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What a Difference

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What a Difference!



Scripture Matthew 28:16-20

 Introduction: Matthew began his gospel by proclaiming that the baby Jesus
was the Son of David, the promised King of Israel (Matthew 1:1-2).

He now closes his gospel by proclaiming that the Lord Jesus possesses all power and authority in heaven and earth.

The Lord Jesus had risen from the dead, and in the power of His resurrection

His followers are to go forth proclaiming His glorious kingdom.

In this great passage Matthew covers the great commission of the resurrected Lord, the King to whom all power and authority belong.

1. The disciples met Jesus in Galilee (v.16-17).

2. He assured His followers of His power (v.18).

3. He commissioned His followers (v.19-20).

4. He promised to be with His followers—always (v.20).

1. (28:16-17) Disciples: the disciples met Jesus in Galilee. Note several background facts.

1. Matthew says the eleven disciples met Christ. The eleven were the prominent ones, but apparently there were over five hundred believers present, all seeing Him at once (1 Cor. 15:6).

Christ had already appeared to the eleven on several occasions.

2. The disciples met the Lord in Galilee on a pre-appointed mountain (cp. Matthew 26:32; Matthew 28:7, 10).

Thought 1. There are appointed places where we are to meet the Lord: in prayer, devotions, worship, and Bible study. When we meet the Lord as He says, He meets us.

3. This is significant. They worshipped Him, but some doubted. They just were not sure. Note what Jesus did: He “came and spake to them” (Matthew 27:18). Apparently, His coming and speaking to them erased their doubt and questioning.

2. (28:18) Power Jesus assured His followers of His power.

1. Jesus’ power or authority is a given power. It is given by God, and it is given for one reason: to exalt Christ above and over all.

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:8-9).


2. Jesus’ power is above and over all that is in heaven and in earth. His authority is over the entire universe.

    His authority includes at least three areas.

a. The Lord’s authority includes the power to rule and reign...

to receive the worship and subjection of all men who willingly
surrender to His dominion.

 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).


to bow the knee of all men and to receive their acknowledgement of
His Lordship.

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given
him a name which is above every name: that at the name of
Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11).


b. The Lord’s authority includes the power to govern and direct...

the affairs of men without violating man’s freedom.

 “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God;
angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto
him” (1 Peter 3:22).


the affairs of nature and the world without violating the laws of nature.

“But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is
this, that even the winds and sea obey him!” (Matthew 8:27).


C. The Lord’s authority includes the power to forgive sins, to judge, receive and reject men, and to save and deliver men through life and death

 “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22).


“And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man” (John 5:27).


3. Jesus’ power assures the believer of deliverance. Note when Jesus “came and
spake” of His power: immediately upon the heels of some doubting and immediately before charging His disciples to go into a hostile world. He proclaimed His power in order to erase doubt and to strengthen His disciples in going forth. His power was the disciples’ assurance of victory.

Now, in dealing with the supreme power and authority of Jesus Christ, there are two points that must always be remembered.

1. The Lord’s supreme reign is not yet fully seen. God has not yet revealed His
Son’s supremacy in an absolute sense. However, there is a striking reason for God delaying the visible enthronement of His Son. God wants His Son to still be seen as the Savior of the world. He wants more and more persons to be saved before He ends the world and begins the sovereign reign of His Son upon earth.

 2 Peter 3:3-4, 8-9

2. The Lord’s supreme reign over the entire universe is assured.

2 Peter 3:10-13


3. 28:19-20 Commission, Great— Disciples, Making: Jesus commissioned His followers. He commissioned not only the eleven apostles, but all who were present, more than five hundred disciples. However, note something of crucial importance: it was impossible for that generation to reach the whole world in its lifetime. Therefore, the commission given to the first generation of believers extends beyond to all generations of believers. The very same charge given to them is given to us. Our Lord charges us with the very same words, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations....”

The Lord’s commission was threefold.

