Matthew 28:16-20 ~ "Hurting For The Nations"
For most of you we have been in Matthew for a couple years, but for some of you we have been in Matthew for 6 years. We bring our study of Matthew to a close today after 6 years of going through it verse by verse and chapter by chapter. It is a little bit surreal for me. Somebody said to me earlier in the week “what are we going to do after Matthew.” I was right in the midst of my sermon prep and I responded “you know, these last 4 verses I think I might need to cut them into two different sermons.” He said “oh no, we are going to stay in Matthew forever!” I said “No, no, I am just joking. We can do it all in one” But, I thought about it. During the month of August we are going to take 4 weeks to go through the book of Ruth, Old Testament. Seasons of refreshing I expect to come by reflecting on the faithfulness of this godly woman in the Old Testament who wasn’t even originally a Jew and wasn’t from Israel. She was a Moabite woman. We are going to look and be blessed at her and how the Lord took care of her and provided for her. In September as the fall kicks off I am anticipating going through 1st Timothy; the Pastoral Epistles is my thought for the next 2-3 years. I think we will go 1st Timothy, then look at Titus and then conclude with 2nd Timothy. That is tentative for right now as I am not 100% sold on that, but that is kind of where I suspect the Lord is taking us and so if you want to start buying books on Timothy, by all means start doing some background reading as we get ready to look at what the Lord has to say to us from the pastoral epistles (epistle = a book of the New Testament in the form of a letter from an Apostle OR a poem or other literary work in the form of a letter or series.) We are not there yet, we are still in Matthew so let us turn our attention now to the great commission and what the Lord has for us this morning.
Please look with me to Matthew chapter 28:16-20. We will re-read the scripture “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Let’s bow for a word of prayer. Father we thank you so much for giving us such abundant and undeserved grace, forgiving us of all our sins and imputing to us bestowing upon us the righteousness of your Son. A righteousness we did not earn and do not deserve, but you give it to us so freely Lord. Father, as we come to an end in this particular gospel for this season, would you please help us to understand just exactly how the good news of forgiveness in Christ is supposed to drive us. Lord we ask that you would open our eyes to see the priority that you have set before us; a priority of reaching the nations, reaching our neighbors, reaching our family members. Father, if there are any here today who are not entirely sure what it is that you are calling them to, I pray God that you would use this scripture and this message this morning to open our eyes to exactly what it is that you have for us. We pray God that all would leave here today knowing what it is you are calling them to do and resting in the presents of Christ. It is in His name that we pray, Amen.
So 15 years ago when I was newly married I came home from work one evening and it was one of the very first meals that my wife was cooking for me. One of those very first home cooked meals and I was excited to try some of her cooking. There was something sort of quant as a young man coming home and saying “hey, I am going to go home tonight and I don’t have to work or do anything or spend any money because my wife is going to have a meal ready for me.” I came home and there on the table was waiting for me a nice warm inviting chicken dish, but it had a peculiar smell. I said Shanti, what kind of chicken is this to which she responded “it is honey Dijon chicken.” Now I do not care for honey Dijon. I just can’t do it. The other thing you need to know is that my wife was raised in a vegetarian household. Her parents are Buddhist and they had moral qualms with eating animals and so this was one of her first attempts at learning to cook meat. It was a double whammy because 1. I don’t like honey Dijon to start with and 2. This is her first go at cooking meat. We sat down and I had been raised by my mother the right way so it didn’t matter how it tasted I asked for seconds. But, between you and me, it was not that good. In fact it was quite atrocious. It was actually disgusting. I laboured through it and I am asking for seconds and my wife is watching me carefully the whole time and she is not even eating hers……at all. I get through it and I say “honey, why aren’t eating” and she says “you know, I am new to eating meat and my stomach isn’t quite ready for it, but I just wanted to sit and watch you and see what you thought of it. What did you think of it?” in that moment I knew I had to give an answer, but I was prepared for it because I knew the question was coming so I had thought up what would technically would be a truthful yet clearly misleading statement. I said to her “You know honey that really hit a spot in me.” She said “that hit a spot in you?” I said “oh ya! That hit a real spot in side of me.” She kind of laughed because she knew I was trying to skirt the issue. She said “so it was good?” I said “well, you know, it defiantly got to me.” So then she said “how could I make it better?” Now, I was fully prepared at every question she was going to ask me, I had pre-thought my responses because we had eaten largely in silence. Her watching me and me trying to smile while I am eating this thing; so, I knew the question was coming and I had thought of my response. I was ready for it, but when she asked “how could I make it better?” that was a question I had not anticipated