Every once in a while just feel like breaking out one of the older sermons that I've preached in the past. And today we're going to look at The Four ALLS of the Great Commission. It's good to be reminded of our mission in this world is to go out into all the world.
- Matthew 28:18-20
And so what we have here is Matthew's account of the great commission. This great commission is found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. All three of those gospel accounts record an account of this great commission. And so, it is truly a worldwide charge that is for all people of all. It's not just to the apostles, and we'll talk about why that's the case in just a moment.
This commission was given by Jesus, at the Mount of Ascension or just before He ascended back unto the Father. And as we look there in the context, you go back to verse 16.
"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." — Matthew 28:16-17
And so here the apostles are present, primarily who's present. And, He speaks these words to them, "All authority is given unto me in heaven and earth", or use the word power in the King James. The Greek word is exousia, it is the idea of authority. The authority that a king or a ruler exercises. It is "all authority is given unto him in heaven and on earth."
Now, these final words spoken by Jesus before He ascended back to the Father can be divided into four parts. And we'll call these the Four ALLS of the Great Commission.
"All power is given unto me." There's that great claim that is made.
And, "go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them the name of the father, son, the Holy Ghost,"
And then, "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever have commanded you."
And, "Lo I am with you always..." Not the same all obviously, but it sounds the same all way, "...even until the end of the world."
And so as we look at this, we'll look at this in each part of it on its own.
All Power Given to Jesus
He begins with the idea that "all power has been given unto me." You know, Jesus never claimed any authority before His death and resurrection.
- John 5:19
He's not claiming authority, necessarily, He says He comes from the authority of the Father. He goes back to the Father.
- John 14:24
And so, He never claimed authority before His death.
Praying in the Name of Jesus
No one also, before His death, no one ever prayed in His name. But now we are to pray to the Father in His name.
- Ephesians 5:20
Baptizing in the Name of Jesus
Now, before his death, no one ever baptized in his name, and now we are to baptize in his name.
- Acts 2:38
All Power Given to Him by the Resurrection from the Dead
And so, He says that "all power is given unto me." Now these words point to a definite time when this all-embracing authority was bestowed upon Him.
And so, when was this authority given to Him?
- Romans 1:4
You know, all of the miracles and all the things that Jesus did in His life were signs that pointed to who He is, the Son of God.
But, He was "declared to be the son of God with power." The most powerful reason to believe that Jesus is the Son of God is the resurrection.
And so it is after the resurrection that this authority, we see, He has that authority.
- Ephesians 1:19-23
Jesus is the Head of the Church
So we see the power of God has been vested in Christ. Christ is the Head of the church.
- Colossians 1:16-19
Now, just a little note here, the Jehovah's Witness version of the Bible says all other things were created by him, implying that Jesus himself is created. But if you go back in here, of course, He is not a created being. He is God. That's just a little side note.
And so now, after the resurrection at the ascension, He declared His power, His authority, all authority. And when He says all that means, there is no other authority that is not His.
All authority in heaven and on earth. And so, this excludes anyone else that would claim to have any authority, any man or woman, any religious body, any synod, or any of those things that claim to have authority. Jesus has it all.
[He] left none for men. You know, religious division today is not so much over an interpretation as it is over a lack of respect for proper authority, the authority of Jesus Christ.
You know, one thing that was always instilled in us at the School of Preaching. Or the School of Biblical Studies, it wasn't strictly just a school of preaching. But, if there was going to be a motto at all at the school, it would've been, Jesus Christ has all authority. And that's one of the things that we need to drill into our heads, that Jesus Christ has all authority.
Men do not have authority. There is no body of men, no denomination, no synod, no group, that is able to have the authority that Jesus has. He has all of it and left, none for man.
And so, when it comes to religion, Jesus Christ is it. He is the way, the truth, and the life. And there is no other way to the Father, except through Him, John 14:6.
And so, as we go on here, He says, "All power is given to me."
Go Ye And Teach All Nations
And so he says, "...go ye, therefore," Therefore, harkens back to the authority of Jesus, "ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them, the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."
