Well, we've come to the last Sunday of November, which is therefore the last Sunday of our missions month, where we set aside November every year to focus upon the work of worldwide evangelization. And we preach about it and we sing about it and we consider financial stewardship in relationship to it. And we rejoice in the privilege of being involved with many, many dedicated servants of the Lord Jesus Christ who are preaching the gospel of Christ to far flung places around the world. This is very important, I'm convinced, for the life of our church. This was, after all, the last imparting commission that our Lord gave to his disciples, to make disciples of all nations, to go into all the world, to preach the gospel to every creature. And we are to be involved in that. And to the extent that we are, we shall receive great blessing from above. And to the extent that we ignore that, we will be impoverished spiritually.
And so it is important for the spiritual health of our church and it's important for the spiritual health of all believers that we take this command seriously, that we recognize the authority of our Lord to command us in this way, and that we be obedient to him in his commission. What we call the great commission is actually given in one form or another five times in the New Testament. You'll find it given in one way or another in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and in the first chapter of the book of Acts.
Not all of those renderings were found given on the same place or in the same location. The one we're going to be looking at today in Matthew chapter 28 was announced in Galilee upon a mountain that Jesus had appointed for his disciples. The occasions that we find in Mark and Luke and John apparently were given by Christ in the upper room in Jerusalem when his disciples were gathered together in that place on a number of occasions after his resurrection.
And finally, the rendering that we find in Acts chapter one, the very last one, was announced on the Mount of Olives by Christ as he gathered there with his disciples just moments before he began to ascend upward, upward, upward back into heaven to sit at the Father's right hand upon his throne. And so this is an important commission because of its frequency of giving and because of the authority of the one who gave it and because of the directions that it gives to the people of God. We're going to be looking at the account that is found in Matthew chapter 28. I have no doubt that most of you have heard many, maybe dozens, possibly scores of sermons from Matthew 28 and the verses that we're going to be looking at today. It is a familiar text to the people of God and it ought to be because of its importance. It's vital to our understanding what we are about in this world. And yet it is important that we revisit texts like this from time to time, lest we forget. And it's important to revisit texts like this so that we might see new perspectives and new truths that perhaps we have overlooked before. And so we come to this old text to familiarize ourselves with it once again and we come to this familiar text in order to gain new insights as the Holy Spirit shows them to us.
What are we going to find? First of all, an assigned rendezvous in verses 16 and 17. Number two, an informative announcement in verse 18 and third, an authoritative commissioning in verses 19 and 20.
We begin with an assigned rendezvous. Then the 11 disciples went away into Galilee to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted. The apostles obediently gathered together at a designated location in Galilee. Who exactly gathered on that occasion? We do not know.
That is in its totality. We do know for certain that the 11 apostles gathered there and they may indeed have been joined by others. The 11 disciples, as they're called here, the 11 disciples. You say, wait a minute, I thought there were 12.
Of course there were. Judas turned out to be a counterfeit, a rebel, a traitor who betrayed Christ and then committed suicide and therefore the number 12 was reduced to 11. It would later be filled with a selection that is made in the early chapters of Acts, chapter one actually. But for the time being, the 12 and when that definite pronoun is used, the 12, we know they're talking about the ones that we also call apostles. There were literally hundreds of disciples. There were 12 apostles, but the term disciple is used interchangeably with the term apostle. In other words, the apostles were disciples, though the disciples were not all apostles.
You understand what I'm saying. But the 11 disciples or the 11 apostles gathered together. It's very likely, though not certain, that there were others as well. We read, for example, in 1 Corinthians 15, that great resurrection chapter. As Paul goes through a list of people who saw the resurrected Christ with their own eyes and he ends that list by saying, besides this, there was a gathering of 500 who saw him on one occasion, most of whom, he says, are presently with us to this day, though some are now with the Lord.
