“G-O-D is With Us, So Let’s G-O” | Matthew 28:16-20 Sermon

What follows is a sermon(ette) first shared during a virtual Watch Night (New Year’s Eve) service on 12.31.20.

Since we had two sermons shared during this service, the sermon (by design) is shorter than others.

Also, since I had just taught a Bible Study on “A Tale of Two Kings” (Mt 2:13-23) the night before, I did not have as much time to prepare.

But I pray the sermon was/will be a blessing to those who are interested 🙏

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Danny Jr Sermon Slides 12-31-20

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God is with us. God is with us. And because of the with-ness of the Divine, we should be a witness for the Divine.

We disciples, must make disciples. All who profess Christ must also proclaim Christ. All who have made the great confession, also have a Great Commission.

Context

Now before the Great Commission, earlier in Matthew 28, the angel at the empty tomb tells the women that Christ has risen. And, they couldn’t wait to tell somebody.

You ever hear some good news that you just couldn’t wait to tell somebody? Some good news that you just couldn’t keep to yourself? Some good news you just couldn’t wait to talk about?

When we see a good movie, we can’t wait to talk about it. When we see a good game, we can’t wait to discuss the highlights. When we go to a good restaurant we can’t wait to tell someone how good the food tasted.

How much more should we tell others the good news of our good God? As the Psalmist says,

Taste and see, that the LORD is good. Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him (Ps 34:8, NIV)

The old hymn says, “I’ll tell the world, wherever I go, that I found a Savior, and He’s sweet I know.” Is there anything sweeter than the Name of Jesus?

Is there anything more satisfying than His love? Is there any safer place to be than in His arms? Is there any better place to be than in His presence?

How can we keep this Good News – the Gospel – to ourselves?

We live in a world where people are searching for worldly lust and happiness – instead of godly love and holiness. How can we keep this Good News to ourselves?

We live in a world where people are getting sick everyday, how can we not tell them the Good News of the Great Physician?

We live in a world where people are dying everyday, how can we not tell them the Good News of eternal life?

I serve a Savior who thinks you are to die for, how can I not tell you the Good News?

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and the other women: they couldn’t wait to tell somebody the good news.

As we find in Matthew 28:8-10:

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Mt 28:8-10, NIV)

Notice how they were afraid and yet filled with joy – afraid and yet filled with joy. It would only be natural to be afraid in that supernatural moment. 1 But they were still joyfully ready to tell the somebody the good news.

But you know, when you tell people the Good News – let’s be honest – it can be a little scary. We don’t know how they’ll react. We don’t know what they’re gonna say.

Yet Jesus tells them, “Don’t be afraid… go and tell.” Go and tell. Let’s not be afraid to go and tell somebody about Jesus – because Jesus is with us. God with us.

And notice how they come to Him, they worship Him, they go and they tell. They come to worship, they go and tell.

My brothers and sisters, after we come to worship, we should go and tell. After we’ve had a great service, how can we not tell of our great Savior?

Here, the women are to go and tell the disciples to meet Christ in Galilee.

Now, in every gospel, women are the first witnesses. Women are the first to see the Resurrected Lord. Women are the first to testify.

And this is quite unexpected since, back then, a woman’s testimony was not even admissible in court. In their society, women were seen as second-class citizens.2

But my sisters and brothers, it doesn’t matter who you are or what society says about you – we must go and tell the good news of God.

Be a woman who’s a witness; Be a mailman for the master’s message.

Matthew 28:16-17

Apparently, the disciples got the message (cf. Mt 28:10).3 As we see in Matthew 28:16-17:

16 Then the Eleven disciples went to Galilee – to the mountain where Jesus had ordered them. 17 And having seen Him, they worshipped [Him]. But some [or they] doubted. (Mt 28:16-17, AT)

In Scripture, mountains are often sites of godly revelation (cf. Mt 5:1, 17:1).4

Now it says Eleven disciples. This excludes Judas, who betrayed Jesus and later hung himself (Mt 27:1-10), but it also includes Peter, who had denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed.5

As long as we have breath in our bodies, there’s still time to come back to God (cf. Lk 23:42-43). Because of our sin-sickness, from God, we have been spiritually distanced.

But Christ made a way for reconciliation back to the Father (cf. Col 1:21f). Christ made a way through His sacrificial, atoning death on the cross. Jesus made a way – and Jesus is the Way (Jn 14:6).

Now there maybe someone who used to be on fire for the Lord, but now burns with the desires of the world. There maybe someone who grew up in the church, but never grew up in the Word.