1.  He commissions us to “go ye...and make disciples of all nations.” This is one of the crucial verses in the Bible. No verse is more important for genuine believers.

Teaching and baptizing are not enough to reach the world for Christ. Both are important, and Christ commissions both; but He says something else must precede both:

Discipleship. “Go ye therefore and ‘make disciples’ of” (Matthew 28:19).

 There is no question; the great commission is what Christ had in mind. He has instructed us to go to all nations and evangelize them. But there is the strong conviction that He had more than that objective in mind, more than just an overriding purpose—much more.

Our Lord was not only telling us “to go and evangelize,” He was giving the method to use in evangelizing the world.

What does our Lord mean by “make disciples”? Does it not mean that we are to do what He did: make disciples and do things with them as He did?

Is He not telling us to do exactly as He did?

What did He do?

Christ “came to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

He sought the lost, those who were willing to commit their lives to Him. And when He found such a person,

He saved that person.

When Christ found a person who was willing to commit his life, Christ attached Himself to that person.

Christ began to mold and make that person into His image. The word attach is the key word. It is probably the word that best describes discipleship.

Christ made disciples of men by attaching Himself to them; and through that personal attachment, they were able to observe His life and conversation; and in seeing and hearing, they began to absorb and assimilate His very character and behavior. They began to follow Him and to serve Him more closely. In simple terms this is what our Lord did.

This is the way He made disciples. This was His mission and His method.

He envisioned an extension of Himself, an extension of His very being, and an extension of His mission and method.

The way He chose to extend Himself was discipleship, attaching Himself to committed persons, and through attachment, the persons absorbed and assimilated the Lord’s very character and mission.

They in turn attached themselves to others and discipled them.

There is no question what our Lord’s commission is: we are to go; but more than that, we are to make disciples, to attach ourselves to those persons who will follow our Lord until they in turn can make disciples (2 Tim. 2:2).

 “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31).


 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:2).


2. He commissioned us to baptize all nations Two things need to be noted here.

a.   Baptism is of crucial importance.

b.   Christ says that it is as essential as teaching, despite the fact that it is a one-time act. It is as much a part of the commission of Christ as discipling and teaching.

    Christ is definitely teaching that baptism is to be the immediate sign and the identifying sign that a person is now stepping out of the heathen (unbelieving) ranks and taking his stand with Christ.

b. Baptism “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” means more than just saying a formula as one is baptized, much more. It means...

a statement of faith: of belief in God as the true Father of Jesus Christ;
of belief in Christ as the true Son of God, the Savior of the world; of
belief in the Holy Spirit as the Comforter of the believer.


a commitment to follow God: to follow Him as revealed in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (cp. Christ’s constant references to God as His Father, to Himself as the Son, and to the Holy Spirit throughout the Gospel of John.

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he
that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).


“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of
Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).


2. He commissioned us to teach all that Christ had commanded. Teaching is just as essential as making disciples and baptizing.

One is not to be emphasized over the other. All are part of the commission of our Lord.

Note what is to be taught “all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and
admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16).


“If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained” (1 Tim. 4:6).


Thought 1. What Christ taught and commanded must be studied and studied, to the point of learning and knowing and practicing. The commandments of Christ will be the first things taught. They should be the rule of society.

4. (28:20) Jesus Christ, Presence: Jesus promised to be with His followers—always.

1. Note the word “lo,” or behold. Wake up and listen!

He was about to encourage them in the great task He had charged to their care.

2. Note the great promise: “I am with you.”

He gave emphatic assurance: not “I will be with you,” but “I am with you.”

Christ is with the believer as the believer goes forth to make disciples of all nations. Christ is with us...


 3. Note the boundless promise: “always, even unto the end of the world.” There is not a moment when Christ is not with the believer to help him in his witness, even if his witness means abuse, persecution, and martyrdom.


“And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of” (Genesis 28:15).

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