February 18 – Loving One


Main Focus: According to Jesus, being his disciple means making disciples.

We’re wrapping up our Being the Church series with our fifth membership practice: Love One. We’ll take one last look at Acts 2:42-47 to get a picture of relational evangelism before turning to Matthew 28:16-20, the Great Commission. We’ll see how Jesus’s commission to his church (including you and me) communicates his intention to use us to make disciples; being a disciple and making disciples goes hand in hand. But this passage also carries with it the most profound reassurance: in all this discipleship work, Jesus is forever with us.

Quickly, a word on this phrase we use at Vintage, “Love One.” We use that to describe loving one person with gospel intentionality. Here’s the section on this from the member’s packet:

Given the million or more doubters and seekers in our region, the need is both incomprehensible and right next door. The way Vintage Church faithfully engages this otherwise overwhelming burden is with the idea of Love One, which means having one person in your life whose salvation you are praying for and with whom you are intentionally looking for opportunities to talk about the hope of the gospel. We trust that, in his sovereign power and goodness, God can use our seemingly small efforts to change the eternal future of multitudes.

You can see the logic of this Love One paradigm right in Acts 2:42-47; the early church grew as the way of Jesus was taught and the Holy Spirit drew people in: “Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” Often we think of evangelism as primarily the work of pastors and professionals and platforms rather than the work of perfectly ordinary neighbors and coworkers and friends—one person loving one person. Acts 2 should help us see what remarkable things God can accomplish through the simple means of community, generosity, and neighborliness.

We’ll then turn to Matthew 28:16-20 to read Jesus’s command to make disciples. First, we use the word “disciple” often in church, but we’ll take a moment in discussion to define it. A disciple was a first-century student of a rabbi, a local religious leader and teacher, so to be a disciple of Jesus is to be his attentive student and learn his ways. When it comes to making these disciples, take a look at the structure of the sentence around this command and you’ll notice that “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded” and “baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” are both components of the primary command to make disciples. To be sure, Jesus isn’t providing an exhaustive methodology for making disciples, but he is pointing out some of the crucial aspects for the kind of disciple-making he wants his people to do.

As we’re discussing sharing the gospel with others and teaching them the ways of Jesus, we’ll then discuss what person or people this passage brings to mind. We all have friends, coworkers, neighbors, and family members (including children) who are dead in their trespasses and have yet to receive life in Jesus’s name (Eph 2:1-5). We’ll then discuss how Jesus intends to use us for his glory and their good by talking about the next faithful step of evangelism in front of us. Perhaps that next step is grabbing coffee or a beer with them and asking this foot-in-the-door question: “Do you have a religious background?” Perhaps that’s addressing the weirdness with, “I know we’ve known each other for years, but I don’t think I’ve ever told you what I think about Jesus.” Maybe it’s asking if you can pray with them or share a passage of scripture, or if they would ever consider going with you to a Sunday service or community group.

Depending on who comes to mind, some of that might sound really scary. However, we’ll finish where the passage does by looking at the encouragement and hope Jesus offers us in this work of discipleship. Jesus promises that he is with us always (28:20b), which isn’t just some nice platitude. His Spirit, the third member of the Trinity and God himself, is alive and active within us, meaning all the authority and power that holds the universe together is readily present with us and attentive to us in the Spirit. Jesus also reveals that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him by the Father (28:18).

We can take heart knowing that ultimate authority has been granted to the one who gives us this mission, meaning he has the authority both to commission us for service and to see our mission out. At the end of the day there is ultimately no roadblock, no thing, power, or person that can stand in our way, that Jesus doesn’t have complete control over. So, as you consider how to be on mission both as individuals and as a community group, take heart. Jesus is in control and is with you, ready to enable you, strengthen you, give you time and opportunity, comfort you, and guide you as you obey his commission to make disciples.

Discussion questions

– Could someone read Acts 2:42-47 for us one last time?

– According to the passage, how were these early Christians relating to their neighbors?

– Could someone read Matthew 28:16-20 for us?

– What does it mean to “make disciples”?

– How do you think making disciples is a part of being Jesus’s disciple?

– What’s a person or group of people that this passage brings to mind for you?

– What do you think is your next faithful step in Jesus’s mission to make disciples?

– How can this passage provide us with hope and encouragement for taking that step?