That of course is a paraphrase. So Paul writing some as much as 30 years after the event of Christ commissioning his apostles, said there was an occasion when 500 and more disciples saw Christ bodily raised with their own eyes and they can tell about it. You can go and ask them. They're still present today.
You can question them if you have any interest in doing so or any questions that are unanswered about it. Now, what we don't know from 1 Corinthians 15 is when did these 500 disciples gather and see Christ with their own eyes? We don't have a record of that in the gospels. The most likely occasion for the ones that are recorded in the gospels is this one. It's possible that there was another occasion that is not recorded at all in the gospels.
But of the ones that we find in the gospels, the most likely one is this one. So what we know is that the 11 apostles gathered in Galilee at the appointed command of Christ who told them to do that. The angel told the women to tell the disciples to go before me into Galilee. Jesus then met the women and repeated that command, told the women to tell the apostles to meet him in Galilee. So we know the 11 apostles were there. And it's very possible, particularly because of this occasion, this location, I should say, in Galilee, a location of fruitful, evangelistic ministry by Christ and the presence of literally hundreds of followers of Christ in that part of Israel. It's very likely that there was a large gathering at this time who heard these words of Christ. So who was there?
The 11 apostles plus probably some others, maybe hundreds of others. Where did they gather? In Galilee at the designated location. We are told here that it was on a mountain that Jesus had appointed for them.
Where exactly? We're not told. We don't know the name of the mountain. It's unknown to us, but it wasn't unknown to them. He told them to meet him in a place that was familiar to them and probably a place where they had gathered before. Probably one of the places where Christ had taught the multitudes before. And so they knew where to go. Probably other instructions were given that are not recorded in our Bible, but they knew where to go and they came to the place that Jesus had appointed to them. That's why I've called it an assigned rendezvous.
It wasn't happenstance. The apostles didn't just happen to run into Jesus unexpectedly, but they met with him according to his appointment. But if we have the apostles obedient gathering in verse 16, we have the disciples appropriate worship in verse 17. When they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted. When they saw him, they, and the word for worship here means they prostrated themselves. They fell on the ground before him.
It's the same word that is used in verse nine of the women. As they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them saying, rejoice. So they came and held him by the feet and worshiped him.
They're on the ground. They worshiped him. They prostrated themselves before him.
That's the word that is used here. The disciples, when they saw Jesus, they fell on their faces on the ground before him. But some we read doubted or that word can be translated hesitated, hesitated to worship him, but we're not told why. What is the reason for this doubt?
What is the reason for this hesitation? Our first speculated answer to that would probably be they are not certain that Jesus has risen from the dead. They're still not convinced of the bodily resurrection. That's possible.
I don't think it would be possible at this point for the 11. Christ has appeared to them. He has spoken to them. He has eaten before them.
He has in every way convinced them of his bodily resurrection. But if we're right that there were perhaps hundreds of other followers of Christ that gathered there at that time, there would have been many who had not yet seen the risen Christ. And they may be the ones that are referred to here. They did hesitate. They did doubt.
That's one possibility to answer the question, why did some doubt? Why did some hesitate? But what seems to me even more likely is that some of them may have been uncertain as to his identity. They saw him from a distance, but they didn't know who he was. And that we have seen a number of times, haven't we, after the resurrection of Christ. Two of his disciples were walking along on the road to Emmaus and suddenly a stranger joined them and conversed with them and it was Jesus, but they didn't recognize him.
He was there, but they didn't realize who he was. When Peter and several of the apostles went to Galilee, Peter said, I'm going fishing. And they said, we'll go with you. And they went to Galilee and they fished all night and caught nothing, just like old times. Sometimes the old times aren't as great as we remember them. They were remembering the times when they caught lots of fish. We're going to go back and do that again.
That was great. They go back and spend the night fishing and they catch nothing. They said, well, that happens sometimes too.
We'd forgotten about that. But while they were there, out in the boat, they saw somebody on the shore, but they didn't recognize who it was, just a man. And then I think it was Peter who said, it's the Lord. It's the Lord. And he jumped out of the boat and swam to shore and Jesus told them to cast out their net again.
