Matthew Sermon # 5 Matthew 28:16-20
April 30, 2017 “Now It’s Your Turn”
Pastor Louis Prontnicki Maple Glen Bible Fellowship Church
16 “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.”
For the last few Sunday mornings you have heard me preach about the works and words of Jesus Christ. I have presented to you the ministry of our Lord Jesus.
But this morning that is going to change. Because as we get to the end of Matthew’s account, we see that it is now YOUR turn to do the teaching and preaching. Jesus is handing the ball off to YOU! He tells you to make disciples of all nations, by baptizing them and teaching them to obey all that He has taught you. That’s an overwhelming task, isn’t it? But don’t worry. He’ll be with you. He’ll give you His authority. But it is YOUR turn.
Notice that some of Jesus’ disciples “doubted.” That is, they hesitated, they wavered. Let me ask you: what are your doubts when it comes to obeying Jesus’ command here?
Are you concerned about what others will think of you? (A fear of man)
Do you feel inadequate for the task? (You’re not prepared to do it.)
Do you feel overwhelmed by your problems? (You’re too weak and weary.)
Or you just don’t love Jesus or love others enough? (You are self-centered.)
I think you will see that Jesus will answer all your doubts, just as He dealt with the doubters among His own disciples.
Now there are many things that could be said about the Great Commission. But I’d like to focus on the word “all.” The word “All” dominates vv. 18-20 (Four times in the Greek) and ties these verses together: all authority, all nations, all things (“everything,”), all the days (“always,”).
Here we have a declaration, a two-part command, and a promise, all concerning Jesus our Lord.
- Jesus Christ is in Complete Control” (v. 18)
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” When was all authority given to Jesus Christ? It was at His resurrection.
In the Old Testament, God spoke of all the nations coming and worshipping Him. We see images of gentile pilgrims coming to Mt. Zion. But beginning in the book of Acts, instead of the nations streaming to Israel, the church now goes out to the nations.
What causes the tide to reverse? Clearly, the great turning point was the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For with the resurrection, a new age begins; Christ is the enthroned as the ruler of the world; and we are to proclaim His kingship among the nations!
We get a picture of this authority back in Daniel 7:13-14
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
What a picture of Christ’s authority! All glory and power belongs to Him! All peoples bow before His throne! For all of time, His Kingdom will endure!
My friends, this is the authority that Christ has been given. Note 3 things about His authority:
It means that Jesus has authority over each one of us. He is the Lord of Lords. He is the glorious King of Kings! It’s a glorious and majestic authority; His authority calls out to be worshiped and adored! As we behold Him, on the pages of Scripture, through the eye of faith, our redeemed hearts should automatically worship Him, and joyfully acknowledge his power and authority! It also means He has authority over us, to use us and send us where He chooses… Right? Do you see it that way?
It means that Jesus Christ has authority over His and our enemies, especially Satan and his wicked hosts, and over every besetting sin and temptation that attacks us. In Christ, we are not to live in fear and worry; we are not to be on the defensive against the devil. Rather, we go forth, in Christ’s resurrection victory. Yes, we struggle, but now we are on the winning side!
It means that Our Lord has authority over all worldly powers. Do you think the Lord trembles at what North Korea might do? Is Jesus worried about Islamic terrorists? Does the Lord fear that the IRS will take away his religious tax-exempt status as a non-profit organization? Does Christ fret over the stock market or whether his retirement plans are adequate? Brothers and sisters, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him.”
Because of Christ’s authority, we, his followers, may go in confidence that our Lord is in sovereign control of everything in heaven and on earth.
Jesus is the universal sovereign king, and His universal Lordship demands a universal mission. That leads to our worship of Christ becoming our witness to Christ…
2. Jesus Christ calls you to make disciples of all ethnic groups. (v. 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…”
There is a clear link between “All authority” and “all nations.” The universal authority of the Lord leads to the universal mission of the church. Or to put it the other way, the universal mission of the church springs from the universal authority of Jesus. Christ now calls on His disciples to proclaim His Lordship to all the nations. We are to declare His glory among the nations! (Ps. 96:3)
Here is the fulfillment of the promise that the Lord made to Abram in Gen. 12:2-3 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you, I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” How? Through Abraham’s descendent, Jesus, God’s Son!
All the families of the earth will be blessed through Christ, through the proclamation of the gospel.
And what are we to do with all the nations? We are to “Make disciples.” The main verb in the great commission is to make disciples; the secondary verbs are baptizing and teaching. Disciples are those who hear, understand, and obey Jesus’ teaching- about Himself and all that He commands them. Therefore, this is the paradigm for all disciples, to make others what they themselves are– disciples of Christ.
Now, what came to mind when you heard, “All nations?” Probably cross-cultural missions, right? But those nations begin right where we are. Who are your neighbors? Do you know the first names of at least 10-20 neighbors around you? What nationalities are represented on your block? At your work? At your school?
[And remember: disciple making is a relationship. It is not a project. It is not a program. It is loving others as yourself because God loves you.]
God is doing a work among the nations… right here in America! Jesus has authority over all the nations, and He is sovereignly working to bring these nations in contact with the gospel… through YOU… because it’s your turn!
3. Jesus Christ calls you to model and teach everything He has commanded you. (v. 20)
“… and teaching them to obey all things/ everything I have commanded you”.
Those who become Jesus’ followers must be taught everything that Jesus commanded the first disciples. This includes all of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, as endorsed by Christ and/ or prophesied by Christ.
Note what Jesus says here: We are to communicate (and model) all things that He commanded. No picking and choosing our favorite verses and skipping the rest. No selecting the nice promises and leaving out the tough commands. No taking a survey of what people would like in a church and then planting a church to fit the needs of people. No telling people only what you think they will like to hear. No watering down the gospel and omitting the parts about God’s wrath and eternal punishment.
No. Rather, “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Brethren, there is a definite body of timeless, changeless truth that we must believe, defend, and pass on to the next generation of Christians. Jesus hands off to you a clear gospel, and you must both guard it and hand it off to the next generation. (Ps. 145:4 “One generation will praise your works to another.”_
Heed Paul’s words in Acts 20:26-28 “Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.”
Remember the words of Paul to Timothy, in 1 Tim. 4:11-16: “Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
Jesus was faithful. Paul was faithful. Timothy was faithful. Now it’s your turn. Don’t fumble the ball. Don’t drop the baton in the relay race. Pass it on.
4. Jesus Christ is with you, at all times, in all circumstances (v. 20b)
“Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The gospel ends with the promise of Jesus’ continual presence, which He fulfills through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Jesus, who is introduced to us in the prologue as Immanuel, “God with us” (Mt. 1:23), is still “God with us” every day, to the very end. He has accomplished his work; now He gives us His presence so that we may accomplish ours.
And His presence didn’t end with the book of Acts. It isn’t limited to the places where the church is having outward success. He is with His church- all the days- till the end.
So Matthew’s gospel ends with the expectation of continued mission and teaching. In this sense, the message of Matthew’s Gospel carried on, through us, until Christ returns. It is being worked out among all the nations, in the mission and teaching of Jesus’ disciples. It’s my turn. It’s Your Turn. What a privilege! And what a responsibility! And He is with us through it all.
Jesus has all authority; we are sent to all the nations; we are to teach them all things about Jesus; and we are assured of his presence, all the days.
Matthew’s message could be summed up in two commands of Jesus; “Come and Follow” (4:19); and “Go and Make” (20:18). Let us trust and obey Him in these two commands.