- Sermon Notes
Until the Whole World Knows
This is our last message in the book of Matthew and it's one of the most important because here Jesus gives the great commission to the disciples. In other words, it's here that Jesus tells them what's next in God's plan of the ages.
The last several weeks we've been looking at the big picture of God's plan of the ages. We went all the way back to Adam and saw that we were part of what happened there. We were in Adam when he sinned, in his loins you might say, so that Adam's sin became our problem.
But Adam's sin wasn’t our only problem; we have plenty of our own sins as well. The problem, of course, is that our sins caused us to be separated from God and if we are separated from God, not only is our soul empty now; we have no hope for eternity.
But before the foundation of the world God's determined plan was that He would send His own Son to reveal God's love to the world, to demonstrate the authority of God over all things, to set captives free, and to speak the words of life and truth so that all men might know that God desires relationship to them through the eternal life that He offers.
God's plan was that Jesus, God's Son would not only represent God to man, He would come in the fullness of humanity to represent man before God. When he suffered and died and was crucified, He took our sins upon Himself, paying the penalty that we should have paid. He drank the cup of the wrath of God that should have been ours to drink.
But Christ did not remain in the grave. He rose again on the third day and in so doing defeated death so that it might no longer be master over us. So that all who receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, asking them to forgive their sins by the blood He shed on the cross at Calvary, would receive eternal life, be saved from condemnation, and be adopted as God's son or daughter so that we might have eternal relationship to Him.
All that leads us to these verses in Matthew 28, because here Jesus tells them what God is doing next in His determined plan of the ages. The good news, the gospel, of what God has done through His Son is to be taken to the whole world.
Jesus is going to send them out to spread the good news to all and that same commission is extended to us as well so that all the world might know that God is doing something about the brokenness, loneliness, lostness, and emptiness of this dark world. Paul, the apostle, said this, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." Romans 1:16
This "Great Commission" is filled with insight so that we might understand not only what God wants to do in the world, but what God wants to do in us and through us as well.
I. God is Entreating Through Us
- One of the first words we see in these verses is the word, "Go." Its meaning in the Greek isn't complicated at all, it means "Go."
- Jesus is sending them out. And in book of Acts 1:8 Jesus also said, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
- Notice that He doesn't just send them out, He sends them out with power. And in Matthew 28, Jesus said, "All authority has been given to Me… And I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
A. God has a message for you to give
- God has a message for the world and He has entrusted that message to us.
- Imagine what the world would be like, what people's lives would be like, if no one took the good news to the world.
Illus - We showed that video earlier today about what the classrooms would be like if there were no teachers. I think it's also a picture of what the world would be like without the gospel.
- Jesus said that, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…" That love is seen very powerfully when we understand the nature of God's heart that's behind the message He sends to the world.
- Look at what Paul wrote to the church at Corinth and see God's heart in making an appeal, an entreaty, that people would be reconciled to God through Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21, God is entreating through us.
Illus – I was in Russia going door to door and was talking to a military man who said, "Before I would respond, God would have to send someone specifically to me to tell me what He wants me to do." I responded, "God sent me all the way from America to sit here in your living room with this message." He did respond.
- When Jesus said, "All authority has been given to Me… I will be with you always, even to the end of the age…" He was saying that He had the authority to speak God's Word of eternal hope.
- He's given that Word to us by His authority.
Illus - I was asked to come to someone's house who said that he wanted to be saved, but thought God had put his name on the wrong list (God didn’t want him.). So I responded, "I have a message to you from God… I beg you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God." I then read those verses in 2 Corinthians 5 to him.
B. Friends tell friends good news
- It's interesting that if you look at who Jesus reached out to with the love of God; it's very telling about God's heart.
- He invited a tax collector, hated by all the people, to become a disciple, He allowed a harlot to wash His feet with her tears and hair, He spoke to a woman who had been married five times and was living with a man not her husband, and He brought life to a wild, naked man living in the cemetery.
