Christ with Us AlwaysMatthew 28:18-20Theme: All authority.This week’s lessons remind us that Christ’s presence is what gives power to evangelism.
LessonToday’s Christians need to articulate these great biblical doctrines afresh, not just adopt the theology of our culture. We need to speak of the depravity of man, of man in rebellion against God, so much so that there is no hope for him or her apart from God’s grace. We need to speak of God’s electing love, showing that God enters the life of the individual in grace by his Holy Spirit to quicken understanding and draw the rebellious will to himself. We must speak of perseverance, that God is able to keep and does keep those whom he so draws. All these doctrines and the supporting doctrines that go with them need to be proclaimed. We have to say, “This is where we stand. We do not adopt the world’s theology or even the theology of the liberal church.” Unless we do this, we cannot consider ourselves to be faithful and obedient disciples of Jesus – or even followers at all. Without this our churches will not prosper and our preaching and teaching will not be fully blessed.
The final universal of Matthew 28:18-20 is always or, as the Greek literally says, “all the days, even to the consummation of the age.” It is a great promise. In the first chapter of Matthew, Jesus was introduced as ” ‘Immanuel’ – which means, ‘God with us’ ” (Matt. 1:23). Here in the very last verse that promise is repeated and confirmed.
John Stott writes, “This was not the first time Christ had promised them his risen presence. Earlier in this Gospel (18:20) he had undertaken to be in their midst when only two or three disciples were gathered in his name. Now, as he repeats the promise of his presence, he attached it rather to their witness than to their worship. It is not only when we meet in his name, but when we go in his name, that he promises to be with us. The emphatic ‘I,’ who pledges his presence, is the one who has universal authority and who sends forth his people. It remains questionable, therefore, whether a stay-at-home church – disobedient to the Great Commission, and indifferent to the need of the nations – is in any position to claim or inherit the fullness of Christ’s promised presence.”1
It is not easy to follow Jesus Christ. He never suggested it would be. But it is far better than not following him, for not only do we have the promise of a sure hope beyond the grave and rewards in heaven, but we also have the promise of the Lord’s presence with us now as we seek to serve him. His presence is to be desired above rubies. To know him is of greater value than gold.
1 Stott, One Race, One Gospel, One Task, p. 49
Summarize all we need to proclaim about Jesus today.
What will happen if we are only partially faithful to Christ’s teachings?
PrayerOur Father, we come to the end of this series on discipleship. We acknowledge our inadequacy, our sin, our failure here as in other areas. But, Father, do accomplish something in us by your Word in this area and grant that we might be successful as disciples and effective in our witness for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen and amen.