so I did not have a pre-thought response ready to go. The hesitation was clear as day. Which direction do I go hear? Do I want to spend the rest of my life eating disgusting honey Dijon mustard chicken? Can I really live that way? Or, do I tell my wife she could improve on this dish by never cooking it ever again? We were newlyweds so there is some grace there, but I don’t know that there is that much grace there. I mean, I want to have a pleasant evening, I have to get up and go back to work in the morning, she has school and so I am hesitating between these two decisions. Do I tell her don’t ever cook it again or this was really bad? Do I give her suggestions on how to improve it that probably wouldn’t have made it any better? I am hesitating and in that moment of hesitation and indecision I am doubting what the right course of action should be. I am experiencing doubt. Now, my wife knows that I am sharing this sermon illustration this morning and she is a fantastic cook. Let me put your minds at ease, Shanti is an amazing cook and she is really gifted in the kitchen, but that first attempt she will freely admit will live forever in infamy. But, when she asked me that question I was struggling between two different options. That is what doubt is. You want to say the right thing, you want to do the right thing, but you are trying to think of the future ramifications of your decision and you are trying to anticipate how your choice will impact the person before you and you are thinking about how your choice is ultimately going to impact you long term. That is exactly what is going on in the minds of these 11 disciples on this mountain top. Look at what the text says, verse 16 that the 11 disciples go to Galilee as they had been instructed. James took us through these texts last week while I was away. Jesus had an encounter with the ladies at the tomb, he had sent word to meet him and they have come. They go to Galilee, they go to the mountain where Jesus has directed them and in verse 17 notice that when they saw him they worshiped him. That is, they got down and they recognised him for who he is. He was dead and now he is alive. He had claimed to be the Son of God and yet he had suffered a brutal and horrific crucifixion; an event which shook all of their faith and yet here standing before them here and now as they are looking at him there can be now question or doubt that he has conquered the grave. Death has no authority over him. It is not ambiguous as to whether he is still alive. They have a flesh and blood person standing there who is not a corpse. They have a flesh and blood person standing there who is Jesus, talking to them…..ALIVE! He has still go the scars proving that what they experienced was not a figment of their imagination. He truly was crucified, he truly did die and he truly is alive for ever more, death having no power over him. So, the response is appropriate – let us worship, let us ascribe worth and glory and majesty to the one whom death cannot hold. That is the appropriate response. Now notice the next phrase. When they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. The word for doubt here is the Greek word distazo. The theological dictionary of the New Testament states that distazo essentially means to waiver, hesitate or to be uncertain. It is a figurative word indicating a person at a crossroads having to make a decision between one direction and the other and going back and forth in terms of which is the right direction to go. Now, this is mind boggling to me, but if you really stop to think about it in terms of what Jesus is about to say to all of us here, it makes perfect sense. They have observed him go through the most horrific thing imaginable. He is now alive; he clearly has the power and the ability to overcome death and has done so convincingly. They can reach out and touch him. He has in previous messages and in previous teachings called his disciples to follow him and in one particularly poignant passage he has said “Let all those who would come after me deny themselves and take up their cross.” This is a clear call to self denial in the most extreme sense. It is a total abandonment of all self interest and all self preservation for the sake of walking with Christ. They see him and he is on the far side of the grave now. He has gone through death and he has come back from the grave. He clearly has power to bring us to life and to grant us eternal life. We worship him, but we are still on this side of the grave. The call that we have heard him say many times is the call to follow. We just watched him go into the grave so if we follow this man knowing now the gift he has and his power to bestow upon us the gift of eternal life. It means that there is nothing that he cannot ask of us as we follow him. If you are confronted with that you are going to doubt by thinking “I do want to worship him, I do want to give my all to Christ, I do want to love him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength, but in doing that where will this take me?” This is the reason they doubted and they hesitated. They were not sure what the full ramifications of this were going to be. Even though they wanted to worship them they held something back. I wonder, how many of you in this room does that describe? We have been walking with the Lord for a long time, we rejoiced at the forgiveness of our sins, we delighted in the initial blessings that he poured out upon our life as we have followed Him, obeyed Him as we have been faithful to do many of the things that He calls us to do and to follow many of the instructions that he gives us in our lives, we have reaped untold blessings and yet I wonder