Matthew 28:16-20 (Part 7) – Sports Practices & Conditioning Drills And Baptism & Teaching

Posted: May 16, 2016 in 40-Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 28:16-20 (Part 7)

Jesus Gives the Great Commission

When we have played sports in our pasts or if you are still playing an organized sport today, one of the things that is common to all organized sports is the need for team practices. In team practices, you repeat plays that you are going to run, defenses that you are going to put into place to defend against the tendencies of your opponent that you will next play. You repeat these activities over and over again all week or for just a few days depending on frequencies of games in your particular sport. You go over these things over and over again. In team sports, these repetitions of plays both offensively and defensively are done to ensure that you know what your individual responsibilities are as part of overall team’s action on a given play. You repeat and repeat it until it becomes second nature. When a given play is called, you know what you are to do and you understand, too, what your teammates are supposed to do as well. Additionally, you spend a good deal of time on physical conditioning such as agility drills, endurance drills, flexibility drills, strength drills, and a host of other drills to make sure that your body is operating at peak efficiency. All of it, the conditioning drills and the repetitions of plays can be grueling and exhausting and, yes, boring, at times. After practices, you are often worn out from pushing your body to its physical limits. Especially grueling are those preseason practices where you practice and condition for weeks on end long before you play any games. Preseason practices often separate the guys that really want play the game from those who simply want the game day glory. If you are one who truly wants to play, you will put up with the grueling nature of the preseason practices because you love the game and are willing to go through anything to play the game and be on the team. The coaches put us through these grueling preseason and in-season practices so that we will be prepared physically and mentally for anything that will be thrown at us by our opponents during the games, when the pressure is on.


With that in mind, Let’s re-read, Matthew 28:16-20, with special attention once again to vv. 19b-20:



16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


In today’s blog, we will tak about baptizing them in the name of the trinity and teaching them everything that Jesus has commanded us. Baptizing and teaching. These are the things that make disciples. Baptism is the understanding of our acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior and then being willing to profess that fact publicly to all. Teaching them is to mentor them in the ways of Jesus Christ, to becoming a more mature Christian, to having a deeper relationship with God.


We are to baptize new disciples of Jesus Christ in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is comparable to the teaching of plays to participants in organized sports. We must understand the nature of what we have given our hearts and minds to when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. We must learn that Jesus is part of the three aspects of God. We must understand that we have given ourselves to more than just some great man. We must understand that Jesus is God in the flesh and that He is part of the trinity of God that expresses itself in Jesus Christ, the Son, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. We must understand that Jesus died for not some revolutionary political purpose but for the fact that we are completely and utterly destroyed by our sin nature and are in need of intervention. We must understand the need for salvation before we can be saved. It is through the Son that we are forgiven, it is through the Holy Spirit that we are sanctified daily, and it is through the actions of the Son and the Holy Spirit that we can emerge from salvation as a new being that can exist in the presence of the Father in heaven. Baptism signifies our understanding of these things. In order for us to be baptized we must be able to understand these things. We must understand that we go down into the water as sin-filled beings and are immersed into the forgiveness of Jesus Christ and are cleansed of the penalty of our sins and arise as new beings fit to exist in the presence of God. We are covered in Christ’s water so that the Father sees the Son when we emerge from the water. At the same time, the Holy Spirit begins His work in us from that point forward to cleanse us of our sin nature and convict us of our need to grow and mature as a Christ follower. We are progressively made anew within by the Holy Spirit while at the same time we are permanently covered in the waters of grace granted us by Jesus Christ. We must understand these things to be baptized just as a football player must understand his function during a play along with those of his teammates. Understanding why we are baptized is essential to becoming a disciple. We do not understand why we are baptized if we are doing it because it is the thing to do or because our friends or our spouse is doing it. That is like a player not participating in the conditioning drills that are necessary for them to be in shape on game day when the pressure is on. We must understand what has happened to us when we truly accept Christ as our Savior. We must recognize our need for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We must have the humble understanding of what the divine Christ did for us on the cross, why the Father felt it was necessary, and how the Holy Spirit brings us this understanding of our sin nature.


We must teach them to obey the things that Jesus commanded us. The gospels are filled with Jesus’ instruction. It is the purpose of Jesus’ disciples, you and I who have experience at this Christ following, to teach others of Jesus’ instructions to us. It boils down to loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love others more than we love ourselves. We have His example on the cross how much He loved the Father and the Holy Spirit, His co-equals in the Holy Trinity, God, that He was willing to lay His life down to please the Father. He also loved us so much and wanted us to be reconciled to God so much that He willingly put our needs ahead of His own. We are to live as Jesus lived and loved as He loved. Jesus taught us to seek righteousness and purity and humility. He taught us to give and not be slaves to our earthly possessions for they are temporary and the things that matter in eternity are love, sacrifice, generosity, caring, and standing on the truth of God’s Word and obeying God no matter the cost. When we willingly accept the teachings of Jesus Christ and obey them we can become more and more like Him through the action of the Holy Spirit. This part is the comparison to a sports team player understanding the plays. We must practice the plays daily to understand our role in the body of Christ. We must study the ways of Jesus Christ as expressed in God’s Word. We must understand the plays of Jesus. In order for us to know how to handle the plays of life, we must understand the playbook, the Bible.


Let us not be mistaken though, we must have salvation to truly become like Christ. We can easily obey Jesus Christ’s teachings in and of themselves and make ourselves a better person. However, without the understanding of what Christ did for us on the cross. We must have the humble understanding of our sin nature and our need for salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. We must understand who we are and what we are destined for in the absence of Christ before we can grow in Christ through understanding His teachings. We must have the understanding of the whole picture. We are sinners in need of salvation and it is only then that we in thanksgiving strive to be more and more like the One who died for us on a daiy basis. It is through this understanding that we submit to the convicting sword of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is only then that the teachings of Jesus Christ take on their full meaning and not just some self-improvement course where we can pick and choose what we want to implement. Thank God for those who baptize us and teach us and lead us in the ways of Jesus Christ so that we can in turn baptize and teach others about this wonderful thing called salvation and the subsequent life in Christ.


Amen and Amen.

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