And second time they cast out their net at his command and caught more fish and they knew what to do with. There was no question in their minds then it was the Lord. But we have this evidence from scripture that the risen Christ, though he was in a body of flesh, he could eat, he could be felt. He was also in a body, a resurrection body that was different from his earthly body. It was his eternal body, his heavenly body, his glorified body.
He could pass through doors unopened, pass through walls and so forth. And in this glorified body, though he was recognizable as a man and when they had some clue to steer them in the right direction, and they could recognize him as their master and savior and redeemer, he wasn't easy to identify that way. And so when it says that some worshiped, fell down and worshiped him, but some doubted or some hesitated, it seems likely to me that they were not certain, is this man that we see here, is this Jesus?
We're not sure. If it's not Jesus, we are not going to prostrate ourselves in worship. If it's not Jesus, we're not going to commit sacrilege and worship a mere man. Some hesitated, but Jesus came closer, we read, and he positioned himself to speak to them. And as he came closer, they recognized him. And as soon as he began to speak, they all recognized him. Then they knew what he was, who he was. He spoke and dispelled their doubts. And so they're all in place at Christ's command.
This is signed rendezvous. What follows, secondly, is an informative announcement in verse 18. And Jesus came and spoke to them saying, all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Jesus drew near and positioned himself for public address.
And what does he say? He announces his authority. And what do we learn about his authority? We realize, number one, that it is recent authority, it is number two, comprehensive authority, and it is number three, revelatory authority.
It was recently granted, all authority has been given to me. All authority, exousia, some translations say power, and some have mistaken that to be physical power, the Greek word dunamis, might, power, strength, but that's not the word here. It's exousia, authority.
It's the right to rule, the right to command, the right to place all others in submission, in subjection to oneself. And Jesus, the risen Lord, said all authority has been granted to me by divine decree. You say, isn't Jesus God? Didn't he have that all along? Well, he did and he didn't. He voluntarily relinquished that for the work of redemption. In the Incarnation, he voluntarily yielded up his authority.
He voluntarily laid aside that authority. He voluntarily agreed not to exercise that authority on his own volition alone, but only in communion with and permission by his Heavenly Father. That's part of what we understand from Philippians chapter two. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, he was God, he had all authority, who being in the form of God did not consider robbery to be equal with God, that is, did not consider his equality with God something to grasp and hold on to at all costs and be unwilling to relinquish. He didn't think of it that way, but made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant, not a ruler, not a king, not God Almighty, but a servant who obeys the commands of others, commands of those that he is serving. Taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. So Christ, the eternal Son of God, the eternal God of glory, the eternal King of kings and Lord of lords gave up the exercise of his authority, gave up his position of supreme rulership in order to accomplish redemption as a man.
But now he says that has been restored to me. It's been granted once again, though relinquish during the incarnation, it is restored now at the resurrection. That's what Christ had prayed for, you recall, in John chapter 17, his high priestly prayer. He said to the Father, I have glorified you on the earth.
I have finished the work which you have given me to do. And now, oh Father, glorify me together with yourself with the glory which I had with you before the world was. I had equal glory with the Father.
I had equal authority with the Father. But I gave that up for the work of redemption. But now I pray that you will restore that to me. And that prayer, dear friends, was answered. And our Lord announces that to his disciples now. All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Not only upon earth, but in heaven. The one who has all authority in heaven is who?
He's God. The one who has all authority on earth is God. But the one who has all authority in heaven, it's even more clear, he's God.
Who could possibly have all authority in heaven but God Almighty? And Jesus, the glorified man in his flesh, resurrection flesh, but in his flesh announces to his disciples that all authority in heaven as on earth has been given to me. This authority, this divine authority rewarded the resurrection and enhanced, as we would understand from Philippians 2, as a fitting reward.
