“Fulfilling the Commission” Matthew 28:19-20

“Fulfilling the Commission” Matthew 28:19-20


 “Fulfilling the Commission”

Matthew 28:19-20

Pastor Richard C. Piatt, II




And now for a seven point sermon. Not.

Take your Bible and turn with me to the gospel, according to Matthew, chapter 28. The gospel of Matthew, chapter 28. This week, I had a unique. I guess I’ll say opportunity to witness to a person, but in a way that I know I did not see it coming. that some of you know that, well, first of all, I was studying to be a zoo veterinarian, and I’m one of those guys that’s had some pretty unique pets. Monkeys, and alligators, crocodiles, big snakes. I’ve had a big collection. and recently have basically gotten rid of most of the collection, but now I volunteer part of a day on Friday. I go to a place that is called Forced Exotic Animal Relocation. It’s kind of a rescue, but not really. It’s a unique in a circumstance, but she is able to take, animals that other places don’t take. So, she has on her property, and many of you have been there, five baboons, a mountain lion, four or six bobcats, a multitude of monkeys, foxes, small apes, and the like. This is in North Lakeland. And I go up there and I help her purchasing food and delivering food, putting food away and so forth.

And she’s recently had surgery and I was able to offer her the care of all the animals so that she didn’t have to worry about that. And so this week, this past Friday, I was up there and as I arrived there with all the food and was going to carry it in, she had a volunteer. Now, this volunteer I had met before. this man and he is somewhere involved I think within the state Congress, state representative and so forth. And his mother had just had open heart surgery and I was bringing her encouragement and so forth.

God put us together in truly a unique way. Well, as soon as I got there, he comes running up to me and he’s all excited and he says, pastor, pastor. that I wanna talk to you about an idea. I said, okay. It’s an idea to help out in the breeding of endangered species of animals. Well, he tweaked my interest because that’s why I wanted to work in the zoo and that’s why I work up there. And I have been involved working with zoos about the breeding of endangered species. And then he went on and talk about a curve. and a curveball thrown to me. This is what he said. Well, my thoughts are this that that we establish a non for profit. Corporation and we establish a church. Now I’m looking at him. And I happen to know that he is a member of a church that I don’t qualify as a real church or at least a church that’s preaching the gospel. So I thought, well, this is interesting. He says, let’s start a non for profit. Call it a church. Now right there I’m thinking, you know, red flares are going up. Call it a church? Well, is it or isn’t it? He says, oh no, it really would be a church. But what we would do is we’d establish it and we’d raise all kinds of funds and get a whole bunch of money. And I’m thinking, oh, churches have enough scams the way it is. What on earth are you thinking?

But then he went on and he says, and the whole purpose of it is is so that we could raise money for endangered animals so we could save species, those that came close to extinction right after Armageddon. I go, really? And I’m talking to a guy that he doesn’t know eschatology, he doesn’t know after Armageddon. So I asked him, I said, are you premillennial again? If you’re premillennial, the church isn’t even supposed to be here. You know, you’re supposed to be one that the church has taken out. And then what’s going to happen to the church and the money once it’s all gone, if that’s really what how this plays out? And I’m kind of testing him around and everything. And and he I could see he was becoming frustrated because I did not get excited about all of what he was saying about what he wanted this church to do. You know, Because he knows I’m an animal lover and he knows I love the church.

So, then I went on to then take it as a teaching opportunity and I said, you know, it will not fly. Because most of the animal people that would give money, most that I know are not church goers. They’re very, very ungodly. But second of all, if they are, then they’re gonna be giving to their own church. And so I don’t know that this is a good way to raise money. But then secondly, that’s not the purpose of the church. I said I love animals and I love and I think it’s a sin for endangered animals to go extinct that God has given to not the church, but to all of mankind to exercise dominion on the earth. and that all of us should do what we can to be careful that we don’t abuse the animals and so forth. But that’s given to all mankind in the book of Genesis. That’s not the mission of the church, because the mission of the church is supposed to be about Christ, about death, burial and resurrection, about the forgiveness of sin, evangelization and so forth. And with as much as I love animals, I think it would be a very much of a wrong thing to miss out and to miss the purpose of what the church is about. And then I quoted the context of what we’re going to look at today in Matthew chapter 28 verses 18 and 20 as the key.

