Antioch Devotionals- March 2-7

MONDAY, MARCH 2ND Matthew 28:18-19
By Jeff Rice
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” - Matthew 28:18-19

Most Christians if asked “what is the Great Commission” would say “Go and Make Disciples”, but it struck me as we read this passage last Sunday, it says “THEREFORE Go and Make Disciples.”  The word therefore is an adverb that connects two things.  It literally means “for that reason”.  So for what reason can Jesus say Go and Make Disciples?  We have to look at vs. 18.  Why can he say “go” and “make disciples” with such force, certainty, or should we say authority?  Because “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus”.  We in our human nature can get so inward focused.  We fail to carry out the commission because we fear that we won’t know what to say, we won’t know how to answer the questions, we don’t think we will be good at it, or that we just won’t be able to do it. Well let me calm your fears.  You won’t be able to do it adequately enough!!!  Jeff, that doesn’t calm my fears; it just feeds them.  Well if it was up to us we wouldn’t be able to make disciples.  But, it isn’t up to us.  Never has been and never will be.  You and I can’t save one soul, and you and I can’t change one person’s heart.  Only the power of the Holy Spirit can do that.  That is not the great commission.  God is not wanting us to save; he just needs us to share!  All authority to save has been given to Him.  “For that Reason” and with that assurance, Go, Share Your Testimony, Be willing to come alongside the person who believes, teach the Word, and encourage them to be a part of God’s church.  If we will surrender our lives to His authority, Go, and Share, God will work through us to accomplish His will which is He will save those who believe.  
TUESDAY, MARCH 3RD Acts 4:18-20 (NIV)
What Good Am I by Chris Blacksmith

“Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John replied, ‘which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.’”- Acts 4:18-20

Bob Dylan is certainly among the most talented songwriters of his generation. He penned the following words in a song titled What Good Am I: “What Good am I if I know and don’t do, If I see and don’t say, If I look right through you If I turn a deaf ear to the thunderin’ sky What Good am I?  What good am I if I say foolish things and I laugh in the face of what sorrow brings and I just turn my back while you silently die What good am I?”  In Acts 4 we see Peter and John standing before the Sanhedrin literally prepared to give their lives for the cause of Christ.  What good would they have been if instead of standing boldly they caved to the pressure of those religious zealots?  One thing is for certain the 5,000 who had trusted Christ wouldn’t have even heard the message.  Consider how that might have altered the church.  Who knows? Its effects may have even been felt in our day.  In essence Paul told the Sanhedrin what good am I if I fail to listen to God?  Jesus has commanded us in Acts 1:8 to be His witnesses. We are to be His witnesses at home, at work, in the public, and in every location on earth.   Take a moment and ask yourself:   What good am I?  What good am I if I have the best news on earth and keep it to myself?  What good am I if I see the hurting but turn away because it won’t be easy?  What good am I if I neglect to bring others to Christ?   Let us not forget the words of our savior in Revelation 22:12, “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”    His command is real, His promise is imminent, and His fields are ready for the harvest.  If you’re still wrestling with what good am I for the kingdom lay it to rest by saying.  “Here am I Lord send me.”
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4TH Proverbs 16:18
God’s Gifts by Paula McKee
“Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” - Proverbs 16:18

All people have “gifts.” Some sing, some dance, some preach, some teach, some do sports while others do numbers. I like to write. I wrote something for church recently and found myself getting a “haughty spirit,” I thought, “I’m really good.” (emphasis on I). Almost immediately, I recalled an embarrassing, error-filled email hastily written to my English-teacher colleagues, and I thought about how it feels to “fall.” Proverbs 16:18 warns us about taking sole credit for God’s gifts. Once we know Jesus as Savior, we want to use our giftedness in service to him who ”has authority over all things.” (Matthew 28:18), Antioch has people using their gifts in church, in the community, and around the world so that others may know Jesus. We also have many who hide their giftedness. In all you do, acknowledge the one who gave you your gifts and pray as Jason suggested, “God, help me to do what you want to bless.” He’ll take you up on that.  

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, guide everything I do so that you want to bless it. Thank you for revealing areas of weakness to me so that I can align myself as much as possible with Jesus’s example. It’s in his holy name I pray. Amen.
THURSDAY, MARCH 5TH Matthew 28:18
By Toya Aultman
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth
has been given to me."- Matthew 28:18

We live under the divine authority of Christ. He doesn't just hold some authority, like a parent, or even a lot of authority like a world leader, but He holds ALL authority! It doesn't matter how much money we have, how many homes we may own, what our IQ is, or how many people work under us, we still have not been given full authority. Only Jesus holds that.

What comfort we can find there knowing nothing touches us without first going through His hands. He has authority over our lives and our circumstances. Always. Many people boast of their rank and authority, but very soon a day is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue confess Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That's you. That's me.
That is President Donald Trump. That is Vladimir Putin. That is every member of the Royal Family past and present. That is every rapper and
every country singer. That is every Christian and every atheist. That is every Muslim and every Mormon. That is everyone, past, present and yet to be born.

As for now, God has you on this earth at this time for HIS purpose, and that purpose is to GO! Go and make disciples to all nations! Who needs to hear about Jesus from you today? GO!

Jesus, we recognize you as having all authority. Guide us with You love, lead us with Your grace and keep us ever mindful that You are in control of it all. Oh how we love and adore You! Amen
The Great Commission by Paulette Herring

In Matthew 28:16-20 we are given our instructions or marching orders from Jesus.  The focal point of all scripture, Old Testament or New Testament points to Jesus.  The New Testament gives many prophecies about Jesus and the New Testament tells us about Jesus; His birth, teachings, death, resurrection, and ascension.  Our lives should point to Jesus.  Others should see Jesus in us by how we live our lives.

How do we get the Word of God out to the world?  Missions begins at home.  Then our Baptist Missionary Association of America sends foreign or global missionaries to other states and countries to preach the Word.  Right now we are in 80 countries.  John David Smith a member of Antioch Church is the head of our global missionaries program.  The Middle East area of the world is growing the most right now.

Jesus gave us the Great Commission and said He would be with us to the very end of the age