And this is mysterious and I don't claim to understand it fully. But we do read in Philippians 2, going on from the passage I read before, therefore, because he relinquished his authority, gave up his exercise of authority and this manifestation of his divine glory, became obedient unto death, died on the cross because he did all this. Therefore, we read, God also has highly exalted him and given him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow of those in heaven and those on earth and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. There seems to be some higher level of glory after the resurrection than what he had before the incarnation. I'm not sure exactly what that is, unless it is just that now at the name of Jesus, the Son is going to receive some higher level of honor in the triune Godhead than perhaps he had before. I don't know any other way to explain it.
I really don't claim to understand it. But this does seem to be an enhanced glory that is a fitting reward for what he did. But whatever it is, what we know is, this announces the end of his humiliation that came about in the incarnation. The apostles, the disciples that are gathered together in Galilee have always known him as the man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, the lowly Jesus, the one who came to do his Father's will and always submitted and surrendered himself to the Father's will. They knew him as the servant.
What a servant. They also knew him as the Christ. They knew him as the Son of God. You are the Christ, the Son of God. Peter said, Jesus said, flesh and blood didn't reveal that to you, but my Father who is in heaven. They understood something about his divine side, but they were far more familiar with his human side. And the human side was the lowly Jesus necessary for the incarnation. But Jesus says that's all over now.
That's in the past. I've risen from the dead. I've now been glorified. And now there has been granted to me all authority in heaven and in earth.
My humiliation is over. The limitations of the incarnation are over. I am now in this glorified body. I am now Jesus the man, though also Jesus the God man. But I am now as Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and all authority has been given to me.
What an announcement. Which brings us thirdly to an authoritative commissioning. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.
And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. What can we say about this commissioning of Christ? And I have a number of things. Let's consider the basis, the recipients, the goal, the activities and the assurance of this commissioning. The basis. Therefore, therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations. Therefore, therefore, because of what? Therefore, because all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Therefore, on the basis of that, therefore, because this restoration of my divine authority reveals very clearly who I am.
This is a revelatory announcement. I am Almighty God. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations in my name. And because I am Almighty God, I have the right to command you.
Therefore, go obediently at my command. And so the basis for the command is, first of all, Christ's deserved honor. He deserves to be honored in this way, to be worshiped, to have disciples to adore Him and serve Him.
And secondly, because of Christ's comprehensive authority. He has all authority. He has the right to command us. And we are His servants. And therefore, we have the duty to obey. But if that is the basis for the command, who are the recipients of the command?
And strangely, this does bring some discussion from some people. Who are the recipients of the command? Clearly, it is the original apostles. We know that.
We know the 11 were there. Christ spoke these words to them. So clearly, this applies to them.
That's without a doubt. But the question is to them only, and I've actually had some to argue that. This was given to the apostles and doesn't apply to anybody else.
I'll show you in a minute one reason why that is not possible. But it was given to the original apostles for sure. But beyond that, we've already seen it's likely that there were other disciples there beyond the 11 apostles. And they heard this command as well from the lips of Christ. And so it certainly applied to them in addition to the 11. But again, the question is, okay, it applies to the apostles who heard that applies to any other disciples who heard, but does it apply only to them? I contend that it applies to all believers of all ages.
And at the appropriate time, I will show you evidence for that. But now we move from the recipients to the goal of the command. What is the main goal of this command? Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. That's the commission, but what is the main goal of the commission? A number of things are included, but again, what is the main goal?
And the main goal is to make disciples. That's the main verb. Go, baptize, teach are participles. They hang off the verb. Participles are a hybrid element of speech, part adjective, part verb.
It's kind of a hybrid, and that's what those are. And that in itself makes it clear that the main verb, make disciples, is the main goal, the main purpose of what Christ is saying. And it is the only verb that is clearly imperative. The others, I think, derive some imperative force from the main verb, but to go is not an imperative, to baptize is not an imperative, to teach is not an imperative, but to make disciples is an imperative.
