Summary: I hope one day that our last words will be worth mentioning. As we come to the end of the gospel of Matthew, there are 11 disciples now remaining. These would be some of the last words Jesus would say to them.
“Famous Last Words”
As we raise children and grandchildren everyone is interested in hearing what a baby’s first words will be. If you are the father you hope their first word will be daddy. If you’re a mama you hope their first word will be mommy. Parents often keep records of these things they write them down their child’s baby book. This week I looked at a website that listed the last words of some very famous people.
• It is recorded that the last words spoken by Thomas Edison were, “it is very beautiful out there.”
• Musician Bob Marley’s last words were “money can’t buy life.”
• James Brown, the singer-his last words were “I’m going away tonight.”
• Beethoven, who was deaf-his last words were “I will hear in heaven.”
There is some wisdom to be found in each of these statements. I hope one day that our last words will be worth mentioning. So we come to the end of the gospel of Matthew, there are 11 disciples now remaining and Jesus had directed them to a mountain where they saw him and where they worshiped him. It was at that moment that Jesus spoke the last words he would speak to them. This is what he said.
In this church started in June 2000 we wrote a vision statement that year so that all of us would know where we were headed. So that we would be on the same page. So that we could travel together to the same destination. This is the statement we wrote down:
Our vision is to enlarge the size of heaven by taking
as many people as possible with us.
This statement has served us well now for 16 years. As a result we have baptized 260 people since we began. But we all know that the ministry of the local church is much more than counting baptisms. Every baptism is important-we count them one at a time in this represents 260 souls. But God seems to use a different form of math and as a result it is time for us to use a new form of counting people as well. This is what I mean.
• We count baptisms one at a time. We use simple addition.
• When we count disciples we use multiplication.
• When we count baptisms we add to the church. We count disciples we multiply the church.
What if everyone who walked through these waters and is baptized, what if they became true disciples? What would happen if we began to do multiplication instead of addition? What if every person who walked through these waters began to disciple another person? This is the kind of math Jesus used. Not addition, multiplication. Jesus, instead of starting with one person, chose 12. He started with a group.
When the people were hungry he took five loaves of bread into fish and multiplied it and fed over 5000. He actually did this miracle twice. Jesus used the new math before the schools today got hold of it and here’s the real difference….. his math makes sense. Look at what he tells us to do.
He begins by reminding us of who He is. He is God himself. He speaks as the authority in heaven and earth. These words come from God himself. He says go and make disciples of all nations. This passage has prompted thousands of people to leave their homes and move to another location to share the gospel. To reach those who perhaps have not yet heard the good news. But Jesus was not only speaking to those who would take that bold step and move to an entirely different location; He was speaking to all of us. To all of you in fact.
The word in the New Testament here that is translated as “go” does not mean to move from one place to another. Now if God calls you to do that, then you should. If you sense God calling you to be a missionary and telling you to move from this place to another place far away-to South America, to Africa or China, to share the gospel, then you should. But again this word “go” as used here does not mean to move from one place to another. A better wording would be as you go. As you go along in this life, no matter where you are-do this-make disciples!
This passage has long been known as the great commission, one of the most well-known passages in the Bible and they are considered to be some of the very last words Jesus spoke to his disciples. And if you notice Jesus closes his ministry in the same way he started. He started by calling 12 men to be his disciples, then He discipled them, then they began to disciple others. Now as he closes his ministry He says to everyone here... Do this one thing... As you go about in this life; do this one thing-----make disciples.