Sunday, I had the opportunity to listen to two Pastors from Ecuador who were visiting America and were invited to our church. I found their humbleness to be most gratifying. During their testimony Pastor Jose spoke on Matthew 28:19 (NIV) 19 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. It was during this short talk that I realized the power of a verb in the Bible.
To often when we read the Bible we read a verse or several verses and look at the entire verse instead of looking at the words. Maybe this is due to the many speed-reading lessons that are out there that focuses on reading the greatest number of words and trying to put them to memorization without seeing the meaning behind the words. I will admit I might be the only person that does this due to my forgetting my grammar lessons and sentence diagraming from elementary and high school but it took a Pastor from Ecuador to remind me of what I have forgotten.
These 25 words in the NIV edition are probably some of the most important words in the Bible. Why, because this is where Jesus commissions the Disciples to do what He has trained them up to do. Let’s break this verse down and look at the verbs. In doing this I had to revisit some of my early learning to see just what a verb was. Of course I know a verb is something that shows action but I had forgotten there are more definitions of a verb. A Verb is a word that expresses action or a state of being. For the purpose of this blog I will only use the main definition that being “action.”
Why am I going through this? It is my hope that when you open your Bible you will actually look at the words that are spoken to us, and study what God wants us to learn from His inspired words. So to take this simple sentence that so many of us have memorized without actually realizing the importance of why it is spoken to us in the manner it is will hopefully open up a desire to re-read the Bible in a different way.
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. As I said earlier this is a verse that answers many questions for me when I realized the emphasis placed on the verbs. When I understood the importance Jesus placed on these words I better understood this verse. As we read in Mathew Henry’s Commentaries he breaks the verse down where we can better understand the importance Jesus places not only on the disciples but on us as well. Jesus was commissioned by God to set about His business and empower the apostles. Jesus in turn empowers the apostles when he said, “Therefore go” through this empowering he gave to them all the power necessary to take his word forward. Jesus then told them where to take his word, “to all nations” Jesus did not limit them to only the friendly nations he gave the command “of all nations” excluding none. Also, during that time the areas inhabiting gentiles was avoided but this commission “to all nations” removed that barrier and opened the door for Gods word to be brought to the gentiles. It was Gods intent for all nations to become Christian nations, that Christianity be entwined into national constitutions.
Baptizing . For Baptism to follow Gods direction it must be done in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is something that should not be taken lightly. It is my feeling there are too many churches today that baptize for the numbers instead of the salvation of those being baptized. Can a person be saved or born again without being baptized, well, I will leave the details up to the scholars but I would like to think so. Baptism, either by submersion, sprinkling or washing is only an outward expression of an inward change. Baptism is for our eyes because we cannot see in the hearts of the baptized, only God can see there. It is what he see’s that matters, not what we see.
Another point mentioned Sunday was the difference between being a Christian and being Born Again. It has become to easy for someone to call them selves a Christian when they actually mean they attend church to look the part. It has become easy for a person to say they are Christian thinking that by saying “I’m a Christian” and saying I always do good things or I don’t take advantage of people or I tithe and give to charities etc. will save them. If we confronted these “Christians” we would find they don’t know the difference between being a Christian and the importance of being Born Again. To be Born Again is to repent, turn away from your sins ask for forgiveness and surrender yourself unto the Lord, placing your sins at the foot of the cross and resting on the knowledge that your soul has secured it’s reservation in God’s Kingdom.
An interesting point mentioned by Pastor Adrian, the second pastor, was how the the churches in Ecuador look to America as being a Godly Nation and how America has maintained Christianity at a level of reverence. When he said that I wanted to look away in shame. It is evident he hasn’t spent a lot of time here and when he does visit he only spends time in Christian surroundings. If he ventured out on his own for any length of time and engaged in conversation with many people from different areas and walks of life he would find things a little different. America has turned her back on God, maybe not as individuals but defiantly as a country. God, while he cares for each of us individually, also holds the country and it’s leaders to a higher standard. It is my sincere belief that God set America aside as the shining city on the hill to be the protector of the poor, the hungry, to those who live enslaved in countries where they have no rights, where they are victims of tyrannical leaders who encourage the genital mutilation in young girls or starve the people to the point of death. It is also my belief that we have let him down. There are so many ways as a country we have let God down that I feel there may not be another revival in America, that America is seeing the beginning of our end and all we have now is to make sure we as individuals are secure in our salvation and live by Matthew 28:19 and look deep in our souls and confirm we are truly born again.
For Liberty and Freedom, Ernie