Summary: Carrying on the purpose of Jesus: To seek and save the lost.
"THE WONDER OF HIS COMMISSION"
Vance Havner tells the story of a fisherman by the name of Clem who amazed everyone with his fishing ability. It didn’t seem to matter what the weather was like or how productive other fishermen were, Clem everyday would catch his limit. Others wanted to go with him so they could see his successful fishing technique but Clem would never allow that. Finally the Game Warden grew suspicious. How could anyone be so successful day in and day out? So one morning the Game Warden and told Clem that he was going with him. Clem shrugged his shoulders and said, "Okay, suit yourself." They got into his fishing boat and Clem went to a secluded cove. Finally, Clem said, "Well, I guess it’s time to fish." He reached over into his tackle box and got a stick of dynamite. He lit it, threw it in the lake. There was a huge underwater concussion sending hundreds of stunned fish to the surface. Clem calmly just got his net & scooped up the fish. The Game Warden, flabbergasted said, "Clem! You can’t do that. It’s illegal!" Clem just looked at him, reached down got another stick of dynamite, lit it, threw it in the game warden’s lap and said, "Are you going to fish or just sit there?"
Several of Jesus Christ’s first disciples were fishermen. But He took them away from the water and told them, "I want you to be fisher’s of men." By that He meant that He wanted His followers to continue His mission of reaching out to the lost. And He still wants those that follow Him today to “fish for people.” But to be quite honest, a number of us are doing more sitting than fishing. A George Gallup poll revealed that only 12% of those who claim to be "born again" Christians have ever actually talked to someone about Jesus. Not won someone to Christ, but even just shared their belief. What a travesty if that is anywhere close to true. The heart beat of the Church is evangelism, which simply means "sharing the good news of Jesus with others." When the Church reaches out to the lost we have succeeded in keeping the "main thing the main thing" and are following the commission Jesus gave us.
In Matt. 28, we see Jesus’ last words before He leaves this earth. Those words were to His marching orders to them, but they are ours too. Throughout Scripture the Church is told to carry on what Jesus says here. And this text presents a message for both seeker and saved alike. For here Jesus reminds us of how we are to respond to Him and what we are to be doing once we have received Him as Savior and Lord. So, let’s dig in & see the wonder of His commission.
I. RECOGNIZE THE KING’S AUTHORITY VS:18
Jesus said in vs:18- "All authority in heaven and in earth has been given to Me." We will never begin to carry out the task of reaching the lost until we recognize that the King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe, our Commander and Chief has given this to us as an unavoidable assignment. Norman Vincent Peale once said, "Fishing for men cannot be separated from following Christ. If you are not fishing than you are not following." Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments."and here in the imperative, is His command. Our problem is we don’t like being given assignments or unavoidable tasks. We’re self-sufficient. Nobody makes me do what I don’t want to. And that’s true. But if you love Jesus, you will want to obey Him and before He actually gives the task, He establishes His authority to expect it to be done.
And when we will think about it, we know we must have authority. How would you like to get on a plane in an airport where there was no authority, like the FAA setting some absolutes? Every pilot could take off when he felt like it, without any restrictions from the control tower like which runway to use, or flight patterns, or controlled air space. Can you imagine two airplanes just trying to use the same runway? You could call it "Red Mountain Airlines" and give frequent survivor mileage. We need authority. And Jesus Christ said that He had all authority, over everything and everyone. If you have your Bibles with you let’s survey some Scriptures that establish the authority of Christ. There are at least 3 ways that Jesus demonstrated His authority while on this earth.
First, He taught with authority. The gospel of Luke gives several verses that speak of the amazement that people had for the way Jesus taught. Even at the young age of 12 they were amazed. In Luke 2 Jesus’ family goes up to Jerusalem for Passover and on the way home Mary & Joseph discover Jesus is missing but they find him in the temple with the religious leaders and Lk. 2:47 say, “Everyone was amazed at his understanding and His answers.” Jesus’ authority was given to Him by God. Twice God spoke out audibly about His Son. Once at His baptism in Luke 3:22- Then at His transfiguration in Lk.9:35 God says, "This is My Son, whom I have chosen, listen to Him." So God is conferring His authority on Jesus by calling Him His Son and telling all to listen to Him. And those that did listen to Him were astounded with the authority by which He taught. Luke 4:31-2-"Then Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people. They were amazed at his teaching because his message had authority."