Imagine with me for a second that out of the blue you receive a phone call from a friend requesting you come to his house immediately. Upon your arrival, he begins with these words: “I am about to entrust you with information that will save millions of lives and change the course of history. However, there is only one stipulation: You must take this news to the world!”
Now naturally you out of excitement and wonder would give him your commitment to follow through with his request. Your friend then proceeds to share with you the cure for cancer. How will you broadcast this life saving remedy?
That night you would call every newspaper and news channel available, you would post it all over social media, you would call everyone you know. Appearances on talk shows and television programs would fill your schedule. Everything you did would point to this great new discovery that has been given to you.
Two thousand years ago, the Creator of the universe wrapped Himself in human flesh and came to earth on a mission to redeem and restore mankind. He did not come with the cure for cancer, AIDS, or any other life-threatening illness. He came with the remedy for our greatest problem. He came to crush sin, on the cross, giving us the cure for family destroying, life wrecking, soul defeating cancer of sin.
But how would the Lord spread the greatest news in the world? He could write it in the clouds or announce it from heaven.
But He didn’t.
In His great and powerful wisdom, Jesus Christ entrusted the message of salvation for the world to twelve ordinary men. He chose to leave this mission to men that he had walked with, ate with, and shared life with, men that he personally invested in.
These men responded with Yes, and because of that we are gathered in Churches around the globe, 2,000 plus years later still reflecting on the moment Jesus gave them The Great Commision. We then are ultimately choosing what our response to that message is going to be and how we then live it out.
Join with me as we look to this divine moment in the book of Matthew Chapter 28 verse 17:
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
As a youth minister, I many times have to think like a teen. When a teen reads this passage the first question that comes to their mind and maybe even your is; why are the disciples doubting? Are they doubting that this is the Christ? They have already seen Jesus several different times, they know who Jesus is. They know this is the same man they walked with before the crucifixion.
If we look closer to that word doubt in the language of the New Testament, it can mean to waver or to questions something. It can mean to hesitate or to doubt. I believe that they are hesitant about themselves. They are questioning themselves, they are questioning what is coming next, they are worried about the next moment.
I can imagine the disciples thinking. “Do we know enough? Jesus you have always been with us, when you leave us we are afraid. What if they put us in prison? What if they kill us?
This moment for the disciples is so true for us right here in this room. Many of us doubt that we can do anything for the people around us. Then with that doubt comes fear and ultimately leads us to sitting quietly in the pews and punching our church ticket week in and week out as we watch the “gifted people” do the work.
We can so quickly fall into the Great Confusion rather than the Great Commission. Steve Murrell, in his book WikiChurch identified three myths that fear manifests itself in and hinders the great commission.
The mentoring myth : which cripples believers into thinking that only vocational ministers like Dave, Brandon, Pam, and I should do the work of the ministry. Might I say it has been so cool to see so many of you embrace you gifts during this Above & Beyond Campaign. God is doing so many big things as you surrender your time, talents and treasures to him.
The ministry myth: which plagues the believer into think that “because of my previous sins, my reserved personality, my lack of talents, or my laziness to read the Word, pray, or memorize Scripture, I am not ready for ministry.” We hide behind this idea that we are simply just not good enough.
The maturity myth: Which suggests that full Christian growth must be achieved before ministry can be performed. Many have said, “I will be ready for ministry after I go to seminary,” or, “when I complete this next Bible study, I should be prepared,” or, “After I have had some time to get used to this church thing, then ask me to serve.” Fearful that someone may ask us a question for which we have no answer, we idly sit by without ever participating in any ministry. All the while we exclude ourselves from the purpose of a Christian and will not be able to see God’s great blessing in our lives. Because we have not trusted in him.
But watch Jesus’s response to the disciples fear and our fear today. Jesus goes sssshhhhhhhh….
See how he addresses them in verse 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
This is where the The Great Commission begins. It begins in trusting the power of who Jesus Christ the son God is. The God who put the stars in place, formed the foundation of the earth, created you and me and who came for us and defeated the grave! When we look to our own power, we will have fear but when we search the heart of God and trust in His ways we have confidence.
Jesus would then lay out His plan to spread the life saving information to the world.
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.”
This mission to go and make disciples is more than a slogan. It is a summary statement of the love, compassion, and heart Jesus demonstrated and gives us for our neighbors, our family, and people we have yet to meet.
We can all take heart 1 Peter 2 : 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
The gospel came to you because it was heading to someone else. God never intended for your salvation to be an end, but a beginning. God saved you to be a vessel through whom His glorious, life-changing gospel would flow to others.
You are a link in the chain of 2 Timothy 2:2, which says, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
For you today, maybe it's time to stop being afraid, and embrace the mission that God has given you. A mission that starts with obedience and trust in Jesus. Which is perfectly shown through baptism as you lay down your life and say “I will follow you, Jesus”. If you haven't made that decision in your life it's time, it's time to stop waiting, your mission begins today.
A mission that you don't have to do by yourself, because as the text ends in Matthew 28 : 20, Jesus says “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I look forward to being with each of you this weekend as we unpack The Great Commision further. Together let's be intentional to pursue the mission God has given to us, to make disciples.