Whatever happens to us, we always believe that whether good or bad we praise and thank the Lord. The Bible says, “Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth.” Therefore, nothing happens to us by chance. Amen. He is completely able and everything is under His full control.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Into the Word
We are now on the 3rd part of the series “The Great Go-Mission.” We started with “Go with God’s Power.” We learn that this power is absolute and has the full, supreme power and authority of Jesus Christ. It is an expansive power. It has no limits. We also learned that it is an enabling power. As we go, preach, teach and make disciples, God empowers us.
Now, we don’t just “Go with God’s Power” we also need to “Go with God’s Plan.” Going with God’s plan begins by telling others about Christ…taking them into the fellowship of the church…and teaching them to follow God’s way.
Today, we will talk about God’s Presence. We are commanded to “Go…and make disciples of all nations…”. How do we accomplish such an impossible undertaking? The way to address this is with this age-old question: How do you eat an elephant? The answer is: One bite at a time.
So how do we reach the world with the message of Jesus? The answer is: One person at a time? It is one person at a time…in God’s power…in God’s plan…and in God’s presence…Amen.
In this passage, going in God’s presence teaches us three great truths…first…
I. THERE IS CERTAINTY IN THE PROMISE, v.20b.
20b … And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We can mention and cite many names and instances in the Bible where the Lord gave an assurance of His ever presence. When Moses was sent to lead Israel out of Egypt, he received a guarantee from God. God promised to Moses, “I will be with you.” It is the same certainty promised to Jeremiah, when the Lord said, “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you.” To Gideon the Lord said, “I will be with you and you will strike them down all the Midianites together.” Mary received the same guarantee when the angel said to her, “The Lord is with you.” The person of Jesus is the living expression of this guarantee, because His name is Emmanuel, God with us. He promised His disciples to be with them, with all of us (followers of Jesus), even to the end of time. This guarantee sustains and refreshes us. It nourishes and strengthens our faith. It gives us hope that the best is yet to come and that God’s will, will come to pass. It also invigorates us to love God more and the people He died for.
Notice the emphatic introduction of v.20b, “…And surely…” Other versions says, “Behold, Look, Lo, Be sure of this…” It means “remember, take note of this, pay close attention, it is sure to happen.” These words gave great assurance of His spiritual presence with His disciples in the execution of the Great Commission until the end of time. It carries the feeling of certainty. That His presence will be with the church as they carry out the Great Commission, until God’s purpose on earth is completed.
It is His presence that fires us up. Even if the people you are discipling are not responding, He is with you. Even if you feel unappreciated and unrecognized, He is with you and His promise is sure as the rising sun. Even if you feel like your expectations in the ministry are not being met, if you feel inadequate in serving, remember that He is with you. It is His promise of His presence that comforts us. Remember that as you serve here in ECMI. Let’s keep serving faithfully, wholeheartedly, despite what we see because the Lord guarantees His presence.
Q. How does the certainty of God’s promise affect your obedience? Where do you go from here? How can you begin “making disciples?” Where do you need to start? Would you obey Him NOW? Second…
II. THERE IS COMPANIONSHIP IN THE PROMISE, v.20b.
Read v.20…“I am with you…” The word “I” is also emphatic. It means “no less than Jesus Himself…” It conveys the feeling of companionship. This promise goes to all who acknowledge God/Jesus, it goes to those who are engaged in the mission of Christ and His church. Jesus did not say, “I am with you only when the church is growing and thriving, when the people are getting saved left and right, when the ministries are great and everything is perfect.” No! God is with us in our successes and failures, in our fears and faith, in our doubts and delights. He is with us! (Say it…)
Jesus’ promises to be with you, is sure. Pray that we will be able to see that He is with us. It is His presence that fires us. It is His presence that moves us forward. It is His presence that keeps us going in our moments of hesitation – our struggles, discouragement, frustrations, and weariness as we live out the Great Commission. Jesus is there! Say it…There is companionship in this promise, “I am with you…” As we go and make disciples of all nations, He has assured us of His almighty power and abiding presence.
What kind of a companion do we have? He is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, the Lord of all-power and authority. If we go to the ends of the earth…to teach people about Jesus and make disciples, He will be right there with you. Amen! If the drug lords are able to change the lives of people (from better – worse or even worst), how much more with the Lord of Lords and King of Kings – Jesus Christ! (from worse it becomes new…best kind of life). Knowing that you have a constant companion in doing mission (evangelism and discipleship), gives us confidence.
Q. Are you obeying the Great Commission? Or is it the Great Omission? If you are a disciple of Jesus you will be involved in evangelism and discipleship. We have no excuse. A disobedient church is a dying church. The job of a disciple is to be a discipler! A true disciple makes disciples…
“No evangelism…discipleship, no growth, no church, no Christianity”
(Rev. Thomas McCuddy).
III. THERE IS CONTINUITY IN THE PROMISE, v.20b.
Read v. 20b, “…always, to the very end of the age.” Always here means “all the days.” Jesus is with us all the days even to the end of time. He is with me in the pulpit (whenever I preach), in the prison…all the days, every day. He is with us on Sabbath days, week days, holidays, He is with us any day. There will be no such thing as a God-forsaken day and place as long as there is a believer there even if you are alone, Jesus is right there with you all the time.
