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Words In Red

The Great Commission

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(5/18) I. The Passion

A few, the renowned pastor and author, Max Lucado wrote a book that has grown into a huge Bible study and one endorsed by Lifeway and called simply, 3:16, The Numbers of Hope. The book is obviously a study on what is one of the best known and loved verses of all scripture-John 3:16. Would you say it aloud with me, please? That verse expresses the passion of God. God loves people more than anything. That sounds like good lyrics for a song doesnít it? Now the point of this verse isnít to tell us that God loves us, or how much God loves us but to tell us how God loves us (1 John 3:16; 4:9). 1 John 4:16-19! What does Romans 5:8 tell us? Romans 5:12 and 3:23 and 6:23 tells us what the worldís condition is, as does 3:9ff. (Cp. the song- The Light of the World is Jesus)

ē He loves you as an individual very much. Jesus our Lord said in John 16:27, "The Father Himself, loves you..."

ē He loves His Church, in fact, His love for His church is to be the model we are to use to express love to our spouses (Eph. 5:25ff)

ē He loves this world, and all of its inhabitants. He doesnít just love the saints, He loves the sinners. His passion is to see sinners become saints. Have you ever wondered why God doesnít stop all the evil and bring judgment on this world or why Jesus hasnít come back? Peter and Paul both tell us it is because God doesnít want anyone to perish but come to repentance. His patience with people is to give them an opportunity to receive His gift of forgiveness and life that are in His Son (2 Peter 3:9 and 1 Timothy 2:4). God is so passionate about this that every time someone repents, Heaven rejoices, probably giving high fives and "Yesís." (Luke 15) and the angels break out in singing, "To God be The Glory, Great Things He has DoneÖ"

II. The Plan

God has a plan to redeem the people of this world and give them His gift of forgiveness and eternal life. His plan is so simple and yet most of us have missed it. His plan is simply to Grace people with His gifts, and then to use those Graced people to Grace people. This is one of three top priorities of God for His people.

1. Is that we Love Him with all and every part of our being. That is the greatest commandment and the thing God wants most from us. Do you love God more than anything?

2. Is that we love and connect with people. That is the second greatest commandment and the subject of our sermon in a few weeks.

3. Is that we love the world as much as God does and make reaching it as much of a priority as He does.

It was the very reason Jesus came to this world, "To seek and to save the lost," and, "To give His life a ransom for many," and, "To bear witness of the truth." That mission is to be our mission.

Itís that simple. It could be called the Ripple effect or the dominoe effect. He graces people that He can use to grace people. We refer to Israel, as does the Bible, as the Chosen people, but for what did God choose them? The answer is that they would be His means of revealing Himself to the world. He told Abraham that all the families of the earth would be blessed in Him (Gen.12:3). Psalm 96:2-3 & 1 Chronicles 16:23 both tell us to, "Declare His Glory among the Nations, His wonders among all people."

Look at Isaiah 49:6 and 42:10-12 and 43:10-11!

But, those witnesses have to witness. Look with me at Romans 10:13-17

III. The Participants (Matt. 28:16 cp. 1 Cor. 15:6 {500} as most commentators believe, hence all of us)

Where we get messed up is in thinking that we hire a preacher and He then becomes our hired gun to round up the sinners and get them saved. Some times we think God just uses special people called missionaries or Para-church ministries like Child Evangelism or Campus Crusade for Christ. Sometimes we think, Godís plan doesnít include me because I donít feel called. But the truth is, our participation is not based on a feeling but on love and obedience. When Jesus our Lord chose the 12, Mark 3:14 says he chose them to, "be with Him and that he might send them out to preach." Cp. John 15:15-17 and the Legend of Jesus and Gabriel!

(Cp. Acts 26:15-18; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Cor. 5:18-21).

You see it is the reason why God keeps us here. We can worship Him in Heaven. We can love each other in Heaven. The one thing we can not do in heaven is reach the world. Our mission is to be His mission.

IV. The Potentate (Matt. 28:18)

Jesus our Lord has sovereign authority both in word and power over all of creation. Do you believe that? That means He is the supreme potentate. There is no power in heaven above or hell below that is equal to or outside of the sovereignty of God.

I believe that He is here establishing that fact as He gives them His command which flows out of His love for the world.

"He is Lord of creation and Lord of my life, Lord of the land and the sea, You were Lord of the Heavens before there was time and Lord of all Lords you will be." Is that true? I am not asking you if you have prayed to receive His gift of forgiveness and eternal life, but I am asking you if Jesus is Lord of your Life and before you answer that, I want you to think, "Do I seek to know and do His will in everything?" He once asked this, "Why do you call be Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say." (Luke 6:46) You see the thing He wants us to do is to share His grace with lost people. (John 13:13-15) Here it as if He is saying, "As commander and chief of the universe, here are my orders for you, here is what I want you to do for meÖ" Thatís what the word, "therefore," is there for. It means because this is so in verse 19.

V. The Precept (Matt. 28:19-20)

The word, "precept," is a P word meaning an order or command. The word, "Go," here is not the order. Go is understood as what they would do when they left this mountain. "Make disciples of all nations," is the order. Go actually means, "as you are going from here." But the command to, "Make Disciples," involves at least 4 things that this text presents to us.

