Go And Make Disciples! | Matthew 28:18-20

February 23, 2014

Book: Matthew

Scripture: Matthew 28:18-20


Go and make disciples! {According to a study conducted by LifeWay each one in the age group, 18-29 agrees that they have a responsibility to share the gospel with unbelievers, and 69% of those same people feel comfortable sharing their faith. However, only 25% of them look for ways to share the gospel.} One of the serious problems that plague the Church today, is the lack of evangelism.

Why Christians don’t share the Gospel

There are several reasons why Christians don’t share the gospel.

(1) Some think that they have to master the Bible to share the simple gospel of Christ.

Now you don’t have to become a Bible expert to share the gospel.

If you have understood the basic gospel adequately, you are ready to share the gospel.

(2) Others have a concern that they may lose their friends’ approval or their mockery.

Fear of rejection paralyzes these Christians.

But God did not give us a spirit of fear.

(3) Some think that they are not up to the mark in their spiritual lives.

Consequently, they feel that they can’t share the gospel because their conscience itself is not clear before God.

This must not be an excuse, but a reminder that we need to clean up our lives.

(4) Some wrongly assume that God will eventually allow all people to get into heaven.

But listen to what Dr. Charles Stanley said:

If there existed another way to heaven, God did the most wicked thing to send His Son to die for us.

(5) Some Christians just don’t care for the lost.

They have lost the passion and burden for the lost people.

That kind of apathy is a huge hindrance to evangelism.

Tim Keller recently tweeted that “Apathy is a bigger problem than atheism for Christianity.”

(6) Many Christians think that evangelism is optional.

But today’s text tells us that evangelism is not “A Great Suggestion,” but “The Great Commission.”

Would you take God’s Word and turn your Bibles with me to

Matthew 28:18-20?

I have entitled today’s sermon as: “GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES!”

Today’s text tells us that the Risen King’s commission to His disciples to make disciples of all nations is based on His universal authority/power and fulfilled with His permanent presence.

This commission is directly from the Risen Christ. This commission remains pointless if there is no Risen Christ.

But Jesus has risen from the dead and has all authority in the universe; thus, we need to heed his great commission.

When Jesus claimed that he had all authority, he claimed that he is the King of the universe.

After Jesus’ resurrection, this risen King tells His eleven disciples to meet Him on a mountain in Galilee.

The mountain (v. Matthew 28:16) recalls the other sites of revelation in the Gospel (Matthew 5:1: Sermon on the Mount; Matthew 17:1: Mount of Transfiguration).

Jesus is the new Moses who gives new commandments.

On this mountain, Jesus gave important instructions to His disciples which is generally referred to as “The Great Commission.”

To encourage the members of EAGC to obey the Great Commission.

When we obey the Great Commission of the Risen King, we are promised His power and presence.

Our text can be divided into 3 parts.

 The Risen King Commissions us to Go and Make Disciples of all the nations

Read verses 19-20a.

“‘All’ dominates Matthew 28:18-20 and ties these verses together: all authority, all nations, all things, all the days [ESV: always].” (Carson)

Make disciples of all nations, not just the Jewish people.

The theme of all nations (or all peoples) coming to Christ is brought to a climax; however, this theme runs throughout the gospel of Matthew (cf. Mt. 2:1-2 [Magi]; 8:5-13 [Centurion’s servant]; Mt. 15:22-28 [Canaanite woman’s daughter]).

With the words “all nations,” Matthew’s gospel returns to the theme introduced in the very first verse (refer 1:1)—that the blessings promised to Abraham and through him to all the peoples on earth (refer Ge 12:3) are now to be fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah.

Jesus’ universal Lordship (cf. v. 18) demands a universal mission.

Disciples of rabbis normally made disciples of their own when they became rabbis, but Jesus is more than a normal rabbi (Matthew 28:19) and summons us to make disciples for him alone and not for ourselves (Matthew 23:8-10).

The imperative (make disciples) is the central focus of the Great Commission and the Greek participles (go, baptizing, and teaching) describe how discipleship is done.

A. Going to make Disciples

Making disciples involves going.

And the Book of Acts shows that the disciples did go to the ends of the earth and preached the gospel.

Even today, there are 7000 unreached people groups all over the world, where there are less than 2% followers of Christ among these people groups.

We must go to these unreached people and share the life-giving gospel of Jesus Christ.

B. Baptizing in the Name of the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit

Jews gave baptism to Gentiles when they converted to Judaism.

Here, Jesus is commanding his disciples to make disciples of all nations by baptizing them.

We need to lead people to Christ in such a way that their salvation is genuine and they dare to affirm that they are disciples of Christ.

Making disciples involves baptizing them in the ‘name’ of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.

For the Jews, the Holy Spirit or God’s Spirit was divine, though they did not see God’s Spirit as a person.

By including himself in the list of the Father and God’s Spirit, Jesus implies that he is divine.

C. Teaching them to observe all that He has commanded

The focus is on Jesus’ commands, not the OT law.

Jesus’ words, like the words of Scripture, are more enduring than heaven and earth (24:35); and the peculiar expression “everything I have commanded you” is reminiscent of the authority of Yahweh in the Old Testament (Ex 29:35; Dt 1:3, 41; 7:11; 12:11, 14).

Disciples are not developed by merely baptizing people.

They need to be taught all that Christ has commanded.

Observe means obey. We don’t merely inform the minds of the people, but we persuade them to obey the words of Jesus.

Jesus commands us to go to all the nations of this pluralistic world and make them disciples of Christ.

We must not leave out any ethnic group or language group in our task of making disciples.

Saints, the King of kings is giving you the commission to preach the gospel to this dying world.

Unfortunately, many Christians and churches do not obey this commandment given by the risen King.

Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist. – Oswald J. Smith

We must not be content with maintenance; we are called for a mission, not maintenance.

If you truly have a life-changing encounter with the risen Christ, you will share the gospel with the lost.

The 2nd part in our text tells us that . . .

The risen King Commissions us based on His authority to go and make disciples

Read verse 18.

And. Some were still doubting Jesus (refer to v. 17).

So, Jesus came to them and made this pronouncement.

Came. Jesus came to the mountain that He had directed them to (cf. v. 16).

A. In Heaven

Jesus has all authority in heaven.

B. On Earth

Jesus has all authority on earth

His authority is all-encompassing.

He has universal authority.

The author emphasizes the authority of Jesus throughout the gospel of Matthew.

For instance,

Matthew 9:6 (refer) says:

but that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”

Given to me. Passive voice. The Father restricted Jesus’ authority before His resurrection because of His role as the Suffering Servant.

Following His resurrection, God broadened the sphere in which Jesus exercised authority.

He became the One through whom God now mediates all authority (cf. Phil. 2:5-11).

Read Philippians 2:9-11.

In verse 18, Jesus is alluding to Daniel 7:13-14 (read):

Read Isaiah 9:6-7.

Jesus has authority over the whole universe.

There is no power in us, but Jesus has all the power and authority.

He gives his Great Commission based on his supreme authority.

We are servants of a Master who has authority in heaven and on earth.

He has authority over our PM, over the present government, over the people who persecute us, and over those who falsely accuse us.

There are places in our country and in the world, which are hostile to the gospel.

Jesus says that we need to make disciples of these peoples too because He has all the authority over them.

Saints, as go to your school, college, or your workplace, go out and minister with the authority of Christ.

Whether the government gives you the freedom to share the gospel or not, you must go and share about Christ as we are under his orders.

The 3rd part in our text tells us that . . .

 The Risen King Promises His Permanent Presence

Read verse 20b.

Behold. Comes from the Greek word idou, which means “pay careful attention to what follows! This is important!”

The promise of Christ’s presence is especially for those who are serious about fulfilling Christ’s mission.


{Commenting on this verse, William Barclay says,

“It must have been a staggering thing for eleven humble Galileans to be sent forth to the conquest of the world. Even as they heard it, their hearts must have failed them. But, no sooner was the command given, than the promise followed. They were sent out–as we are–on the greatest task in history, but with them there was the greatest presence in the world.”}

He is Emmanuel, God who is with us (refer Mt. 1:23).

Some people think of Jesus sitting on His heavenly throne and directing His earthly servants from afar.

But after commissioning His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, He assured them, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (v. 20).

British scholar F. F. Bruce puts it this way:

He accompanies His agents. He does not energize them by remote control; He is present with them by His Spirit. They work for Him, but He works in them.

Jewish literature only called God omnipresent; Jesus’ claim that he would always be with them, coupled with his being named alongside the Father in baptism (Jewish people did not baptize in the names of people), constitutes a proclamation of his deity.

Apostle Paul experienced Jesus’ special and permanent presence even as He went from place to place and preached the gospel.

In his last epistle, as Paul gave personal instructions to Timothy, he says: Read 2 Timothy 4:17.

Jesus will not just be with us till the end (to the end of the age), but He will always be with us.

There will never be a second when Jesus will not be with you as you obey His glorious commission.

As you share the gospel, Christ will always be with you.

He will empower you to speak His Word boldly.


When we obey the Great Commission of the Risen King, we have a promise of His Power and Presence.


{On August 1, 2004, my Dad, who was a retired Central government employee and an evangelist for several years, started El-Shaddai Full Gospel Church (EFGC).

The Lord was slowly blessing the work of EFGC.

However, on March 12, 2006, my Dad, Rev. Christopher Mende gave baptisms to 8 people.

Immediately after that, he fainted due to a brain hemorrhage.

He was rushed to the hospital immediately.

But 2 days later, on March 14, 2006, he went to be with the Lord.

Many, including me, thought that EFGC would be unable to minister anymore.

But the Lord who has all authority and the One who promised his permanent presence has been with this church for the last 14 years and impacted countless lives for his glory!

We have every reason to celebrate God’s faithfulness and goodness today!}

However, as we celebrate today in this church, there are millions of people in the world who are still lost.


{I’m sure all of us heard about the “Burari deaths” in a place called Burari in New Delhi.

The bodies of eleven people from the Chundawat (Bhatia) family were found in the early hours of July 1, 2018 (Sunday).

While ten of them hanged themselves, the grandmother was strangled to death, probably by one of the family members.

They did all this because Lalit’s father, Bhopal Singh who died in 2007 apparently instructed Lalit to do so.

Lalit wrote in a diary that if they followed his father’s instructions, they would have a good life.}

There are so many “Chundawat” families out there who are looking for the good news of Jesus Christ.

But unfortunately, no one told them about the good news of Christ.

Christ does not require suicide to attain salvation.

Rather, he died in our place so that we can experience abundant life, now and forever more!

God has caused this church to exist for all these 14 years so that we can share the gospel with the lost and lead them to the saving knowledge of Christ for his glory!

Church, evangelism is a priority in EAGC.

The Lord spoke to me and said that every Sunday must be a ‘Bring a Friend Sunday.’

So, we declare that henceforth, every Sunday shall be a ‘Bring a Friend Sunday!’

I want to encourage all the members of EAGC to actively share the gospel with the lost wherever they are and lead them to Christ and EAGC.

I’m also praying and believing God that he will raise several full-time Christian workers from this church.


For more related Sermons

Easter: The Undoing of Death

The Divine Rescue | Galatians 1

The Rising Sun| Christmas Sermon | Luke 1: 67 – 79

The King Living in you | Colossians 1: 24 – 29

Living in the End Times| Matthew 24: 1 – 35