There maybe someone who claims to know Christ, but denies Him with their conduct (cf. Tit 1:16). Won’t you come back to Christ today? Come to Jesus while you have time.

In James 5:19-20, James says,

19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. (Jas 5:19-20, NIV)

Dear friends, I pray that you may enjoy good health, and that all may go well with you. But more importantly I pray that it goes well with your soul (cf. 3 Jn 1:2).

As it’s been said, often, people don’t look up at God until they’re on their backs.6 If laying on your sick bed gets you closer to God – it may be worth it in the long-run.

Speaking of being sick… As you may know, one of the most challenging aspects of containing COVID is that people may have the coronavirus and not have any obvious symptoms. They may have it and not even know it.

Likewise, people may have the spiritual virus and not even know it. They may have the sin virus and not have any obvious symptoms – at least not now.

Others may have no nagging symptoms but may have nagging doubts. Notice how the disciples are in the Presence of the Resurrected Lord, but some doubted.

Now grammatically, it’s possible to translate this verse to mean that they all worshipped Him and they all also doubted.7 Or it could mean that the Eleven worshipped Him while a some of the Eleven doubted. 8 Or it could be that the Eleven worshipped and that some others outside the group doubted.9

This doubt could simply refer to hesitation.10. Or it could mean they had indecision or “little faith” (cf. Mt 6:30; 8:26; 17:20).11

This is the same word used in Matthew 14, when Jesus and Peter walk on water. Peter takes a few steps, but as we read in Matthew 14:30-31:

30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Mt 14:30-31, NIV)12

Jews believed that all of the righteous would rise from the dead at the end of the age – not just one person.13

In 2021, let’s not have little faith, let’s have larger faith.

In any case, people were looking Jesus dead in the face and still doubted. So when we try to preach Jesus, let’s not be surprised when we come across doubters.

But without a doubt, even in the midst of doubters, God is still with us.

Matthew 28:18

Continuing in Matthew 28:18, it says: And having come near, Jesus spoke to them saying, “All authority in heaven and on the earth has been given to Me.” (Mt 28:18, AT)

Christ’s words echo the great prophecy found in Daniel 7:13-14, which says:

13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (Dn 7:13-14, NIV)14 cf. Mt 9:6;15 cf. Mt 7:29; Jn 17:216

Christ often calls Himself the Son of Man, alluding to this passage. Jesus fulfills the prophecy about a Son of Man who would have God-given authority and an everlasting kingdom.

As it’s been said, “people from every nation and tongue – from generation to generation”17– they will worship Christ the King.

And we must make disciples of all nations.

Matthew 28:19

As we read in Matthew 28:19, which says:

Go, therefore, [and] make disciples of all nations: baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Mt 28:19, AT)

In sermons, we always ask, “what’s the therefore, there for?” Well, because Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth (cp. Mt 4:8-9),18 because Christ is King of an everlasting Kingdom (cf. Mt 10:7),19 because the prophesied Son of Man will be worshipped by all nations – therefore we must seek to make disciples of all nations – of all peoples (cp. Mt 10:5f.;20 cf. Is 42:6, 43:10, 44:8)21

We are the King’s emissaries, we are Christ’s ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20). As representatives, we are sent into the land – representing the One who’s got all power in His hand.

And before we try to present Christ, we should make sure we represent Christ. That is, before we seek to have others give their lives to Christ, we should make sure we live our lives like Christ.

If you’re a hairdresser and your hair looks a hot mess, if you’re a barber and you’re hairline is crooked, who would want to sit in your chair?

Nah, man I can mess up my own hairline for free.

You ever see a personal trainer… who looks like they need some personal training?

Brothers and sisters, we must be good representatives of Jesus. We must practice what we preach (cf. Mt 23:3). We must emulate Christ the King, as we circulate the message of the Kingdom.

Jesus has all authority, and He has given His disciples the authorization to make more disciples. 22

We must make disciples (cf. Ac 14:12; Mt 13:52, 27:57).23 And, being a disciple is not just about education, but about dedication24

Following Christ is a total commitment25 – not a trivial pursuit.

People must confess Christ as Savior and exemplify Christian behavior. True disciples must talk the talk and walk the walk.

And this total commitment to Christ and His community is symbolized by baptism. 26 Baptism indicates conversion, marking how one is initiated into the Christian faith.27

Baptism symbolizes the burial of our old, self-centered, and sinful ways and the rise of our new, Savior-centered, sanctified ways.

And being baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit means that one is pledging allegiance to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit28 (but see Ac 2:38, 8:16;29 cf. Ac 10:48, 19:5 22:16)30

And see how there is one Name and three Persons.