for how many of us in this room we know what he is about to ask of us, we know he is about to call us to go to that person in our workplace or to that kid at camp, to that individual in our family who is particularly unlovely, who is especially difficult to love and we know that following Jesus is going require us hearing that call to go to that person and to try to call them to faith in Christ. We are going to be called to share with them the good news of salvation in the cross and to proclaim Jesus as King. We don’t want to do it because we know that doing that is going to lead to some uncomfortable conversations. For some individuals it might lead to outright ridicule and scorn and for a precious few of us it might lead to something even more in the form of hostility and potential violence. I can’t tell you how many times I have been sitting around with Christians or Care Groups or bible studies in which I have been sharing with them about evangelism and different things that people in our church are doing and they share about somebody that they have been praying for and I ask what it has been like sharing with that person and the response is “There was never a good moment to share. There was never an open door to present the gospel and I never had that comfortable easy moment where I could invite them to church.” You are doubting. Did they say hello? Did they make eye contact with you? If either of those two things happened then you had an opportunity. Our Lord is about to make it very clear that all authority in heaven and earth has been given to his so go therefore and make disciples. He doesn’t leave room for ambiguity; there is no doubt about what his expectations of us are. When we say things like “there wasn’t an opportunity, I didn’t sense that the moment was right” I present to you that probably what is that old man, that sinful you is railing against the new you. You want to follow Christ, you want to worship him, but now you are doubting and confronted against the hard cold facts of sharing the gospel and fulfilling the great commission and you are not sure where it is going to take you. You rightfully suspect that it will be uncomfortable and so you are doubting. For a pastor this passage is incredibly illuminative. Let’s be honest that none of us is on the same level spiritually speaking as these 11 apostles. These guys have faith that was rock solid. They had been through the wringer, but they had seen it all and walked with Jesus through everything. Even here on this mountain in Galilee they see him, they can touch him so there could be no doubt about the truth of Christianity. They have all the evidence, they have all the facts and they are eye witnesses and yet some of them doubted. So, if you are doubting understand that they doubted as well. You are in special company which is to say that every Christian everywhere has had these doubts. That makes this passage incredibly helpful for me as a pastor because sometimes you have individuals who know, they have had all the evidence, they have gone through all the arguments, they have done all the apologetics conferences, they know and are convinced and absolutely persuaded by all of the data that Jesus is true, that something supernatural happened here on Golgotha 2000-years-ago and something supernatural happened in the tomb 3-days-later. They know it, it is a fact and yet in the midst of all of the evidence and in the midst of all the ways in which they have even seen Jesus pouring out blessings in their life as they have come to Him, they still struggle with a pernicious doubt. They come to me some times saying “I am still struggling with doubts, what do I do?” and it is in this moment that I love exactly what Jesus does. When in doubt, when you are hesitating between two different choices, when you could go one direction or you could go another direction, but you are not sure what the consequences of this is and you are not sure whether the “pros” and the benefits of that would be any better. When you are not sure what to do, when you are hesitating and in doubt – Let Jesus just be King. Let Jesus just have the final authority. You notice He is Jesus, He is omniscient, He knows everything, He is fully aware of what is going on inside their hearts and he doesn’t say “ok, now I know that some of you guys are doubting. What is the problem, confess to me, share it, I am here and I am alive. What’s the deal? Do you need more evidence? Do you need more proof?” He doesn’t do any of that because at the end of the day the greatest possible proof that there could ever have been is presented right here to their very eyes and they see it. It is not a question of evidence. It is not a question of proof. There is nothing that will do to strengthen their faith other then surrendering to His direction and accepting His authority to follow Him and to do what he says. As a pastoral example, this is great because sometimes you have people that come in your office and time and again they say “I am still struggling.” He does nothing with these guys’ doubts. That is not to say that we shouldn’t address your doubts, it is not to say that you shouldn’t investigate apologetics or look at some of these arguments for the resurrections, but at the end of the day it is a mistake to think that empirical data can strengthen your faith. They only thing that can strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ is simply trusting Him and following Him. That is exactly what He does right here. There is no mention of their doubts. Look at what He says in verse 18 “Jesus came them and he said to them, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” He has it. He is in total control.
