Sunday, April 23, 2023

“I Am With You Always” [Matt's Messagse]

“I Am With You Always”

Lanse Evangelical Free Church
April 23, 2023 :: Matthew 28:16-20

“I Am With You Always.”

What a wonderful promise that is! What a wonderful promise to end this book with!  What a wonderful promise for Natalie and Carter to hear from the risen Lord Jesus on the day that they get baptized in His name! 

What a wonderful promise for all of us who have been baptized into that same name.

Jesus says to us, “I am with you always.” What a wonderful promise for those first eleven disciples who were being given their marching orders from their risen king!

For the last few weeks, we have been meditating on and marveling in the reality and meaning of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

This chapter, Matthew 28, goes over a lot of the same details as we studied two weeks ago in Luke chapter 24 with what the women found when they went to Jesus’ grave site on that first Resurrection Sunday.

They found an open and empty tomb. Matthew fills in some details that Luke left out. Like how the guards had been scared by the angel and then conspired to lie about the whole thing for money. And how Jesus appeared to the women and told them to not be afraid but to tell His disciples to meet Him in the North country of Galilee.

Matthew tells us here in verse 16 that they met Him right where He said to. There are only eleven disciples because Judas had betrayed Jesus and killed himself afterwards. But the eleven meet Jesus there. V.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” (Vv.16-17).

I would not have included that part! If this was the Gospel of Matthew Mitchell, I would have left that last part out, but I love that the Apostle Matthew did not. Again, it gives it the ring of truth. That’s exactly what would have happened at first.

They can hardly believe their eyes. Of course, they hesitated! As a general rule, dead people don’t come back to life! Especially crucified dead people!

But here Jesus is walking up to them. And so they worship! And rightly so. They bow down. They marvel. They wonder. They worship Him.

And there is a key word that the Risen Lord Jesus uses four times in the next three verses. In Greek, it’s the word “pas,” and most of the time in English we render it, “All.” 

All authority, all nations, all His commands, always.

Those will be our four points this morning if you’re taking notes.


That’s what He says in verse 18. “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

That’s an awful lot of authority, isn’t it?! That’s all the authority that there is. That’s cosmic authority. All authority in heaven and on earth. 

Now, of course, He’s always had that authority. He is the Son of God and God the Son and has been for all eternity. But the Gospel of Matthew tells us how He humbled Himself and came as a little baby in chapter 1. Even then He was “God with us,” wasn’t He? The angel told Joseph that he should name Jesus “Immanuel” because He was God with us from the git-go. “I will be with you always.”

And He had amazing authority. You might remember that we saw that all the way through the Gospel of Matthew in 2017, 2018, 2019 and the first part of 2020. Jesus taught as One with authority. He had authority over disease and demons. He had authority over the wind and waves. He had amazing authority!
But now Jesus has somehow gone to a new level of authority by dying and rising from the dead. Upon His resurrection, His Father has bestowed on Jesus, in some new way, all authority in heaven and on earth.

He is the King of Everything! Worthy of our worship.

“Rejoice, the Lord is King! Your Lord and King adore.
Rejoice, give thanks, and sing, and triumph everymore.

His kingdom cannot fail, He rules over earth and heav’n
The keys of death and hell, Are to our Jesus giv’n!

Lift up your heart!
Lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!”
- Charles Wesley

If you had all authority, what would you tell your followers to do?

I think this may be the one passage of holy Scripture that I have preached the most times in the last twenty-five years. I went back through my records, and I found at least seven times that this was the text that I preached from in this pulpit [1998, 1999, 2007, 2016a, 2016b, 2018, 2020].  And I know I’ve referenced it many more times, and rightfully so. Because this passage encapsulates our mission as a church straight from the mouth of our Risen Lord.

If you had all authority, what would you tell your followers to do?

The Risen Lord Jesus tells us to make more followers of Him. V.19 

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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...”


Did you see the “all” there? All authority, all nations. Every kind of people out there. That’s what the word “nations” means, it means “groups of people,” not just countries and nation-states, but every kind of ethnicity and tribe and tongue and people-group that you can imagine.

This is a key command for the church to do missions–to send people all over the world. Those people on the back wall of the auditorium are some of the people whom we are sending to obey this command to make disciples, followers of Jesus, from all nations. And because the apostles were faithful to obey these marching orders, the gospel of the Risen King has reached our ears! It has made it to the people groups here in central Pennsylvania. That’s why our church is here–because Jesus wants disciples from the people right here in our area.

