For some reason we have developed levels or ranks in Christianity. I’m not sure when this started, but it certainly wasn’t in the first century. I think I’ve accurately identified the different level Christians that exist:
- New Believer
- Church Goer
- Church Member
- Ministry Helper
- Ministry Leader
- Senior Pastor
- New Tribes Missionary
Again, when did Christians start pretending they were in the military or playing World of Warcraft? Many people might not find a problem with this, and will just encourage Christians to “level-up.” But this goes against everything that Scripture teaches. You are either following Christ or you’re not. You either are a Christian or you are not. The problem with viewing Christianity as a progression in rank is that those lower on the spectrum begin to shirk certain responsibilities. They do so because they assume Christians higher up the ladder are responsible for certain spiritual activities. For instance: Church Goers aren’t expected to read the Bible as much as Church Members. Yet, Church Members aren’t responsible for discipleship, that’s for Ministry Leaders. Pastors are obviously just Christians who weren’t committed enough to leave America. This is all jacked-up.
As the kids say, let’s keep it 100. Let’s go right to the heart of this issue. Let’s dissect the Great Commission itself.
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
~Jesus has all the authority for 2 reasons: First, because He’s God and He deserved it. Second, because He’s the Savior and He’s earned it.
~The purpose behind the Going is to Make Disciples. So Jesus tells His Disciples to make more disciples by doing 2 things: sharing the Gospel with people until they accept Christ as their Savior and thus they get to Baptize them, and then teach them everything that Jesus has taught them.
~Thus the message of going and making more disciples is the “final” act. When the Disciples taught others everything that Jesus taught them, the final message was to go make more disciples. Those disciples who then teach everything they knew, including the message to “Go.” So on and so forth (until it got to us.)
~Then Jesus promises to hang-out with us always, no matter where we end up going. (I think this might mean His Spirit, but I’m not 100% sure. I’m not completely clear on whether or not the Son of God is Omnipresent.)
*Just for kicks and giggles, there’s a great reference to the Trinity here in this passage. Not only is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit mentioned all together, but the verse specifically mentions the singular name of the Father, Son, and Spirit. In Greek, it should have been plural names. It’s like saying, “I have three friend Billy, Dave, and Bob.” It sounds funny not being plural. But Matthew doesn’t make a mistake. He is saying to baptize them in the Singular Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It’s a whole 3 in 1 thing.
The ultimate takeaway is that Jesus didn’t start some rank and file system. People are either Christians or they are not. Christians are either obedient Disciple-Makers or not. The Holy Spirit will lead us where, but if is not up for debate. Christ did not save some to sit and others to serve. He did not save some give and others to go. He did not save some to learn and others to lead. He saved us all for the same purpose – to make-disciples. We accomplish that through either teaching, or helping, or shepherding, or by using any of the other gifts He provides. (But who am I… I’m only a level 8.)
Remember, if you enjoy articles like this one, hit the “Follow” button down below. Scroll ‘til you find it. New content every Sunday Night.