Google+ 04/04/13 I Will Be WIth You Always!

Matthew 28:18-20

 

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,

Baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.

And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” 

 

Today, we conclude the account of our Lord's death, burial, and resurrection from the gospel of Matthew.  The disciples have just seen Jesus, experiencing His resurrection first-hand, and are now about to get the most important instruction they have ever heard from Him.  This passage in the gospel of Matthew has been dubbed "The Great Commission."  We often think that only Matthew records these words.  You will find two like Scriptures in Luke 24:46-49 and Mark 16:15-18.  Though all three passages are somewhat different because of the authors, the message to the disciples, and us, is crystal clear.  We are to go into ALL the world telling people about Jesus.  It is the only job Jesus gives us after His resurrection and before His ascension.  Why does Jesus command us to do this?  First of all, our Scripture tells us that Jesus has been given all authority in Heaven and on earth.  If you are not sure about this, read the book of Revelation.  It is God's idea to make His Son Jesus, King.  God holds the coronation in Heaven and gives Jesus the crown.  This is the same crown we will receive upon arrival in Heaven.  In short, Jesus is in charge, so pay attention!  How are the disciples, and ultimately us, supposed to do this?  Jesus gives explicit instructions which should be the guiding light for everything we do in our life and in our New Testament Churches.  The first task appointed to us, is to tell people about Jesus, present the resurrection message, and let God make all nations new creations in Christ.  In the modern-day church, this has been labeled Evangelism, and rightly so!  Once people have embraced Jesus, God says that they need to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The waters of Baptism have no mystical power.  Rather, Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change to follow Christ.  Baptism is our personal proclamation that we belong to Jesus.  Finally, Baptism is God's way of saying that since we have accepted His Son Jesus as the King He was meant to be, we now belong to His family.  Hopefully, this clears up any baptismal questions one might have, as Scripture explains it completely!  Secondly, Jesus tells the disciples to teach these new creations in Christ all of His commandments and instill in them a need to obey them.  In the modern-day church, this has been labeled Discipleship.  No matter how excited someone becomes about Jesus initially,  without the proper training, they will quickly fall away from Jesus as the initial excitement wanes.  This is why that nationwide, 67% of new Christians fall away and leave churches within four months of accepting Christ.  When are we going to learn?  We must tell the world about Jesus.  We then, must do "God training," so that the world understands how to trust and obey.  Many mainstream churches are declining today because they either only do one of these practices, or none.  Notice Jesus gave no instructions regarding the color of the robes we should wear (or if we should even wear them).  Notice there is no admonition about how loud, soft, fast, or slow the music should be.  Really notice, that the building size for the "church" is not even mentioned.  Maybe if our churches have plateaued, are declining, or are having financial problems, we should "take up Jesus's cross and follow Him!"  Let's stop trying to reinvent the wheel or be politically correct.  Let's have less committees, less trivial "country-club" rules, and more worship, fellowship, and true Bible study.   Let's tell God's truth and rejoice that if we do, Jesus proclaims, "I will be with you always!"