And in our families, too. Let me tell you about some people who have been trying hard to obey this command. Shane and Holly who have told their daughter Natalie about how Jesus Christ died on the Cross for her sins. And Bill and Shasta have told their son Carter about how that same Jesus came back to life to give him life. These parents have been have been trying to make disciples of their children in obedience to Jesus. 

And Natalie and Carter have believed and chosen to become disciples. They’ve told me that themselves.

So, what’s the next step? What does He say in verse 19? It’s baptism.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, [how do you do that?] baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...”

That’s why we are doing that today. We are not baptizing these two today because it’s fun to see people get wet. This isn’t a dunk tank.

We are baptizing these two because they are identifying themselves with their Risen Lord, in fact, they are identifying themselves with All of Who God is. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The One God that we confessed this morning in the Apostles’ Creed. One God in Three Persons. Did you see that in verse 19? One God. One name. “Baptizing them in THE name.” And then there are these three Persons named as THE name–God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. Greg Strand taught us about the Tri-Unity of God this last Fall. One God in Three Persons, the Blessed Trinity.

In our baptism class, Carter, Natalie, and I noticed that those same three Persons were present at Jesus’ Baptism. The Father spoke, the Spirit descended like a dove, and Jesus is the Beloved Son.

So, when Uncle Joel dips them back into to the water, he’s going to bring out those same three names as the one name, identifying Natalie and Carter with the Three in One. Saying that Carter and Natalie are WITH this One God. And, at the same time, Jesus is saying it to them: “I will be with you always.”

Natalie and Carter, as you get baptized today, you are taking on this Great Commission yourself. You are saying that you are followers of Jesus and that you are going to engage in making more followers of Jesus.

You will tell your friends about Jesus. You will help missionaries spread the word about Jesus. You will pray about whether or not Jesus might be asking you yourself to go to people around the world and tell them about Jesus’ death and resurrection. Because the Risen Jesus wants disciples from all nations. And He’s using us to make them.

Let me ask the rest of you if you have been baptized yourself. Because some people have decided it’s just not that important to be baptized and have put it off indefinitely. Have you been baptized as a follower of Jesus Christ? If not, why not?

Notice who says that we should be baptizing followers of Jesus. It’s Jesus Himself! And He’s come back from the dead to say it! And He’s said that He’s saying it from the position of ALL AUTHORITY. I think you and I ought to take that pretty seriously, don’t you? 

What could be holding you back? What could be holding you back from obeying the Person with all of the authority of heaven and earth from obeying all of His commands? That’s third ALL here. “All His commands.” Verse 20.

“...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”


Including the command to be baptized. Every single thing that Jesus has taught His disciples, they are supposed to pass on to all of His disciples. We don’t get to pick and choose. And notice that it says, “teaching them TO OBEY” all of His commands. 

Making disciples isn’t just passing on head-knowledge, filling brains with lists of commands. It is helping His followers to follow. And not just the commands that we feel like following.

Carter and Natalie, as you are baptized today, you are saying to the Lord and to the world that you are ready and willing to learn everything that Jesus wants to you to do, and you are ready and willing to do it. And that’s true of every baptized believer here in this room. Or, at least, it should be. Are there some commands that we are unwilling to learn to obey? If there are, we should repent of them today. Because Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth!

I’m not saying it’s easy. Following Jesus can be hard. Really hard. Making disciples can be hard. Living as a disciple can be hard. Jesus asks us to some hard things. Read the Gospel of Matthew over again if you need a reminder! (And we all need reminders.)

Yes, it can be hard, but Jesus has all of the authority to require all of His disciples from all of the nations to obey all of His commands. 

And here’s the good news, He gives us the power to do that, and He assures us of His presence as we do it! V.20

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


Jesus has come back to life and will never die again. And He has promised to never leave His followers. He sends us out, yes, but He doesn’t stay back while we march out on our gospel mission. He goes with us!

We are not alone. Everything that He asks us to do, we do not do by ourselves. He promises us His presence. By His Spirit. Until He comes back at the end of the age to bring in the fullness of His kingdom.

“Surely I am with you always.” That word “surely” is the word for “behold.” It’s the same word that we emphasized when Ron Bean was baptized on January 8th. “Behold! Look there! I’m telling you, this is important. Behold! Check this out.”  “Behold! I am with you always. You can count on it. You can take it to the bank. Nothing will separate you from me. Nothing can snatch you from my hand. I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Behold! Natalie, Carter, Lanse Free Church, you and I can “sing wherever we go” because Jesus goes wherever we go.

Jesus says, “I am with you always.”