April 7th, 2019
“All the World”
Aux. Text: John 17:1-12
Call to Worship: Psalm 98
Service Orientation: Jesus is Master of the Universe. He is even Lord over sin and death. And this loving Master promises to never leave us nor forsake us. Therefore, what are we scared of?
Bible Memory Verse for the Week: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” — Matthew 28:18
- To baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit affirms the reality of the Trinity, the concept coming directly from Jesus himself. He did not say baptize them into the “names,” but into the “name” of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. While the word “Trinity” does not occur in Scripture, it well describes the three-in-one existence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (See also Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 12:4-6; 2 Cor 13:14; Gal 4:6; Eph 4:4-6; 2 Thes 2:13). (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 578)
- This truth (The Trinity) is a great mystery. Let it be enough to receive and believe it, and let us always abstain from any attempt at explanation. It is childish folly to refuse assent to things that we do not understand. We are poor crawling worms of a day, and know little at our best about God and eternity: suffice it for us to receive the doctrine of the Trinity in unity, with humility and reverence, and to ask no pointless questions. (J.C. Ryle, The Crossway Classic Commentaries: Matthew, 295)
The question to be answered is . . . What is Jesus’ underlying motivation for the Great Commission?
Answer: Jesus is Master of the Universe with an agenda of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 3:22-23). Therefore, we can go into all the world with confidence. (Mt 28:18-20)
The Word for the Day is . . . Go
A new survey conducted by the Barna Research Group reveals widespread ignorance of common Christian terms. Researchers asked a sample group of 1,210 adults to define Great Commission, evangelical, John 3:16, and gospel. In each case, only a small minority gave accurate answers. Even “born-again Christians” had trouble answering.
Only 9 percent of the respondents accurately defined Great Commission. About 75 percent of born-again Christians could not offer a definition
When we study the Great Commission, we notice that the word all occurs four times, though this is obscured in some versions: (1) Jesus possesses all authority, (2) he sends us to all nations, (3) we are to teach people all he has commanded, and (4) as we do, we are to know that Jesus will be with us all the days, or always. (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 646)
Whenever the church has done this (evangelized) it has prospered. When it has failed to do this it has stagnated and dried up. Why? Because discipleship demands evangelism; it is an aspect of our obedience as Christ’s followers, and Jesus blesses obedience. If we are following Jesus, we will go to others for whom he died. A disobedient church is one that does not evangelize, begins to dry up, or even dies. (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 648)
What directive should Christians receive from the Great Commission?:
I- Make disciples of all nations because Jesus is Master of the Universe. (Mt 28:18-20; see also: Ps 98; Dn 7:13-14; Bk of Jonah; Acts 28:28; Rom 1:5; 3:29; 1 Cor 15:24-28; Gal 2:2, 8; 3:14; Eph 1:18-21; 3:6-8; Col 1:27; 1 Thess 2:16; 1 Tm 2:7; 2 Tm 4:17; 1 Pt 3:22 )
God’s work done God’s way will not lack God’s support. — Hudson Taylor
In this commission we learn that the Jewish disciples who had followed Jesus through the days of his ministry and who were being commissioned formally to his service were not to limit their operations to Judaism, as we might expect, but were to go to all the people of the world with this gospel. (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 648)
This is the whole of Christianity, “To draw people to Christ and to make them into little Christs.” — C. S. Lewis
Jesus tells us to “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” This means we are to preach the entire message of Jesus without embarrassment and without compromise. We are neither to add to it nor to subtract from it (see Rv 22:18, 19).
