ROBERT >> We often place great emphasis upon a person’s last words. And what were the last words of Jesus after his resurrection, before leaving the earth to return to heaven with his Father? What was so important to Jesus? Before leaving his disciples, what were the last words they heard from his lips?
SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.
ROBERT >> If you want to know the last words that Jesus spoke to his disciples before leaving this earth, turn with me to Matthew 28:18-20, and let’s read it together.
Matthew 28:18-20. “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given unto Me in heaven and on earth. 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. Amen.”
In these words we find the mission of God’s church. And I want you to notice the authority behind that mission. Jesus claims all authority in heaven and on earth. This authority was given to him by his heavenly father. If you’ll turn with me to Ephesians 1:20-23, we’ll see where the apostle Paul explains to us how that the Father gave him this authority, how he raised him up from the dead, and how he set him in a position above everyone and everything else.
Ephesians chapter 1 beginning in verse 20, “Which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
And so it’s with this great authority that Jesus spoke these last words to his disciples, encouraging them to go make disciples of all nations. I want to read another passage to you from Philippians 2:9-11, because here we see also this authority of Christ emphasized once again.
Philippians 2, beginning in verse 9, “Therefore 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 of 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.”
When we realize who Jesus is and what he’s done for us and how that God has lifted him above all, we must take our mission seriously. If Jesus commanded it, we must obey it. There is no option. It’s our responsibility as Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ. It’s our responsibility to Jesus Christ himself; and if we fail in our mission, we fail Jesus. Let’s look closely at the command of that mission, because some think this command was just for the apostles. But the church you read about in the Bible certainly didn’t think so. Yes, Jesus gave this commandment to his apostles here in Matthew chapter 28; but they gave this commandment then to the church.
In Acts 8:4, when we read about the church in Jerusalem and how that church waspersecuted, and as a result of that persecution the Christians were scattered out of Jerusalem, out of Judea, into other parts of the earth; but I want you to notice what it says about these members of the church. Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.
You see, they understood that it was their mission as they went in this world to carry the word of God with them, to bring the gospel to all nations.
You see the same thing in Romans 1:8. When Paul wrote to the saints in Rome, he encouraged them and he complimented them because they had let known Jesus Christ to all the world. It says here, First I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. Yes, this church had become an influence not only in their community and in their area, but in all the world for Jesus Christ. That’s what we must do today.
Look with me in Philippians 2:15-16. Here the apostle Paul is writing to the church at Philippi, the church that he had started on his second journey, and he writes back to them to encourage them to continue to spread the gospel of Christ. Here he says in verse 15, “That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”
Yes, this church at Philippi lived in a dark world, as we all do today, a world that’s in the darkness of sin; but they were to shine forth as lights for Jesus Christ. And then notice 1 Thessalonians 1:6-8. In this passage we read about a church that was suffering great affliction, persecution, and poverty, and yet they never forgot their mission to make disciples of all nations.
Notice what Paul says about them here, 1 Thessalonians chapter 1, beginning in verse 6, “And you becamefollowers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.”
That is a tremendous compliment that the apostle Paul gives to this church, because they had done such a good job of influencing others for Christ, of spreading the word of God, he said, we apostles, we don’t have to do anything.
Because the church was busy about its mission. Jesus gave this command to his apostles, but notice that they were to teach those that they discipled to observe what he had commanded them, which was to make disciples. So the apostles made disciples, who would make disciples, who would make disciples. Every disciple of Christ is to make disciples. This is how the church continues. And this is why we are here today, because the apostles made disciples who made disciples who made disciples. And this went on throughout the centuries until someone made disciples of us, those of us who are Christians today, and now it’s our mission to do the same. The command is to go. And literally, as you go. As you go and make disciples, he said, make followers of Jesus Christ, of all nations or of all peoples. This is our mission as we go to make disciples of all people. The ultimate goal of every work, of every program that we have in God’s church is to help us to fulfill this mission. From our Bible classes and our worship services to the seminars and workshops, to summer camp, to special events, to the sign that we put out front of our church buildings, all of this is for one purpose, and that is to help us in making disciples. This mission must underlie everything that we do in the church. Making disciples is not a program just for some at certain times. It is our mission as God’s people.
