Sometimes, when I hadn’t done a task before, my dad would take me to the field where it needed to be done and show me exactly what had to be done. He would often watch me do it the first couple of times making sure that I understood. And then he would say “I got to go do something else, I’ll come back and check on you later.”
In a way, Jesus did the same thing for his disciples. For the three years during his earthly ministry he taught them the truths of God’s Word. He taught them not only so that they would know that truth, but also so that they would be able to teach it to others. After completing his work of salvation, living a perfect life, dying an innocent death, rising triumphant from the grave Jesus ascended into heaven and left his disciples to continue on the work.
Jesus summarizes that work in Matthew chapter 28 verses 19 and 20.
“Therefore go and gather disciples from all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and by teaching them to keep all the instructions I have given you. And surely I am with you always until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
The work that God has left the church, left believers is to gather other disciples. Jesus tells us that there are two means for doing this. The first is baptism. When water is applied to an individual in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, God is working powerfully to make that person his disciple. God the Holy Spirit is working on the heart of that individual and creating faith in Jesus. God is washing that individual clean of all of their sins in Jesus name. God is making that person his child.
The second means that Jesus lists is God’s Word, the teaching of it. Through God’s Word, God works to make the individual and keep the individual his disciple. Through that word he strengthens faith and assures the individual that through Jesus their sins are forgiven. He also guides that person in how they are to live. He does that to protect them from the attacks of the evil one and to enable them to live their life for his glory.
So this work of the church is important. It’s important for you, so that you can be kept one of Jesus disciples, but it’s also important for the people around you so that they too can become Jesus disciple and be with you, in heaven, with him, forever. Amen.