Saturday 4th Dec 2021Lighthouse

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So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 28:19 NCV

 

 

Thought: For Matthew’s gospel these were Jesus last words. he was speaking to those he had chosen to continue his work.  Last words tell us a lot about someone and how they lived their lives.

 

Recap

 

We have been talking about the end times and resurrection and the new humanity. We spoke about our values and the virtues of Christ-followers, and what it means to live like those whom God calls His people. 

 

The Bible's vision of human well-being and flourishing is a holistic one. All people are called to turn away from a life of self-worship, idolatry and to be reconciled to the one true God, who has revealed himself in his Son, Jesus Christ, and who by his Spirit is building a kingdom that will fill the whole world.

 

As we have spoken of before we live in the hope of resurrection, the complete transformation and renewal of the entire created order. When Jesus came he announced the inauguration of this renewal: *Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." Christ is the first fruit of the harvest to come. Christ’s vision of the kingdom was not like one with an earthly king but a kingdom where there is no more suffering and humans are flourishing as originally intended.

 

This kind of flourishing is both material and spiritual; not the dualistic view that was prevalent in Greek-Roman times.  It is said of this ‘end time’, No more will one say to another, "Know the Lord', because they will all know him. '"Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years.' 'The wolf and the lamb will feed together?' The infant will play near the hole of the cobra.'  

 

It is also said that 'Creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God."* 'The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable,'  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away:* 'I am making everything new!'?

 

 

Introduction:

 

Back to Matthew 28, It is important to view the context of this scripture - after Jesus had risen from the dead and he says to his disciples  “All power in heaven and on earth is given to me. So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptise them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you, and I will be with you always, even until the end of this age.” Matthew 28:18-20 

 

As new creation flourishing human beings we live for a purpose bigger than ourselves. Just as a commissioned officer represents the queen, we, through our baptism, have been commissioned by the king of kings to represent Christ and fulfil the calling on our lives to make disciples, to teach and to obey everything Christ has taught us, and to pass on to others making new followers of Christ welcoming them into the faith, knowing that Christ is with us every step of the way.

 

3 points this morning i’ll look at them in reverse order 

 

What does the end of the age mean? What should we be doing in the way of passing on what we know to others? And finally a brief comment about the great commission and why we must understand Christ's authority.

 

Outline:

 

  1. The end of the age

 

Jesus says ‘as you go I will be with you, even until the end’. Jesus being with us now is different to his appearing at the end but not less real.  The end of the age is when the kingdom will be in full, and Jesus will be king. In Matthew 24 Jesus is asked about the signs for the end. 

 

Verse 3 says, as Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his followers came to be alone with him. They said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that it is time for you to come again and for this age to end?” 

 

After many pre signs like wars, famine and disasters which some have written many books and even movies, but miss the main point Jesus is making.  many scholars look to verse 14 for the definitive sign and consider this the key task of the church in preparation for the end of the age. Skip down to verse 14.

 

The Good News about God’s kingdom will be preached in all the world, to every nation. Then the end will come.

Matthew 24:3,14 NCV

 

Some say this is not just a key sign, but the only task, one translation says “then and only then will then end come.”

 

My second point is What are we meant to be doing while we wait for the final trumpet call and the resurrection we are all waiting for. This is what Jesus commands 

 

  1. Teach and Baptise

 

So this is exactly what they set about doing, making disciples or followers for the king. Peter takes seriously Jesus great commission, almost word for word preaching Christ's first sermon, repent and be baptised, 

 

In Acts chapter 2 

 

Peter said to them, “Change your hearts and lives and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38 NCV

 

The key here is not just that we share the good news, we indeed need to teach and make disciples. The example that Christ set, is one we are to follow. His first disciples would aim to preach the good news whenever and wherever and be readily prepared in season and out of season. They had their training with Christ, Luke 9 they were trained in pairs and sent out. Their goal is to make way for the kingdom of God, saying it is near.  Not with a big placard saying the end is nigh. But meeting people, accepting hospitality meeting each other’s needs and giving them the good news of the king of king. 

 

Our task today has not changed, one day when creation fully belongs to Christ we will join him in ruling and reining until then we teach, people repent and we baptise so people will receive the Holy Spirit.

 

My final point is the beginning of Jesus’ final talk. Following his resurrection, Jesus took his place and position of power. This was key for the disciples to understand who’s power and authority they were operating in. In the training session that we read in Luke 9 the disciples sent out in pairs when returned, they were astonished that evil forces obeyed them, Jesus rejoiced knowing he was leaving this task into the hands of those who knew how to wield his authority.

 

  1. All power belongs to Jesus

 

Predicted in Daniel’s book years before. The Messiah would be the ultimate authority.

 

Throughout the biblical narrative, the people of Isreal looked to God for absolute rule. Many perhaps in the time of the gospels thought that the messiah would have political power and reject the rule of Rome.  Of course, Jesus said my kingdom is not of this world, however, we cannot separate the implications of what it meant to be part of the kingdom of God, now under Christ’s rule, for them politically concerning the government, church and family.

 

He was given authority, glory, and the strength of a king. People of every tribe, nation, and language will serve him. His rule will last forever, and his kingdom will never be destroyed.

Daniel 7:14 - 

 

In Daniel’s vision the ‘son of man’, looked human but had all the authority of God. This is why Jesus called himself the ‘son of man’.

 

What kind of king is this Christ messiah from Nazareth? What kind of kingdom is this, we can form an understanding we read Jesus famous sermon and we look to the mountain where Jesus gave his beatitudes in Matthew.  What does it look like for us to live under the rule of the crucified Christ and his lordship of our lives?

 

First, we need to understand what kind of authority that Jesus had and then how did he wield it for example when Jesus was questioned on his ability to forgive sin in Mark 2

But I will prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, stand up, take your mat, and go home.”

Mark 2:10-11

 

Jesus not only knew all power as authority belonged to him, he knew how to transfer that authority. The centurion understood authority and saw that Christ had it in abundance. In Mark’s version of the great commission, Jesus said 

 

“Go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone. 16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved, but anyone who does not believe will be punished. 17 And those who believe will be able to do these things as proof: They will use my name to force out demons. They will speak in new languages. 18 They will pick up snakes and drink poison without being hurt. They will touch the sick, and the sick will be healed.” After the Lord Jesus said these things to his followers, he was carried up into heaven, and he sat at the right side of God. The followers went everywhere in the world and told the Good News to people, and the Lord helped them. The Lord proved that the Good News they told was true by giving them the power to work miracles.

Mark 16:15-20 

 

Jesus transfer of his authority to his disciples warns them to be different – “those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you” The rule of Christ and the authority was transferred to this new community of believers.  We read of many clashes with the political world while placing God as the ultimate authority. These new believers were meant to act differently from the world around them, especially in the light of the ultimate end in the resurrection and the new life that is to come.

 

To close

 

Conclusion:

 

As new creation flourishing human beings we live for a purpose bigger than ourselves. Just as commissioned officers represent the queen, we, through our baptism, have been commissioned by the king of kings to represent Christ and fulfil the calling on our lives to make disciples, to teach and to obey everything Christ has taught us, and to pass on to others making new followers of Christ welcoming them into the faith, knowing that Christ is with us every step of the way.

 

Jesus says to his disciples  “All power in heaven and on earth is given to me. So go and make, followers of all people in the world. Baptise them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you, and I will be with you always, even until the end of this age.” Matthew 28:18-20 

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