Matthew 28:16-20 (Part 6) – Going and Making Means Travel…

Posted: May 14, 2016 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 28:16-20 (Part 6)

Jesus Gives the Great Commission

One of my favorite things to do in life is travel to new and different places or just to get away to different places that I have already been and to continue exploring those places. I have been lucky in my life to have had the privilege of having jobs that have me around the country and sometimes round the globe. I have been to 44 of the 50 United States through personal travel or through work-related travel. Through work-related travel, I have been to Mexico, Canada, Grand Cayman Island, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, England (twice), Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Personal travel has taken me to some of the countries I have already mention and also to Haiti. I have been a business traveler since I was 23 years old and it continues to this day. Personal travel may even lead me to India at the beginning of 2017. So, to say I have traveled a lot is true, but not as much as some. However, I guess growing up as a Methodist preacher’s kid made me into a traveling heart. I enjoy seeing new places and observing how they are different from my home. Even England, basically our mother country, is different from the USA as they have evolved separately these past 400 years or so (and 230 as a separate country). Each place is unique even though we share the same language and heritage. Asia is far different from the West and visiting those places could be intimidating at times. Different base culture that the Western world. Different religious development as well. Visiting different parts of my own country is eye-opening as well. The South is my home. Although the South is becoming more and more like the rest of the country as time progresses, it is still distinctly different in worldview than say in California, where I have to visit quite frequently now in my current job. California is highly liberal compared to the South and believes in heavy government compared to the South. People are just different out here (I am currently on a work & personal trip to California at the moment).

 

That’s the world we live in. Different people. Different cultures. Different worldviews. Different customs. All amazingly complexly different. At the same time, we are all human. We all have heart that beat in same way. We all have hopes and desires for our own lives. We all have hopes and desires for our children. We all fall in love. We all get married in some way or another. We all need food and shelter. We all have emotions. We all have a sense of something greater than ourselves although we variously define it differently. We all share a portion of the same planet. And, according to Scripture, we all know of God whether we want to admit or not when Paul says in Romans 1:19-20,

 

“19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

 

With that in mind, Let’s re-read, Matthew 28:16-20, with special attention once again to vv. 19-20a:

 

 

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. 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.”

 

In my last blogs we have talked about going and making disciples. Today, we will talk about making disciples of all nations. How to we do that?

 

We are commanded to make disciples of all nations. That includes different people groups within our world, and even within our nation. How do you make a disciple of Jesus Christ of someone who has different religious backgrounds and different cultures both at home and abroad? Let’s first look at how we are not to do it. There is a tendency of Christians today to take on an “us against the world” mentality and I emphasize the “against” part. We do not make disciples by standing in our ivory towers and looking down upon this transgender, same sex marriage, anything goes world in which we find ourselves and show disdain for it. We cannot withdraw and judge the world for its failure to honor God and failure to value God’s Word. We cannot make disciples by condemning the world and writing it off. In my accounting job, when we exhaust all our efforts to collect a past due invoice from a customer, we end up writing it off the books. We cannot do that when it comes to souls. We have a tendency as Christians to say “you don’t get it so I will write you off!” We cannot make disciples of people that we write-off. We cannot make disciples of peoples whose ideas are polar opposites to ours. We cannot withdraw into our Christian cocoons and wait for the world to end. We are commanded to make disciples of all nations, tribes, and tongues. We cannot obey Jesus’ command with a write-off, ivory tower, you don’t get it mentality. That’s the easy way out. To withdraw and to build walls. We are being disobedient to God when we take this easy way out route.

 

We are commanded to make disciples of all nations. How do we obey our Lord and Savior in this regard? We see people as different from ourselves as the same at the core. We see that they have similar hopes, dreams, and aspirations as we have ourselves. We see them as having the same struggles as ourselves. We see them as just not really knowing the one true God. We see them as having substituted other things as their gods. We do this not in a disdainful way but in a way of looking at ourselves in the mirror before we came to Christ. We are just sinners saved by the grace and blood of Jesus Christ. That and the action of the Holy Spirit in our souls is the only difference between us and someone who does not know Christ as their Savior. We are to have a burden for those who do not know Christ as their Savior. Regardless of whether they believe in a religion that is not of the Son or whether they shake their fist directly in the face of God, we are to make disciples of these. We should care so deeply about the eternity of those that do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior that we cry over their path that they have chosen. Some, it’s because the gospel has not been shared with them. Some, know of the gospel, but it has been presented so poorly to them that they have run in the opposite direction of it. There are those who believe in religions of separate, hate and destruction that will spend eternity in hell if we do not do our job as Christ followers. There are those who believe in their ownselves as god and those that define morality and justice through supposed tolerance of all things that will spend eternity in hell if we do not do our job as Christ followers. How do we assist our Father in heaven in changing these hearts that blatantly see Jesus Christ as the enemy or at least as simply an option of many options to get to heaven?

 

We get to know these people. The main ingredient to discipleship is relationship. Jesus spent three years intensively training the men who would change the world. He lived with them. He ate with them. He understood them. He figured out what made them tick and tailor-made his discipleship of each one to fit their personalities. We have to get to know the world around us. Make relationships with them. We must find the common ground where we can start conversations. We must understand the backgrounds of people of different religions. We must understand their belief systems. We must understand how their cultural background has affected their mindset. We must be willing to get to know people on a personal level. That includes people from different religions and cultures and even people from our own country that do not believe in anything at all but their right to express themselves in ways that are against Scripture. We do not change hearts by making enemies of those who are different from us. We learn. We get to know. We understand what make them tick. We understand what motivates them. But first and foremost we must see them as worth the effort. We must see them as worth loving. We must love them. As I saw last night on Morgan Freeman’s “The Story of God”, we must not see others different belief systems as a threat. We must see the person as a child of God worth liking, worth knowing, and worth loving. You and I were once far from God and still would be if it were not for our salvation experience. We must not see a Buddhist as a threat. We must see him as an opportuinity to get to know a Buddhist and develop a relationship with him to the point of being able to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must not see a Jew, a Muslim, a Mormon, an agnostic, an atheist as a threat. We must see them as an equal child of God who just does not know the real Truth of Jesus Christ. We were once there my friends! We owe it to our Savior to not write these people off as misguided. We must accept the challenge of Jesus Christ in the Great Commission. We do not make disciples by writing people off. We make disciples by getting to know them and loving them to the cross.

 

God has chosen us to be his witnesses to our world. So, we have a job to do to fulfill the commission given us so that at the end of all things, we shall see the prophecy of Revelation 7:9-10 fulfilled:

 

9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

 

“Salvation belongs to our God,

who sits on the throne,

and to the Lamb.”

 

We are commanded to not withdraw from the world but embrace it. We are to get to know every nation, tribe and tongue. We are to show them love in ways that draw them to the cross. We are to make disciples that will one day stand before the throne celebrating the Savior. We do not do that by writing people off because they are different and “don’t get it!” We were once sinners destined for eternity separated from God ourselves. That fact should fill us with thanksgiving and the earnest love for others to love what in our flesh makes our blood boil. We must love those who hate us. We must love those who believe differently than ourselves. We must love them like Jesus. Jesus died for them too. All they have to do is come to the cross and Jesus commanded us to assist Him in this effort. The work has been done at the cross for us AND for them. Now, go. Get out of the ivory tower. Get out from behind our fences. Go. And make disciples of those who are different from you, those who currently shake their fist at God, or make something other than God their god. Go. Go. Go. Make disciples!

 

 

Amen and Amen.

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