It must define who we are and what we are about. We’re not to
wait to go on some foreign mission or maybe a door knocking campaign in the neighborhood; but every day, everywhere, each one of us who are Christians, we’re to be carrying out our mission. That means at church we’re thinking about our mission. When we go to work, we’re thinking about our mission. When we go to school, we’re thinking about our mission. When we walk into a store or we’re eating at a restaurant or we go to the bank or to the post office, if we’re visiting in the hospital, or perhaps we have been put there because of our own illness, we’re thinking about our mission. When we’re at a party or perhaps a family reunion or we’ve gone down to the recreation or the community center, when we’re walking in our neighborhoods or when we’re in our homes with our families and in the homes of others, we need to be thinking about our mission. When you’re on the phone with others, when you’re doing e-mail, when you’re on Facebook or Instagram, whatever you’re doing, you need to be thinking about your mission: How can I use this to tell others about Jesus, to influence others for Jesus Christ?
When you’re on vacation, maybe you’re out at a ball game or getting your hair or your nails done, or maybe you’re buying a car. You might be in prison, you might be in the armed services, you might be at a concert. Understand that we as Christians are never off mission. We’re always looking for, taking advantage of opportunities to fulfill our mission. And when you realize this, it’s going to give everything a new perspective, a new purpose, a new meaning.
Your life will change when you live every moment seeking to influence and change the lives of others for Jesus Christ. That’s what we all ought to be about doing. And I want you to notice from our text in Matthew chapter 28 that this involves at least two things.
First of all, Jesus said when you go make disciples, you’re baptizing them. He says baptizing. When you make disciples of the nations, you’re baptizing those nations, those peoples. The word is literally immersing them. Before one may be baptized to become a disciple of Christ, he must hear the gospel, and he must believe in Christ. He must repent of his sins, and he must confess his faith in Christ. It’s not just dunking somebody in the water.
Jesus said in Mark 16:15-16 to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation, to every creature.”
And he said, “He that believes and is baptized will be saved: He that disbelieves will be condemned.”
And so we must go and preach that message. And when people come to faith in Christ, then they’re ready to be baptized so they can be saved.
In Luke 24:47, Luke reminds us that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name. And so we must call people to repent, to turn away from sin, to make that decision in their heart to truly live for God.
In Acts the 2nd chapter, the very beginning of the church, when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the apostles with great power and they preached the gospel in his fulfillment for the very first time, how that Christ died and how he was buried, how he rose again, how they had in fact been responsible for crucifying him, he said, He’s both Lord and Christ, and they were convicted, they were pierced in their hearts, and they said, What do we do?
And that’s when Peter said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
That’s how people become Christians: Baptizing them upon hearing that gospel, believing in that gospel, turning from their sins. I remember the wonderful conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts the
8th chapter, when he was studying from the prophet Isaiah, but he didn’t understand.
“And Philip was talking with him, and he began at that very scripture, and he preached unto him Jesus, the Bible says. And they came to some water, and he says, What hinders me from being baptized? And he said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. He said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And they both went down into the water, and he baptized him, and they both came up out of the water.”
You see, the preacher needed to know that the Ethiopian truly believed in Jesus. And having made that confession then, the Ethiopian was ready to be baptized.
Yes, baptism is more than just getting wet. Baptism is an act of faith. I think sometimes that we say we believe in baptism; but it’s not baptism we believe in. We believe in God. Because you see, he’s the power and he’s the one that does the work in our baptism.
You see, in our baptism we call on the Lord for salvation from our sins. Read with me in Acts 22:16, when the preacher Ananias had come and spoken with old Saul of Tarsus, who had persecuted the church; but this one had come to faith in Jesus Christ, and he had repented of his sins. And when the preacher came to him, he told him what he needed to do.
In Acts 22:16 he said,”And now, why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
You see, it was time for Saul of Tarsus to get up and to be baptized, to call upon Jesus for his salvation.
In Colossians 2:12, notice what Paul wrote to this church here. It’s so important that we understand that it’s by faith that baptism works. By faith in God. Here he says that we’re buried with Christ in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
You see, we believe that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead can raise us out of the waters of baptism a new creation. Our sins forgiven, we become children of God. And so it’s by faith in the working of God.
I’m afraid that many have been baptized, but they just got wet. They didn’t have the faith that comes from hearing the word of God and never truly obeyed Christ from the heart to become his disciple. They did not really understand what they were doing and why they were doing it. If so, then they need to be baptized again. And maybe that’s you. Maybe you’ve gotten wet, you’ve been immersed, but you’ve never obeyed the Lord from the heart so that you can truly become a disciple of Jesus Christ, committed to follow him. Notice that making disciples not only involves baptizing them, but Jesus went on to say making disciples involves teaching them.
Teaching them to observe all the commands of Jesus. That’s true, because baptism is just the beginning of our new life as a disciple of Christ.
We’re raised up from the waters of baptism, according to Romans 6:4, “we’re raised up to walk in newness of life.”
