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Matt 28 16-20 The Great Commission

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1.Our text is Matt 28:16-20 – Great Commission

a. Why another sermon on this text?

b.            The church is missing the main point

c. Main point is discipleship

d.            We are called to be disciple-makers

e.Observation shows that the # of disciples is not growing

f.   Also, people who claim to be Christians are not living like Christians

2.The evidence…

a. Studies show Moral behavior of Christians no better than that of unbelievers

                                               i.      Illegal drug use

                                           ii.      Driving while intoxicated

                                        iii.      Marital infidelity and divorce

b.            Church attendance is decreasing

                                               i.      Attitude towards the church is that it is not needed

                                           ii.      Cults and world religions on exploding: Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and Mormonism.

                                        iii.      Between 1965 and 2001 the Mormons, in the U.S. have tripled in size

1.Mormons boast that many of their member former SBC

                                        iv.      Between 1990 and 2000 Christianity saw a mere 5% increase

3.Why is this occurring?

a. The goal of the Church is to make disciples

b.            It is the main thing that we are to be about

c. But we are failing in this country…why?

d.            We are busy, but what are we busy doing?


a. Large manufacturing plant that makes shoes

b.            Lots of money invested in salaries, machinery, and materials to make the best shoes

c. Plant is operational

                                               i.      Lots of workers

                                           ii.      Machines running at full capacity

d.            President asks production manager

                                               i.      President:  How many shows have we made so far?

                                           ii.      Manager: None

                                        iii.      President: None…how long has this plant been open?

                                        iv.      Manager: 2 years

                                           v.      President: 2 years and still no shoes?

                                        vi.      Manager: That’s right but we have been very busy. So busy we are nearly tired out

e.The management of an unproductive company like this would surely try to get to the bottom of the situation.

f.   Yet this is what we see in many churches

                                               i.      Much activity

                                           ii.      The budget is higher than it has ever been

                                        iii.      People are working hard

                                        iv.      But the objective, to make disciples, is being missed.


5.The Text – Matt 28:16-20

a. 16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.

17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.

18 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

19 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,

20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."


b.            Does this text apply to believers today?

                                               i.      It was spoken to the Apostles but does it apply today?

1.YES! – not only does it apply, but it is timeless.

a. Holy Kiss

b.            V.19 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”

                                                                                                                       i.      They had an impossible task.

c. V.20 – “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”

                                                                                                                             i.            The original Apostles are dead; obviously He was also speaking to those who come after them.

c. These passages tell us some important things:

                                               i.      It tells us what the main purpose of the church is, which is discipleship (purpose) PURPOSE

                                           ii.      It tells us how we should proceed in accomplishing our task of disciple making (how to fulfill our purpose) PATTERN

                                        iii.      It tells us how to evaluate our disciple-making efforts (how to evaluate our efforts) PROGRESS

                                        iv.      It gives some promises regarding our victory in disciple making (promises regarding future victory) PROMISE

d.            Jesus says that there are specific things we must to fulfill the Great Commission – as we look at these we will fill in the details of the previously mentioned points

                                               i.      Go and make disciples

1.“Go” is not a command

2.Can’t be separated from “make disciples”, “teach”, or “baptize”

3.Many sermons focus on “going”

a. Africa, India, China, etc

b.            “Going” is needed, but not the point Jesus is making

4.Literally the text says; “As you are going”

a. Not a command but an assumption

b.            As we go we are to make disciples

                                                                                                                       i.      As you go about your daily life make disciples

5.Based on this, discipleship is not something we do occasionally or every once and a while

a. It is part of our lifestyle as believers

b.            We should do it all the time

6.“Make disciples of all nations” - The main verb in the text is “make disciples.

a.    It is the main thing that we as a Church are to be about

b.            The acts of “going”, “baptizing”, and “teaching” are subordinate to “make disciples

c. “going”, “baptizing”, and “teaching” are part of the disciple making process; they get their purpose from the central act of making disciples.

d.            Jesus strategic plan – “begin with the end”

7.But what is a disciple?

a. Disciple = learner or pupil

b.            V. 16 - Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.

c. Early followers of Jesus were called disciples

d.            Spent time with the Master

e.They submitted themselves to Christ

                                                                                                                       i.      Ultimately became His instruments to disciple all nations

f.   Jesus is calling us to do what He Himself did

                                                                                                                       i.      Spend time with people, teach them, and show them what a transformed life looks like

                                                                                                                   ii.      And send them out to make disciples

g. disciple making requires more than sharing the gospel (evangelism)

h.            Evangelism is only the first step not the last

i.     Many churches have much evangelistic work but no disciple making efforts

j.    We are not called to make “converts” but disciples

k. Jesus tells us how to accomplish this

                                           ii.      Baptizing

1.New converts are to be baptized in the name of the Triune God

2.Symbolizes their union with God and entrance into the Church

3.In this disciple making process we are calling people to Christ and baptizing them as an expression of their faith

                                        iii.      Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you

1.Disciples are further strengthened by our teaching

2.But note what Christ says to teach

a. “to observe all that I have commanded you”

b.            “observe” means to obey

c. NIV – “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you

d.            Thus, teaching ≠ intellectual knowledge

e.Teaching = obedience

f.   John 14:15 – Jesus said, “If you love me you will obey what I command”

g. Mark of a true disciple = obedience, not knowledge

h.            Some knowledge is necessary

i.     But knowledge w/o obedience is useless

j.    Matt 7:21 - "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

k. Matt 7:26-27  26 “And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it."

3.Jesus says that we are to teach “all that He commanded

a. That’s  a tall order

                                                                                                                       i.      Matt 22:36-40

                                                                                                                   ii.      36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"  37 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."

1.The basic requirements of Christianity are:

a. Love God with everything you have

b.            Show genuine love to others

2.As we spend time discipling people these are things that should be evident in our own lives

e.We have filled in the details on our first three points

                                               i.      Purpose – make disciples

                                           ii.      Pattern – as we are going, baptize and teach obedience

                                        iii.      Progress– are they learning obedience?

f.   A few more things to note

                                               i.      V.18 – Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

1.V.19 – He says, “ Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”

2.Because Christ has all authority he commands us to make disciples

a. It is upon His authority that we make disciples

b.            Furthermore, because He has all authority

                                                                                                                       i.      Not an option or suggestion

1.Calling of all believers

a. An obligation

2.We submit to His supreme authority

                                           ii.      V.20 – “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”

1.No one goes alone

2.Christ Himself goes with them

3.Emphatic assurance - Not: “I will be with you”

a. But “I am with you”

                                        iii.      Mathew’s Gospel ends in a blaze of glory with the resurrected Christ promising to be with His disciples

                                        iv.      The final word here is Christ-centered

1.Even when we fail He remains faithful

2.We have both the authority and presence of Christ to “Go and make disciples of all nations”

3.Great Comfort

a. We minister in a fallen and broken world

b.            Our task can be dangerous

c. Impossible

d.            We doubt


a. Purpose – make disciples

b.            Pattern – baptizing and teaching obedience

c. Progress – are they leaning obedience?

d.            Promise – the one who has all authority is with us

7.Final Q’s

a. How are you doing in your disciple making efforts?

b.            How is this church doing?

c. Maybe you’ve fallen short and you need to repent

d.            Or maybe you’ve never become a disciple of Christ

                                               i.      Christ has all authority and He commands you to repent and put your trust in Him as savior

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