• Download

It All Comes Down to This (Matthew 28:16-20)

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

“It All Comes Down to This”

(Matthew 28:16-20)

Series: God’s Fulfilled Promise [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

December 27, 2020

The Passage

Matthew 28:16-20

16 The eleven disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped, but some doubted. 18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 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, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Introductory Comments:

Back on July 8, 2018, we started a series in the book of Matthew entitled “God’s Fulfilled Promise.” Matthew has shown us in his Gospel that Jesus really is the Messiah promised to the Jewish people. We’ve also learned that Jesus was much more than a Messiah; He is the Son of God and He Himself is Lord. Further, we’ve learned that the blessings of Jesus reach far beyond the Jewish people; they reach to the entire world!

Today is the end of the book. Today, we learn what Jesus left us with before He left the earth to be with the Father in heaven. Church, it all comes down to this. 

Before we conclude this series, let’s go to God in prayer and ask Him to speak to us. 


So, here we are at the end of Matthew. This passage that we’re studying today is one of the most famous passages in the Bible. If I were to speak of the “Great Commission,” it would seem familiar to many of you. Simply put, in these last words from Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus tells His followers what they are to do after He leaves the earth. 

Remember, in the last passage that we studied, Jesus told His disciples to meet up with Him in Galilee. Well, some time has passed (we’re not exactly sure how much), they meet up, and He gives them instructions before He goes back to heaven with the Father. 

Let’s look at the passage and go from there. Look at Matthew 28:16-20:

16 The eleven disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped, but some doubted. 18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 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, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Church, I want to get very quickly into two monumental truths that will help us understand this passage and the mission that God has for us. 

First, . . . 

I. Jesus has all authority to send us. [on screen]

Matthew has pointed out for us, again and again, that Jesus is not merely a man, He’s not merely a miracle worker, He’s not merely a great teacher, and He’s not merely Messiah. Jesus is the Son of God and He is Lord of all!

Jesus was sent by the Father to the earth, He was given a mission by the Father, He fulfilled that mission, and He now has full authority to pass on God’s mission to His followers. 

Jesus says in verse 18, All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth . . .” Jesus has the divine right to deliver this mission and He has the backing and authority of God the Father as well. 

Illustration: I remember at my last job I would sometimes send an email to coworkers that asked them to do something and I may get a so-so response. That’s for good reason, as we were all extremely busy. However, if I sent an email to them and told them that what I was asking them to do came with the authority of the Senior Pastor, boy, that got them motivated. There was a little authority behind it. Well, church, Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth! We should have a fire lit underneath us to do whatever He tells us to do whenever He wants us to do it. 

Jesus makes it clear for His eleven disciples at the time, and for those of us who follow Him today, that He has authority to deliver this message to His followers. 

Notice, that verse 17 says those present worshiped Jesus. They recognized that He had divine authority. They knew Him to be the Son of God. They knew Him to be Lord. If these Jewish people had worshiped Jesus, and He wasn’t really God the Son, what they were doing would have been an abomination; it would have been blasphemy. But He is God and He is worthy of our worship and obedience. 

Notice, also, that the Scripture says “some doubted.” Now, we don’t know exactly who doubted or how exactly they doubted. Was it some of the eleven disciples who doubted? Was it referring to some other followers of Jesus beyond the eleven? We don’t know for sure. 

It is worth noting that the Greek word for doubt here refers more to a hesitation to believe rather than an unbelief. This may have been like the situation when Thomas needed to confirm that Jesus really did rise from the dead. 

Remember, a lot is happening at this time. Some of the followers of Jesus may still need to understand a little clearer what is going on here. 

In verse 18, it’s almost as if Jesus wants to clear up any doubt and confusion. He’s essentially saying, “I am Jesus, I have all authority, and I have a mission for you!” They worshiped and some doubted. I believe that after Jesus gave the commission, the “some” that doubted probably crossed over to the “they” that worshiped! Church, some of us need to move from the “some” to the “they.” We need to trust Jesus, be moved by the authority of Jesus, and be unleashed for the mission of Jesus!

Well, what is that mission? That takes us to our second point:

II. We have Jesusauthority to go. [on screen]

Jesus has all authority and He then gives us authority to GO!

Verse 19 makes it so clear. Jesus says, “Go, therefore . . .”

Jesus has given us an authoritative command. This is not a suggestion. This is not an idea. This is not a challenge. It is a command; it is a commission. Jesus is telling His followers to go and make disciples!

Well, where are we to go? Jesus says to go to all nations!

Jesus didn’t want His followers to stay in Galilee, although the go did include Galilee. Jesus doesn’t want us to stay in Bartow or Polk County, although the go does include Bartow and Polk County. 

Jesus said all nations; that is, all peoples of the world. Every tribe, every tongue, every nation! We are to go!

The mission is here and the mission is there. The mission is every place that has a breathing person. 

Now, some might say, “Well, pastor, this commission is only for certain special people. After all, wasn’t Jesus just delivering this message to His disciples?” Well, I have to admit: you’re right. This mission is, indeed, only for the disciples of Jesus. So, I have to ask you, are you a disciple of Jesus?

This commission is for all the followers of Jesus! We are to live on mission! This is what it all comes down to!

Notice, also, that Jesus says that we are to make disciples. 

Jesus doesn’t say that we are to make converts. Jesus doesn’t say for us to simply try to fill the pews. Jesus doesn’t say for us to be a mile wide and an inch deep. 

Jesus wants disciples. He wants those who are willing to be baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Those who will identify with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection through water baptism. Those who will identify with and unite with a local church filled with other disciples of Jesus. 

