I posted a tweet yesterday.
It apparently stirred up quite a few intense reactions with many of my followers.
I didn’t cuss in the tweet, didn’t tweet about whores, sex, drug use, or anything like that.
Interesting that such a status could cause such an uproar with a few of my followers.
I had to sit and ask why?
I instantly went to the thought that maybe it is a mix-up of terms.
So – here I go…describing the terms in this tweet.
Public Evangelism: The act of actively going out and knocking on doors / doing mission trips / standing on the corner with a bullhorn / passing out fliers.
True Worship: Worship that is a response or overflow to Christ as Christ reveals Himself to us. One of the best ways to respond to what Christ is doing in our lives, is to share it with those around us. Namely, with people you disciple, or are being discipled by.
So lets break this down:
By no means am I saying that evangelism does not need to happen in today’s world, or that it is not important. It is. And it does work. But I don’t think it was always God’s plan to have us go door-to-door or go on mission trips to spread the gospel, then come back to church and pat ourselves on the back for the good work we’ve done…and forget about imaging Him daily.
Did you catch that? We are to image Christ daily in all we do – as we learn more about him…respond to him in spirit and truth. Constantly passing on the image of Christ. Not just doing door-to-door or mission trips, then checking that off our list for the year/month/life.
One of the most debated verse that I ran into right after posting this Tweet was this [Matthew 28:18-20 NASB]:
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I command you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.‘”
Can I just break down these verses for you? Contextually and logically? To show you that even Christ had imaging Him and discipleship in mind above actually going door-to-door?
Christ commands his disciples to go and make other disciples. A valid claim. But I looked up the word ‘go’ that is used there? And a more accurate Greek translation of it is this: as you go. Interesting. As you go, or as you do life, make disciples…hmm. Curious.
Going on we see the verse all too familiar to those of us in any circle of Christianity that baptizes folks. “…baptizing them into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…” – Right?
What if I told you that the word for ‘baptize’ used there is a transliteration – not a translation (meaning, they used a word that sounded like the original word, rather than using the literal definition of it)? Would you be angry? Probably…I don’t care. Cause it is.
The word that Matthew used for baptize is literally βαπτίζω – or to sink like a ship. To submerge something so much that it no longer has the same texture or context, or even use. In fact – there was a physician named Nicander that used the same word in a pickle recipe that called for the pickle to be first dipped, or baptô, into salt water then βαπτίζω into vinegar. Interesting.
So that means this literally should read ‘…as you go, make disciples of those around you, immersing them so much in my spirit/word that they are changed from the inside out…like a pickle…’
Not saying that baptism is not called for after repentance, but that was not the word used here in this verse…and that makes sense with what comes next in the great commission.
Jesus commands that after we change those folks and they have been molded into something completely different, then we are to ‘…teach them to observe all that I have commanded you…’. Wait…what? We are supposed to teach people that we witness to, to observe all that Christ has commanded us? How am I supposed to do that on a mission trip, or with door-to-door evangelism? Yikes. That is impossible.
But the whole great commission makes a whole lot more sense if we read it literally and contextually. Doesn’t it? It suddenly becomes a whole lot easier to do if we actually pay attention to what Christ literally said. Lets review, and read it as it should be read. And understood (in my paraphrased, simple to read, edition.):
And Jesus came up and spoke to them saying “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. As you do life, you will naturally make disciples of all nations (if you’re imaging me yourself), changing them in such a way that they are no longer what they were when you found them…like pickles. Bring them up in understanding of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit – as you do that, teach them all that I have commanded you. Don’t worry! Just do life with them, for I will be with you, guiding you to all truth, even until the end of the age.”
Doesn’t that make more sense? It has always been about making disciples. Not about knocking on doors, or going on mission trips. While those things are good, and we are called to serve the widows and orphans of the world…that was not the original intent of Christ coming to earth. We are to do life with those around us, and change them into pickles…just like we are pickles.