#3 “The Lord Is With You” Series
"THE LORD IS WITH YOU IN EVANGELISM!"
TEXT: Matt. 28:16-20
INTRO: One of the more difficult things for Christians to do is to witness for Christ, to do the work of evangelism. For many Christians they just ignore this command! The call of Jesus for us to witness to others was never a suggestion, it was a command! Many things hinder us in this area, mostly fear! Often we are afraid of what others will think, or worse, that it won't make any difference if we do share our faith!
God clearly states however that He will be with us in evangelism! Yet even when we know He is there we still are not sure about it!
ILLUS: Like the man who was walking along a narrow path not paying much attention to where he was going. Suddenly he slipped over the edge of a cliff. As he fell, he grabbed a branch growing from the side of the cliff. Realizing that he couldn't hand on for long he called for help. THE man: "Is anybody up there?" Voice: "Yes, I'm here." the man: "Who's that?" Voice: "The Lord." the man: "Lord, help me!" Voice: "Do you trust me?" the man: “I trust you completely, Lord!" voice: "Good! let go of the branch!" the man: "What???" Voice: "I said, Let go of the branch!" THE man: [after a long pause!] “Is anybody else up there?” – Source Unknown
Like this man, we often know God desires us to evangelize and that He will be with us and help us but we still hold back hoping something else will come up to distract us from following through!
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that God promises to be with us when we witness to others, this means He will make Himself real to us and through us to others! We have His Word on this!
I. WINNING THE WAR! 28:16-18
A. Christ's Commitment 28:16
1. Jesus would not ask His disciples to fight a battle that He hadn't made winnable!!
a. This was one of the big lessons of
b. Christ would never ask us to do what can't be done!
2. Christ's commitment to make the war winnable for us was to die and settle the sin issue for us!
3. He does the hard part, we just have to share the news!
a. This was the point of this meeting, to give instructions to them for proclaiming the best news since the world began, that man could have a new beginning, he could be "born again!"
b. When God proclaimed to Adam and Eve that the wages of sin would be death He planned to take His own medicine, to send His Son to die for us!
c. This is the gift of love ... and life!
4. One of the great honors when war is raging is the task someone is given to finally announce the end of that war, that peace is now possible, that life would take priority over death ... that enemies were no longer to be thought of as enemies.
a. This is the message of Jesus!
b. He secured the peace accord with God the Father by His own death!
c. And we have been selected to be the messengers or heralds of "PEACE!"
B. Conviction & Conflict 28:17
1. As soon as they saw Jesus they did what many of today still do!
a. They worshipped Him ...
b. And yet doubt was there too!
2. The doubt here is not condemned, it is merely reported; after all this news was quite radical!
a. Like all wars when they first end, the news of peace is sometimes hard to really believe, especially if the war seemed impossible to win!
b. Jesus certainly recognized the difficulty of faith here!
c. Certainly there are times when our faith is small but that's ok if we continue to build on it! Small faith can become great faith in time!
ago when the
3. Jesus understood the difficulties of belief, this news of God's salvation for man was quite remarkable!
a. Faith grows in time as it experiences God's reality.
b. God asks only for the faith of a grain of mustard seed to get us doing great things for Him!
c. The youngest baby in Christ can realize dynamic spiritual realities with the little faith they act upon!
4. Even in the midst of conviction (they worshipped Jesus), conflict of faith existed ... this is often our experience still today!
C. Commander in Chief! 28:18
1. To help them realize this task was achievable, unlike their earlier attempts at getting the message out, Jesus emphasizes for them the present reality of Himself as the resurrected Lord!
a. "All authority in heaven and earth are possessed by Him!"
b. This is not the weak effeminate Jesus often pictured by artists when they painted Jesus!
c. This is the Lord of the Universe and beyond!!!
2. There is no challenge to Christ's authority here or in the heavens!
3. He is the SUPREME Commander in Chief!
4. His orders for action carried the
weight of the greatest authority ... and the
a. Jesus wasn't looking for weak disciples who were uncertain of their call or uncertain of their power to effectively witness.
b. He wasn't calling into existence a church that would sit around and look for having its needs met by a hired few professionals!
c. The modern concept of church is so unbiblical ... for us to sit and be entertained and inspired by moving sermons only to return home and ignore those who are dying without Christ ... feeling satisfied with having our own needs met, but ignoring those whose greatest need of salvation goes ignored!
ILLUS: A generation ago. Dr. F.B. Meyer said this about the local Church: "IT IS URGENTLY NEEDFUL THAT THE CHRISTIAN PEOPLE OF OUR CHARGE SHOULD COME TO UNDERSTAND THAT THEY ARE NOT A COMPANY OF INVALIDS, TO BE WHEELED ABOUT, OR FED BY HAND, COSSETED, NURSED, AND COMFORTED, THE MINISTER BEING THE HEAD PHYSICIAN AND NURSE; BUT A GARRISON IN AN ENEMY’S COUNTRY, EVERY SOLDIER OF WHICH SHOULD HAVE SOME POST OR DUTY, AT WHICH HE SHOULD BE PREPARED TO MAKE ANY SACRIFICE RATHER THAN QUITTING!" – Source Unknown
5. Jesus is not just a "Santa Claus" in the sky, He is the commander in chief of the most powerful and awesome fighting force in the universe, the church!
6. We have been given a mission, not a pew to warm, or to just have our needs met ... we are to be ON ACTIVE DUTY!
a. This is possible because of Jesus' authority!
b. Unlike a President's power as Commander in Chief which comes to an end at the close of his term of office ... God's never ends!