Discipling others for Christ is never finished. We must strive to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus according to Colossians 1:28. It’s not enough for us to bring people to Christ in the waters of baptism; but we must continue with them to help them to grow up in Christ.
Yes, our mission is to bring people to Christ, but it’s also to help them to continue to grow up in Christ. As I often say, to help one another and all others towards heaven. And though we must begin where we are with those we know and others we see, our mission is to reach all nations, all people for Christ, to go into all the world, Mark 16:15, because God desires that everyone come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved, and Jesus Christ is a ransom for
all, 1 Timothy 2:3-4 and 6. Paul is telling us in that passage that God wants us all to be saved. And so we must go to all with the gospel. Jesus Christ tasted death for every man according to Hebrews 2:9. “He’s the propitiation, he’s that atoning sacrifice not only for our sins, but for the sins of the whole world,” 1 John 2:2.
God help us to never lose sight of our mission. But I don’t want to leave this lesson today without reminding you of the promise that Jesus gave when he gave that mission. It’s a simple but powerful promise from Jesus in Matthew 29:20. I am with you always, he said. It’s in this promise that we find the courage and the comfort to do what we are afraid to do, what we don’t think we can do.
Say with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13.
Say with Paul, I can speak to someone about Christ, I can stand up for Christ, I can be an example to others for Christ. Maybe I can give them a tract or write them a card or a letter or send them a message, make a call, pray for souls, do something to help others towards heaven. When we’re on mission, Christian, when we’re on mission for Jesus, we’re not alone. The master evangelist is at our side. And no matter what, he is there. I’ll be with you always, is the promise. I’ll never leave you nor forsake you, so that with good courage we say, The Lord is my helper, I will not fear,” Hebrews 13:5-6.
Paul asked in Romans 8:31,”If God is for us, who’s against us?”
Doesn’t it really matter, does it?
Not when we’re with God and God is with us. As Christians, we are God’s fellow workers according to 1 Corinthians 3:9, in the making of disciples. We join hands with God in the greatest work on earth. This mission, we need to understand, extends beyond the apostles to every generation until Christ comes again. That first-generation church fulfilled their mission by preaching the gospel to every creature under heaven, according to Colossians 1:23. And we can, too, when we all begin to take seriously these last words of Jesus. Our challenge is to win souls for Christ.
Will you not begin praying for souls today, to make plans to do something to influence him or her for Christ?
My prayer is that God may help every Christian, each one of us, to see the need, to hear the call, and to respond in faith to our mission.
Do we see the many in this world who are needing Jesus Christ, so many lost souls hurting, in need of God’s help?
Do we hear that call to go and make disciples as we go, every one of us, every day, everywhere?
Will we respond in love and in faith?
Thatchurch we read about in the Bible had a mission to make disciples of all nations, and we have that same mission today. If you’re a Christian, I hope you’ll join with us in doing what you can to help us fulfill that mission. If you have left the Lord, I hope you’ll come back to the Lord, that you’ll let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven.
Maybe you are one who’s not a follower of Jesus. Our concern for your soul is God’s concern, and we hope you’ll come to be baptized into Christ, that you’ll begin your new life with him today. But whoever you are, whatever your need, please let us know how we can help you towards heaven today.
SINGING>> All to Jesus I surrender,
all to him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live.
I surrender all.
I surrender all.
All to thee,
my blessed savior, I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender.
Lord, I give myself to thee.
Fill me with thy love and power,
blessing fall on me.
I surrender all.
I surrender all.
All to thee, my blessed savior,
I surrender all.
SINGING>> Unto the hills around
do I lift up my longing eyes.
Oh, whence for me shall my salvation come,
from whence arise?
From God the Lord doth come my certain aid,
from God the Lord whom heaven and earth hath made.
From every evil shall he keep thy soul,
from every sin.
Jehovah shall preserve thy going out,
thy coming in.
Above thee watching,
he whom we adore shall keep thee henceforth,
yea, for evermore.
ROBERT >> Thanks for watching the program today. We’d love to hear from you. Let me encourage you to contact us with your questions, comments, or requests at The Truth In Love, P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.
You may e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966.
And also, please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.
All our materials and services are absolutely free of charge.
We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven.
So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.
SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven,
sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me
it will bring release
Burdens will be lifted
that are pressing so,
showers of great blessing
o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven
let me fondly dream
of its gold golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows
of the evening fall.
Sing to me of heaven
, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low,
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary,
when the day is long,
sing to me of heaven,
sing that old, sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream
of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall.
Sing to me ofheaven,
sing the sweetest song of all.