- How much more would God want to reach average people right around us with the good news of eternal life?
- In fact, I suggest that the world expects you to tell them about Jesus.
Illus – To quote an atheist after someone gave him a New Testament, "How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them?"
Romans 10:14-15, How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?
- There are several reasons people don't give others the good news.
- They don’t have all the answers; they're afraid they'll be asked something they can't answer. But, a) we could grow in our faith and be ready to give an answer.
1 Peter 3:15, Always being ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you…
2 Timothy 2:15, Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the Word of truth.
- b) We could be honest and tell them we don't know.
Illus – Did you know that it is often the new believers that have the most zeal for spreading the good news, and they don't know much at all?
Jesus was criticized because He associated with sinners, and can't we in the same way build a relationship of mutual respect so that we are close enough to be able to tell them the truth in love?
II. Go and Make Disciples
- God is doing more than just bringing converts into the kingdom. He's transforming lives.
- It's effective; over and over in the Scriptures you can see people's lives who were dramatically changed because God touched their lives.
- Zacchaeus was a tax collector that came to faith in Jesus Christ and was so changed he gave four times as much to everyone he had defrauded.
A. Teaching them what Jesus said
- Jesus told them to go and make disciples of all nations. They weren't commissioned just to make converts, they were to make disciples.
- The word disciple means, "Someone who is learning and growing." If someone makes a decision to invite Christ Jesus into their hearts as Lord and Savior, it's the beginning of the transformation that God wants to do in them.
Hebrews 12:1-2, Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…
2 Corinthians 3:18, But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
- Jesus said that we are to make disciples by teaching them the words that He spoke.
- His Words are power and life and truth with authority.
Isaiah 55:11, So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
John 8:31, Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
B. He is with you always
- These last words that Jesus spoke in Matthew 28 are as encouraging to us as they were to them.
- Jesus gave those words in the context of going out into all the world and making disciples and teaching them His words, but it also applies to us in the encouragement of knowing that while we walk in a troubled world, the One who has conquered the world is with us to the end of the age.
- We know there will be many troubles in this world, Jesus said that in many places, but the encouragement is that He will be with us through every trial, every difficulty, and every tribulation.
- Jesus then becomes the foundation, the rock on which I stand, but from that foundation, that rock in my life, I can then reach out and help others.
Luke 6:47-48, "Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built."
- As I am growing, I can show other people how to grow. Because I'm being forgiven, I can show others what forgiveness is. Because I am being transformed, I can show others what transformation is in their lives.
Illus - If I tried to reach out to someone to help them and I'm standing on the slippery slope, I can help them not at all. But when I'm standing on a rock, I can help them as well.
“This guy talked to me; he was a big guy about my age, and he said, "I was here last night at the show and I liked it." He was very complimentary about what I said. He said nice stuff anyway. And then he said, “I bought this for you,” and then he handed me a Gideon pocket edition from the New Testament with Psalms, about that thick. And then he said, “I wrote something in front of it and I wanted you to have this. I'm kind of proselytizing.” And then he said, “I'm a businessman and I'm not crazy, I just wanted you to have this.” And he looked right in the eyes when he did all this.
It was really wonderful. I believe he knew that I was an atheist. But he was not defensive and he looked me right in the eyes and he was truly complimentary, it wasn't in any way empty flattery, he was really kind and nice and sane and looked me in the eyes and talked me and then gave me this Bible.
And I've always said that I don't respect people who don't proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there is a heaven and hell and people could be going to hell for not getting eternal life or whatever and you think that, well, it's not really worth telling them just because it would make it socially awkward.
I know there are atheists who think that people shouldn't proselytize, "just leave me alone and keep your religion to yourself," they say, but I disagree.
How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them. If I believed beyond the shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming at you and you didn't believe it, but that truck was bearing down on you, there's a certain point where I tackle you, and this is more important than that, and I've always thought that. Anyway, this guy was a really good guy."
Matthew 28:16-20 NASB
16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up 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 the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."