Summary: If His followers are called to make disciples of "all" people, who is that? A topical sermon showing who Jesus spent time with.
Matthew 28:16-20 – Which Part of “All” Don’t You Understand?
A pastor in a drought-stricken part of the south called his people to begin praying for rain. In fact he asked each member of the church to join in a prayer vigil that would continue day and night until God granted their request. Never had there been a greater sense of urgency in that church than was revealed over the next few days. At any hour one might pass that small rural church and find the lights on and someone at the altar praying.
Finally late Wednesday evening some dark clouds began to roll in. Soon rain began falling in sheets. Four straight days and nights it rained without ceasing. The creeks began overflowing their banks. It became necessary to evacuate persons from their homes. Still the water kept rising. The entire community was now under water.
As rescue workers made their way in a boat through the perilous floodwater evacuating the last reluctant stragglers, one of the boats passed that little country church now almost completely submerged.
There on the roof of the church sat the pastor with a look of grand satisfaction on his face. As he surveyed the floodwaters he said to himself, “Not bad for a church our size. Not bad at all.”
Often small churches suffer from feelings of insecurities: “We’re too small to do that” or “We’re just a small church – we’ll leave that to bigger churches.” What does a small church in a small town have to offer the world?
If you judge the value of things by how big they are, you will misjudge. That one tooth is so small – it won’t hurt me. That one screw doesn’t matter – don’t bother with putting it back in the engine of the car. That one toe is so small – it doesn’t matter if it’s ingrown. That one mosquito flying around isn’t very big – just let it be. Folks, what I’m saying is, don’t judge importance by its size. That includes this church. That includes your talents and abilities. That includes the value of others in the sight of God. Francis Schaeffer, a Christian theologian, said, "In God’s sight . . . there are no little places." I might add, there are no little talents, nor are there little people.
I’d like to look at Matthew 28:16-20 for just a minute today. There’s one small word in verse 19 that carries a punch. It shows us that God can use small churches, even this one. It shows us that God has a plan for every talent He dishes out, even your small ones. And it shows that no person is too small or insignificant to matter to Him. v16-20.
Let’s look at one word, the same in virtually every translation of the Bible, from the classic older translations to the newer ones. It’s the word “all” in verse 19. Jesus told his followers to go into all the world, or to make disciples of all the nations. That is, no matter which country around the world, no matter which people group, they need to know about God’s love and Jesus’ sacrifice for them. All includes everyone.
Thinking of this word, Jesus was certainly an all-or-nothing kind of guy. Matthew 13:44 tells the story of a man selling all he had to own the field with a treasure in it – that is, nothing is as valuable as being part of God’s kingdom. Matthew 19:26 says that all things are possible with God. Matthew 22:37-40, what we call the Great Commandment, says that we are to love Him with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind. Basically, all that is in us is called to love Him above all things. Matthew 9:35 says that He went through all the towns and healed all the sick. And Acts 10:38 is a description of Jesus’ life on earth as told by Peter, an eye-witness of it all: “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.”
Well, who was “all”? Which lives did Jesus touch? Who did He reach out to? What did He spend time doing? If we just grab a hold of who Jesus was and what He did and how He did it, we can impact our world too. This is where “small” and “all” intersect. No matter how small this church is or how small you think your talents are, God can use you to do your part to reach out to all people. If this church has enough people doing their parts to reach out to all people, and if there are enough churches filled with enough people doing their parts, and if there are enough communities with enough churches filled with enough people doing their parts, and if there are enough countries filled with enough communities filled with enough churches filled with enough people doing their parts, then all the world will hear the truth that sets them free.