A number of years ago in 1959 in the great state of Louisiana there was a governor that wanted to run for re-election as the governor of that great state. His name was Earl Long and this fellow had successfully won re-election, but his political adversaries in the state legislature didn’t like the fact that he had won re-election and so they introduced legislation to place term limits on the office of governor. You can sit for this term, but no more. He of course vetoed this because he was quite popular, though not in the legislature, and so they argued with him that it was improper for him to veto term limits that they were placing upon him. The discussion went back and forth and then as Governor Earl Long was ranting and raving at the microphone somebody in the house legislature had the great idea “let's call the state psych ward and have him committed as being mentally unstable.” That is exactly what they did. It was a rather curious sight to see men in white coats pull up in a 1950’s ambulance and to slap hand cuffs on the governor of the state of Louisiana and to take him to South Eastern Medical Hospital where he was institutionalized. The governor swore up and down “Listen, you have no right to put me in this hospital. I am in perfectly sound mind and I am in perfect metal health and you are totally overstepping your bounds.” The director of the South Eastern Medical Hospital, Dr. Charles Belcher, knew that he was in a bit of a pickle. He was being ordered by the state legislature to put into custody the governor of the state of Louisiana. This was a state hospital receiving state funds to operate so he thought he had better get some advice. He called the director of state hospitals, an appointee of Governor Earl Long. This was a fellow by the name of Dr. Jesse Bankston who happened to come from the opposite political party as that of the governor. Dr. Belcher asked Dr. Bankston if he should continue to hold the governor in the hospital. Dr. Bankston said yes, claiming he was clearly insane as he is a democrat. Governor Earl Long in the psych ward pleaded to be let out and was denied. Governor Long asked what his rights were and was told that he really didn’t have any rights, but you can make a phone call. Governor Long called his staff and asked if he had the power to order Dr. Belcher, the director of South Eastern Medical Hospital to release him from the hospital. His staff advised that he did not as his authority technically did not supersede medical authority. He could not fire Dr. Belcher either. He asked if he had the authority to fire the director of state hospitals Dr. Jesse Bankston. He was told that he did indeed have the authority to fire him and then did so. The next question was “Who can we replace him with?” As a state appointed post anyone could be given that post. He gave the job to his aid and told him to put a new medical doctor in charge of the hospital where he was being held who would release him. Within 1 hour he was walking out of that hospital and Dr. Charles Belcher and Dr. Jesse Bankston were out of work. You see, at the end of the day, he the governor had the authority. They tried to assert an authority over his which did not work.
Jesus is saying here in Matthew 28 that “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” He is claiming to be God almightily and he is. He is saying he is in charge of the universe. All authority in case you are wondering, there is no realm, there is no domain, there is no sphere over which Jesus is not sovereign. He says “ALL authority in heaven and ALL authority on earth has been given to me.” Then he says “Go” and I wonder how many of us in this room hear that call to go and unfortunately like these poor doctors we try to take Jesus and stick him in the psych ward and say “I wish I could go, but that is crazy what you are asking me to do.” Jesus wants your faith in him to be strengthened. At the end of the day all the evidence and all the data in the world does not strengthen your faith the same way as obedience. For all of our attempts to try and relegate Jesus’ command to merely helpful advice it would behoove you to be reminded that all authority in heaven and earth is His. He wants to bless you, he wants to strengthen your faith, he has the authority and he calls you to go. You say “very well preacher, what am I supposed to do?” He gives directions; verse 19 “Go therefore, and make disciples.’ We love to look at that first verb in the verse, “go,” and we think to ourselves we are called to go. According to the grammar of the passage, the main verb in this particular sentence is not so much the going. The main verb in this sentence is the making disciples. Jesus is calling us not simply to express the gospel; although, that is the starting point and the foundation of what we are to do, we are to proclaim and express the great news, the incredible news, that we have been forgiven because of what Jesus did on the cross. It is always to go beyond that. Rather than just simply expressing the good news, we are called to make disciples. How do we do that? He lays out a process here. The beginning of discipleship is baptism and following that is to observe everything that he has commanded. So it is comprehensive, but there is a plan: make disciples, baptising them in the name of the father, the son and the Holy Spirit. He has previously just said that Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, then He says YOU have the authority to go and do this and here is your warrant, here is the signature upon your permission slip to do what he is about to tell you to do. Your warrant, your permission, your authority comes from the triune God. When Jesus says in the name of the Father, in the name of the Son, in the name of the Holy Spirit, He is saying that you have been given permission and warranted and indeed you have been commanded by all three as one. Three in one, the triune God. Jesus has just said all authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. He is claiming deity, He is claiming equality with God the