Psalm 100

Psalm 100:1-5 is a Processional Hymn – The people may have chanted this psalm as they entered the temple or began their worship.

1 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before him with joyful singing. 3 Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.

Thanking the Lord is something we must do with our lives as well as with our lips. How are we supposed to thank God with our lives?

By serving (Psalm 100:2). In some sanctuaries, there is a sign that reads, “Enter to worship—depart to serve.” The trouble with many congregations is that too many people serve themselves rather than serving the Lord. Another issue is that too often we don’t serve the Lord “with gladness.” Do you know any grumpy Christians? The Lord loves a cheerful servant, so let’s not be that church. This whole Essential series is about using our giftedness to serve the Lord and others.

By submitting (Psalm 100:3). As creatures, we submit to the Creator who fashioned the universe and made us as well. As sheep, we submit to the Shepherd who died for us and now leads us down His paths. He not only made us, but He is making us as we yield our lives and submit to Him (remember, we are his workmanship – Ephesians 2:10). For every believer, submission means fulfillment. As you have received a spiritual gift, submit to God’s leadership and use it to serve Him and others.

By sacrificing (Psalm 100:4–5). As a “holy priesthood, we are privileged to offer spiritual sacrifices to the Lord (1 Peter 2:5). Those sacrifices include our songs of praise (Hebrews 13:15), our good works (Hebrews 13:16), and our material gifts (Philippians 4:15–18). Following God in obedience (exercising your giftedness) will involve the sacrifice of your will and submitting to Him, but believe me, it is worth it because of who He is (Psalm 100:5) and what He does for us. Our God is certainly worthy of our joyful thanks.

Equipped for Ministry

While it’s true that the pastors, elders, and apostles in the New Testament made disciples, we can’t overlook the fact that discipleship was everyone’s job. The members of the early church took their responsibility to make disciples very seriously. To them, the church wasn’t a corporation run by a CEO. Rather, they compared the church to a body that functions properly only when every member is doing its part.

Paul saw the church as a community of redeemed people in which each person is actively involved in doing the work of ministry. The pastor is not the minister—at least not in the way we typically think of a minister. The pastor is the equipper, and every member of the church is a minister.

The implications are huge. Don’t think of this as merely a theological issue. See yourself in this passage. Paul said that your job is to do the work of ministry! (Ephesians 4:11-12). Jesus commanded you to make disciples! (Matthew 28:18-20).

Most Christians can give a number of reasons why they cannot or should not disciple other people: “I don’t feel called to minister.” “I just have too much on my plate right now; I don’t have time to invest in other people.” “I don’t know enough.” “I’ll start once I get my life in order.”

As convincing as these excuses may seem to us, Jesus’ commands don’t come with exception clauses. He doesn’t tell us to follow unless we’re busy. He doesn’t call us to love our neighbors unless we don’t feel prepared. In fact, in Luke 9:57-62, you’ll see several individuals who gave excuses for why they couldn’t follow Jesus at the time. Note of how Jesus responded to them. It may surprise you.

God made you the way you are; He has provided and will continue to provide you with everything you need to accomplish the task. Jesus commands you to look at the people around you and start making them into disciples. Obviously, only God can change people’s hearts and make them want to become followers. We just have to be obedient in making the effort to teach them, even though we still have plenty to learn ourselves.

* What excuses tend to keep you from following Jesus’ command to make disciples? What do you need to do in order to move past these excuses?

[ Disciples Making Disciples with Francis Chan, from the YouVersion devotional ]

The Great Commission and the Church

So what comes to your mind when you think about Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations? Many read these words as if they were meant to inspire pastors or missionaries on their way out to the mission field. But have you ever considered that maybe Jesus’ command is meant for you?

As we read the rest of the New Testament, we see God’s people working together in obedience to Jesus’ command. They reached out to the people around them, calling them to obediently follow Jesus. The disciples went about making disciples, teaching them to obey everything Jesus had commanded and baptizing them. Some of them even moved to different areas or traveled around so that they could tell more people. They took Jesus’ words seriously—and literally.

Reading through the New Testament, it’s not surprising to read that Jesus’s followers were focused on making disciples—it makes sense in light of Jesus’ ministry and the Great Commission. The surprise comes when we look at our churches today in light of Jesus’s command to make disciples.

Why is it that we see so little disciple making taking place in the church today? Do we really believe that Jesus told His early followers to make disciples but wants the twenty-first-century church to do something different? None of us would claim to believe this, but somehow we have created a church culture where the paid ministers do the “ministry,” and the rest of us show up, put some money in the plate, and leave feeling inspired or “fed.” We have moved so far away from Jesus’s command that many Christians don’t have a frame of reference for what disciple making looks like.

* Assess your church experience in light of Jesus’s command to make disciples. Would you say that your church is characterized by disciple making? Why or why not?

[ Disciples Making Disciples with Francis Chan, from the YouVersion devotional ]