Matt 28:19                             The Great Commission                             4/26/2009      ßà   

 

 

 

 

 

#1.       All Authority Is Given Unto Me (Matt 28:18, Eph 1:4, 19-2:1, Rom 3:11, Dan 7:13-14)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       Teach Them What? (Matt 28:19, Rom 10:17, 1Cor 2:2, Eph 2:4-10)

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       Observe All Things (Matt 28:20, John 15:9-12, 13:34-35,10)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 28:16 (2X). We have finally come to the end of the Gospel of Matthew, where the Lord Jesus gave His disciples the great commission to go out into all the world. Therefore the title of the sermon for today is, The Great Commission (2X). Within the instructions that the Lord gave the women who visited the tomb was, “Go tell the disciples,” and “Go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee”. Then here is the section where they are in Galilee.

Mt 28:16-20  Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

This is what the Lord told them on a mountain in Galilee. Let us first get a historical overview of the scene where this event took place, for we need to understand why God wrote in verse 17, “but some doubted.” We do not know what mountain this is. God did not think that it was important for us to know the name of this mountain. But we must keep in mind that there were a total of 13 apostles. Here in Matt 28 there were only eleven apostles, for Judas Iscariot has been disqualified, Matthias has not yet been appointed, and Saul of Tarsus has not yet been discovered. The two other places where this event was recorded are in Mark 16:15, and in 1Cor 15:6. Put a sticker here in Matt 28, and please turn to the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 1Cor 15:3 (2X). The entire chapter of 1Cor 15 is dedicated to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and all the consequences of His resurrection, including our spiritual resurrection at the time that we are “Born Again”, and our physical resurrection at the time of Christ’s return. 1Cor 15:

1Co 15:3-7  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

We read in 1Cor 15:6 that the resurrected Christ was seen by more than 500 brethren at once. Who were those that doubted? Not the apostle Thomas, for Thomas has been cured of his unbelief within the first 8 days of the Lord’s resurrection. But among these 500 brethren there were some that doubted. And yet they are called “brethren”, for even the unsaved in the church have a function in the kingdom of God. The death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus was a proven fact for these 500 brethren. Moreover we read in 1Cor 15:5, “then of the twelve”. It means that Matthias was among those who saw the Lord. But now we want to know what this resurrection of Christ implies. Let us then return to the Gospel of Matthew, and look carefully at the description that the Lord gave of this event. We read in Matt 28:18,

#1.       All Authority Is Given Unto Me (Matt 28:18, Eph 1:4, 19-2:1, Rom 3:11, Dan 7:13-14)

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power (All authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” I do not know if you realize it, but this is an awesome statement. Let us first understand the miracle of the incarnation. God the Son, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead, united Himself with the person, the man Christ Jesus, who was conceived in Mary’s womb, and this unity of God and man was the Lord Jesus Christ. This man had all the characteristics of God the Son living within Him, and He had all the characteristics of being fully man. Thus, at times He was thirsty, and hungry, and was very tired, and was angry, or was delighted, and could shed blood like other men do; but at other times He stilled a storm at the Sea of Galilee, He commanded the waves also to be still, He miraculously healed the sick, raised the dead, and commanded people to believe on Him like God does. To this man, the man Christ Jesus, God has given the strength to endure the sufferings equivalent to an eternity in Hell, for Christ suffered for our sins in His human nature. To this man, after His resurrection from the dead, God has delegated all power, or better all authority, in heaven and on earth. From the moment of His resurrection He became King of kings and Lord of lords. From the moment of His resurrection all things in heaven, like the casting out of Satan in Rev 12, to all things in the history of this earth, like the earthquakes in California, and the beginning and ending of the Second World War, and the destruction of the twin towers in New York, were all in His hands. And God has delegated this man to be the Judge of all mankind on the Last Day. In other words, God the Son, the Divine nature which dwelt within Him, had already these powers from eternity past. But now the man Christ Jesus, the Son of Mary, and Son of God also received these awesome powers. From this day on the providence of God was in His hands. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 1:19 (2X). There is only one place in the entire Bible where we can see the equivalent of what we are speaking about here in Matt 28:18. Here in Eph 1:19-23 we can see the impact of Christ being given all the power to rule the universe, We read in:

Eph 1:19-23  And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us–ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Look at the honor that the Father has bestowed upon us. Verse 19 says, “The exceeding greatness of His power to us–ward who believe.” It takes great power to make us believe, to give us faith. God does not save us because we have faith, but God saves us because He has given us faith. We must always remember that God says in Rom 3:11, “There is none that seeketh after God.” Before we were saved we were dead in trespasses and sins, according to Eph 2:1. This was our condition in times past. We were definitely not saved then, even though God declared that He was determined to save us. But you see, it takes very great power to make us believe, to give us faith. And therefore, when we witness to someone, we should also pray that God’s mighty hand may move this soul to turn from ignorance to faith, for only God’s great power can do this. The power that is needed to accomplish this is equivalent to the power “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead.” Therefore it is impossible for anyone of us to lead someone to a saving relationship with Christ, for no man has that power, no matter how clever we present the Gospel, or no matter how sincere the other person is in receiving the Gospel. Without the Spirit of God we can do nothing. Therefore, it is with great gratitude that we accept and believe that the Father has chosen us unto salvation, according to Eph 1:4, and that He also provided the means that His will shall be done. What the Lord Jesus stated in Matt 28:18 was the fulfillment of the prophecy God declared to Daniel in Dan 7:13-14. There we read,

Da 7:13  I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

Da 7:14  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Beginning at His resurrection from the dead His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away. It is false to assume that Christ will receive His kingdom at the end of a glorious 1000 years. Christ has already received all the glory and honor that is due to Him, for He has purchased it all when He died on the cross and when He rose from the grave. Therefore the Lord Jesus said to His disciples:

Please turn again to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 18:19 (2X). We read in Matt 28:19,

Mt 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach (disciple) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Let us now turn to the spiritual aspects of the words of our Lord. When He said, “Go ye, therefore” He did not address only His 11 disciples, but He addressed all those who through their words would become saved. He spoke of teaching all nations, which the 11 disciples were unable to do. If all nations and all tribes in those nations have to be taught the Gospel, then even in this day and age we have not yet reached all the tribes in the world. And if the Lord Jesus would have addressed only the clergy, then the Gospel would have reached a much smaller fraction of people in the days of the apostle Paul. The church is the body of Christ. We are not called “the church militant” if only our pastor is militant. All together we are prophets, priests and kings. There is not any reason for one member to usurp the mandate for evangelism and withhold it for the other members. If we, before our salvation, could be witnesses for Satan without having been appointed to his clergy, then why would we need a clergical appointment if we witness of the Lord Jesus Christ after our salvation? That does not make sense, and it reduces the Christian life to a set of rules and regulations. And so, we realize that when the Lord Jesus said, “Go ye”, He was in fact addressing all those who have become true believers in the Lord Jesus as their Redeemer. He was addressing us. He calls us to disciple all nations and “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”. What is that supposed to mean? First we must “teach all nations”, or better “disciple all nations”, teaching them so that they become true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Why do we then baptize them? We water baptize them to put on them the sign that they now belong to a Gospel home; a home where they can hear and read the Gospel of salvation by grace. But we do not water baptize them to help the Holy Spirit in getting them saved. Baptism means washing. The outward washing with water bears no relation to the inner washing of their soul. And thus we do not apply the ceremony of water baptism to those who outwardly are opposed to the Gospel of grace alone. What do the elements of water baptism signify? The water represents the blood of Christ, which washes our sins away. But if we can see that the blood of Christ has not been shed for this person, then we should withhold the baptismal ceremony. Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel According to Luke, Luke 24:47 (2X). On the day that the Lord Jesus rose from the grave He appeared that evening to the disciples. And then He discipled them and opened their understanding of the Scriptures. And then He said in Luke 24:47,

Lu 24:47  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

This too was the Great Commission, but it was given at another place than in Matt 28:19. In Matt 28:19 it was given in Galilee. In Luke 24:47 it was given in Jerusalem. But look now at the two issues of this mandate. In Matt 28:19 it was “Teach and baptize”. In Luke 24:27 it is “Teach repentance and remission of sins”. Instead of “Baptize” has come “Remission of sins”. Please turn in your Bibles to the Acts of the Apostles, Acts 2:38 (2X). The subject of baptism is brought up again when Peter preached his first sermon on the day of Pentecost. On this day the gift of the Holy Ghost was poured out upon many who came to listen to Peter’s sermon. Then we read in Acts 2:38, 