So He had the right here to tell His disciples; because He has all authority, to go and preach the gospel, go and teach all nations.
Now, He didn't specify how. You know, we see that Paul walked and sometimes he sailed. He went at least one time under incarceration. He went and preached the gospel in various ways.
You know, today, the same is true. You know, we can get on a boat and we can sail across the Pacific Ocean and we can go to Guam or someplace like that and preach the gospel. Or we can get on a plane, or if we have a lot of stamina, we might swim, but I don't think that's really possible. But, how we go doesn't matter. The idea is that we must go and teach all nations.
I like the American standard version of this a little better.
"Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations,..." — Matthew 28:19a
And that's really, the word teach, which implies the making of a disciple. A disciple is a learner. A disciple imitates his master.
And so, to make disciples. You know, a disciple is a Christian.
- Acts 11:26
Though you have disciple and Christian, they are synonymous terms. In other words, he's saying, go and make other Christians. And with the great commission, we learn how to become a Christian.
You know, a summary of all that Jesus said in the three gospel accounts of the commission will show that a sinner, in order to become a Christian, must believe.
- Mark 16:15 and 16
We see that one must believe. And one also must repent.
- Luke 20:46-47
And so, repentance and remission of sins are taught, beginning in Jerusalem. The idea is that we must repent and then of course Matthew 28 and verse 19 "...baptizing them, the name of the father, son, and the Holy Ghost."
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. He that believeth not shall be damned." — Mark 16:16
And so, we see that one must believe, one must repent of their sins. And, one must be baptized for the remission of their sins.
In other places, we're told also that one must confess that they believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
Make Disciples in All Nations
And so, "Go make disciples...," or teach, "make disciples, in all nations."
All nations, that's everywhere in all the world. You know, all the world starts right outside those doors. We can and must carry the great commission of Christ into the world and we can start right here in this town. Right now, over the door in the foyer facing east has that sign over the door, and I now know why it was put there.
"You're now entering the greatest mission field in the world."
Because the Jenkins lived over there and they needed it. No, I kid, of course. I lived next door for a while. That sign was there and we needed it. And so, whoever's there needs it, whoever's out here in this community needs to hear the gospel.
And so, go into all the world, in all nations. And sometimes, it seems like we're all excited to go into other places, but what about right here? What about in our own homes? That's really where it starts. For those of you who have young children, it starts in your home. That's all the world starts in your children's bedrooms, it starts at the kitchen table, it starts at your neighbor's house. It starts, down the street. And so, we are to go into all the world, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them.
And baptism, of course, is immersion. You know, it was funny, one time I was at the Lafayette County Jail, and there was a fellow there that wanted to be baptized. And, we had been talking, David Long had been talking with the sheriff, the deputies there, the head, whatever that runs the jail, and I had talked with him and they said, well just take a bottle of water back there and you can sprinkle it on his head. And I was talking to the guy I'd been studying with and I asked him, I said, what would you think if I came back here and, and, and called it a baptism and took a water bottle and poured it over your head?
And he was, he just looked at me. He said that's not baptism.
Baptism is immersion. He understood that he had heard enough lessons from David and me that he understood that baptism had to be an immersion. And the sheriff, and whoever was over the jail there just was stubborn and would not give in. And I pray that when that fellow went off to, I believe he went off to Leavenworth. No, he went to another federal prison. I don't remember which one, but I pray that he had, they gave him the opportunity to be baptized. And I believe he probably did get an opportunity if that's really what he wanted to do.
"Baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." You know, this means the combined authority of all the Godhead. This is the only thing that is done in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
And so, "Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."
Teaching them to Observe All Things
And then we see in the great command teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.
And so this is really the charge of edification, "teaching them to observe," that is teaching those baptized believers. The teaching does not end at baptism.
Oftentimes, it seems like people really strive to get someone to be baptized into the church, and then once they're in the church, they just are neglected. They don't grow and they're not taught. We need to teach and continue to teach.