Now we see all three Persons at Jesus’ baptism earlier in Matthew (Mt 3:16-17).31 But this may be the most explicit verse of Scripture that refers to the Trinity32 (cf. 2 Cor 13:1433 cf. 1 Cor 12:4-6; 1 Pet 1:2; 1 Jn 3:23-24).34

In Greek mythology, there was a three-headed dog named, Cerberus. It had one nature (dog) and three centers of consciousness – three heads .35

Virtually all Christians affirm that there is one God in Three Persons. That is, there is one nature (God) and three centers of consciousness – the Godhead.36

However not all Christians baptize those who have committed to Christ. In fact, what sets Baptists apart from many if not most other denominations, is that we do not baptize infants.

Historically, Baptists have baptized those who can understand the gravity of the decision to follow Christ. This is the most crucial choice one could ever make. And before becoming His disciple, Christ says we must count the cost (cf. Lk 9:57-62; 14:28-33).

Discipleship is not something we’re born into. Rather, we must be born again (Jn 3:3-8). And even if we’re born into Christian families, we must be taught Christ’s commands.

Matthew 28:20

As Matthew 28:20 says:

teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.[1] And, listen: I am with you always – until the consummation of the age. (Mt 28:20, AT)

How are we to make disciples? By37 going and baptizing, and teaching them to obey.

It’s one thing to know what we should do; it’s another thing to actually do it. I know the speed limit of every road I drive on, doesn’t mean I obey it.

You can know the rules and not follow the rules. But we must teach others to obey the rules of the One who reigns.

Making disciples entails teaching, but how can we teach something we don’t know? How can we give godly guidance if we don’t know God’s guidelines?

You know, people usually talk about things they know. People talk about the news because they often watch the news. People talk about sports because they often watch sports. We talk about what we see on TV because we watch a lot of TV.

But in 2021, I say we need less screen time, more Scripture. If we read the Bible more, we can teach the Bible more. The more we know the verses of the word, the more we can converse about the word.

Maybe the more we peruse Scripture, the less we’ll abuse Scripture.

People talk about things they know. People talk about things they find interesting.

Now if we’re honest, maybe some just don’t find God that interesting.

Maybe we’re more interested in the guys on the court than the Guy on the cross. Maybe we’re more interested in the gossip than the Gospel.

Maybe we’re more interested in the fashion world than the Father’s word. Maybe we’re more interested in our selfish desires than our Savior’s demands.

And the thing is, we want God to be interested in us. But are we interested in Him? We want God to be attentive to our needs, but do we give any attention to His decrees (cf. Pr 28:9)?

When I was younger, I used to beg my parents to buy me video games. And I could never have enough. Each year I wanted more and more.

And when they would get me games, I would be so thankful. “Thanks, Mom! Thanks, Dad! I love you so much!” You know I said all the right things.

And once I got their gift what did I do? Do you think I wanted to spend more time with my parents or spend more time on my PlayStation?

After a few hours playing in the basement, they might’ve called me from upstairs, “Hey Danny!” And be like, “What?! I mean, Yes? What do you require of me….? How can I help you this fine afternoon?”

And they might say, “Come here. We need to talk to you.” And be like *noise of exasperation* “Golly, I’m on level 12 right now and I really need to concentrate. Don’t they know that this game is really important.”

I didn’t want to talk with them, I wanted to play by myself. I was more interested in spending time with the game, than spending time with the ones who gave me the game.

Likewise, when God gives us gifts, we can be more interested in the gifts than the Giver. We may thank God for the gifts and say all the right things. But then spend more time with God’s gifts than with God.

And the Lord may be calling us from upstairs saying, “Come here! I need to talk to you.”

In 2021, my prayer is that we will find God more interesting – that we’ll find God’s word more interesting. Because we can’t teach what we haven’t learned. And it’s hard to learn something in which we’re not interested.

Conclusion: God With Us, Go With God!

And it’s interesting that the last line of Matthew echoes a theme that runs through all the lines of Matthew: God is with us (cf. Ex 3:12; Jos 1:5, 9; Is 41:10, 43:5).38

Once again, quoting Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23 says:

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). (Mt 1:23, NIV)39

In the very first chapter we learn that Christ is God with us. Then, in the middle of Matthew, in Matthew 18:20, Jesus says:

20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Mt 18:20, NIV)40

So, in the beginning, middle, and end of Matthew, there is an emphasis that God is with us – Jesus – as divine – is omnipresent; He is with us to the very end of the age41 – when He comes again and consummates His Kingdom.42

We must proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom until His Kingdom comes.

