Sunday, April 19, 2020

“Go and Make Disciples” [Matt's Messages]

“Go and Make Disciples”
Following Jesus - The Gospel of Matthew
LEFC Message for Worship at Home
April 19, 2020 :: Matthew 28:16-20

We have reached the end of our journey of Following Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. This is the eightieth message in our sermon series.

And believe it or not, I preached the first message on December 10, 2017!

I wish that I we were all together for this milestone, but we are not.

There’s another milestone this weekend. It was 22 years ago this Sunday April 19, 1998 when I first preached for this church family. It was our candidating weekend, and this was the bulletin that Sunday.

“Welcome Matt and Heather Mitchell.”

I preached that morning from the book of Habakkuk, we had a fellowship meal together, and then a congregational meeting that evening where I answered questions about my hopes and dreams and ideas for pastoral ministry. And then you called me to come and be your pastor beginning that summer.

And here we are 22 years later. I’m still the pastor, and we’re finishing up an 80 Sunday series on the Gospel of Matthew. Praise God!

We have called this series “Following Jesus” because Matthew wants us to do just that.

Matthew has presented us with a theological biography of the most compelling Person that ever lived. Again and again, Matthew has revealed to us the identity of Jesus answering the question with his eyes on the ball, “Who is this Person Jesus?”

And when you know Who is this Person Jesus and believe in Who this Person Jesus is, you are invited and compelled to follow Him.

So it should come as no surprise that the Gospel of Matthew ends with the Person of Jesus giving His followers a command to make more followers of Jesus.

The title of this message is “Go And Make Disciples.”

Which is what Jesus says in verse 19, “Go and make disciples.”

A disciple is a follower.

So this is a command for followers of Jesus to make more followers of Jesus.

“Go and make disciples.”

Okay. That’s it. That’s the whole message.

“Go and make disciples.”

You can turn off the video now.

If you have that down and you’re doing that, then you’ve got today’s message.

But even though we know this (and I’ve preached this passage many times over the last 22 years, even though we know this), so often we forget that this is our mission, and we forget why we are doing it and how we are to do it and with whom we are to do carry it out.

So let’s look at it a little more closely, starting in verse 16.

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.”

I love that last bit!

If I were writing this gospel, I would never include the fact that some of the disciples doubted that Jesus was alive again. But I love that the Apostle Matthew did include it. Because it’s so real. It’s so honest and obviously historical. This happened.

The disciples (minus Judas who has by now killed himself) went to Galilee just as we heard last week Jesus had told the women to tell the disciples, and they have met up with Him on a certain mountainside.

When they saw Him, they worshiped Him.

Just like the women, we saw last week, grabbing His feet.

But some doubted.

Some were hesitant at least at first. Some weren’t sure that this could be true.

But it is!

And Jesus moves towards them. I wonder if some of them stepped back.

My guess is that as He approached them, closer and closer, their doubts ran away.

Notice that Jesus accepts and receives their worship.

He doesn’t turn them away. He takes their worship as rightfully due Him.

Who is this Jesus? He is worthy of worship.

In fact, He has all authority. Verse 18.

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’”

That’s a lot of authority. In fact it’s all the authority there is.

That’s divine authority. That’s total authority.

That’s an audacious claim!

But it’s a claim being made by a once crucified and now resurrected Man.

So, I think we can take it seriously!

And we should.

I have 3 simple points of application for us in this message, and here’s the first one.


Jesus is Lord. He is risen from the dead.

And He has all authority in heaven and on earth given to Him by His Father.

So, yes, follow Jesus.

Are you doing that?

Can other people tell that you and I are followers of Jesus by the way we live our lives?

By the choices we make?
By the decisions we make?
By the way we live our daily lives?

Do our choices in daily life demonstrate that Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth?

If not, what needs to change? And where do we need to start?

Follow Jesus.

Here’s where Jesus wants us to start.

