Teaching them to obey
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Christian Worship Three Year Lectionary (with Supplemental Lectionary). (2009). Bellingham, WA: Faithlife.
Vision planning is something that every organization talks about. What are we going to do in the future. Whether it's an entrepreneur setting his sights on creating a habitation on mars. Or it's a family sitting down and going over their budget to decide what vacations they will go on the next year. People get united around a mission. Like GVELC we are building a community in Christ through evangelism engagement and education. First of all you need a goal, what do I want to accomplish, and then you need a plan, how am I going to get there. If you want to get to Carnegie hall, practice, practice, practice. If you want to go to mars, well first let's try the ISS then the moon then mars.
Well our text for today is from Matthew 28:16-20 on this Holy Trinity Sunday. And today we get to look at the mission that our God mission that our triune God has given to us, and gives us the plan to carry out. It is called the great commission.
The words “great commission” aren’t found in this text. There is clearly a commission. Jesus commissions his disciples to Go and Make disciples. But what makes this great is the goal that Jesus is telling his disciples how to accomplish by making disciples through teaching and baptism.
The goal is to fix all the problems in this world. That’s a pretty lofty goal. The goal is to get people to a place where they will never have to worry about sickness, violence, injustice, lies, dissension, or riots. The goal is to end all pain. The goal is to end all wars and famine. The goal is to cure every disease. The goal is to fix the entire human race. The goal is to get people to a place where evil is destroyed. That’s no simple task. It would be awesome to spend a summer vacation on mars. But that isn’t going to stop wars on this earth. It would be great to have some cures, but what about curing all diseases. This commission is great because it is to give eternal salvation to all who believe.
The heavy lifting has been taken care of. God the father created this world in perfection. Mankind threw that away in the garden of eden. Ever since then mankind has been born into a world full of evil and all of its effects. So our wonderful triune God has been working since that time to create a rescue mission. God wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. He doesn’t want anyone to perish but everyone to come to everlasting life. So what did God do? He sent his one and only Son, Jesus Christ, true God and true man into the world to live a perfect life, to die on the cross and offer his life as a sacrifice for us. And now you and I receive the gifts of what Jesus did for us through the faith that the Holy Spirit creates in our hearts as we hear and believe the true word of God. So that you and I one day will be restored to that perfect world that our ancestors destroyed so many years ago, and we will live there in that perfection eternally.
You know this stuff. It’s always important to be reminded of it. But you this is what the Bible says. So we get our text in Matthew today. In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 28 its a pretty short chapter. 20 verses. But the amount of content that is back into those few hundred words is crazy. The chapter starts with the resurrection of Jesus with the earthquake and the angels. You have Jesus appearing to the women and telling his disciples to go to Galilee, you have a conspiracy cover up being orchestrated by the soldiers and the chief priests who reject Jesus as their Savior, even though they know he rose from the dead, and then you have the verses that we read today. It is just punch after punch after punch.
But just because it is brief does not mean that it's not extremely significant for us today.
Jesus told his disciples to go and wait for him in Galilee after he rose from the dead, so they did. They saw Jesus, some worshiped him, others doubted him. Maybe it was Thomas, maybe it was others of the disciples who just were trying to wrap their head around how Jesus had died and risen from the dead. But we want to talk today about what he tells them.
If you will look at that section, It is bookended by two facts. On the front end. All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me, and on the back end, And surely I am with you always to the very end of the act. Now if you take out the mission part that is in the middle and just read this. What greater comfort could there be, All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me and surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.
It’s not just strength that God has, because if that is all he had there might be a chance that he could be outwitted. And it's not just intellect that he has, because then maybe he could be overpowered, no its authority. He has the power to do anything. He is in charge of everything. Think of the general giving the orders. The authority is the power that he has. The fact that his soldiers listen to him is his power. A platoon of soldiers could easily overpower one general, even if he is a cunning and strong general it would only take a few men to defeat one man if he lost his authority and control over them. Our God has all authority over everything in heaven and on earth. And what does he do with that authority, he spends time with you, and me. He uses it to carry out his will and uphold his promises. He is going to be with you always. He is going to have that authority always. One day he will use that authority to come and destroy the devil who is the prince of this world who has been trying to destroy people and God’s perfect creation since the beginning of time.