That's the main goal of the command. Now, the question is if we are to go, and I'm assuming that you agree with me that we are part of this, if we are to go and make disciples, the question is what is a disciple? And in the 21st century, I'm not sure that all Christians know what that is. You say disciple to the average Christian, they think Peter and John and Andrew and Bartholomew, they were the disciples. But if you read through the book of Acts, you'll find that all of the Christians were called disciples.
That really is the most common name that is given to them, to Christians in the book of Acts. So again, what is a disciple? Well, a disciple is a learner, a disciple is a follower, a disciple is an imitator. In that day, teachers, rabbis would gather to themselves followers who wanted to learn from that rabbi, who wanted to imitate that rabbi as they learned from his life.
That was common. And the disciples of Christ, therefore, were learners, they were followers, they were imitators of the Lord Jesus Christ. And that's what a disciple is. And so the command is for disciples to make disciples. Those who are already disciples, followers, learners, imitators of Christ are to go and make other disciples who are followers, learners, imitators of Christ.
But that brings us to another question. We are to go and make disciples, but how are disciples to be made? And actually this text doesn't spell that out. This text tells us where to make disciples. This text tells us what to do with people who have been made disciples, but it doesn't tell us how to make disciples. But that's where some of the other announcements of the Great Commission are very helpful. Mark's account of the Great Commission given in the upper room says, Jesus said to them, go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Ah, now we're getting to it. This is how disciples are made. We preach the gospel to every creature. And in Luke's giving of the Great Commission, we read this.
I'll begin at verse 45. And he opened their understanding that they might comprehend the scriptures. Then he said to them, thus it is written and thus it was necessary for Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem.
So Mark says, preach the gospel to every creature. Luke says that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name beginning in Jerusalem. So back to the question, how are disciples made? They are made by preaching the gospel. How are disciples made? They are made by preaching to them among other things, the necessity of repentance, a missing message and a lot of evangelism today, the necessity of repentance and thereafter the remission or forgiveness of sins. So that's how disciples are made.
So the goal of the command is to make disciples. But then we come number four to the activities of the command. And now we come to the three participles. These participles that combine elements of verbs and adjectives. And in the three participles we find intentional activity, identifying activity and instructional activity.
First of all, intentional activity. Go. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Now this is a change. You may recall that when Christ commissioned his disciples, his apostles earlier on to go out and preach the gospel, you can read about this in Matthew 10 verse 5, he said, do not go into the way of the Gentiles, but go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. So clearly a change has taken place. Not long before Jesus said, do not go except to Israel. But now he says, go and make disciples of all nations.
Something has clearly changed. There is this going, this intentional activity of going. Now, because this is a participle, some have translated it and this would be a respectable translation. Some have translated it as you are going, which would seem to indicate this is not something that you do deliberately to go someplace for the purpose of preaching the gospel. But as you're scattered, as you go, as you live your lives, wherever God has put you, make disciples of all nations. Well, that clearly is true, but it's not clearly the comprehensive truth of what is indicated here.
This is where I think it must be understood that the participles do draw some imperative force from the imperative of the main verb, make disciples. And I lean upon the words of commentators. Several of them suggested that.
I remember D.A. Carson in particular emphasized that. And I think that is exactly correct. In other words, even though the participles themselves are not imperatives, by their attachment to this imperative verb, make disciples, these participles borrow or they receive at least some element of imperative force. And so, go can be understood as an imperative and baptized can be understood as an imperative and teach can be understood as an imperative because they are all linked to that verb, make disciples, which is clearly imperative.
So the intentional activity is to go. Someone has said there's a mighty go in the gospel and indeed there is. We are to go with the gospel because all nations need to hear. And Jesus will have a people from every tongue and tribe and nation. And the way people are made disciples is by the preaching of the gospel and somebody's got to go and preach it or it's not being preached. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. It's an intentional activity.