He wants us to make disciples by teaching them the commands of Jesus and teaching them to observe those commands. Jesus wants those who are willing to become more like Him! He doesn’t just want us to know His ways, He wants us to observe His ways. 

We don’t just want people, we want disciples! A church full of disciples of Jesus will be radical to this world. They will transform their communities! They will be beacons of light for the Gospel of Jesus and the supernatural love of God!

Dr. Tony Evans says this concerning the command to make disciples: “The effectiveness of a church is therefore evaluated—not in the number of its members—but by its disciple-making. It’s the absence of discipleship that keeps a church impotent and ineffective, because by not taking up Christ’s mission of discipleship, its people cannot draw on Christ’s authority.” Well said, Dr. Evans. Church, let us not be impotent and ineffective! Let us develop disciples!

Finally, Jesus says, “ . . . remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

When we go in the name of Jesus, on mission for Jesus, with the authority of Jesus, He is with us. We have His authority to go. 

Concluding Thoughts:

Think back now to all that Matthew has taught us in his Gospel. Matthew has sought to point out that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God, that He came so that we might know God and experience God’s promises. Also, He came into the world as “God with us.”

Remember at the very beginning of Matthew as Matthew pointed to Jesus’ birth and its fulfillment of prophecy.  Matthew 1:23 says, “See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanuel, which is translated ‘God is with us.’” [on screen]

That theme of Jesus, God’s fulfilled promise, being with us continued. In Matthew chapter 1, Jesus is Immanuel, “God with us.” In the last words of Matthew 28, Jesus says, “I am withyou always, to the end of the age.”

God is with us. Jesus is with us. As our lives are changed, and we go out on His mission, His power and authority are with us.

That takes us to our bottom line:

Bottom Line: The authority of Jesus fuels the mission in us.  [on screen]


Here’s a tip to carrying out the mission of God: you can’t do it on your own; we can’t do it on our own. We need Jesus. His authority as the Son of God and King of the Universe fuels the mission in us!

Let this passage and the words of Jesus challenge you in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

1. Consider the mission.  [on screen]

What about the words of Jesus? Do they apply to you? Are you a disciple of Jesus?

Will you go? Will you go on mission in Bartow, Polk County, Florida? What if God calls you across the United States? What if God calls you to Thailand, or Croatia, or South Sudan, or the Amazon River Basin?

Some of us may be foolishly tempted to think that Jesus’ message to go only applies to a few? However, Jesus told His followers to go. The exception is not for those who go, but for those who should not go. Unless God somehow tells you otherwise, you should assume that He’s told you to go in some way. 

Illustration: This is like when a parent tells all the kids to put away their laundry. One may not do so and say, “I didn’t know that you wanted me to put away my laundry!” The parent will say, “I said for all of you to put away your laundry! That applies to everyone unless I say otherwise!” So also, Jesus has told His followers to go on mission. It applies to us all. 

Consider the mission. 

2. Commit to the mission.  [on screen]

After considering the mission, if you really are committed to the Bible and obedience to God, I believe you will realize the mission is for you. 

So, I ask you to commit to the mission. Commit this week, as we conclude 2020, to be on mission for God going into the future. 

Challenge yourself this week to consider the mission and commit to the mission. 

Finally, . . .

3. Practice the mission.  [on screen]

Some of you may have never lived on mission for God. You have been missing out on what you were created to do for a very long time.

Well, just like a little newborn horse that stands up on its legs and tries to practice walking, so also, practice the mission this week. Pray for a missionary, offer to pray for someone in the community, serve someone else and tell them that you’re doing so because you love Jesus and Jesus loves them, share the story of how Jesus has changed you with a friend or neighbor; practice the mission. Remember, as you do so, Jesus is with you, to the very end. 


Church, I believe that God wants each of us as individuals to live on mission for Him. I also believe that God wants our church to be on mission. I am convinced at this time that God has something special in store for us. If we are obedient and faithful, if we fix our eyes on Jesus and His mission, nothing can stop us. 

Let’s not hang our heads about the last year, let’s look forward to the future as Jesus is with us!

I want us to . . . 

Look forward to this: Thrive, don’t simply survive. [on screen]

Let’s not settle for just surviving, let’s seek to be thriving!

Do you want to thrive, church? Do you want to see God carry out His mission for us? 

Let’s not let any excuse keep us from obedience to the mission and trust in the Savior!

In 2021, let us thrive not simply survive. Jesus is alive, so that should change us from the inside. As a church, we need to revive. Some of us are more dead than alive. Jesus taught us to live differently than the world; let’s live like the Sermon on the Mount, starting all the way back in Matthew chapter five. Let us not do it alone! Together, let us thrive! A single bee is not as powerful as the hive. Believe the truth of Jesus, not the enemy’s lies. The fool rejects God’s ways. Let us be holy, humble, and wise. Let’s develop disciples! There’s nothing for us to do otherwise. In the last year or so we baptized somewhere around five. Let us pray that in 2021 God would give us five times fifty-five. You may think, “Pastor, that’s impossible!” Remember, anything is possible if Jesus is alive! Let us not gossip, complain, yearn for the old days, or bicker. That stuff makes your pastor break out in hives. Twenty-twenty can’t stop us; thankfully, we’re almost to day 365. Twenty-twenty-one brings brand new opportunity for our church to thrive. Let’s not be an inch deep and a mile wide. Let us put worldly aspirations aside. Jesus is alive! He is King on high! Are you with me, church? Let us thrive!

Let’s go to God in prayer now as we conclude this part of our service. 


COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: The text contained in this sermon is solely owned by its author. The reproduction, or distribution of this message, or any portion of it, should include the author’s name. The author intends to provide free resources in order to inspire believers and to assist preachers and teachers in Kingdom work.