Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Jesus is here describing the mission of the church to the world. But how do you make disciples? How do you teach people to obey the commands of Jesus? Can you do it without intimate involvement?
Example: We were having on-line classes at Living Word Academy during the last quarter of last school year. We witnessed firsthand that on-line education could never prepare young people for college and the working world like face-to-face education!
The church has to meet face-to-face so we can disciple the converts to Christ, teaching them the principles of Christ and the Apostles. Teaching someone to obey Christ’s commands requires personal follow-up.
If we do not meet face-to-face we will turn the Gospel into something to think about rather than obey. It turns the Gospel from the rule of life into a mere philosophic consideration, a theory.
1Peter 5:1-2 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.
It was the full intention of Jesus and the Apostles that all believers should be in a place of comfort, support, learning and order. This place is the church.
The church is to be a flock that is cared for and protected. There are no lone sheep that are healthy. Sheep belong in a flock that is pastored.
A church needs oversight because believers need oversight. The church is not to be a place where anything goes. It is not a free-for-all in the name of love. It is a place of order in the name of Jesus Christ.