Ac 2:38  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

And notice that here the two issues are “Repent and be baptized.” And what are they to be baptized for? It is for the remission of sins. But we know that much water on the outside is not going to wash away any sins. And so, does the baptism in Acts 2:38 really refer to water baptism, or does it refer to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which indeed washes away sins. Please drop down to Acts 2:41 (2X),

Ac 2:41  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Then they that gladly received his word were washed”. Their sins were washed by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And there were added to the church about three thousand souls. Please turn now to the Gospel According to John, John 3:5 (2X). What is this baptism (or washing) of the Holy Spirit? The Lord Jesus spoke in John 3:5 about how a man is “born again”. We need to be “born again” for we came into the world as dirty rotten sinners. And thus a change is necessary, and it is a change from the inside. The Lord Jesus said in John 3:5,

John 3:5, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

The water that the Lord Jesus spoke about was the water of the Gospel, as is made clear in John 4. Secondly, the Lord says here in John 3:5 that a man must be born of the Spirit, which means that God the Holy Spirit must take the payment that Christ made on the cross and apply it to our soul, so that all our sins are washed away. This is called the washing or the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and it is essentially a regeneration of our soul, which turns a soul that is dead to God into a soul that is alive to God. Please turn now to the Epistle to Titus, Tit 3:5 (2X). God further explained the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a washing of regeneration, meaning that the regeneration of our soul is called a baptism that is far more important than a baptism with water. We can go to heaven without having been baptized with water, but we cannot come into heaven without the washing of regeneration. God says in Tit 3:5,

Tit 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

God saved us according to His mercy, according to His grace, for we are not saved by any work that we have done. And how did He save us? By the washing that accompanies the regeneration of our soul, and by the renewing of our soul which is done by the Holy Spirit. And thus, when we read in the Bible about baptism, we must first understand that it refers to washing, and next we should ask if it perhaps refers to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. For example, when we read in Gal 3:27,

Ga 3:27  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

We realize that this refers to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, since this is not something that we have control over; for to put on Christ is not something that we are capable of, but that Christ must do for us.

Please turn again to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 28:19 (2X).

#2.       Teach Them What? (Matt 28:19, Rom 10:17, 1Cor 2:2, Eph 2:4-10)

Mt 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

We must go into all the world and teach all nations the Gospel. Through the hearing of the Gospel, if it is accompanied by the work of the Holy Spirit, people can be saved. God says in Rom 10:17

Rom 10:17, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

But what aspect of the Gospel should we teach them? Again God gave us the answer, for He says in

1Co 2:2  For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Christ crucified is the central issue of the Bible. Christ crucified is the central issue of the Gospel unto salvation. And salvation is the central issue of the Bible. People need the Bible because people need to be saved. And God wrote this Bible for the purpose of letting people know how they can be saved. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 2:4 (2X). Thus far it seems like a simple matter. God should write that Christ has been crucified for mankind. And mankind should believe what God wrote. But actually it is a very difficult matter, because mankind does not want to believe what God wrote. There is none that seeketh after the God of the Bible. Mankind has created their own idol god, which can neither see, nor hear, nor can their idol god speak. But mankind has assigned to their idol god such wonderful properties that they do not want to trade in their idol god for the true God who created the universe. And thus on the one hand the true God who created the universe wanted to bestow on mankind a free gift of eternal life with God, but on the other hand no one in the universe wants this free gift, because they are all under the influence of a demon who whispers his bad advice into the ears of every man. The result is that God, who wants to be full of mercy, has to decide whom He is going to save and whom He is going to pass by, or else no one would be saved. For this reason the true God is a sovereign God, and the sovereignty of God is stated all throughout the Bible, which no one wants to read or understand. Therefore God commanded a few people, the disciples of the Lord Jesus, to preach the Gospel of Christ crucified to the whole world, and while they are preaching the Gospel God will send His Holy Spirit to perform the miracle of conversion on those whom God chose to save. And we have been appointed to follow in their footsteps, and preach the Gospel using the electronic means that God provided for this century. What then shall we preach?