1. Is that we Go. We are not to wait for lost people to come to us. We are to go to where they are; at work, at school, on the ball fields, in the neighborhood, wherever lost people are. We are too much in the mode of, "I hope that some lost people come to church today so the pastor can catch them," or, "if we plan it, they will come." Now some might, but by and large, God wants us to go. Some of that going is to other nations in the world. (Acts 1:8; Luke 24:47)

2. He wants us to go to all Nations. God wants the world to be saved. There is a world outside of Emmitsburg, Maryland, and the U.S.A. There are more than 7 Billion people, most of which will perish because they have believed and many havenít even heard of Jesus. Mexico is just one Nation.

3. He wants us to Make Disciples of all Nations By Teaching them. First we share the Gospel Message. We do this by both show and tell. You remember that from elementary school, donít you? We show them the difference Jesus has made in out lives by our changed character and our love and concern for others. Then we look for opportunities to share the words of the gospel and invite or encourage them to receive the message and trust Jesus. Show and tell are like the Music and the words of a song. They work in Harmony with each other.

But sharing the Gospel is just one step in the disciple making process. It is obviously a crucial step, but it is not all that our Lord had in mind. He wants us to teach people. Do you remember the 5 characteristics of a disciple that we shared a few weeks ago?

ē Disciples are ones who have chosen Christ and His way over all others. (Luke 14:25ff)

ē Disciples are ones who abide in His word (John 8:31)

ē Disciples are those who are becoming like Jesus (Luke 6:40)

ē Disciples are those who Love Like Jesus (John 13:34-35)

ē Disciples are those who produce fruit for God in their character and in reproducing disciples (John 15:8, 16)

To do this we are instructed to teach them what Jesus taught has taught us. Being born again means learning to live life all over again from a new perspective-Godís perspective, and Godís way is different than the way we have learned from the world.

4th. He wants us To Baptize New Believers

Baptism is the means God has given us to publicly identify ourselves as followers of Jesus Christ. It is a testimony to union with Him in His death, Burial and resurrection as Paul points out to us in Romans 6. Immersion is the most appropriate means of be baptized because it is the meaning of the Greek word Baptizo-to place into-or to immerse in. Baptism has no saving power. It is not a "thing," we have to do to appease God or atone for sin. Jesus did all of that for us. Baptism is simply the way we identify ourselves as turning our backs on the sin and world and embracing Jesus. A Christian who has not been baptized is either misinformed about Godís desire or is at best disobedient. Anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus and persists in his or her unwillingness to be baptized, gives good reason for others to doubt the genuineness of his or her faith. I appreciate what John MacArthur said about this, "If He is unwilling to comply with that simple act of obedience in the presence of fellow believers, he will hardly be willing to stand for Christ before the unbelieving world." (p.343, commentary on Matthew 28) Thatís why Peter told that first assembly of people on Pentecost, "Repent and Be Baptized because of the remission of sins." (Acts 2:38)." The call to believe in Jesus is also the call to be in obedience to Jesus.

A person being baptized is saying, "I am now a Disciple of Jesus Christ."

Have you been Baptized?

VI. The Presence (Matthew 28:20)

Here is a crucial point in this Great Commission. Our Lord is not asking us to go out on our own. He says, "Lo" which is kinda like saying, "pay close attention, I want you to hear this, if you are listening say, Ďamen,í and remember what I am about to tell you."

I am with you always, all the way until time is over. This includes us. The one who has and is the all powerful God said, "I will be with you."

Do you remember when Moses argued with God about going back to Egypt and leading Israel out? Moses gave every excuse he could think of and God said to him, "I will certainly be with you, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say." (Exodus 3:12 and again in 4:12)

When God called Jeremiah and said go preach Jeremiah protested and said, "I canít. Iím just a child." But the Lord said, "Donít say, I am just a child, and donít be afraid of their faces, for I am with you." (Jeremiah 1:5-10)

When Israel was about to go into the promised land and Moses knew that He would not go, He commissioned Joshua with words that God himself would say to Joshua, "The Lord, He is the one who goes before you, He will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you." (Deut. 31:8 and Joshua 1:5)

David could say with confidence, "The Lord is my shepherd and even if He leads me to go through the dark valley, I will not be afraid, for you with me, your rod and staff they comfort me." (Psalm 23:1-4)

The Mexico team is going out for just a week in obedience to God, to show and tell the Gospel of our Lord and to begin the process of disciple making. But obedience to God is more than going to another country. It is seeking to be part of Godís primary mission for the world, which includes your community, your county, and your country, it includes your co-workers, your fellow-students, and your family. You are all part His plan. He has poured his grace into your life so you could pour his grace into others lives.

How much attention are you giving to this command from our Lord? If you say, "none," then how can you call Him, ĎLord.í His Words! Remember this is an act of obedience not a special call. It is simply having a passion for Godís passion to redeem lost people.

Has Your Life Been Graced- would you like it to be?

Have you been baptized?

Christians do you need to repent of disobeying? Itís time to do what Jesus our Lord rescued us to do. Letís get out there and giveíem heaven!

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman