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Go Therefore

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“Go Therefore”

Scripture Text:

The Appearance of Jesus to the Disciples

16Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.

The Great Commission

18And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,  “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and  make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am  with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.[1]

Introduction:

Matthew uses a climax to end his Gospel, a climax of the commandment of Jesus to the church.  If one reads the entire Book of Matthew and misses the climax they have missed the entire point of the book.  We will be looking today at the commandment, The Great Commission of Jesus Christ and how it pertains to us.  This has been a much read about, much studied and much misinterpreted portion of the Bible. 

  Let’s look at the main mission of the church.  What is the main mission of the church?  When people of the congregation are asked this question many answers may come to mind.  First the purpose of the church is Fellowship.  If this were true God could rapture everyone today and have perfect fellowship.  We as believers could then be in perfect fellowship with God.  Is it than to worship God?  Well again if God only wanted worship it would be nothing for him to rapture his church and have perfect worship.  Thirdly, is it for the spiritual growth of the believer?  I can see people perking up and saying “yes that’s it”.  Surely the church is here to uplift and teach the believer.  Sorry strike three.  The true purpose of the church, its main goal is found in the 28th chapter of Matthew.  Did you catch it? 

“Go therefore and  make disciples of all the nations”

This may be may be a surprise or a point of contention for some but it is hard to argue with scripture.  This message will center on this purpose of the church.  It will challenge you to rethink your purpose as a believer in Jesus Christ.  It will develop in you a desire to reach the lost.  Evangelism will be a key word to be developed in each of your lives.  Christ came for the sinner not the righteous, likewise He sends us into the world to reach the lost.  Will we answer the call or will we sit idle as the minutes go by.  Will you be ashamed of the Gospel, Will you be ashamed of the Lord?

Propositional Statement:

We as Christians must have evangelism and the spreading of the gospel in our hearts at all times.  We are commanded to reach the lost to the ends of the world.  Will you obey the command?

First Compliment:  Availability

16Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them.

The apostles were first available to the Lord for the task that he had for them.  The Lord had told them where to be and when to be there.  Are you where the Lord wants you to be?   Are you available for the calling of Going out to all the nations preaching the word of God?  Christ calls us to be available.  In John 17:18 Jesus, speaking to God, says:

18As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.[2]

 

This reconfirms that which we are about to learn.  Christ made Himself available to the will of the father.  We likewise need to be available to the will of the Lord.  What does it mean to be available?  Does it mean that we need to be out sharing the gospel everyday looking for the opportunities that appointed to us?  Yes, we need to be observant to what the Lord places in our paths.  We need to be willing and able to share the good news of His Gospel.  Christ came and did the will of the father unto death.  Are you willing to go that far?  The time is coming when we may be called to do such an act.  For now we just have to face a heckler or embarrassment.  Nothing compared to the apostles or Christ. 

Fine, we need to be available.  What do we need to do to be such?  Well I am glad you asked.  You need to be on the forefront, the battlefield.  You need to be sharing the gospel of our Lord and savior, that he came for the lost and sinner that the only way to salvation is through belief in Him and Him alone.

Will you be like Isaiah in Chapter six?

8Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:

     “Whom shall I send?

     And who will go for Us?”

     Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

9     And He said, “Go, and tell this people: [3]

Isaiah was available, he was willing to go to the people and preach the Lord.  Are you willing?  Are you willing to stand for the lord and spread His gospel?  This is what we are commanded to do!  Go Therefore.

Transition:

Let’s look at the next attitude we need to reach the world for Christ.

Second Compliment:  Worship

 

17When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.

This is an important factor in the Great Commission.  “When God is not truly worshipped, He cannot be truly served, no matter how talented, gifted, or well-intentioned His servant may be.”[4]

It is important to point out here that the disciples immediately worshipped Him.  The fell prostrate and worshipped the divine king.  It was here that there confusion and despair disappeared.  Christ had risen from the grave and was now in front of them. Christ had spoken to Thomas earlier in regards to generations that were to come when he said:
29Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” [5]

We are blessed to believe in the Lord and not have seen him.  It says in this verse that some doubted.  This was soon dispelled when they heard the voice of the Lord.  This also proves the truth of scripture.  If all had believed why not put that.  Some did not and Matthew saw it fit to put that in the Gospel.  Who was doubtful, it is not known for sure, the only group mentioned is the eleven.  But there were surely many there at the time of this occurrence. 

18And Jesus came and spoke to them

Christ speaks and all doubt is gone.  No one questioned Him from this point.  They knew that it was the Lord and that they needed to be obedient. 

Transition: 

Christ spoke to them and all doubt is lifted.  He then shows by what authority he gives the command.  He shows submission.

Third Compliment:  Submission

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

This is the third attitude found in this section, the attitude of submission.  It is here that the Lord establishes His authority to command the Great Commission.  All Authority had been given to Him, both in heaven and on earth.  Who gave Him this authority?  God gave Jesus the authority.  During His earthly ministry Jesus demonstrated His authority over disease and sickness (Matt. 4:23; 9:35), over demons (Matt. 4:24; 8:32; 12:22), over sin (9:6) and over death (Mark 5:41-42).  Jesus delegated all these powers except for the forgiveness of sins.  Jesus has the authority given to Him by His father.   It is with this authority that we are commanded to go therefore.  It is by this authority that we need to be submissive.   Are you willing to be submissive to the Lord’s command?  Are you ready to share the gospel of our Lord with someone who needs to hear it?

Transition: 

If you are than it is time to be obedient to the call of Jesus to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Fourth compliment:  obedience

Go therefore and  make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.

This is the fourth element for effective fulfillment of the church’s mission.  Obedience to the Lord’s command is made possible by the believer having the first three represented in their lives.  In the previous section Jesus proves his authority so this section starts with the transitional, therefore.  Because I am Lord therefore I am telling you this, to go out and make disciples of all the nations.  It’s not because he is a man, it is because He is the God of the universe.

We see in the Old Testament that Israel was called to be the light to the world, showing that they were to be the light to the gentile world.  Jesus came in the world and changed this mission of the Jewish nation.  Now the church is to be the light to the gentile world.   With this in mind it is not surprising that he makes His commission to make disciples of all the nations.

When Jesus encountered the rich young ruler He found a man that was highly moral, religious, generous, and admiring of Jesus.  The man seemed to have it all together, but he was lacking one very important thing, the obedience to God.   He was unwilling to give up the things of this world and obey the God of the universe.  In the great commission, Jesus, commands us like he commanded the rich young ruler.  Are you willing to be obedient to his call?   Will you come to the command that Jesus gives us here in Matthew?  Go Therefore, he tells us.  Go therefore and what?  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.  Did see that, Did you miss it? He did not say some of the nations but all the nations.  We are not commanded to spread the gospel to the people we like but to everyone.

We have seen in Luke  14:27; cf v.33 that “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me Cannot be my disciple.”  Some might say that Jesus is talking to those who are already believers.  As if there is a separation between the belief in Christ and following Him.  One can not separate the two.  If you are a believer in Christ than you are a disciple of Christ and you are called to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth.  It is not an option. 

The Great Commission is a command to bring unbelievers throughout the world to a saving knowledge of Christ, to build them up in the knowledge of Him.  Are you listening to the command?

What are the three things that we are supposed to do with the disciples?  Go, Baptize and teach. The first requirement makes it clear that the church is not to wait for the world to come to its doors but that it is to go to the world.  The second requirement for making disciples is that of baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to immerse them in water, spiritually cleansing them.  It became an outward sign or act of identification with Him through faith, a visible, public testimony that one now belonged to Christ.  In context of the Great Commission, baptism is synonymous with salvation, which is synonymous with becoming a disciple. 

The third requirement is that of teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.  The churches mission is not to simply convert but to teach.  If you shared the gospel and mark one up for salvation you have not done your job.  You need to teach the new convert the ways of Christ, to be obedient to the life of Christ.  Jesus in his parting discourse in the upper room said:

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him,  and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and  the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But  the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name,  He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.[6]

Jesus did not spend His time teaching the crowds to entertain or to reveal interesting but in consequential truths about God or to set forth ideal by optional standards that God requires.  His first mission was to reach those who would come to salvation by faith.  In other words, it was to make disciples.  His second mission was to teach God’s truth to those disciples.  Sound familiar?  It should because it is exactly what he calls us to do.

Transition: 

Jesus ends the Great Commission with a demonstration of his power, his ultimate and unending power given to him by His Father.

Fifth Compliment:  Power

And lo, I am  with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen

This is as crucial as the first four elements that we have seen today for fulfillment of the church’s mission.  The others would be worthless and useless without this last element.  The word Lo calls us to attention.  It says hey something important is about to be said.  Christ point out that He will be with us, not just then not now but always.  What a wonderful reassurance that Christ will be with us until the end of the age.  He will not desert us, He will not forsake us. 

Transition:

God has blessed us with the birth of His son.  He has given us a savior that took our sin and our falsehoods upon Him and died for them. 

Conclusion:

Review:

Where have we been today?  We have taken a close look at the command of the Lord Jesus Christ.  What we are all commanded to do.  In the Great Commission we see that five elements, Availability, Worship, Submission, Obedience, and Power.  Christ shows us through these five elements that we are all capable of sharing His message that we are commanded to.  Will you make yourself available?  Will you worship the king and submit to Him with Obedience?  Will allow his Power to work through you? 

Application:

Fine you told me that I have to share the Gospel.  But I don’t have that spiritual gift.  Did you miss it?  Let me read it to you again:

16Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.

The Great Commission

18And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,  “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and  make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am  with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.[7]

 

I have read this several times and I just don’t see the gift part in here.  I don’t see share the gospel if you want, or if you like.  I see a command!  Not a will you.  But a Go Therefore!!  We have no excuse; we have no reason not to.  Christ has given a command and we need to follow.

Direction:

Ok you got my attention.  But how do I do what you’re asking?   Well you need to hit the streets; you can’t save anyone sitting in a pew.  You need to share the gospel with anyone who will listen, remember it’s a command.  Get involved with the fair booth, Ireland team, and evangelism team.  Share your testimony with those at work, in the supermarket, in your own homes.  When I get to heaven I don’t want God to ask me what I did to further His Gospel and have the answer that I went to church.  That I was a good person and did what I thought was right.  Great attempts He might say but what about my Commandment to go therefore?

What about you? Will you Go therefore and answer the Lord’s command?


----

[1] The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Mt 28:16-20

[2] The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Jn 17:18

[3] The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Is 6:8-9

[4]John MacArthur, New Testament Commentary: Matthew (Chicago: Moody Press, 1989), 328.

[5] The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Jn 20:29

[6] The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Jn 14:23-26

[7] The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Mt 28:16-20

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