We call it the Great Commission. It’s interesting in context. It comes right after the resurrection. Matthew, who was a Jew writing to a Jew about Jews, that he wanted to tell us about Christ. When the Gospel of Matthew was written, Jesus had already ascended and had gone back to heaven. The church was already established and the preaching of the Gospel was going forth. And so all of that was still happening. And then he wanted to, in his instructions, when he ascended, he left those marching orders of what was supposed to be done. But what’s interesting is, is that Matthew, in his gospel, was not concerned about the ascension. But he was concerned about the commission, or what it is that we’re supposed to be doing.

And so this is where we get it, and it doesn’t say anything in here about the breeding of endangered animals. even though that’s a very good cause, that’s not what the Bible’s about. That’s not what Christ is about. That’s not what the church is about or Christianity. And he gives us this information that is so important for us today. Let me read it again. And Jesus came and spoke to them saying, now let me pause there. Jesus came and talked to them. This is the Jesus that fairly recently they had seen die on the cross. This was the Jesus they saw put into a tomb that was on loan from Joseph of Arimathea. This is the same Jesus that they had seen on other occasions after or post resurrection. But now he’s going to be leaving soon. And now this is the Jesus that comes before them. This is the Jesus that stood before Pilate, before Caiaphas and the mockery of all the temple. This is that Jesus that Peter had denied three times. Yet Jesus had told him that’s exactly what you’re going to do. This is the Jesus they saw kissed by Judas in the garden and then arrested. This was the Jesus that they had spent three years with, walking as Jesus would teach them in the whole land of Palestine. And so this is the Jesus that comes to them. And what is he going to say? Now, the things that they had seen kind of recently was that Jesus was pretty much outwardly appearing as a victim.

Now, we know he wasn’t. There’s several things that prove that to the fact, if you compare the Gospels and that, that he got the disciples off the hook when he said, who are you coming for? They said, Jesus of Nazareth says, I’m the one you want, let these go. This was the Jesus in fulfillment of all the prophecies and things that he had said earlier in his ministry. And so this was a Jesus that at times would remain silent in his trial and other times he would speak. And so he was in direct control, in fact in the Gospel of Matthew. We are even taught that the scribes, the Pharisee, the hypocrites, they didn’t want to push it because this was the time of the Passover. And they thought till after, but it was Judas that then came.

Because you see, there was a timetable, the Passover lamb provided by God for the givenness of sins, the shedding of his blood that had a certain date that needed to be kept. and that God and the Lord Jesus Christ was in full control, even though it would appear, humanly speaking, that he was a victim. And so this is that Jesus. He comes to them and he’s saying, now, what are the very first words that he says? All authority. Has been given to me in heaven and on earth. So he lays down the first element of what is necessary. He says, all authority, not some, not most, all authority, all decision-making, all circumstances, everything, sovereignty, as it were, overall, has been given to me. Well, given to him from whom? Was given to him by God the Father. Because you see, in the doctrine of the Trinity, God the Father, pure spirit, and is God, then God the Son, Jesus Christ, who after the incarnation became the God-man. And who that there was the unique incarnation of what that was, and he, however words you wanna use, some would say laid aside the independent use of his attributes, he had them all, he just didn’t use them all. But at this particular time, All authority was his, and it was given to him of God the Father.

So all authority has been given to me, but it isn’t just here on earth. Now, this whole thing, and we know where it’s gonna go, but this is important because he’s now gonna send us out on a job. He’s gonna commit the church onto what it is we’re supposed to be doing. And now that we’re to do it, We recognize we don’t do it in our own authority. The baptism. I did not baptize because I am a special priest and I have a more holiness than all of you and therefore I’m the one that gets the opportunity. No. Did you know that there is an authority in the church that if the church appoints a parent that they could have gone up in the water and have done that? Because you see, the authority to baptize isn’t in me intrinsically. Technically, it’s not even in the church which can appoint other people to do it. The authority to baptize people is given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ, by God himself. That’s a reason why we’re not really free for just doing baptism any way, shape, and form that we desire to do. We need to follow what does the Bible say.