We must preach that the prophecies described in the OT concerning the Messiah have been fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. We call Him Lord, for the fusion of the man Christ Jesus and God the Son has qualified Him to be called the Lord our God. We call Him Jesus, meaning Savior, for He shall save His people from their sins. We call Him Christ, meaning the Anointed one, for He is the Messiah which was promised from of old. This Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, has graciously stepped in front of me when the wrath of God descended upon me, and He absorbed the blow which I deserved because of my sins. It was only later that I discovered how hard this blow was, for it had to be equivalent to spending an eternity in Hell. Christ paid for my sins, and for the sins of everyone of His elect, the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. Christ began suffering for our sins on Thursday evening in the Garden of Gethsemane, and completed His sufferings at about 3’Oclock in the afternoon on Friday, April 3, in the year AD 33. The Bible teaches us that the Father placed us in Christ before the foundation of the world. Therefore we were in Christ when He was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary. We were in Christ when He was crucified, when He died, when He was buried, when He rose from the grave, when He ascended into heaven, when He was seated in the heavenlies, and when He is presently glorified and reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords. And we must preach that we were born into this world as wicked as anyone else who never will be saved. And then we read in Eph 2:4-10,

Eph 2:4-10  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were

dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Here is the Gospel in a nutshell. Here is the mercy and grace and love of God on display. God loved us, even when we were dead in sins and under the wrath of God He loved us. Only God can do that: to love us when we were simultaneously under His wrath, which demanded that we must go to Hell. But God is rich in mercy. Mercy is withholding what we do deserve. We deserve to go to Hell. Our merciful God is withholding this from us. Then His grace was poured upon us, and we were made sons of God by adoption. This is the Good News that we want to spread throughout all the earth.

Please turn again to the Gospel of Matthew and let us read the last verse, Matt 28:20 (2X).

#3.       Observe All Things (Matt 28:20, John 15:9-12, 13:34-35,10)

Mt 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

What has the Lord Jesus commanded us? We remember that His greatest command was that we should love one another. Please turn to the Gospel According to John, John 15:9 (2X). In this chapter where the Lord Jesus spoke the parable “I am the vine, and ye are the branches” He commanded that we, the branches, should live in peace with one another, because we belong to Christ. If now we do not like to live at peace with one another, then in the life hereafter we also do not want to live at peace with one another, and that means heaven is not our home. Therefore we read in John 15:9-12,

Joh 15:9-12  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

And what are His commandments that we must keep? Please turn one page to your left to John 13:34 (2X). And there we read one of Christ’s commandments in John 13:34-35,

Joh 13:34-35  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.                                          This matter was of grave concern to the Lord Jesus.

Please turn to the First Epistle of John, 1John 4:7 (2X). Christ knew that false gospels would hinder us from loving the brethren, for false gospels will make it more and more difficult to separate ourselves from those who peddle another gospel. But the seriousness of this matter was deep on our lord’s heart. Therefore He repeated His concern for this commandment the third time in 1John 4:7-11,

1Jo 4:7-11 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

When we consider all the passages concerning the command to love one another, we stand amazed that today people in the church still do not love one another. The Lord Jesus spoke so many times about this command, it is hard to miss. For example, the Lord Jesus acted out the parable of the foot washing, and then He plainly said, in John 13:10, “Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.” In other words, Judas Iscariot was not clean, he was not saved, but Peter was clean, he was saved. Now, if Peter had dirty feet it was because Peter made his feet dirty with the sins of this world. Therefore the other disciples must forgive Peter his imperfections through which Peter perhaps sinned against his fellow man. But since Christ has forgiven Peter all his sins, who are we to hold a grudge against him. We too must forgive Peter the remainder of his sins, which are symbolized by dirty feet. And so we will fulfill the commands of Christ, not only by loving one another, but also by forgiving one another. What then is God’s promise?

The Lord Jesus said in Matt 28:20,

Mt 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

He promised to be with us until the end of the world. Since the Lord Jesus had received all authority in heaven and on earth, He had now the power to defend His disciples against all the enemies of the kingdom, and He had all the authority to open many doors of opportunity. He will give us the strength and the wisdom that are necessary to increase the kingdom of heaven. And He will continually be our helper. We need to sleep, but He does not sleep. He will work for us to make “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”  That is why we read in Heb 13:5-6 these comforting words:

Heb 13:5-6  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Be content with such things as ye have, for this is what our Savior considered we should have. And who shall doubt His wisdom, for as high as the heavens are above us, so high are His thoughts above our thoughts. And who of our enemies can say, “The Lord is our Helper?” No one is as mighty as we are, for if the Lord is our Helper then we are with the winning party.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.