The Church's One Mission

Sermon delivered on September 27th, 2015

By: Pastor Greg Hocson

 

Matthew 28 records the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and how His disciples really saw Him. There were multiple appearances of Christ, but Matthew, passes over other appearances of Christ, recorded by Luke and John, and moved quickly to the last words of Jesus Christ before He ascends into Heaven.

 

Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 28:17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18: And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 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: 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.

 

In the Disney movie "Adventure of Alice in Wonderland", Alice one day came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. She asked the cat, Which road do I take? To which the cat responded, That depends, where do you want to go? Alice answered, I don't really know where I am going. Then said the cat, If you don't know where you are going then it doesn't really matter which road you take.

 

Sadly, there are many people, like Alice, who have no clue where they are going. When we live that way, life is reduced to mere existence.

 

It is absolutely essential to know who we are and why we are here or we will fail in our mission in life. We must know the point and purpose of our existence as a Church. But we live in a busy society and this is one of the traps of the our modern society and if we are not careful, we become so busy that our lives becomes shallow and so unfocused as to who we are and why we are here. In the busyness of life, it is easy to forget what we are about.

 

The text we read this morning is called the Great Commission. There are four other places in the Scriptures where the Great Commission appears, namely, in the Gospel according to Mark, Luke, John and in the book of Acts.

 

In the Great Commission we are told who we are and why we are here as a church. We have been commissioned. We have a mission to carry out. Our Lord tells us what our mission is, in this world as Christians and as church family.

 

 

I - We are commissioned with great authority

But by whose authority do we carry out the Great Commission? What right do we have to disrupt others lives? What makes our beliefs more important and unstoppable? Who are we to go into all the world and tell men and women how to live their lives.

 

18: And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 

Our Lord begins with a statement about His power and authority. This power and authority was given to Him by the Father. He deserves it. He earned it when He went to the Cross and voluntarily gave Himself up to save sinners from their sins. This is one of the rewards of His suffering.

 

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9: Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11: And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Since Jesus has all the power and authority when He speaks we listen and obey. And on the basis of His power and authority He now gives us the Great Commission. Jesus gave us the authority and ability to us. Like Jesus we can now carry out the Great Commission. 

 

II - We are commissioned with great assignment

1. What makes our assignment great?

a. The extent is great

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: 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.

The last time I checked, the current world population is 

7,369,923,973 and counting. How could we possibly reach 7 billion plus people?

 

b. The opposition is great

The world, the devil and the lost will oppose. If you think it is easy to convert a sinner to Christ you most likely have not attempted to witness to an unbeliever. But once you take this Great Commission seriously and attempt to witness, you will soon see the radical depravity and the blindness of men.

 

c. The task is great

The work is overwhelming. It is difficult. It seems impossible. 

 

2. What is the main task in the Great Commission?

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: 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.

The main action in this Great Commission is not "go." The "go" in this statement is not even a command. The word "go" (poreuomai) means "having gone."

 

Therefore having gone, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

 

The Lord assumes that His disciples will be going about, and while they are going about their daily lives and activities, they are to carry out the Great Commission.

 

As you go, wherever you go, teach all nations. Our daily business takes us to many different places and most of those places have people. There is where the "go" command is fulfilled. 

 

So the main instruction in the Great Commission is "teach all nations" which means "make disciples." This is the command of the Great Commission. 

 

3. What is a disciple?

A disciple is someone who studies and adheres to the teaching of another. 

 

If I say I am a disciple of Confucius, it means that I study the teaching of Confucius and conform my life according to his teaching. I am not just a student, because you can be a student without being a disciple. What I am saying is that, I not only study the teaching of Confucius and I am also committed to follow and adhere to his teaching. 

 

A disciple not only learns, but becomes attached to one's teacher and to become his follower in doctrine and conduct of life.

 

And this what our Lord said to His disciples, their task is that of making disciples - a committed follower of His teaching and life. 

 

The assignment is not just to gather people who will come to church every Sunday to hear and study about Jesus. The task is not just solicit decision or professions. The goal is to make disciples - teaching them that they become committed follower of Christ in doctrine and conduct and life. That is really intense. But that is the kind of follower Jesus told His disciples to make.

 

4. How do we make disciples?

What does "making disciples" look like?

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: 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.

 

Our Lord is saying, as you are going and making disciples, baptize them and teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.

 

a. Baptizing them

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: 

The first step of making a disciple is to baptize them. Please don't misunderstand me, "the goal is not to convert them to become Baptist." No, that is not the goal. The goal is not just to see people become Baptist, because, sad to say, there are many Baptists and Baptist churches who are not committed followers of Jesus Christ. Rather, the goal is to see men and women become committed unashamed clearly identified followers of Jesus Christ. 