It’s an ordinance of the church. Since the Reformation, that has been recognized and it’s in the main confessions, both Westminster for the Presbyterian folk, Reformed folk, and the London Confession of Faith for the Baptist folk, we all agree there’s two ordinances and that the authority to administer them has been given to the local church. And it’s been given to the local church by the one who has the authority to do that. And that’s by God the Father. And it’s recognized even in the confessions. And so we have this idea of authority. So Jesus said, I have all authority. All authority has been given unto me on earth. But not only that, but also in heaven. Why is that important? Well, if you go to the book of Ephesians and we’re going to search this out maybe a little bit more this evening. Why did he say in heaven and on earth? Why does he he has all authority in heaven?

Well, the Apostle Paul writing to the Church of Ephesus would say this, to the believers, and remember, it’s the believers, Christians, that Jesus is saying this to as a final commission. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against spiritual wickedness in high places. We need the authority of Christ, of God in Christian ministry. The reason being, because our real battle is not here on earth. Oh, well, there is one, but this isn’t the real, it’s in that spiritual heavenlies. That we fight against those of a spiritual nature, and we need authority in those kinds of areas. Jesus said, all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Now, from that basis. What do we have? Well, we have the command, as it were, go or having gone. It has this idea of get off your your duff and get out and do something. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.

Now, what’s interesting is When we preach the gospel and we tell people to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, we don’t do that in our own authority either. We do that because that’s what Jesus Christ says that we’re supposed to do. And I have to be honest with you, I think that is going to be the collision between the church and government. and maybe our lifetime. When there is the secular world and the secular worldview does not want to tolerate a Christian worldview. It’s one of those things that we see everywhere. Everyone says be tolerant, except they don’t want to be tolerant on certain things. We see that in a sense on the college campus. Be tolerant, be tolerant, be tolerant.

Of course, unless you’re a Jew. and antisemitism. Antisemitism goes against tolerance and yet tolerance is yet what they preach. But that’s not uncommon because you see that’s what the world wants to say. It’s just that our Constitution tends to get in the way because our constitutional right of religious freedom is within the documents of our founding. I don’t know how much longer we’re going to be able to hide behind that because there is a mindset that says you can believe what you want. You can believe that Jesus Christ is the only way of eternal salvation, but you keep that within the confines of your home or your church. Do not take that out into the marketplace. Now, how does that square with what the Bible says? Go unto all the nations. Well, we shouldn’t try to change the cultural edict of those in other places. What makes you think that your Christian culture is the right one? Well, by faith, we have divine revelation in the Bible that tells us that.

Now, let me just pause to say here, when I look over history, I can understand sometimes why people may want to say your Christian culture, what gives you the right to bring that over there? Because there has been a blending of Christian culture and secularism and all kinds of terrible things, even on how the Native Americans in our United States have even been handled. But that’s not what biblical Christianity is all about. That’s because it’s been corrupted. So we are told and this commission that we’re to go not to stay in. That when we go downtown first Friday, we have not only a constitutional right, which is nice in our country. China, it’s a little different. We have a constitutional right, but we have a biblical command that tells us to go. We have a biblical command to tell others, Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation. It’s out on our sign. It was Christ who said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes into the Father but by me.

So, when I say Christ is the only way to get your sins forgiven, secularism wants to point that out and to say, or this world and their philosophy, they want to say, well, why are you such a narrow minded bigot? I said, well, I’m not a narrow minded bigot. I’m just telling you what my savior has said. And I believe him to be right. That’s my religious conviction. I don’t have the freedom to disagree with him. He said, go. And he’s the one with all authority.

Now, when the authorities of this world kick up against it, well, they’re not kicking up against me. They’re kicking up against the Lord Jesus Christ. So we have the issue of authority in this passage. We also have the issue of a command in this passage to go, therefore, The command not only talks about going, but it says make disciples. Now there are those in some other countries and some within our own country that don’t like it. That have you ever heard of a parent? I met one and I just shook my head. Well, I’m not going to raise my child up. in a Christian home. I’m not gonna take them to church or Sunday school. I’m gonna wait till they get older as a teenager and let them decide. Well, I’ll guarantee you that you’ll probably lose them because this world is far better at making disciples than you just letting your child wait. Your child’s friends will really corrupt them because you see when you, it says here there is a command to make disciples for Christian parents. That begins in the home.

