PREEMINENCE | His Story – Our Practice WEEK IX | Go Part II – Matthew 28:16-20
March 26, 2023 Speaker: Christopher Rich Series: PREEMINENCE | His Story - Our Practice
Topic: New Testament Passage: Matthew 28:16–20
PART I | Great Commission from THE Great King | Matthew 28:16-20
Matthew 28:16-20 | 16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Go on Mission – Because Jesus is preeminent, His agenda is our first priority. His mission is our purpose. He lives, so we live our lives for Him. This is a small but incredibly significant section, this is nothing less that the mission statement of God’s people for the that last two millennia. God’s earthly plan for the increase of His Kingdom on earth is for Disciples of Jesus Go and make disciples of Jesus. What does this look like? It starts by responding to who Jesus is and remembering who we are when our faith is in Him.
Disciples of Jesus, worship and respond to the resurrected Jesus. Disciples of Jesus are members of Jesus’ family. (v16) - These verses are not part of the Sermon on the Mount, teaching in the temple, or the Last Supper, this is a specific commissioning of Jesus’ core disciples after His death on the cross, burial, and resurrection. The risen Jesus meets Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, and instructs them “Go and tell my brothers”, to meet Him in Galilee. Because of the redeeming work of Jesus on the cross, estranged sinners are now adopted members of God’s family. So disciples are first and foremost members a family defined not by their bloodline but a family formed by the shed blood of Jesus in their place. As a family identified by Jesus, they gather around Jesus. The eleven disciples go to Galilee to meet the risen Jesus on a familiar mountain top. The mission starts small with unlikely leaders, but grows exponentially, equipped and empowered by Jesus. There are only 11 dudes gathered on a mountain overlooking the Sea of Galilee. These guys are not the cream of the crop. They are not patriotic land owning all-stars like the Founding Fathers or governmental/business elites like the World Economic Forum. They are blue color fisherman, a former corrupt tax collector, political activist who regularly failed to understand what Jesus was teaching, jockeyed for positions of power, and all scattered during the crucifixion. Not of them are a dream team you pick if you are trying to reorient an upside down world back to it’s proper axis. In fact if you tried to plant a church with this team you’d go nuts.
But here they are responding with obedience to the resurrected Jesus by following where He directed them.
Disciples of Jesus are worshipers of Jesus’ divinity who can still process doubt and proceed with hesitation. (v17)- They worshipped, but some doubted - They see the risen Jesus and worship him as God. “but some doubted,” I love this because it shows us that even disciples who knew, served, followed Jesus still struggled with doubt (translated another way “hesitation”). This should be incredibly encouraging for us that our faith doesn’t have to be rocked or jettisoned merely because we have moments of doubt or seasons of questioning. Going on Mission doesn’t require certainty, but it does include faithfulness to follow Jesus on the next best step. This includes when you cannot see the whole path, but you trust the one who is leading on the journey. Going on mission almost always includes a hint of doubt and a step of faith and risk. Going on mission absolutely includes worshipping the risen Jesus but is also can including wrestling. Some doubted but they remained in the presence of Jesus and with Jesus’ people ready to hear from and follow Jesus. That’s faithful doubting.
Going on Mission means remembering who is in Charge (v18) - I believe the answer for our doubts and what moves us from hesitation to intentional action is the greatness of God in Jesus. Jesus meets worshipers and doubters and answers them both with a clear statement on who is ultimately in charge of everything. He is! “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Jesus is the king. He has all authority. Jesus is no longer the suffering servant, the man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. Jesus is now the victorious King, adorned with all authority imaginable, who will return in glory. Jesus doesn’t start by telling us what we should do but by telling us who He is. He has all authority over the entire universe, and yet He doesn’t tell His disciples what He is going to do with it. He tell them (and us) what they are going to do because of it!! We are here because of the great commission. We are here for the great commission. Because Jesus is the king, with all authority in Heaven and on earth, we are Living on Jesus’ Mission. He has authority over us and over our mission field. He will empower and equip us to fulfill the mission He’s called us to. Our lives are purposeful!
Go, Therefore (v19) – We are a sent people. The Church sent by Christ’ authority as Commander-and-Chief. But what does that mean? Because Jesus is sent Disciples of Jesus are ambassadors of Jesus’ kingdom and mission.
It means we are called to regularly go from our places of comfort to places that challenge us. It means we cross lines that make us uncomfortable in order to be ambassadors of Christ kingdom and pointing people to our Risen King. Because we can easily forget this, Mission is never something that can be assumed. Jesus commands us to GO on faithful outward mission, meaning beyond ourselves, because He knows our default is to an inward focus. Why don’t we do this? We like staying! We like familiar, we like comfortable, and we like settling. How tempting is it to be in places and with people that only encourage and never challenge.
