I have just finished a study on the Sermon on the Mount in my Wednesday night class, which led me to take a closer look at the Gospel of Matthew as a whole. Matthew is centered around five sermons or discords that Jesus gave and three of the five are directed toward His disciples. The entire gospel comes to a point in the last verses of the last chapter. The last three verses of chapter 28 Jesus shares with the disciples that their purpose to go out and make other disciples and to teach thing everything that Jesus has taught them. Now the word disciple was not something new to the culture that Jesus was a part. Aristotle had coined the name disciple much early referring to a student at his academies. A disciple was a student that would take the teachings of the master out into the world and reproduce that teaching in someone else. So when Jesus tells them to go and make disciples He is saying to them I want you to take what I have taught you and go and reproduce others like yourself.
Notice how Jesus does not tell them to go and get people saved, or go and add to the local church. Jesus never commands them to see if they can fill a building up or if they can build a world-class ministry center. Jesus tells them to go and make disciples. All that Jesus had taught His followers was getting them ready to go out and do the same thing to others around the world. Jesus then concludes this by letting them know if they go out and make disciples that He will be with them even until the ends of the earth. Now so many times we have quoted this verse to mean that if you are saved Jesus will be with your through anything and everything, and though that may be true that is not the meaning here in this context. Here Jesus is saying if you are a disciple, making disciples them you can no that I am with you. You see I have learned that though we all have equal opportunity with Jesus, we do not all have equal access to Jesus. Jesus reveals Himself to those that seek Him and those that obey Him. “Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you”. So we can see that as we obey the command of Jesus to make disciples He response with His presence being with us.
A New Ethos
Now fast forward a couple of weeks and we find the disciples in the upper room. They are praying but they are also hiding in fear of the authorities coming and killing them as they had done to Jesus. They are confused because Jesus has gone and they have heard nothing for a couple of weeks now, but they are obeying the last command Jesus gave them to wait until the Holy Spirit came, which none of them had experienced before and none of them really knew what it was they were waiting for, but they waited. In Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit came He empowered them and notice what happened, they immediately obeyed the command of Jesus to go. They took the gospel out into the street without fear and they began to not just reach people with the gospel but they began to disciple people. Daily they broke bread and discussed the gospel, and the Bible says that God adds to the church daily.
Now what we find here in Acts two is that the Holy Spirit creates a new ethos. An ethos is an intense mental state of mind that is shared by a whole community. When the Holy Spirit comes into the upper room and fills the 120, there is no one that stands up and says we have to go out and share our faith with the world. They do not set a launch date and find the best time to start a new work. The truth is that the Bible seems to share that the immediately went out into the streets and preached the gospel under the power of the Holy Spirit. Not only did they do it that day, but this becomes the mindset of the entire community, they all seemed to go and spread the gospel. So much so that when Paul writes his letter to Romans, he writes it to a church that was not established by an Apostle but by disciples that were made by those in the early church. The mindset of building the kingdom of God came due to the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. The commission that Jesus gave them in Matthew 28 was now empowered by the Holy Spirit infilling the church.
So what does that mean for us today? The fact is that the Holy Spirit all ways want to create a kingdom-minded ethos within the community of believers. His purpose is to create a kingdom mindset in us that causes us to want to go out into the world and share the gospel. If we have been empowered by the Holy Spirit then He has come so that we can fulfill the commission of Christ. So that we can make disciples and those disciples can go out and make other disciples. When this happens then not only are we filled with the Spirit but we can also know that Jesus is present with us and He is working on our behalf. Being filled with the Spirit is about fulfilling the purpose that Jesus has for our life and that is building His kingdom. When we enter into that purpose then we become empowered to see and do what the early church did. We see healings, people delivered, and people come to salvation. This is where the church is supposed to be and what the church is supposed to be doing. So today lets become the community that is full of the power of the Holy Spirit.