He wants us to:


Jesus takes all of that authority and issues this commission. Verse 19

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Our mission as followers of Jesus is to make more followers of Jesus.

That’s what it means to “make disciples.”

And we’re supposed to go all over the world doing it.

For some, that means international ministry, like our missionaries.

But for all of us it means going to those who are not yet followers of Jesus and telling them about the Person of Jesus and what Jesus did for them on the Cross and inviting them to follow Jesus, too.

Who have you been going to with the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Who have you been bragging about Jesus to recently?

Matthew has told us Who Jesus is. Now we are supposed to tell the world.

I love that Jesus said “all nations,” and by “nations,” He didn’t mean countries. He meant more like we say “nationalities” or, better, people groups.

The Gentiles. The various kinds of people in the world.

Even people in Central Pennsylvania.

Think about that. Somebody brought us the message.

It came all the way from that mountain in Galillee to Clearfield and Centre County, Pennsylvania.

And now it’s our job to spread it from here.

Who do you need to talk to this an appropriate 6 foot distance or over some amazing technology...who do you need to talk to this week about Jesus?

Because we’re supposed to be making followers.

Now, we can’t force anybody to become a follower of Jesus.

It doesn’t work that way. We invite. We present. We offer.

And then when someone takes Jesus up on His invitation to follow Him, we are not finished. We have more work to do. Listen to verse 19 again.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Making disciples is not just evangelism, sharing the gospel and inviting people to believe the gospel.

It’s also inducting people into the gospel and instructing people in the gospel.

Jesus says make disciples by baptizing them.

That’s when we dunk people in the water as a dramatic picture of inclusion in Christ.

When you go down into the water, you are saying and the church is saying and God is saying, “This person died with Jesus.” In Jesus.

When you come up out of the water, you are saying and the church is saying and God is saying, “This person now lives with Jesus.” In Jesus.

Baptism says to world that you are follower of Christ.

It’s a symbolic induction into the gospel.

Notice that Jesus says that the apostles are to baptize in the name (singular) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

One name and then three names!

That’s the mystery of the Trinity lurking there. We’ve seen it again and again as we’ve read the Gospel of Matthew.

Think about what an audacious claim this again yet again.

Jesus (Who has said again and again that He is the Son) has now equated Himself with the Father and the Holy Spirit!

He’s saying they are One!

That’s mysterious, but it’s also wonderful and precious.

And what is proclaimed about God whenever we do a baptism.

Have you been baptized?

Have you said to the world that you are a follower of Jesus?

If not, why not?

Because right here the Risen Lord who has ALL authority has told us to do that to all His followers.

But discipleship doesn’t end there.

It begins there.

Jesus said that after baptizing the new followers, it’s our job to be (v.20) “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Making followers of Jesus means instructing them in the obedience of the gospel.

We don’t just want decisions, we want disciples.

So we need to teach each other to obey.

Our job is not done when someone prays a prayer or gets baptized.

Our job is not done until everybody is doing everything that Jesus wants us to.

So who are you teaching what Jesus commands?

Because this is not just a mission for pastors.

This is for the whole church.

This is our mission. We are supposed to be teaching each other Jesus’ commands.

That’s why we’ve been reading the Gospel of Matthew!

To find out what Jesus wants from us.

And to help each other actually do it.

Remember, we’ve learned about 5 major blocks of teaching the Gospel of Matthew.

The Sermon on the Mount.
The Teaching on Missions.
The Parables of the Kingdom.
The Teaching on Relationships.
And the Olivet Discourse, the Teaching on the Last Things and the Coming of the Son of Man.

Jesus wants us to know all of those things and teach each other all of those things.

And not just to know them but to obey them!

Including all of the hard stuff.

We’ve learned that Jesus asks some pretty hard stuff of His followers.

It’s all for our good.

But some of it is really hard.

Jesus wants you to do the hard stuff.

The Sermon on the Mount was not optional.

And we need to help each other to follow Jesus in obedience to everything that He has commanded us.

That’s our mission!