You need to to see your children as the number one opportunity to accept Christ as Savior. That’s why we had the dedication today. That’s why we’re considering this, even though it’s not a typical Mother’s Day message, but yet mothers should be raising their children up and and making them disciples.

So it says, go, therefore, A command to go. A command to make disciples. And it isn’t just within the home. It’s within all nations. But then there’s something else. And baptizing them. Who is the them? Pronouns are important. Who does the them point back to? To those who have been made disciples. May I just say that is one of the reasons, not the only, but one of the reasons why we only baptize those of the disciples that are following Christ. Babies cannot follow Christ. They cannot accept him as Lord and Savior. Therefore, they’re not a candidate for the sign of the new covenant. They’re not a sign. The command is to baptize those who have been made disciples, not just go out and randomly baptizing babies. We baptize disciples as part of the fulfillment of the command. Go everywhere, make disciples, And when they’ve become disciples, they need to be baptized, not for salvation. We got other passages in the New Testament that teach that for not for by grace you are saved through faith and that not of yourselves. That is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. That’s why I ask those kids, you know, are you still a sinner? Yeah. But have you asked Jesus to forgive you your sins? Yeah. Because you see, a Christian is not a person who never sins. A Christian is a forgiven sinner. And it makes a world of difference. Babies have no concept of that, obviously. And so it is for those that have been made disciples, those that are trusting Christ. So baptizing them, and then what’s interesting is he gives us the formula. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Now, we’ve just gone through a very scholarly, cerebral kind of presentation on the doctrine of the Trinity from Pastor Ryan. Very clear. However, there are those who do not mention the Trinity when they baptize people. That’s why, you know, every one of them, I tried to change it up a little bit so the kids wouldn’t Kind of listen in and cheat a little bit. But the idea is that the formula remains the same. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Because the doctrine of the Trinity is part of Christian orthodoxy. There are those in a more Pentecostal background sometimes, and even in the United Church of Christ, but definitely in the Pentecostal background, that they baptize in Jesus’ name only.

Now the reason why they do that is First of all, they do not believe that in the Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But they also do that because in the New Testament, it does say and they receive the baptized in Jesus name. That means it was Christian baptism. That’s not part of the formula. The formula is given here. And so you see how a person is baptized identifies not only in whose authority are you doing it in a local church, not at a camp or other places, But it’s in the authority of the local church. But it is also given to the fact that you’re supposed to recognize the father, the son and the Holy Spirit in salvation. Now, Grace Brethren, that’s I went to a Grace Brethren undergraduates seminary. Well, no, I guess that’s a graduate. It was to get a master’s degree. But they would baptize in the they have triune immersion. I baptize you in the name of the father. Of the son. And of the Holy Spirit, we’d still be baptizing if we did that here, because, you know, nine times three, 24 times down. Now, we don’t. So we say it was baptism. Believers baptism by single immersion is typically how Baptists do it. And I don’t think we bury people three times. That’s why we go down in.

But I appreciate the fact that they mention the Trinity. That’s God, the father chooses before the foundation of the world, those who would be saved, that God, the Holy Spirit did the work of salvation upon the cross. And it’s God, the Holy Spirit, God, the son who died on the cross, and then God, the Holy Spirit, who brings salvation to the sinner. I don’t think that this requires three times down, but it does require the statement of the Trinity. So you baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And then notice what happens. Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded unto you. And that is the issue of an obligation to teach. The normal way is to accept Christ. Identify with him publicly in water baptism and to be taught in the church doctrine, teaching them all things whatsoever I have commanded unto you. When it says in the book of Acts, they gladly receive the word. They were made disciples. They were baptized and then they were added into the local church. That’s the reason why.

When we baptize someone, they become a member of the local church. It isn’t just something that you do and then later on you become a member. No, it’s part of that because you need to be a member of a local church to be taught those things for which they need to observe. And then observe all things that I have commanded you and lo. And then we have the issue of God’s presence and this is why we do it. And lo, I am with you always. even to the end of the age. Every Sunday, we gather in corporate worship.