We need to have both a broader view of what it means to “go” To “go” means we are a “sent” people but also includes “as we go” in our lives. We are all disciples of some
Make disciples of all nations (v19) - We live in a diverse and pluralistic culture. To reach the nations includes our neighborhoods and communities. We are all a disciple of something or someone. We are all making disciples in the places of influence we have in our lives. The question is what type of disciples are we making? A Disciple of Jesus increasingly submits to the authority and Lordship of Jesus in every aspect of life and encourages others to do likewise. If you are a disciple, you will disciple. Some are called to go to all nations, some are called to stay and make disciples of this nation. We talk about being missionaries and being a sent people that doesn’t mean everyone will leave Snohomish County or our region because there is a unique and challenging mission field right here. We are all called to participate in fulfilling the Great Commission, but it will look very different for each of us at different times and places in our lives. Where have you been called to make disciples? Where is your primary responsibility? The church, the people of God have a responsibility to make disciples of all nations, yet we are so individualistic we read a command and commission like this and we easily get overwhelmed and discouraged, and forget it iChristopher Rich – March 26, 2023
PREEMINENCE | His Story – Our Practice
WEEK IX | Go Part II – Matthew 28:16-20
Introduction | Why are you Here? Why are we Here?
Good Morning! Welcome to Mercy Fellowship where we are Saved by Jesus Work. Changed by Jesus Grace. Living on Jesus Mission. Today we are going to concluding our series PREEMINENCE: His Story-Our Practice.
Why are you here? Why are WE Here? – This is a basic, yet substantial, question of existence. What is the source of my being AND what is the purpose of my being. What is the meaning of our lives? As Christians we both need and have an answer that becomes the umbrella all the other question of life fall under. The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins by asking: What is the chief end of man? A: Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. So we exist to reflect the glory of the God who created us. The God whose name is Jesus. Jesus according to Colossians 1:18 to be Preeminent in ALL things. So we glorify God by seeing Jesus as “first” and then orientating our lives accordingly. The RESULT of this reorientation is deep and greater joy and enjoyment of God and all He made for us to enjoy. So you exist for to reflect Glory and receive Joy. We know there is sin in the world and our hearts where we rob and are robed of both. Yet, the primary intention and purpose of our existence remains so we move towards our purpose when we move towards Christ. Because of our inability, Christ has moved towards us to bring us closer to Himself.
Why are WE here? When I say “we” I am talking about “the church”. Individual orphaned/exiled sinners separated from God, forgiven, and welcomed into the family and kingdom of God. Jesus is to be first in our lives AND Colossians 1:18 also says he is the Head of the BODY, THE CHURCH. So again, we ask a question of existence. What is the source of our collective being and what is the purpose of our collective being? THE Source of our being is Jesus who is the “head” of a global, multi ethnic/lingual/cultural/generational body that has existed across millennia and across continents. Jesus said he would build His church (Ecclesia) which means “gathering of the summoned”. So the church exists because she has been summoned by the king and has been, is being built up, by Christ. The purpose is to fulfill Christ mission to/in the world. THE Church has a mission and purpose statement. It’s not business marketing jargon, it’s THE Commission and Commandment Jesus gave His disciples, really all disciples as THE marching orders we are to follow as we pursue our purpose as the church. This includes embodying the Great Commandment to love the Lord God with our whole being and love our neighbors as ourselves. It also means embracing the Great Commission to Go and make disciples of all nations. We have attempted to distil this down to a simple mission statement for us remember why we exist. At Mercy Fellowship, “We Exist to make disciples of Jesus Christ who Love God and Love People.” This is our “why we exist” that we hope forms and informs all that we do and hope to accomplish. Today we are going to end our series on Gather, Give, Grow, Go, looking at the Great Commission where we see Jesus’ church has a clear mission, but we also see Jesus’ mission has a commissioned Church.
s a communal charge. This commission was given to “Disciples” Jesus doesn’t pull Andrew aside and say “It’s on you buddy, all of it.” He tells all eleven so they would know this is a group effort. To be clear these guys saw some amazing things happen, but the commission is both multicultural AND multigenerational. We have to be ok with pursuing this commission knowing we may never see the fruition of it in our lifetime. (Cathedrals whose designers never got to see the finished product.) But we understand we have people and responsibilities right in front of us. There are many different environments we can go and make disciples, including Sunday Morning. Maybe the Going for you in this season in your life is for the gospel to penetrate deeper into your own life and heart. if you’re married you have a responsibility to encourage your spouse. Making disciples might be taking on a different look during different seasons. You’ve got kids God has given you as a gift for you to point them to Jesus. When you’re serving in Mercy Kids you’re not babysitting you’re disciple making. When you’re studying God’s word on your own, you’re making disciples. What is the next best step?
Baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (v19) – Because Jesus has all authority we will be people who Go (as we go) and make disciples of all nations. This is a universal mission to all nations people groups, this pushes us beyond our comfort zone of those we find easy to engage. So who are we to make disciples of? All Nations, meaning EVERYONE is to be called to follow Jesus as Savior and King. While the mission field is universal, the mission itself quite unique. It’s a specific mission. The mission is to all people but the mission transforms those who will pledge their allegiance to the triune God of the Bible in the name of Jesus through Baptism signifying their death of self and new life with Jesus. a disciple has converted from their belief in their own ability to save themselves to someone who has placed their faith in the person and work of Jesus alone and empowered by the Holy Spirit to live new lives for Him. We are on mission to see lives and eternities changed by and for Jesus. Our baptism shirts say simply “Buried with Jesus, Risen for Him.”
Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (v20) – A disciple of Jesus is no less than a convert to the truth of the Gospel, but they are also more than a mere convert. Jesus doesn’t say, so take what you like about what I said that works for you or in your context, he said ALL I have commanded. Jesus calls us to both Love God and Love People and while that is kindergarten simple, it is also grads school complex. We study, teach, and preach God’s word. How will you know how to be a disciple if you do not know the teachings of Jesus, sermons, parables, sayings, and even his very ways of being. This is where the student portion of discipleship comes in. You have to be prepared to be a lifelong learner where your only graduation or promotion is when you move to glory at your death. Knowing Jesus’ commands is essential to discipleship. Why? In order for us to ACTUALLY DO THEM! We are not to be hears of the word only but doers. Learning Jesus commands is no less than knowing God’s word, but is also more than. Disciples of Jesus are learners and doers of Jesus’ words and ways. This will take a lifetime to unpack pursue, grow in, as we repent, believe, and obey over and over. It means there will be parts of His commands we find ourselves inclined to and should continue and other commands we will find ourselves hostile to we need to grow in submission and obedience. This is a process of ongoing growth and sanctification that leads us to greater godliness and joy.
Disciples display progress, not perfection. We all start at different places so growing as a disciple will look differently for each of us. If you’re a prodigal Son, like I was, a big part of discipleship was simply no longer walking in specific sins. For my friend whose parents lead a fruitful family and marriage ministry and we’re intentionally parented in light of the gospel for the purpose of being a disciple who makes disciples he didn’t go through that period, he displays a maturity beyond his years. Growing in submission to the lordship of Jesus in every aspect of life is gift of God so disciples are changed by Jesus’ grace.
Disciples who make disciples live lives that are imitable, not unattainable. Jesus doesn’t tell them you’re my disciples, now go replicate yourselves find your own disciples. No. He tells them to go and make disciples who are going to have their primary allegiance to the God of the Bible in Jesus. The apostles, John, James, Peter, and Paul, all tell churches to put off sin and that which hinders obedience and put on the life we are called to displaying the forgiveness and new life we have been given as we are Changed by Jesus’ Grace. Paul goes as far as to the Corinthians church imitate me as I imitate Christ. We should be walking in a manner worthy of our salvation, that others can then follow (AS WE FOLLOW CHIRST). But we should also be humble enough to know we are not perfect and but consistently point others to the one who is. Who while we were yet sins die for us so that we might live a new forgiven, renewed life for and with him.
Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (v20) JWe think we’re on some race where Jesus will meet us at the end but until then it’s up to us and that’s just not so. He doesn’t say “ok just do your best and I’ll check in with you later. Hope you figure it out.” Jesus wants us to Go on mission with both comfort and confidence that He is with us every step of the way. Know this you are not alone. We have each other, yes but more than that we have Jesus who doesn’t promise to be with us but tells us he IS with us. All of the sudden all the doubt and hesitation and overwhelming nature of this commission is settled when we consider Jesus with us saying simply, “take my hand, take the next best step, follow me. My grace is sufficient for you; I will never leave you or forsake you.” What is your next best step? Do you need to believe the Gospel, repent of your sin and be forgiven? Do you need to pledge allegiance to Jesus as your Savior-King in Baptism?
If we have tasted and seen the Lord is good, experienced the Gospel of Jesus we should desire to share it. If all authority has been given to Jesus, if he has sent us to go and make disciples, if He is with us now and always, we can have great courage as we go on His mission as we continually and increasingly Trust Jesus.
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