This is the final message in the ALL IN series. This message is part two related to the question, what does it mean to be In The World? Last week’s message focused on the character qualities that are important for each of us to have as we engage in gospel ministry In The World: obedience, humility, and courage. This week’s message focuses on the the nature of the ministry itself.
Story, novel, movie, or tv show endings are important. The ending of a story ties together all the threads and pieces that make up the story as a whole. Today’s passage, Matthew 28.16-20, is not only the last passage of chapter 28, it’s the last passage of the entire Gospel According To Matthew. This “Great Commission” of Jesus ties together his whole ministry and even threads that go all the way back to the book of Genesis. Even as it concludes Jesus earthly ministry, it offers a new beginning for the Church; a path forward for carrying on his ministry and bringing the blessing of the Gospel to the whole world.
The worldwide spread of the gospel, or even just sharing the gospel with one other person, can seem overwhelming. Surely it’s only ‘special’ Christians who are called to do this kind of thing! Not so, the great commission is for all of us. But the encouraging thing is that contained with Jesus’ command is the ability to actually carry out the command. This comes from Jesus’ use of one simple word: all.
Jesus said “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” He meant that not just as a factual statement but as an encouragement to his followers that their mission could not fail. He also said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”. His insistence that the gospel go to all nations (people groups) on earth is, in part, so that God’s promise to Abraham that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through him would be fulfilled; the Great Commission is the carrying out of a very long-term plan of God. Again, it cannot and will not fail. Finally, Jesus said, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” There’s no question that Jesus is always with us; he lives inside us by his Spirit. He is, however, also present in the world as he directs the worldwide mission of the gospel. When we engage in “Great Commission” ministry we will experience new depths of Jesus presence with us.