“Who you could become” is the second in the two-part sermon series. Read the previous one here.
To refresh your memory, what you should know about “who you are” is one thing. God is the One who says “who you are.”
Don’t let anyone or anything say who you should be. The reason is that it’s in God:
- You live.
- You move.
- You have your being.
Learn more from the previous article, “you are who God says you are.”
Let me tell you that there’s much more to “who you are.”
Yes, you could become so much more than who you are today. And, that’s what Matthew 28 will help us discover.
Matthew 28 is the last chapter in the gospel according to Matthew.
Jesus is risen and has appeared to all the disciples to whom he has also asked to meet Him at a given location.
Life’s about Places
The idea of “place” isn’t something that has to do with everything in life. Life is about places. Places, in life, represent experiences that may be good or bad.
Sometimes, we don’t have a choice about what places to be. But, other times, we do.
The place Jesus directed the disciples to meet with Him in Galilee. Remember this is also the place where Jesus called His first disciples follow Him.
Read Matthew 4:18–22, Mark 1:16–20 and Luke 5:1–11 about the sea of Galilee as the location.
John 1:35–51 also mentions Jesus’ call of His first disciples. But, it does not specify the exact place even though it all took place in Galilee.
Places you’ve been before and even where you’ll be in the future are pieces God uses to allow you to grow. They define “who you could become.”
So, don’t dismiss any of the places you’ve been in life.
Life is about Choices
Do as the disciples did. They decided to go and meet with Jesus Christ.
Choices take us to places, which are sometimes where we desired to be in the first place. Or we end up being places we never intended to be.
What matters is to pay attention to two things:
- Your response to whatever situation in which you are: Your current place.
- Choose where to focus your attention.
Two human responses
Matthew 28 talks about two reactions among the disciples.
Even though they were at the exact place, Jesus directed to meet them.
According to verse 17, some doubted and while others worshipped.
It wasn’t like that those who doubted got an “F” from Jesus. Nor did Jesus call them a failure or disappointment.
As the story goes on, Jesus would still keep them as part of the team. He would always use them to change the history of humankind.
What you’ve got to do is to worship God. Of course, “how should you worship when you have doubts?”
I know. You can share your doubts with the One who knows your questions.
As the disciples, in spite of their doubts, chose to go and meet Jesus at the appointed place, you also can do that.
Bring your doubts, unanswered questions and fears to Jesus Christ. That’s the only thing that can move you into becoming more of who God intended you to be.
Listen to the audio recording below
There are infinite possibilities in Christ
Jesus said it to the disciples, just as He’s speaking the same to you and me today. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (see verse 18).
Focus for a moment on that statement. What you discover is that it tells you of “infinite possibilities that are in Jesus Christ.”
The word “all” in most of our languages tells us of as many as possible we can imagine.
But, when you look at the Greek word, translated in English as “all,” it means more than what we can number or account.
It implies everything, anything, all things and all kinds. Adding to this “in heaven” and “on earth” means “infinity.”
Both heaven (sun, moon and other planets we can see in our universe) and earth represent what we can see. Still, there is so much to learn about even what we can see.
Heaven also represents what we don’t see yet. Jesus has power even over our entire galaxies. He has power over everything else out there we don’t understand.
Before speaking about other things, Jesus first reassures His disciples. He wants them to be at the right place where their focus should be: Jesus Christ and His Power.In Jesus Christ, it's clear that 'who you can become is infiniteClick To Tweet
It’s not like unlimited calls or texts or internet data. Because, if there is no signal on your phone, you lose access to what’s supposed to be your unlimited phone plan.
Or, when your phone battery runs out, you’re stuck. But, what Jesus is telling us about is that:
- In Him, unlimited means you’ll never lose access to God.
- In Him, your life battery will never run out. Even when your body fails you or when you feel so tired and overwhelmed, God’s power will always be available to you.
“Infinite possibilities” in Christ mean tomorrow; you can be better than who you are today.
What does all this mean for us today?
The significance of verses 16 through 19 affects us all as individuals and as Christ’s Church.
You may know the rest of this Scripture as “the great commission” for all Christians.
As United Methodists, you may know these two verses. They represent our mission statement as a denomination. Our mission is to make disciples of all nations for the transformation of the world.
We adopted it during the general conference of the United Methodist Church in 2008, in Texas.
Three things describe “who God wants you and I to become.” God wants us to become a professing community of Christians
God wants us to become a Professing Community of Christians
Jesus sent the disciples for the private and public profession of their Christian faith.
And, that’s what the early Church did. They had no buildings, budgets, and formal structure. So, they professed their faith in homes and everywhere else they were.
They shared their faith in Jesus Christ as witnesses to His death and resurrection. They did it at all costs.
They had no discipleship pathway, trained youth leaders, educated pastors. God made disciples out of their profession.
Some of them sacrificed so much even to the point of losing their own lives because of their profession.
They knew that Jesus wanted more than their choice to follow Him. They knew that the Rabbi wanted more than words and gifts. Jesus wanted them to walk with Him wherever He sent them.
They were a professing community of believers because:
- Their words, actions, relationships, and daily living pointed back to Jesus Christ.
- They stood against any cultural values, which did not agree with God’s Word.
“Who you could become,” is a professing Christian. Remember you can do it through the power of the Holy Spirit that works in you.
There’s more to who you could become.
God wants us to become an Inviting Community
We are to be an inviting community!
When you think of baptizing, I know, we view it as a sacrament.
Some of you have texted or messaged me on Facebook asking me to connect with so and so. I appreciate you all, and that’s what it means to be an inviting community.
Baptism is God’s gift to humankind. Through Baptism, God incorporates us into God’s family of believers.
The meaning of that depends on denominations. In the United Methodist Church, anyone can be baptized, children, youth or adults.
Baptism is something that does not save you. It is a means of God’s grace that you receive by faith.
Children (infants) can’t believe yet. They have no idea about anything at all. We baptize them because we know that God would like to welcome them into God’s Church as Christians.
The rest of the Church is there to help them grow in the knowledge of Christ until they can profess faith on their own.
That’s why I encourage families of infants we baptize to find where to belong. That way they’ll also learn how to become a professing Christian community: Church.
There are people out there waiting for you to invite them into the Church.
Becoming an “inviting community” helps with that. But, we have to start first by being a professing Christian community.
When people see us as transformed and wholly changed people, that’s when they can join us.
God wants us to become a Teaching Community
Becoming transformed and changed people is the only tool to offer Christ to others.
In other words, for people to feel drawn, they first have to know how your profession can also change them. Teaching is showing.
“Show it to me, and I’ll believe” is what’s going on today.
Don’t you see it?
People end up buying products about real transformation and change in life.
Do you want people to come to Church?
Then, let’s show them how Church has changed our families and us!
It’s personal change and transformation that makes us professing and inviting Christians. That makes us God’s witnesses because we’ve seen, heard and experienced God at a personal level.
No personal experience with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. No vital ministry as a Christian or a community of Christians.
Bringing it together
Our mission is to be a professing, inviting and teaching community of Christians. That’s who we are, and it’s also who we should thrive to become, on a daily basis. In this process, remember that you’re never alone. Jesus is with you until the end of time.