father, and He is saying he has the authority to order you what to do, but in case that is not good enough, He grounds his authority within His union and unity within the trinity. All three persons within the singular God-head are giving us permission and authority to go and make disciples. Make disciples, baptising them. The Greek word baptizo literally means “immerse.” There is quite a bit of debate these days and indeed there is quite a bit of debate within our fellowship around the practice of baptism as it relates to church membership. But every scholar across every denomination regardless of the manner in which that particular denomination might practice baptism agrees that the Greek word baptizo means immerse. As we think about the starting process of baptism and what it is to symbolize it must be the start of the Christian life. We are signifying that we are dying to our old ways and that we are no longer going to be in charge of our lives. We are signifying that we are going to surrender our will to His will in the life that we are now going to live; we are going to live by His command and by His authority. So baptism, however it is practiced, needs to be understood as a commitment that you are dying to yourself and you are trusting Christ to raise you to new life. You are committing to following Him. You are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and then you are to be taught to observe all that I have commanded you. You notice that Jesus doesn’t say “do all the things that I did.” Do you notice that He also doesn’t say “believe all the things that I believe.” He encompasses both in this expression. The word observe is to be mindful of, to pay attention to and it is indeed doing the things that Jesus would have you to do, but observance can be simply to look and see and receive by eye sight. It could obviously encompass as well the same beliefs that Jesus is teaching. It isn’t just a matter of what you do, but it’s a matter of what you think. Our lives both physically as well as mentally, how we live in the day to day, but also what we chose to think about and meditate night by night are totally under his domain. If you are a follower of Christ, He says you are to observe all that I command. All of it. Following this is that precious promise “and behold I am with you always to the end of the age.” Sometimes individuals say “I don’t know enough to tell people about Jesus. Pastor, I would really like to be faithful to the great commission, but I am not sure that I am able to share the gospel with people around me. Not because I don’t want to, I do, but because I simply don’t know enough. I need more training, I need more education.” Wherever you are in your walk with Christ and however long you have been walking with Christ, you do know enough to begin fulfilling the great commission.
If you don’t know enough to tell someone about Jesus and how to become a follower of Christ then how do you know that you are a follower of Christ?
If your argument is true, that you don’t know enough, then maybe you really don’t know enough. If your argument is valid that you don’t understand the gospel and you don’t understand the basics of what Jesus did for you on the cross, maybe you are not saved. Of course, we know that is not the truth of it. Indeed, you love the Lord which means having walked with him you do know enough to tell someone else what it means to walk with the Lord. It is not a matter of knowing enough, it is not a matter of needing more evidence, it is not a matter of needing more education. As we look at the context of this passage we see these guys had it all. The spiritual condition that they struggled with was not needing more data, it was simply just needing to trust Jesus. A number of years ago when I was (honourably) discharged from the United States Marine Corps, the bus that was taking me back to Texas was leaving in 2 days so I was enjoying a little bit of R&R at the beach of San Onofre, California before I returned home. Sitting on that beautiful California coast, soaking up the sun, I looked down the beach and there was a kid making his way down the beach. He had a surf board under one arm and a bible under the other. He was going down the beach and he was talking to people. I noticed that at one point he stuck his surfboard in the sand and he started to talk about the surf board and there was a bit of back and forth. I was wondering what he was doing and then at another point he would sit there and gesture to his bible and he would flip it open and he would start to talk. I would look at the people sitting on the sand as he was talking to him, I couldn’t quite hear what they were saying because of the wind and crashing waves, eventually they would start to get animated and the fellow sitting on the sand would start to shake his head and the kid would kind of shrug his shoulders making the universal apologetic “please don’t hurt me” sign. Then he would pick up his surf board and he would walk on down to the next group of people on the beach. I watched him for 2 hours doing this until he finally got to me. As he walked up it looked like he had been brow beaten, he looked like he had a rough go of it, but it was clear that he was trying to share his faith with those people on the beach so I was curious to see what he would say to me. He came up and he said “hey, how’s it going?” I said “good, how is it going with you?” and he said “GOOD.” In my head I thought “liar.” He asked me if I surfed and I replied “no.” He asked me if I would like to learn, “I’ve got my surf board here.” He said. I replied “no.” He asked me what had brought me out to the beach that day. And I told him I was just soaking up some sun all the while being kind of curious to see how he is going to segue this into the gospel because I know he is trying to. He said “Ya know, I am a Christian. I know you might thinks that this is going to be an interruption to your day, but what I have to say is probably the most important you will ever hear.” That is exactly word for word what he said – “It is probably