So Jesus’ commission to the disciples is couched in this incredible statement. And this is his commission. Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.
Again there is a whole lot there in a few words. Go. As you go froth from this place as you leave this mountain as you live your lives make disciples of all nations. The things that I have taught you disciples for the last few years, and that you have learned as I have explained the scriptures to you are not just so that only you can have ever lasting life. We aren’t supposed to just go live on a private island watching staring at God’s beautiful creation thinking ourselves boy isn’t it great that all my sins are forgiven and I am going to heaven because of what Jesus has done for me.
No go and make disciples. Why? Is it so that you can build some awesome churches? Is it so that you can change the way we count years so that even in a world that fights against our God we measure time according to how many years it has been since Jesus was born. Why go and make disciples? It is so that those disciples can go make other disciples. And those disciples can make other disciples. So the world will be full of Jesus disciples all of who will receive what God gives to all his disciples. Which is Forgiveness of sins and ever lasting life.
If we really love our neighbor as ourselves as Jesus taught his disciples we would want everyone to experience this same joy and peace. So go out there and make disciples of all nations. Tell the whole earth, tell all people of all time, so that they know that they have a God who loves them.
So we know the mission. We know why the mission is important. But then Jesus tells us how to do it. Baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy spirit and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded. you.
It is so important to see that God is doing all of the work here. In order to have that perfect creation that the Father created through the son, while the spirit was hovering over the waters, all we have to do is Baptize and teach.
For some of you it might have been a while since you have taken a catechism class, but let me remind you, the power of baptism does not come from the power of the Pastor or disciple baptizing, and it is not because the person getting baptized is so righteous. The power comes from the Word of God that makes a promise that through the waters of baptism your sins are washed away. We baptize people and then we teach. Teach what? Teach how to be good citizens? Teach how to sing 16th century church corales? Teach life skills like tying knots and fire saftey? No teach what Jesus commanded. Jesus taught a lot didn’t he. There are four books of the new testament full of Jesus teaching. And part of Jesus teaching was that the teaching of the Old Testament was also his word. It’s a lot of teaching that we have to do in order to be a Christian, you can baptize someone in a moment but how long is it going to take you to teach someone everything that God says in his word. Well let me ask this question? How long has it taken you to learn everything that is in God’s Word? How long has it been since you sinned? How long has it been since you forgot to meditate on one of God’s truth. How long has it been since someone had to remind you of something that God says that brings you comfort and hope and peace. Baptize might create that faith, but the teaching and learning lasts forever literally, until the end of time disciples of Jesus will be teaching what he commands.
So here you are. Disciples of Jesus. You have heard the great commission that he has given to his church. You know that no one can have a relationship with God the Father unless they know Jesus the Son. The Bible also says that no one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. Disciples of Jesus just go preach teach, bring people to church so that your pastors can preach and teach. And know that while you are accomplishing these things, you don’t have to be scared because all authority has been given to our God and surely he will be with us always tot he very end of the Age.
Today is trinity Sunday. And it is a complete mystery how three persons can be in one God, and one God is three persons. But rather than trying to dissect what God is, which our minds cannot comprehend. My mission today is to help explain how we get to know anything, by what they do, and how those actions effect us. God is our Lord, our leader, our teacher, our guide, our creator, our friend, our father, our Savior, our advocate, our counselor, but what he does for you is provides and protects you, washes away your sins, and strengthens you in the one true faith. And his message to you as his disciple is Go make disiciples, I have the authority and I will be with you always. Keep following the plan.