 

But having said what I said, the way to make disciple is to baptize them. Who are "them"? The word "them" refers to those who have been made alive to God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work.

 

Baptism is the public profession of faith in Christ. It is the "first" act of obedience. Baptism marks you out as an unashamed committed follower of Jesus Christ. Baptism is the mark of becoming a disciple.

 

Baptism does not only allow you and I, to make a public stand for Christ but calls us to make a public stand with the people of Christ. Those who are baptized publicly display their submission to Christ, a willingness to do God's will and identification with God's people in their localities.

 

A public declaration of faith and devotion to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a pretty good sign that someone has become a disciple.

 

b. Teaching them

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.

Our part in the Great Commission is not just about getting people to say a prayer, sign a decision card, or take a dip in the baptismal. It is also about "teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded."

 

Baptism is a one-time event. Teaching takes a lifetime.

Be careful not to reduce the "making disciples" into a five-week discipleship program. No, "making disciple" is a lifetime task. Baptism is just the beginning. 

 

It is not enough to mark them out or to identify them, they must be taught to observe all that Jesus Christ commands us to do. Commands about marriage, family, parenting, relationships, money, ministry, time, talents, treasure, priority, thought life, Bible, prayer, church, worship, evangelism, service, use of our tongues, work, forgiveness, loving neighbor, etc.

 

Our Lord did not say teaching them to know and to study whatsoever I have commanded you, He said, "teaching them to observe whatsoever I have commanded you." 

 

It is not enough to teach them and give them information. We are to teach them to obey His commands.

 

Again, how are disciples made?

Disciples are made not by putting a knife on their throat or gun on their heads. It is not by swords or bomb threats or guillotine, not by deception or manipulation but by ...

Acts 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, 3: Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.

Reasoning with them from the Scriptures, opening and alleging, that, explaining and proving, that this Christ is worthy of their trust, love and devotion. It is by faithful preaching of the gospel of Christ and setting forth of the beauty and worth of Jesus Christ, that they would see Him as He is and so that they cannot help it but be drawn to Him and trust Him and love Him and serve Him and obey whatever He has commanded.

 

What's my goal and prayer as I shepherd you and teach you as your Pastor? What is your goal as you go about your daily lives?

 

That God, by His grace, will use you and me to give them a sight of their own sin and the glory of Christ and that their heart will be captured by Him and that they can do nothing else but follow Him and serve Him.

 

Who is sufficient for these things?

The task is overwhelming - we are sent out into the world to call out people to believe and to become a committed follower of Christ.

 

Do you realize how difficult that task is?

To tell atheists, evolutionists, intellectuals, agnostics, skeptics, immoral, irreligious, cults, philosophers, people who are hostile to the Bible, God and Christianity to turn from their ways and to turn to God in Christ Jesus.

 

To tell men and women to repent and believe the Gospel. To tell men and women who love their sin to renounce their sinful way of life and put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ whom they hate. To tell men and women who do not even believe in God to submit to the Son of God. To tell men and women who rejects and mocks the Bible to submit to it. To tell your high school teachers or college professors who do not believe in absolute truth, that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no man cometh to the Father but by Him. To tell men that there is an absolute truth and it is found in Jesus Christ.

 

What is our hope that they will listen to us? What is our hope that we will have success? What is our hope that we will stick to this task and not be discouraged and not be distracted? This is not an easy job. This is not for faint-hearted.

 

This is a great assignment! This is a great task! And such a great assignment demands a great authority. But not only that, it demands  a great assurance, which leads me to my last point.

 

III - We are commissioned with great assurance

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: 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 concluded it with an assurance, with a promise of His abiding presence.

 

Such a challenging command demands a great promise and assurance, and so it has. Jesus promised ...

I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

 

Remember, as you go, He will be with you all the days of your life. You are not alone! The One who has all power and authority will be with us as we carry out the Great Commission.

 

Let God be praised for always being there with us, every moment of every day.

 

Closing Thoughts

So what are going to do with this truth that we heard this morning?

 

Are you a disciple? Have you first of all, obeyed His call to salvation? Have you believed and trusted Jesus Christ as your own personal Saviour and Lord? Have you been biblically baptized? I am not asking you if you are a baptist. My question is, have you unashamedly confessed Him through the water of baptism? Are you honestly seeking to observe all that He has clearly commanded in His word?

 

If so, are you making disciples? Where are your disciples?

 

May God write these truths in our hearts and grant us grace to become a committed follower of the Lord Jesus Christ!

 

AMEN!