the most important thing you will ever hear.” I heard him say that and immediately begin to pick it apart. Probably? It is defiantly the most important thing anybody needs to hear. You begin to criticize. So I said “Oh ya? What’s that?” He began to walk me through the Romans road. He said “Let me tell you about Jesus, the greatest person that has ever lived. He has forgiven me of all my sins.” Now what followed was some sort of a hodgepodge and I am not entirely sure of his exact presentation. He clearly had done some Ray Comfort way of the Master. He had a little bit of the Romans road going for him. I was also able to identify an old Southern Baptist Mark New Testament approach that he was utilizing. He had clearly brought together a couple of different methods and he crafted something that was unique to him and he was presenting it all to me. I sat there and I listened and I went through the whole thing with him. At the end he said “So, would you like to pray to receive Jesus?” I have prayed to receive Christ and had been baptized since I was 7-years-old, but I felt like he needed a little bit of encouragement so I lied and said “yes, I would love to pray to receive Jesus.” He led me through the prayer and then asked me how I felt. I said “Man, it’s the greatest news I ever heard.” He got all excited and asked me if I would like to come to church with him on Sunday. I told him I was shipping out to Texas. He said “That’s ok, give me your number and I will do some research on the internet and I will try and find a good church for you to go to in Texas.” I said “Brother, you are an amazing blessing to me. I have to confess something to you.” He said “Let me guess, you’re a Christian pretending to be a un-believer just to encourage me aren’t you.” I said “Yes I am actually. That is amazing, how did you know that?” He said “You are the 5th Christian I have witnessed to this morning on this beach.” He didn’t mean that in any kind of a critical or negative way, but when he said it the spirit of God convicted me. You mean to tell me there are 6 of us brothers on this beach and there is only one of us that have the courage to get up and tell other people about Jesus. I did not say that to him because I was afraid he would make me get up and go start telling people about Jesus so I just put that in the back of my mind, but the Lord started to work on my heart. He and I traded phone numbers and we are still friends to this day and he is still very active in telling people about the Lord. He has encountered all kinds of craziness on the beach of California. If you know anything about California you can imagine. It is not exactly the most spiritually receptive place on earth, but nowhere is really. He has got all kinds of stories of ways in which he has seen the Lord work miraculously. He has got stories of times in which he was convinced he was going to get beaten up by drunken surfers, he has got stories of times in which he was invited back to crack houses with people who wanted him to share his cockamamie story with other drug addicts. He has got stories of people coming to faith. He has stories of people getting saved. This was in 2004 and since then he has personally witnessed to and seen come to legitimate saving faith over 30 individuals on the beaches of California. I asked him one time how many people have said no. He said thousands and maybe even tens of thousands. I asked if it ever made him want to stop and he said he always wants to stop, everyday, but then he gets that one and it is the sweetest thing you will ever know. He said “Josh, you know in Matthew 28? The very last verse in the book “Behold, I am with you always to the end of the age.” There is no more sure and absolute experience of the presents of the Lord in your life then in that moment when he was blessed to chose you to bring someone else to salvation. He said it’s like sunshine after a long winter. That resonated with me living here in Kamloops and him living there in California. I am not sure what he means by winter, but I know what it means.
We want Jesus in our life, we want to know that he is with us, we want to know that he is present and we want our faith in him to be strengthened and yet too often we want to do things our way and we want to go down our own path. If you really want to be with the Lord and be close to him my prayer for you is that you would follow him into a daily discipline of personal evangelism. I pray that He is working in your heart today to bring about that conviction.
Let us close this time in Matthew by thanking God for what he has done. Father, we praise you. We adore you. We know, God, that there was no hesitation, there was no doubt on your part when it came to saving us, your people. You didn’t waiver back and fourth between a series of possibilities contemplating the pain and the anguish and the suffering that you would experience. When it came time to save your people there was not a doubt in your mind, there was not a hesitation on your part. You came, you saved and in the fullness of time you brought us into your family and we praise you and we thank you for that. God, as we come to this end of this particular Gospel and as we have spent so many years now thinking and reflecting on what you say to us in your word, I pray God that you would convict us that as we have received this amazing grace we would feel constrained, we would have to share it with others. God, I pray that if there are any here today who are living in fear, who are struggling with their faith, who are doubting your sovereignty and your goodness, I pray God that you would call them to an enthusiastic proclamation of your glory. We ask that you would do that in our hearts this morning. It is in Christ’s name that we pray, Amen.
The Gospel of Matthew is a story about a once and coming King. Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of David, the long awaited for Messiah. He has come once, and Matthew tells the story of His arrival, ministry, sacrificial atoning work on the cross, and His promise to return soon.