Now it is true that God is omnipresent. God is everywhere present all the time. You cannot get away, whether you have in the Psalms, whether I go to heaven, you are there, whether I go to hell, you’re there. It doesn’t make any difference. You cannot get away from the presence of God.

But there are those times where two or three are gathered there am I in the midst. And when a local church meets corporately we claim right now that the presence of Christ is here. The Holy Spirit is here in a real way. But in a real sense, when you’re involved in baptizing, believing disciples, and teaching them, there is in a real sense the presence of Christ here. Lo, I am with you always. That’s why I ask, do you want to obey Christ your whole life? Did you catch those kids? I remember Clyde responding right away. You wanna follow Christ your whole life? I didn’t see any hesitancy. Right now, yes.

Now that’s a mark of a truly born again believer. Babies can’t do that. That’s something that’s missed on infant baptism. But I’m just saying that’s part of the process of what we have seen here today. This is all what really is the existence of the church. Saving exotic animals is a nice thing. I think it’s a good thing. I think it’s a sin when exotic animals go extinct. But that’s not the mission of the church. I went on and told that man when he was proposing that we start a church for the salvation of animals after Armageddon. That is just cracks me up. I could not believe he said those words after Armageddon. And I just told him, that, you know, I do personally, I do personally believe that there will be representative animals of all that have ever existed in the new heavens and the new earth. Now that’s future, way future. I do believe that there will be representative animals.

Personally, I believe that because when God made all the animals in the Garden of Eden, he declared them good. And on the seventh day, he said, and behold, it’s very good. And I think when God declares something good, I don’t know, I’m going to be naive enough to say, I think it’s very good. And when mankind and sin has messed it up and it goes off the face of the earth, And in Romans chapter eight, it talks about how the earth groans and travails until the day of redemption. I think that we will have T-Rexes in the new heavens, in the new world. There will be dinosaurs. There will be dodo birds. There will be all kinds of Hispanole parrots that have gone extinct. There’ll be passenger pigeons. Things that have been here and gone. I think those are going to come back. But as I told this man on Friday, but it’s not the church that’s gonna bring them back. We don’t have the authority to do that, but God’s gonna bring them back.

So, my purpose is to preach the gospel to all nations, make disciples, baptize those disciples, and to teach them to do what Jesus Christ has said to do. Now, are we gonna obey? Now, I don’t know how you are. If you’re here today and you know Jesus as your savior, it’s my responsibility to tell you you need to accept him as personal savior. But if you have followed him in personal faith and trust, then my question is, have you followed him in obedience? Because he says that you’re to be baptized. Now that you’re a believer, not just as a baby and then. Then the question is, are you a member of a good local church that’s preaching the whole gospel and are you growing in knowledge and wisdom of what Jesus has commanded? That is God’s will and it is the commission of the church. That’s what we’re to be about.

It’s not just about feeding the poor. It’s not just about a social activity or preaching some kind of political correctness. That’s not our purpose. Our purpose is to preach Christ. Do you know him? Now, if you do, then it’s our responsibility to pass it on. It was I forget which man it was. It could have been Spurgeon who said. We’re only one generation from losing the gospel. How do you avoid losing the gospel? You pass it on, you make disciples. And that’s our purpose.

Let’s pray. Our Father in heaven, how we praise you and thank you for your goodness to us. Father, this morning, our church has been greatly blessed. Father, for these that have followed you in obedience and water baptism, what a blessing. And Father, we would commit them all to you. And Father, we would ask that you would help us to just encourage all of them, to help them to stay straight in the faith and to understand what it means to glorify God. Our Father, for those that have decisions to be made, may you help them make those decisions and do right. If there be a soul here that doesn’t know Christ as Savior, that they might see the lack of saving faith in their life, and that you would draw them to saving faith by grace, and by grace alone, and faith alone, through Christ alone. But Father, this morning, we would also pray and ask for the majority, if not all, that are here today, that we would be found faithful stewards of your truth, and that we would pass it on to the next generation. For we ask it in Jesus’ name, amen.

Recent Sermons