And, while we make disciples, we can have that blessed assurance that God is with us.43

Trying to make disciples can lead to some awkward moments, but God is with us. Trying to make disciples can lead to some uncomfortable conversations, but God is with us.

Trying to make disciples can lead to some ruffled feathers, but God is with us. Trying to make disciples can lead to some strained relationships but God is with us.

You might lose some friends, but what a friend we have in Jesus. You might be disowned by your family, but the blood of Christ is thicker than the waters of the world (cf. Mt 12:46-50).

They might talk about you behind your back, but God got your back. They might call you every name in the book. But, thank God: our name is in His book.

And His Name is the Name that’s above every name. And one day, at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Php 2:11).

For all authority on heaven and earth has been given to Him. Therefore, go! Make disciples of all nations – as representatives of the King.

We may not be able to go door-to-door. But, using technology, we can make the Gospel go viral!

We have made our great confession, let’s obey the Great Commission. All who profess Christ should also proclaim Christ. Because of the with-ness of the Divine, we should be a witness for the Divine.

We might be waiting for the ball to drop, but let’s not drop the ball. In 2021, let’s go – let’s go with God.

G-O-D is with us, so let’s G-O.

Happy New Year! May the LORD bless you and keep you.

Bibliography & Footnotes

  • Arndt, William, Frederick W. Danker, Walter Bauer, and F. Wilbur Gingrich. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
  • Balz, Horst Robert, and Gerhard Schneider. Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990–.
  • Black, David Alan. It’s Still Greek to Me: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to Intermediate Greek. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998.
  • Brand, Chad, Charles Draper, Archie England, Steve Bond, E. Ray Clendenen, and Trent C. Butler, eds. “Godhead.” Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003.
  • France, Richard T. “Matthew.” In New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, edited by D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, and G. J. Wenham, 4th ed., 904–45. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994. [France, NBC]
  • Keener, Craig S. The Gospel of Matthew: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI;  Cambridge, U.K.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009.
  • Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Second Edition. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2014. [IVP]
  • Louw, Johannes P., and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. New York: United Bible Societies, 1996.
  • Long, Fredrick J. Kairos: A Beginning Greek Grammar. Mishawaka, IN: Fredrick J. Long, 2005.
  • Newman, Barclay Moon, and Philip C. Stine. A Handbook on the Gospel of Matthew. UBS Handbook Series. New York: United Bible Societies, 1992.
  • Porter, Stanley E. Idioms of the Greek New Testament. Sheffield: JSOT, 1999.
  • Silva, Moisés, ed. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014.
  • Warfield, Benjamin B. “Godhead.” Edited by James Orr, John L. Nuelsen, Edgar Y. Mullins, and Morris O. Evans. The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia. Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company, 1915.
  • Wallace, Daniel B. Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996.

[1] Commentators note that the construction all that I have commanded is similar to one that is frequently employed in the Septuagint of God’s commands to Israel (for example, Exo 7:2; 23:22; 29:35; 31:11; Deut 1:41; 4:2; 6:6)” (UBS, 887).

Sources

  1. cf. France, 944
  2. France NBC, 944
  3. UBS, 884
  4. Keener, 715
  5. France NBC, 944; Matthew 26:69-75
  6. C.S. Lewis?
  7. UBS, 885
  8. UBS, 885
  9. UBS, 885
  10. France NBC, 944
  11. Keener, 716
  12. France NBC, 944; UBS, 885; Keener, 716
  13. IVP, 124
  14. France NBC, 944
  15. IVP, 125
  16. Keener, 716
  17. Lyrics from Israel Houghton’s “You Are Good”
  18. France NBC, 944; Keener, 716
  19. Keener, 718
  20. Keener, 719
  21. IVP, 125
  22. France NBC, 944
  23. UBS, 886
  24. cf. France NBC, 944
  25. France NBC, 944
  26. France NBC, 944
  27. IVP, 125; Keener, 719-720
  28. France NBC, 944
  29. UBS, 886
  30. Keener, 717
  31. France NBC, 944
  32. France NBC, 944
  33. UBS, 886
  34. Keener, 717
  35. Illustration from William Lane Craig
  36. HIBD, 662; ISBE, 1268
  37. France NBC, 944; UBS, 886; IVP, 125; Keener, 718
  38. UBS, 887
  39. France NBC, 944; IVP, 125; Keener, 716
  40. France NBC, 944; IVP, 125
  41. Keener, 718
  42. Keener, 722
  43. France NBC, 944
About @DannyScottonJr 241 Articles
Imperfect Servant ✝📖⛪ | Husband | Princeton U. Alum | M. Div. | Assistant (to the) Pastor | Sound Doctrine & Apologetics @catchforchrist