Instead of striving to teach all Christ commanded, many are trying to eliminate as much of his teaching as possible, concentrating instead on things that are easily comprehended and unobjectionable. But a core such as this is distorted. It is usually grace without judgment, love without justice, salvation without obedience, and triumph without suffering. The motivation of some of these reductionists may be good: They want to win as many people to Christ as possible. But the method is the world’s, and the results will be the world’s results. Robust disciples are not made by watered-down teaching. (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 649)
If converts are attracted on the basis of satisfying self-interest, it will be difficult to change this into the daily cross-carrying that is a characteristic of authentic discipleship. People are likely to continue on the basis on which they first came. (Eddie Gibbs; Church Next, 50)
II- We can risk everything making disciples because it is not really a risk. (Mt 28:18-20; see also: Mt 16:24; 19:29; Mk 8:34; 10:30; Lk 9:23; 14:27; Rom 8:28-39; Gal 2:20; Eph 3:14-20; Phil 4:12-19; 1 Tm 6:6-19)
The Great Commission begins with the indicative announcement, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” He doesn’t say, “Now go into all the world and bring everything into subjection to me.” He says, “No, no, no. It is. I don’t think you understand. Everything in heaven and on earth belongs to me. Now go you scardy cats!” (Michael Horton; “Working for God”)
No one is outside the sphere of his authority or is exempt from his call. On the other hand, this is also a statement of Jesus’ ability to bring fruit from our efforts, for it is through the exercise of his authority that men and women actually come to believe and follow him. (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 647)
The New Testament Greek word translated as “disciple” comes from a root that means “learner.” By definition, a disciple is someone who never stops learning. A true disciple makes the most of the hundred billion brain cells God has put on loan to him. A true disciple loves more because she knows more. A true disciple is consumed with holy curiosity that doesn’t take yes for an answer. The disciple keeps asking and seeking and knocking. And the quest is never over because the questions never end. (Mark Batterson, Primal, A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity, 107)
When we put Christ’s announcement in that context, we sense that he is not merely talking about an acknowledgment of his earthly authority in heaven. Rather, his authority is superior to and over all other authorities whether spiritual, demonic, or otherwise. His resurrection proves his authority over any power that can possibly be imagined. Consequently, we do not fear Satan or anyone else while we are engaged in Jesus’ service. (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 647)
Obedience in missions and social justice has always been costly, and always will be. In the village of Miango, Nigeria, there is an SIM guest house and a small church called Kirk Chapel. Behind the chapel is a small cemetery with 56 graves. Thirty-three of them hold the bodies of missionary children. Some of the stones read: “Ethyl Arnold: September 1, 1928-September 2, 1928.” “Barbara J. Swanson: 1946-1952.” “Eileen Louise Whitmoyer: May 6, 1952-July 3, 1955.” For many families this was the cost of taking the gospel to Nigeria. Charles White told his story about visiting this little graveyard and ended it with a tremendously powerful sentence. He said, “the only way we can understand the graveyard at Miango is to remember that God also buried his Son on the mission field.” (John Piper, Future Grace, 346)
Worship Point: Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:31-39) because Jesus is Master of the Universe. (Mt 28:18-20; Jn ch 17; 1 Cor 15:24-28; Eph 1:18-23; Col 1:13-20; 1 Pt 3:22)
Gospel Application: As God (Mt 1:23; 9:6; Jn 1:1-14; 5:17-23; 10:30-33; 20:28; Rom 9:5; Phil 2:6-11; 1 Tm 3:16; Ti 2:13; Heb 1:1-8; 1 Jn 5:20), Jesus has authority over heaven and earth (Mt 28:18-20; Jn ch 17; 1 Cor 15:24-28; Eph 1:18-23; Col 1:13-20; 1 Pt 3:22). But, as our substitute (Rom 5:1-6:14; 1 Cor 15:20-22; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:1-4:31; 1 Pt 2:22-24; 1 Jn 3:5), coming back from the dead (Mt 28:1-7; Mk 16:1-7; Lk ch 24; Jn 21:1-18; Acts 2:24; 13:30-34; 17:31; Rom 1:4; 4:24; 6:1-10; 10:9; 1 Cor ch 15; Eph 1:18-20; 1 Pt 1:3), He has authority over sin and death (1 Cor 15:24-28; 2 Cor 5:21). If we will die to our own values, agendas, will and self; Jesus will impute to us the same rights, privileges and inheritance that He enjoys. (Mt 16:24; 19:29; Mk 8:34; 10:30; Lk 9:23; 14:27; Jn 1:12; Rom 8:14-17, 28-39; Gal 2:20; Eph 1:18-21; 3:14-20; Phil 4:12-19; 1 Tim 6:6-19; 1 Jn 3:1-2; 2 Pt 1:4)
The nature of the calling of the disciples of Jesus, and their resultant dependence on Him, means that there is nothing in the life of disciples which is apart from Jesus and His life. With all they have and are they are drawn into fellowship with Him. But the way of Jesus leads to the cross. Hence entry into His fellowship as His disciple carries with it the obligation to suffer. (Gerhard Kittle; Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Vol IV, 449)
Spiritual Challenge: Jesus, who has all authority over heaven and earth will never leave you nor forsake you (Dt 31:6-8; Josh 1:5; Mt 28:20) and he has delegated authority to us to follow in His steps (Mt 28:18-20; 1 Cor 11:1; 1 Tm 1:16; 1 Pt 2:21; 2 Pt 3:18-22). We should live every moment of every day without fear, worry or despair (Mt 6:25-34; 10:19; Mk 13:11; Lk 12:4-5, 22-29; Jn 16:33; Rom 8:15-39; 2 Cor 4:8; Phil 4:6; 1 Pt 3:14; 5:7; 1 Jn 4:18).