But secondly, it is an identifying activity. Baptizing them in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit. This is clearly water baptism. It's something that the disciples do. They baptize disciples. Water baptism, as you know, is the new covenant identifying mark. This is the way people who have been saved, people who have become disciples, people who have been brought into the new covenant are identified as in the old covenant days. As we know, members of the old covenant community were identified by circumcision. So there's been a change and new covenant believers are identified by water baptism. We had some sermons in the month of October that dealt with that very thing, didn't we?
So it's an identifying activity. It identifies believers with Christ and his church. They are to be baptized, interestingly, in the name of, not names, not plural, the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. But as we go to the Book of Acts and find records of people being baptized in most cases, it says they were baptized in the name of Jesus.
So how do we deal with this mystery? Do we baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, as you've heard me do, if you've been here for baptisms, or do we baptize them in the name of Jesus? There's a whole group of Christians who are insisting that we baptize in the name of Jesus only. And yet Jesus said, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. And yet as we think about it, Father is not so much a name as it is a title. Son is not so much a name as it is a title. Holy Spirit is not so much a name as it is a title. So the emphasis here must not be literally upon name.
That's not the main issue here. But in the Bible, the term name speaks of the character of the one that is so identified. And what Jesus is saying is, disciples, those who have been made disciples, are to be identified with the triune God. They have come to believe that God is one and God is three, the mystery of the Trinity, the triune God can. They are being baptized in the name, singular, of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, plural. This mystery, that's part of the gospel. That's part of who we are, who we represent as Christians.
We are people who belong to the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And we have been so identified from our baptism. And so an intentional activity to go, an identifying activity to baptize, an instructional activity teaching them to observe all things that I've commanded unto you.
Where do we do this teaching? Well, we can do it anywhere, but as the work unfolds throughout the book of Acts, we realize that that's one of the primary duties of each local church, to take the people that have been gathered into that church and to teach them the word of God. That's a main function of the church. When churches gather, they come to be taught the word of God. They come to be taught everything that Jesus commanded us.
That's why we gather. Now there are other things of course, we gather to fellowship, we gather to edify one another, we gather to worship God. That's so vitally, vitally important that we understand that, but we come to be taught. Every time we come, we should open the Bible and learn something from the Bible. That's what we're supposed to be doing as a church. That's what we're supposed to be doing with those who have been made disciples. We teach them all things whatsoever the Lord has commanded.
All commands, not selected things. All things. All commands of Christ. All discourses of Christ, that is sermons of Christ. Think of the Sermon of the Mount.
Think of the Bread of the Life discourse and so forth. All parables of Christ that need to be studied and explained. All the things that Jesus said to his disciples, one of the ones that aren't recorded in the Gospels. Jesus said, I'm going to reveal more things by the Holy Spirit to my apostles after I go back to heaven. And what the apostle Paul taught is Jesus teaching. What the apostle John taught is Jesus teaching. What the apostle Peter taught is Jesus teaching.
All things that I have commanded you. It's pretty comprehensive. It's an enormous body of truth. We don't go through it in a day or a week or a month or a year.
It's ongoing. And how is this to be taught? So that they will have a lot of information?
No, that's where you start. But so that they will observe all the things that I've commanded you. That they will imbibe them. That they will obey them. That they will live them.
Not that they will simply know about them, but that this will shape their lives. This is what we do with people who have been made disciples. And the assurance finally of this command is that the person of Christ and the person of the Holy Spirit will go with us as we do this. I've all my life viewed this as a promise that Jesus promised to be with us until I saw it a little more clearly in my study this week and realized it's not so much a promise as it is an announcement. Jesus didn't promise, I will be with you as you do this. Jesus said, I am with you now until the end of the age. Until the end of the age.
And I think that settles the question of recipients. Christ is with them not until the disciples, the apostles die, not until the disciples who heard him speak these words die. But I am with you in this activity to the very end of the age until the consummation comes, until Jesus Christ returns. In other words, it's obvious that this is an ongoing activity that all of God's people are involved with and can be certain of the presence of Christ with them as they are doing this until the very end of the age shall come. The recipients of this command are all believers clearly.