Some people just can't see anything in the commission, but baptism and, and that's all they wanna do. They wanna get someone in the water. But in order to get to Heaven, you've got to get through the water, but you've also got to continue to grow and, "Study to show yourself approved unto God a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15).
And so, the church needs to know what to do to keep saved as much as the sinner needs to know what to do to be saved from his past sin.
You know, you look at the New Testaments, and you have four gospel accounts and one account of the history of the church. And then you have the apocalypse, the Book of Revelation. All those books in between, though, there's 21 of them, they're directed to Christians. And so, when you think about there's more sermon material in those 21 books of the New Testament than there is anywhere else. Therefore, you know, when we labor to preach the gospel, we always endeavor to build up and edify and indoctrinate the brethren.
And now I use the word indoctrinate, and that's always used nowadays in a negative light. But really the word just means that you teach it to someone until it is ingrained in them.
We teach the gospel to someone. We teach the Word of God to someone until it becomes ingrained in them.
I've got a friend that showed me a Bible that was given to him. He still preaches out of it. It was given to him by like his sixth-grade Bible class teacher. And on the front cover she wrote on that book, she says, "Get into this book until this book gets into you." Now, he's always had that and he's always kept that as a reminder.
And so you think about that. We've got to study, we've got to grow. We've got to grow by applying the Word of God to our life.
- 1 Timothy 4:6
What things, the things of, the teachings of the New Testament. Why is this so necessary? So that the church can continue steadfastly in the Lord's service.
- Acts 2:42
You know, today there is such a thing as the apostle's creed, and that is not what we're talking about. The Apostles Creed is a doctrine invented by men where they said, these are the essential teachings of the apostles. And everything else really doesn't matter.
What they're saying is the doctrine of the apostles taught. What doctrine did the Apostles teach? They taught the doctrine given to them by Christ. And so they continued steadfastly in the teaching of the apostles.
Now what happens when we do that?
- Ephesians 4:14
Whereby they lie in wait to deceive. Now how do we know the difference between truth and deception? We study the truth. That's how you know. That's the only thing I can tell you. You've gotta know the truth in order to know what a lie is.
You know, when you think about Adam and Eve, they heard the truth that if they "...ate from the fruit of that which grows in the midst of the garden that the day they ate thereof they would surely die." (Genesis 2:17).
They had been taught that and remember what the devil did to them. He added one little word, "Ye shall not surely die", and he calls them to believe that they would not die a physical death. What God meant when He told them that they would die spiritually, the devil switched the meaning on them. They should have known the truth and they should have not been deceived. But sometimes our brains just don't connect what we know to what we do. And that's why we need to grow in the Word. So that we can make that connection between what we know and what we do to the application of it.
Here are the consequences of not growing.
- 2 Peter 2:20-21
And so, we see why it is so essential that we continue to grow and continue to study and continue to be taught the word of God.
We are to teach them to observe all things whatsoever Christ has commanded.
- Acts 20:20, 26-27
He endeavored to all preach all the counsel of God. Implied in that last statement he says, I am pure from the blood of all men. Your blood is not on my hands because I have taught you everything the Bible commands you to do. The implication is if he has not taught them everything the Bible commands, then their blood is upon him. And so, he says, I have taught you all the counsel of God and I am free. I'm pure from the blood of all men.
So to be loyal to Christ, we have to teach all the Lord has commanded Christians to do. And, there are no unnecessary teachings of Christ. There are also no essential teachings outside of the Word of God. And so, we don't need anything other than the Word of God, but we must not leave anything out of the Word of God.
When we teach all things, you know, we must rebuke as well as praise. We must warn as well as instruct. And so we see the great command we're to teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And right there in the text, what did he command them to do? Go ye, therefore, and make disciples in all nations. That's why the Great Commission applies, not just to the apostles to whom it was given, but it applies to everyone of every age, every Christian, and every century.
The Comfort of Christ -- I am With You Always
- Matthew 28:20
And then we see a great comfort and He says, "...and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
You know, this promise really is threefold.
1. It is a promise of personal presence.
He says I am with you. Present tense, active mood. He is continuing to be with us. He is with us now, and He will be with us always. Not His representation, but He Himself.