The revolutionary new world, which began in the resurrection of Jesus–the world where Jesus reigns as Lord, having won the victory over sin and death–has its frontline outposts in those who in baptism have shared his death and resurrection. The intermediate stage between the resurrection of Jesus and the renewal of the whole world is the renewal of human beings–you and me!–in our own lives of obedience here and now. (N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, 249)
Since God knew them in this way he planned that they should be shaped to the likeness of his Son. Jesus is the likeness or “very image” of God (2 Cor 4:4; cf. Col 1:15). Man was originally made in God’s “image” and “likeness” (Gn 1:26) but lost that likeness, as he also lost the “splendor” (3:23), by his sin. As a member of the new humanity in the fully restored New Age, he will regain both the likeness and the splendor which Jesus already possesses. This does not mean that the Christian will be the same as Jesus: the latter will retain his unique position as being the eldest among a large family of brothers (cf. 8:17), and the Christian only receives the likeness and splendor through Jesus. (Ernest Best, The Cambridge Bible Commentary: Romans, 101)
Whatever happens, they at least are never completely friendless and alone: Christ is always with them. They may look into the grave and say with David, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Ps 23:4). They may look forward beyond the grave, and say with Paul, “we will be with the Lord for ever” (1 Thes 4:17). He has said it, and he will stand to it: “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb 13:5). (J.C. Ryle, The Crossway Classic Commentaries: Matthew, 296)
The authority that has been delegated to him by the Father he now delegates to his disciples. “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (Jn 20:21). He gives them the authority and responsibility to make disciples of all nations by baptizing them in the name of the triune God and by teaching them to obey everything he has commanded. (G. J. and M. J. Albrecht, The People’s Bible: Matthew, 442)
Spiritual Challenge Questions:
- What should our life look like if we truly believed that Jesus was Master of the Universe, and Lord over people, circumstances, nations, governments, events, death, sickness and even sin?
- Who do you know that needs the Gospel? What is preventing you from sharing the Good News about Jesus with them?
- When we make disciples, we are to teach them to obey EVERYTHING Jesus commanded. What are some politically incorrect, or socially unacceptable commands of Jesus that are especially difficult to teach, let alone obey?
So What?: If Jesus is truly Master of the Universe and Lord over life and death; then the only reasonable way to live the life that is truly life is when we live “In Christ.”
If believers want to know what God is like, and what they by his grace will become, they must look to Jesus Christ (Eph 4:13; Phil 3:21; Col 1:15). Salvation is God’s personal, eternal plan to make believers conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers (v. 29). The NT normally refers to Christians as believers, disciples, slaves, apostles, sheep, etc., but in this rare passage (Rom 8:29) they are called brothers and peers of Christ! As the firstborn among many brothers Christ desires to share his glory with believers in a sibling relationship. What is more, believers will actually be peers of God, for, as Christ is the image of God, and believers are the image of Christ, believers will one day inherit their original image restored by Christ (Gn 1:26; also Heb 2:6-10). (James R. Edwards, New International Biblical Commentary: Romans, 218)
Eikōn is used of Christ as the very image of the Father (2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15). See Phil 2:6f. For morphē and eikōn to express the gradual change in us till we acquire the likeness of Christ the Son of God so that we ourselves shall ultimately have the family likeness of sons of God. Glorious destiny. (Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. IV, 377)
Christ is the one who has the keys of death and hell; Christ is the anointed priest, who alone can absolve sinners; Christ is the fountain of living waters, in whom alone we can be cleansed; Christ is the Prince and Savior, who alone can give repentance and forgiveness of sins. In him all fullness dwells. He is the way, the door, the light, the life, the shepherd, the altar of refuge. “He who has the son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 Jn 5:12). (J.C. Ryle, The Crossway Classic Commentaries: Matthew, 293)
HFM Mission Statement: Revealing Christ’s love to all ages through the transforming power of God’s Word.
All the World