What a promise to the believer! He promises to be with us all the days when we go in His name to talk about Him. His presence will never be withdrawn. God is not waiting for you in the finish line, He is running with you. There is continuity in this promise, for He said, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” To this truth, I join Matthew in saying, Amen.”
Q. Are you encouraged and excited to pursue mission or are you still disheartened and disinterested? What is your purpose in life? What is the primary focus of your life? If you are in Christ and you say you are a follower then your purpose in life is to make disciples.
IV. What now?
Going with God’s Presence starts with…
It starts with you…with me…with us!
– Knowing who Jesus is.
And being begins with knowing who Jesus is. Recite Matt. 28:17,
“When they saw Him, they worshiped Him…”
The Lord revealed Himself fully to them. The disciples bowed before Jesus acknowledging His Lordship. That He is the risen Savior, the Son of God, the Lord of Lords. We must believe that Jesus is Lord and that He rose from the dead. The reason He died was to pay for our sins (1 Pet. 2:24). Knowing Jesus is based on faith in Him.
Q. Do you really know Jesus? Is He Lord of your life? If He is truly the Lord of your life then He must be first.
– Knowing who we are in him.
If Jesus is Lord and He died for our sins. Then we should follow and serve our Lord. He came for me/you and so I/we should be faithful to His cause. We are children of God. We are heirs in God’s kingdom. We are servants of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We are in Christ and He in us. We are part of God’s family as such there are certain things we need to do.
If we don’t truly understand who Jesus is and who we are in Him we will get tired, we get burnt out. The things we do for Christ becomes a burden. We lose our joy in serving. We lose our sight of the great vision. But if we know that we are part of God’s family and what we are doing is part of being sons and daughters of God, we will enjoy. Our burden becomes a blessing. And serving becomes a privilege.
Q. Are you growing in your understanding of who Jesus is and who you are in Him?
Our being must be established in Jesus. And here’s the secret…recite Jn. 15:4-5, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself…I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Going with God’s presence starts with being and then…
Now that we are ready…how can we be involved in reaching people for Christ?
– Say your prayers
Who is praying here? I first heard the gospel in 1978 in a bible study at home. I knew then that the word of God had been planted in heart. But it took me 6 years before I finally surrendered my life to the Lord. I knew someone prayed for me. My brother Elmer and Bro. Lito. They never stopped praying for me. It’s about time we do the same thing and pray intentionally for people.
Let’s pray not only for the people around us, not only in our locality, not only those witihin our country, but for all people also because our mission is global! I give you this challenge -pray for one nation every day for one minute. Ask the Lord to open door in these nations.
This is a picture of 10/40 window – located between 10 and 40 degrees North of the equator. It covers part of Asia, Europe and Africa.
Whoever you are? Whatever you do? Wherever you may be? You can pray and start praying now! “It is not about the one praying, but it’s about the ONE answering.” Let Emmanuel become One Church…One for a Nation…One in Prayer!
– Sow (Give)
God is a giver. He is generous giver. He gave us the ultimate gift in Jesus. And generosity reflects God’s nature. When we give to the Lord…when we give to missions we are sowing seeds of the gospel for people. Not everyone can go but everyone can be involved.
– Set out (Go)
We G.O. = Going anywhere…Obeying at any cost. Let’s remember the different nations and we will be praying for them.
We have to work together as members of the body of Christ. In the same way we need others to move the vision of Jesus. We need others to conquer the world for Christ.
The Great Commission is the legacy of the NT church. They worked hard even giving their lives for the cause of Christ that is why the gospel has been viral for the last 2,000 years. We are what we are today because of them. We owe them! I don’t know where you are this morning as far as the Great Commission is concerned. You may have heard of it many times, learned it many times over and over, but how about doing it? Jesus was crucified and has risen from the dead. He is alive and sits at the right hand of the Father. He is with us to the end! He has all-authority and power. Believing and following Him as our LORD is the most important, most urgent, most crucial thing in our lives.
God’s Word is loud and clear…ONE person alone cannot accomplish the task of making disciples. We must SHARE the load. TOGETHER we can WIN the world with the message of Jesus Christ. If EACH ONE will REACH ONE, we can fulfill the Great Commission and “make disciples of all nations.” Jesus has ALL-AUTHORITY over all things. This is a good reason to TRUST and FOLLOW Him. His cause cannot FAIL!
I’d like to close with this challenge…
A story of a young boy who went into a church one Sunday morning just to get out of the cold weather. He tried his best to sell newspaper but not a single customer has passed by. He entered the church hoping to be unnoticed and sat on the back row. The preacher preached a powerful message about Christ and his love for us and how He died for us. Then at the end of the service they took the offering. The ushers went from row to row until finally one of the ushers came to the little boy and held out the offering plate. The little boy stared at the offering plate after a long pause, he took the offering plate and put in on the floor.
The little boy then did something very unusual. He slowly looked up and said Sir I don’t have any money. I haven’t sold a single newspaper today, but if Jesus did all that the preacher said that He did to me, today I want to give my life to Him. He then stepped into the offering plate and said “Today, I give myself to Him.”
Will you give yourself for the cause of Christ? Will you join Him?
This message entitled “Go with God’s Presence” based on Matthew 18:18-20 was prepared and delivered by Rev. Gernan Villegas at ECMI Makati last March 12, 2017. It is third in a series entitled, “Great GO-Mission”. It has been slightly edited for publication purposes.