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.”
Last week we started with the phrase, “The end of all things is near” this week, this is the end of the gospels! This is what Jesus left with the Apostles as a vision statement.
The verb in this passage relates to making disciples:
As you go, make Disciples
The rest of the passage relates to the how and why:
All authority belongs to Jesus
Baptize: Make new disciples
Teach them what Jesus has commanded
Remember Jesus’ Presence
- New Followers of Jesus
- All authority belongs to Jesus
Number one allegiance. We are following Christ in all that we do.
We follow because of Who Jesus is. This clarifies the Old Testament, it is a shadow. The reality is Jesus. The blessings of the OT are given to Christ and to those who are in Christ.
This solves the confusion in life issue.
Matt 16:13-20 and John 6:28-70
- All of salvation belongs to Jesus
Jesus defines salvation. What is salvation? This means Jesus defines sin. This means our life philosophy must align with His.
Salvation is the resolution of the problem of sin. In what way does sin create trouble for us? Well, it separates us from God personally. It makes Him seem distant, separate, to the point of disappearing altogether. And sin warps our thinking. Because we are separated from God, we are active participants in going to hell and creating hell on earth. Both of these things are bad. Does hell exist as an eternal place of torment? It appears so. I studied through all of the Biblical passages on hell and I don’t want hell to be eternal, that would be my preference. But it’s not my call. All authority belongs to Jesus. He spoke a lot about a place where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. He says it would be better to be drowned than cause someone to stumble. There are worse things than dying. Think about that. (Now that could be a reference to being a source of death in reality for others throughout time). But, the description of
Revelation 20: 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Hell on earth is the description of Genesis 6. The description of how to get there is found in the curse of Genesis 3, the behavior of Cain and of Lamech (they serve as sinful “types”) and the tower of Babel story. Heaven on earth is the description of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 1:26-30; Genesis 2 and Genesis 3: the curse opposites.
- All are in need of salvation
The gospel is good news in the light of the bad news concerning sin. All have sinned. All fail to live in the manner that they are created. God is distant. Relationships are problematic. Pleasures get out of whack and become addictive. This is the default situation of every human being. And the fact that some are worse than others is an inconvenient excuse that leads people to not be saved! If you are not a follower of Jesus then you are participating in the expansion of hell on earth and hell eternal.
- More Complete Followers of Jesus
- This is my Father’s world
The main character of the Bible is God. He is the creator. That means he sets the purposes for creation. He sets the purposes for your life. We are meant for family, for marriage, for work. And those things we are meant for are all meant to function in a manner that reflects God. This is no small thing. Men, think about the way that you hear other men speak about their wives. Does it matter? Are you kidding me? It is of fundamental importance! Think about all of the laziness at work. Does it matter? Are you kidding me? It matters first of all to God. You are polluting His design. Secondly it matters to you. You are turning your back on your greatest blessing. Thirdly, it matters to your spouse, you are inviting the curse instead of the blessing of God. It matters to the environment, you are wasting resources and creating future challenges. And Fourthly it matters to everyone else on the face of the earth in outward traveling concentric circles.
- So teach people what Jesus taught
Don’t worry about being last, that’s the way to be first. Dig into being servant of all, you will find that you are engaging in true greatness. Let go of bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, lust, cheating, lying etc. Embrace God’s character as your goal and learn to be honest with yourself about yourself and get moving.
III. All Of the Time
- Go and as you go
Are we to look to do this throughout the whole earth or are we to look to do this at home? Yes.
Go, involuntary go, come, involuntary come. This is how people move around, and it is how the gospel is spread.
- You are Christ’s witnesses
Ambassadors, witnesses, children etc. Each of these ideas are metaphors that imply the ability to reveal what the greater person is like.
II Cor 5: 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
How will we witness to others?
- In action by being a serious Christ follower. This is a long term strategy and to miss it will pollute all other strategies.
- In word by explaining the gospel to others. Start with your own life. What has the gospel meant to Mark Lykins?
How should you explain the gospel to people? What should you say?
What difference has the gospel made in your life. Here is the problem, we have people who have had the gospel explained as the way to heaven to miss out on the wrath of God, but they have not understood that sin brings hell to them whether or not they are ultimately going to hell or not. This creates confusion and is not reflective of God’s design. If they followed the teachings of Christ they would see how God has blessed their lives with His presence, His power, His provision and His purpose in every possible circumstance. That is what we are sharing. What difference does it make to follow Christ? What is your testimony? That is where your power is!
So, share your testimony and then don’t be a heretic.
The gospel is this: God intends for us to know Him personally and be submitted to His plans for our lives. This is primarily a behavioral plan and applies most directly to marriage, family and work. Sin is disobedience to God’s design and is rooted in me and leads to separation from God’s presence and blessing. Ultimately it leads to a complete loss of life now and eternally. Trusting Jesus’ authority to save and direct my life brings salvation. I reenter the stream of God’s blessing and I begin the process of choosing against the sin that is resident in me. And my life is better. That is what it means to believe, I am trusting Jesus as my way to life.
- In service and love to others we have the opportunity to demonstrate the reality of God’s love.
I John 4: 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
So, we should actively look for opportunities to love and serve others. This is a long term strategy that displays God’s love. It actually works just like #1 above.
- Remember Jesus’ presence
I am with you always. Maybe we should preach like three messages on this topic! You want others to know Christ, you do all that you know to do and they don’t turn to Christ and follow. Whose fault is that?
Well now, let’s go back to those foundational passages of John 6 and Matt 16: Peter confesses Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. What does Jesus say to him? God has shown this to you.
In John 6 Jesus tells the people that the work that God requires of them is to believe in Him, and they are confused and resistant. What does He say?
John 6: 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.
There are two reasons to emphasize these truths:
- God is at work in your life and in the life of anyone you are speaking to. So, we speak with confidence. There is more going on than meets the eye. So, be confident.
- God is ultimately responsible for any decision of someone to believe. You are not the reason someone believes. As much as you may have been told that, it is not true. You are also not the reason someone does not believe. Unless you want to blame Jesus here. He is purposely offensive to the people in John 6. He has done a lot of work in Peter’s life by Matt 16. He does not take credit for Peter believing in Matt 16 and He is unable to run off the Apostles in John 6 and what does Peter say? You alone have the words of eternal life. And Peter is still confused about the most important thing in Matt 16. He has NO IDEA what God is doing! He rebukes Jesus for God’s plans in the next passage and Jesus says, “Get behind me Satan” to the man He says He will build His church on.
So, if you are here this morning and you understand that you are not a follower of Christ, and want to be a follower of Christ, this is your day to believe! Talk to God, do it right now. Tell Him you want to follow, ask Him to change your heart. And then make a plan to feed that decision. Begin to read your Bible every day. Start with the Gospel of John. Begin to pray every day. Ask God to get into every aspect of your life. Focus especially on family and work. Attend church and bible studies regularly. Get a leg up on understanding Spiritual truths. See yourself as a servant of others and get involved in some concrete activities where you can serve. And come to church to express your love, thanksgiving and praise to God for His life that He has given you.