For 22 years, that’s what I’ve been trying to do to you!

But the good news is that we don’t have to do this mission ALONE.

Jesus doesn’t just send us on a mission.

He goes with us on that mission.

We get to follow Jesus and make followers of Jesus...

#3. WITH JESUS. V.20

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

I love that, don’t you?

Matthew ends his Gospel just like he started it.

Remember what the angel told Joseph back in chapter 1?

They will call Jesus, “Immanuel” which means, “God with us.”

And now in chapter 28, Jesus says, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

I love how total this last paragraph of Matthew is.

Jesus has ALL authority.
He wants us to make disciples of ALL nations.
We are teach ALL the things He has commanded.

And He promises to be with us ALL of the days we are on this mission until He comes again.

That is so encouraging to me.

Because I would be afraid to do this mission on my own.

Just going for groceries right now is a major mission these days, right?

You have to get all suited up.

Get your mask on.
Don’t touch your face.
Remember everything you touched.
Maintain your spacing.
Sneeze into your elbow.
Wash your hands when you get back.

You are not alone.

You are not being sent on this mission on your own.

The Lord Jesus by His Holy Spirit is WITH YOU.

Jesus is with you.

So you can go to the grocery store.

Because Jesus is with you.

And you can follow Jesus with your whole life.

Because Jesus is with you.

And you can make disciples of all kinds of people.

Because Jesus is with you.

This may be the end of the Gospel, but it’s not the end of the story.

It’s the beginning of the mission!

Follow Jesus.
Make Followers of Jesus.
With Jesus!

Because Jesus is with you.


Previous Messages in This Series:01. The Genealogy of Jesus
02. The Birth of Jesus Christ
03. The Search for Jesus Christ
04. The Baptism of Jesus
05. The Temptation of Jesus
06. Following Jesus
07. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount
08. The Good Life (Part One)
09. The Good Life (Part Two)
10. You Are The...
11. Jesus and the First 2/3 of the Bible
12. But I Tell You
13. But I Tell You (2)
14. But I Tell You (3)
15. In Secret
16. Choose Wisely
17. Seek First His Kingdom
18. Generous
19. These Words of Mine
20. When He Saw the Crowds
21. When He Came Down from the Mountainside
22. Follow Me
23. Our Greatest Problem
24. Who Does He Think He Is?
25. Special Agents
26. Sheep Among Wolves
27. What To Expect On Your Mission
28. Are You the One?
29. Come to Me
30. The King of Rest
31. So Thankful!
32. Overflow
33. This Wicked Generation
34. Get It?
35. What Is Really Going On Here?
36. Baptizing the Disciples
37. The Treasure of the Kingdom
38. Living the Last Beatitude
39. Five Loaves, Two Fish, and Jesus
40. It Is I.
41. Worthless Worship
42. Great Faith in a Great God
43. The Pharisees and Sadducees
44. The Question and the Promise
45. Take Up His Cross
46. Like the Sun
47. Seed-Sized Faith
48. These Little Ones
49. If Your Brother Sins Against You
50. The Lord of Marriage
51. Drop Everything
52. First and Last
53. The Suffering Serving Son of Man
54. Shouting for the Son of David
55. Expecting Fruit
56. Come to the Wedding Banquet
57. Whose Image?
58. Acing the Test
59. What Do You Think About the Christ?
60. How Not To be A Leader
61. Malignant Religion
62. Fakes and Snakes
63. Birth Pains
64. The Coming of the Son of Man
65. No One Knows
66. Keep Watch
67. Well Done!
68. When Did We See You?
69. A Beautiful Thing
70. "The Passover With My Disciples"
71. "This Very Night"
72. "It Must Happen in this Way"
73. "He Is Worthy"
74. Disowned and Condemned
75. Jesus Stood Before the Governor
76. A Crown of Thorns
77. "If You Are The Son of God"
78. "Surely He Was the Son of God!"
79. "Afraid Yet Filled With Joy"