St. Matthew’s church is a discipleship center – a congregation self-consciously devoted to making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. A disciple is one who learns by following God’s Son Jesus who teaches us the One God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Graciously freed from the fear of death and graciously freed from God’s condemnation which sin brings, Jesus’ disciples are able to give their lives away in humble service like their Lord and Master. This new life of disciples is not a childish freedom to habitually disregard God’s good and gracious will but a freedom to serve God and the world He loves more than His own life. Accordingly we strive to:
- Pray daily
- Worship weekly
- Read (and study) the Bible
- Serve at and beyond St. Matthew’s church
- Be in relationship to encourage spiritual growth in (ourselves and) others
- Give (generously) of time, talents, and resources
According to Matthew 28:16-20, a person becomes a disciple by being baptized with water in the name of the One God in Three Persons: Father-Son-Holy Spirit. Baptized into Jesus’ death and resurrection, new disciples become members of the one body of Christ, the Church. Jesus is the Head of His body – its Lord and Master. His title “Christ” means that He is King of Creation.
The newly baptized are to be taught all that the Lord Jesus has commanded us. The Gospel according to St. Matthew serves as an exemplary discipleship manual for those that have answered the Lord Jesus’ call to follow Him. In Matthew’s gospel, the Lord Jesus promises to be present always in and with His Church as its supreme authority. We are to go where He went, do what He did, and say what He said. This is what the Lord Jesus teaches in St. Matthew’s gospel.
Of course, all of Scripture (the 66 canonical books of the Old and New Testament) are the work of the Holy Spirit, its true author, who is the Creator of the Church. Through the preaching of the Word of God and through the sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion, the Holy Spirit creates and strengthens the faith of disciples. Working through His workshop the Church, the Holy Spirit sets Jesus’ disciples apart for lives utterly committed to the good and gracious will of the heavenly Father. We call that lifelong process “sanctification” – being set apart for God’s purposes.
In the first chapter of St. John’s gospel, John the Baptist calls Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This image reflects the high point of the Old Testament history – God’s rescue of the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt. Just as the blood of the lamb was spread over the Hebrew doorposts causing the angel of death to pass over, so it is that the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, spread over the doorpost of the disciples’ lives in the washing of Holy Baptism takes away God’s judgment against sin. Because the Lamb who was slain on the cross has died to take away the sins of the world, His disciples need no longer fear physical death having the promise of eternal life with the One God. This is the faith that the Holy Spirit creates in Jesus’ disciples. God graciously does the work of making us His disciples!
Our mission is to make disciples who will join us in following Jesus in lives of humble service!