our theology

going, therefore, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name  of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo!, I am with you always, even to the end of the age


the cornerstone mission statement is built upon the last instructions of Jesus to his apostles, called the great commission:


     “all authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” matthew 28:18-20


from the point-of-view of Jesus the primary mission of the church is to make disciples of all nations.  in “every nation, tribe, tongue and people” revelation 14:6 - among all cultures - disciples are to be found and called into the church.


Jesus clarified the simple two-step process by which disciples are to be made: first, in order to be a disciple a person must be baptized “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” discipleship begins with coming into the church by accepting the salvation accomplished by the death and resurrection of Jesus. second, in order to be a disciple a person must be taught “to observe all that Jesus commanded.” discipleship includes growing within the church. reaching people for Christ and teaching people in Christ are the two steps in the formula for making disciples.

disciples

Jesus clarified the simple two-step process by which disciples are to be made: first, in order to be a disciple a person must be baptized “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” discipleship begins with coming into the church by accepting the salvation accomplished by the death and resurrection of Jesus. second, in order to be a disciple a person must be taught “to observe all that Jesus commanded.” discipleship includes growing within the church. reaching people for Christ and teaching people in Christ are the two steps in the formula for making disciples.


when the christian church begins to accomplish this mission of baptizing and teaching, then Jesus instructs his disciples to recognizing the amazing development that is happening among them: “lo!” when the people of God are baptizing and teaching, then “lo,” look, behold—“I am with you.”


the implications of this phrase, “I am with you,” would have been clear to the apostles.  in exodus 3 moses was tending the sheep of his father-in-law, jethro, when he saw a bush burning but not consumed.  he turned aside to look at this wonder and God spoke to moses from within the fire.  when moses asked God by what name He should be called, the God of fire responded, “I am that I Am” exodus 3:14.  this name of God, “I Am,” reflects His eternal self-existence.  therefore, when Jesus said, “I am with you,” He was in essence saying, “God with you.”

God with you

the expression “God with you” finds roots in the writings of the prophet isaiah:


therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. isaiah 7:10-19


when mary was pregnant with Jesus an angel of the Lord appeared to joseph in a dream, saying, “ ‘behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us’ ” matthew 1:18-25


the conclusion of the process of “making disciples” is clear: when the people of God baptize and teach, then we will see that God is incarnate within the church, that Christ has once again clothed Himself with humanity, the very humanity that is baptizing and teaching.  when the Holy Spirit moved upon the womb of a teenage virgin girl in galilee, the body of Christ was formed within her.  when the Holy Spirit moves upon the church of God, the body of Christ is formed within it.  this revelation of Jesus is only accomplished when the church is making disciples, baptizing and teaching.


surprisingly, Jesus then includes a phrase used only in matthew - matthew 13:39, 40, 49; 24:3; 28:18-20 and daniel - daniel 12:13:  “the end of the age” is ushered in by this process of making disciples.  as the church makes disciples, baptizing and teaching, then the world will see a new revelation of God among His people that will culminate in the second coming of Jesus!