudson Taylor, “ "The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed"http://archive.hcchome.org/
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