Summary: Now we finally start getting into the actual instructions that Jesus gives in his Great Commission.
Let’s get to our passage. Turn over to Matthew 28. This passage might be pretty familiar to you, but that’s ok. When you get to Matthew 28, we’ll read verses 19-20. Pay attention to this passage…as it lays the foundation for what we’re studying today. Let’s read our passage for today…again, it’s Matthew 28:19-20.
It says: 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
So we’ve been talking about disciple making for several weeks now. It started with making sure we’re disciples ourselves…because if we’re not then we’re going to struggle with Jesus’ command to make disciples. Then we looked at how they made disciples in the bible based on how we do it now…and what our motivation is for making disciples. And the last two weeks have focused on how we make disciples within the church and as the church. Today…we’re talking about who we should be making into disciples.
Jesus says right there in those verses who. He tells his disciples… he tells us…to go and make disciples…of all nations. Last week we finished up the message with the example of Abraham…who God had told he would bless so that Abraham could be a blessing to others…so that God could bless others through Abraham.
Actually…listen to God’s exact words from Genesis 12:2-3: “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; (now listen to these next few words…) and all peoples on earth…will be blessed through you.”
*Does “all peoples on earth” leave anyone out? No, it doesn’t. Just like when Jesus says “Go and make disciples of all nations” that doesn’t exclude anyone either. Like Abraham was going to be a blessing to all nations…we, Christians, the church…need to go and be a blessing…go and make disciples…of all nations.
**So what’s that going to look like? And what will be the results? That’s some of what we’re going to look at this morning. We’re going to start by getting more into what making disciples “of all nations” looks like. For us today, it means reaching the unreached.
Last week we talked about how we, as the church, make disciples in our local community because that’s part of our calling as a local congregation. But the call to make disciples is much farther reaching than just the people we normally encounter…or might encounter…from our day to day lives.
I mean…Jesus says it, right? Make disciples of…all…nations. We as the church…and we as individual Christians…are to be a blessing to all peoples of the earth. In Luke’s account of Jesus’ ascension into heaven, in Acts 1:8, he tells his disciples to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, all of Judea and Samaria, and…to the ends of the earth.
He told them to make disciples locally…right where they always had lived to the people they had always known. But then he told them to get out of their comfort zone…to stretch beyond everything and everyone they had always known. Because there were a lot of people not in Jerusalem or Judea or Samaria who needed to bear witness to the gospel through the disciples.
The first one who really grasped this wasn’t an original disciple, but one who at first persecuted Christians…Paul. Turn over to Romans 15. Look at what he writes there in verses 20-21: “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel…where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: ‘Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.’”
Now, Paul is quoting Isaiah 52:15 here. And at first it sounds like he’s saying people will see even if they’re not told…they’ll understand even though they haven’t heard. But when you look back at Isaiah, he’s saying that the kings will understand who “the servant”…who Jesus is…when they see his humiliation.
So with that context in mind, Paul isn’t saying people who never hear will be saved. He’s saying that someday, everyone will understand. But by then it’ll be too late, because then they’ll see Jesus and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. So he doesn’t want them to know when it’s too late. His ambition is to preach where the gospel isn’t known.
*Is that our ambition today? To share the good news of Jesus with people who haven’t heard it? Where we live today, you’ll be hard pressed to meet someone who’s never heard the name of Jesus. But there are a lot of people who are part of the “all nations” who never have. Do you desire…is your ambition to preach or reach out to where the gospel isn’t known?