Now quickly, three lessons before we close. There's an important lesson here regarding evangelism. Jesus didn't say go to all nations and make decisions. He said go to all nations and make disciples. Jesus didn't say go to all nations and make church members.
He said go to all nations and make disciples. Now the truth of the matter is that when one becomes a disciple, he has and will continue to make decisions. And when one becomes a disciple, he certainly, if he's obedient, will become a member of a local church.
All of that follows. But Jesus said go and make disciples. That's a little bit different than the way many people view the work of evangelism. Disciples who evidence a serious commitment to Christ in the word. And it may take some time to discern when a disciple has been made. If you say raise your hand and pray this prayer, now you're a Christian, you may have found a time when you think a disciple has been made, but there's no evidence yet that it has. No evidence yet that this has been a work of the Holy Spirit. No evidence yet that this one has become a committed follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It's going to take a little time to do that. Walk this aisle and we'll consider you a Christian. Sign this card and we'll consider you a Christian. Has it ever occurred to the people who do this?
I used to be one of them. Has it ever occurred to you that you don't find anything like that anywhere in the Bible? No raise your hands, no repeat after me, no walk an aisle, no meet with a personal worker.
It's not there. How do you make disciples? Preach the gospel. How do you make disciples?
Preach repentance and remission of sins and keep preaching it. And when God the Holy Spirit does work in hearts that disciples begin to make themselves known. That's an important lesson about evangelism. There's also an important lesson here about baptism. And that is namely that there is no baptism until there's evidence of discipleship. No infant baptism taught here. No hasty baptisms taught here. I would suggest it's hard to find strong evidence for child baptisms here. You say, don't you believe a child can be truly saved?
I absolutely do. What I don't know is whether a child can be clearly identified by us as a disciple until some time has gone by to get that profession tested. Yes, it's possible for a child to be saved, but it takes some time to know if that's a genuine work of God and a disciple has truly been made. So no infant baptism, no hasty baptisms, but on the other hand, no ignoring baptism. It's essential to mark disciples. It's essential, according to the New Testament pattern, to even consider someone to be a Christian. Are you hearing me?
I know this is very foreign to the prevailing understanding today. Can a person be a Christian without being baptized? Of course. Can other people, not God almighty who can see the heart, can the church, can other people know that someone is a Christian who hasn't been baptized?
Nope. If you aren't willing to obey the Lord's first and simple command to be baptized, what evidence is there that you have become a follower, an obedient follower of the Lord Jesus Christ? You won't even follow His instructions to be baptized. Yoo-hoo. Sorry if I stepped on some toes.
Let me read what D.A. Carson says about baptism. And I quote, baptism is a sign of entrance into Messiah's covenant community and a pledge of submission to His Lordship. Baptism is a sign of entrance into Messiah's covenant community and a pledge of submission to His Lordship.
Clearly, infants can't qualify with that baptism, but those who have been made disciples by the work of the Holy Spirit can. And finally, there's a word here for worldwide evangelism. Not everyone can and should go as a recognized missionary, but everyone can and should be involved in going in a lesser sense through encouraging those who go, through praying for those who go, by financially supporting those who go, by having genuine interest in the work of those who go, by keeping oneself informed about those who go. Everyone can participate in this through the work of the local church by strengthening the home base. The local church is the home base. You'll have a wonderful opportunity to learn about the work of missionaries Mike and Melanie Webster tonight.
I hope there's no one who could be here who will be so indifferent as to say, I'd rather stay home and watch television. This is the great commission. You need to inform yourself. You need to get involved. You need to be part of this. You need to learn what you can about the work of the missionaries. This is Christ's parting and authoritative command.
Where do you fit into this command? Let's pray. Father, thank you for the opportunity of opening your word and considering once again this familiar great commission that still has things to teach us. May we be obedient followers of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-28 12:38:32 / 2022-11-28 12:54:25 / 16