2. There is that abiding presence always.
You know, the Greek phrase here is, pasas tas hēmeras, which literally means each and every day. Especially as we go about doing His bidding following the great commission. When He sent the apostles with the limited commission, remember, He sent them out to the lost sheep of Israel.
- Matthew 10:6, 9-10
And so, He sent them out really with nothing to go out into the lost sheep of Israel to preach the gospel to them.
- Matthew 10:28-31
He assures them as they go out to not be afraid. This doesn't mean that there's no danger, that nothing bad can happen to them. Really what that means, is if we're going out and doing what God commands us to do.
"O, Jesus if I die upon A foreign field someday," — Follow Me, Ira F Stamphill, 1953
3. Assurance of Safety
He is with us wherever we go, we need not be afraid. Now, although Jesus has ascended to the right hand of the Father, His abiding presence is still with us. It still comforts us. It still blesses us.
You know, Paul was Christ's chosen vessel to bear His name before the Gentiles, Kings, and children of Israel.
- Acts 9:15
You know, Paul was not afraid. He went to some hostile places, places that were hostile to Christianity, and without fear, he preached the gospel because he knew that if they took his life, he would go and be with the Lord. In fact, he made that very clear.
- Philippians 1:23
So much the better because he'd go and be with the Lord. He was not afraid because he knew there was nothing to fear because they could not harm his soul, just his body. And the body is just the temporary home of the soul, isn't it? And so, they can destroy my tent without bothering me too much.
As Christ shows His servant, he was assured of Christ's presence with him.
- Acts 18:10
- Acts 23:11
Paul was so assured that Christ was with him and would be him unto the end.
- 2 Timothy 4:6-8
Likewise, Christ is with us as we go forth carrying his gospel message to the world.
He is with us when we are tempted.
- 1 Corinthians 10:13
- 2 Peter 2:9
You know, right there in that context, he's talking about Lot. Lot, the one righteous man that was found in all of Sodom and Gomorrah. The man whose righteousness was vexed. His righteous spirit was vexed by the wickedness around him, and yet he, among all the people, was delivered out of that because the Lord knows how to deliver the righteous.
And so God is with us. Christ is with us. He will be with us when we come to the valley of the shadow of death to provide a safe passage across the river of separation.
- Psalm 23:4
You think about all the times that David walked through the valley of the shadow of death knowing that God was with him. The same with the Apostle Paul. All the times he faced the valley the shadow of death. He continued and went forth because he knew God was with him. The same is true for us, God, Christ, is with us as we do his will.
And so we see a victorious presence of Christ even until the end of the world. You know, the Greek phrase is pasas tas hēmeras heōs tēs synteleias tou aiōnos, amēn. Literally, even until the end of the eon, till the end of time, to the end of the world, to the end of time.
- Philippians 4:13
- Revelation 2:10
And so the devil was gonna put some of them in prison. Some of them were gonna be tried. Some of them were gonna suffer. They said about 10 days, not 10 literal days, but a short, definite period of time they were going to face persecution. He said, be thou faithful unto death. It doesn't just mean until you die a natural death till you come to the end of your life, it does mean that but also it means, even to the point of death, you know, we're not to fear those that can kill the body because they can't harm the soul.
We have to understand they can take our body, they can kill us and put us to death, but we've got to be faithful even up to that point. And so David said, when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me thy rod and I staff, they comfort me.
You know, when you come to the valley of the shadow of death, can you claim the Lord as your guide? You know He will be there to strengthen and guide you into the unending bliss of everlasting life.
Only those, though, who obey Him will be saved. We looked at what the Great Commission says. Only those who walk faithfully as a Christian and with Christ Jesus can remain in that safe condition. We urge you if you have not obeyed the great commands of believe and repent, confess the name of Christ, and be baptized for the remission of your sins. We urge you to do so.
If you haven't been faithful, we urge you to repent to come back to Christ. If we can help you to respond to the Lord's invitation, please contact us so that we can assist you in understanding the Lord's commands.