II. WITNESSING THE WAY! 28:19-20
A. Calling the Church 28:19
1. "Therefore..." indicates that because of Jesus' mission accomplished and the reality of His authority and call we are being asked something!
a. Christianity WITHOUT demands is NO CHRISTIANITY!
b. Christianity WITHOUT SERVICE is no Christianity!
2. Therefore what?
a. "GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES..."
b. The call is pretty clear ... we are to be witnesses for Christ!
c. This is not “THE GREAT SUGGESTION ... IT IS THE GREAT COMMISSION!”
3. Notice that there were no qualifiers in His statement of purpose for the church!
a. Didn't say some should go, like paid clergy!
b. Didn't say only those who are good at speaking should go!
c. Notice too that He doesn't define a certain territory, but “ALL THE WORLD!”
d. The extent of the command is quite sweeping!
4. There is more to being a Christian than just an uplifting worship experience ... there is the work or calling of the church also, evangelism!
ILLUS: D.L. MOODY ONE DAY WAS WALKING ALONG A STREET IN CHICAGO WHEN HE NOTICED A MAN STANDING BY HIMSELF, GOING RIGHT UP TO THE MAN HE ASKED, "SIR, ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?" THE MAN'S RESPONSE WAS, "WHY DON’T YOU MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!" MOODY REPLIED, "THIS IS MY BUSINESS!" ... Not just because he was a Minister but because he was a Christian! – Source Unknown
5. You will note that this calling was for far more than just making converts ... it was for making disciples!
a. Just getting people saved doesn't fulfill the great commission; we need to disciple them, to teach them!
b. This is done by teaching by word of mouth and also by example!
c. This is why the church needs small groups for building relationships that enhance discipleship!
6. As we disciple we baptize them in the name of the FATHER, THE SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT.
7. In fact ... notice that making disciples is stated first by influence or example before verse 20 mentions "teaching them to obey everything!"
8. One of the greatest tools of discipleship is EXAMPLES!
a. You don't have to be a gifted speaker!
b. We need gifted EXAMPLES!
B. Calculating the Costs! 28:20a
1. We are not talking about comfort here ... or hoping that unsaved people will simply walk up to us or attend our church and ask to get saved!
a. This may happen from time to time ... but we must understand that witnessing is a full time job, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day!
b. We are supposed to be FISHERS OF MEN, not KEEPERS OF THE AQUARIUM!
c. Too often we want evangelism to be easy or convenient!
ILLUS: LIKE ONE OLD FARMER WHO WAS FISHING IN A TUB OF WATER IN HIS BACK YARD. HIS NEIGHBOR NOTICED IT AND OUT OF CURIOSITY CAME OVER AND ASKED HIM, "MAN, THERE AREN'T ANY FISH IN THAT TUB, WHY ARE YOU WASTING YOUR TIME LIKE THAT?" "YEAH," THE FARMER REPLIED, "I KNOW THERE AIN'T NO FISH IN THERE, BUT IT IS JUST SO POWERFUL CONVENIENT TO FISH THIS WAY." – Source Unknown
2. It just isn't always going to be easy, the task of evangelism is everyone's task ... and it involves commitment and sacrifice of time and energy!
3. Teaching others to obey everything Jesus commanded means also that we are endeavoring to be obedient to His commands as well!
a. This requires discipline!
b. Certainly it requires obedience!
c. It requires effort
d. It requires all the saints’ involvement!
C. Confidence in Christ! 28:20b
1. Jesus adds here at the end the encouragement that will help inspire us to try reaching out for Him!
a. "and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
b. There is no restriction on God's promise here to those who are believers!
c. His promise is SURE, and the extent of it is SPECIFIC, the end of the age!
2. Two things make evangelism a guarantee:
a. The certainty of Jesus' death and resurrection.
b. The promise of Jesus' presence with us!
3. The real confidence we need for witnessing comes from this promise of Jesus ... you are NEVER ALONE WHEN WITNESSING FOR CHRIST, He is present when you are sharing Him!
a. Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost.
b. Therefore evangelism is a high priority for His church, it is the fulfillment of the mission we have been given by Christ!
ILLUS: MARTIN LUTHER ONE DAY WAS DISCOURAGED AND READY TO LOSE CONFIDENCE IN GOD WHEN HIS WIFE FOUND A WAY TO RESTORE HIS CONFIDENCE. HE HAD QUIT EATING AND TALKING TO FRIENDS, SO SHE WENT AND DRESSED UP IN WIDOW’S GARMENTS AND PRETENDED TO MOURN GREATLY. LUTHER WAS SURPRISED AND ASKED WHO SHE WAS MOURNING OVER. "DEAR DOCTOR" SHE SAID, "I HAVE CAUSE FOR THE SADDEST OF WEEPING, FOR GOD IN HEAVEN HAS DIED!" HER POINT WAS MADE AS HE REBUKED HER FOR SUCH A TERRIBLE THING TO SAY! SUDDENLY HE REALIZED THIS WAS HOW HE WAS ACTING ... LIKE GOD HAD DIED. AND SO COURAGE AND CONFIDENCE RETURNED FROM HIS WIFE'S UNIQUE REBUKE! GOD WAS VERY MUCH WITH HIM STILL, EVEN IN HIS SELF-PITY! – Source Unknown
CONCLUSION: Healthy organisms grow and reproduce. In reproducing, they don't just create life; they nourish it and guide it. It is not God's plan for us to just "go to church!" We are to be "the church" and "go to the world" with the Gospel ("good news")! Our message is that Christ is the "way, the truth, and the life!" What makes this call for action potentially successful? Jesus said, "I am with you always, to the end of the age!" EVANGELISM WORKS IF WE DO!