Sunday, April 11, 2010

Matthew 28:16-20 - The Cooperative Commission

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Pray and Read: Matthew 28:16-20

Contextual Notes:
In Matthew 28, we find an important post-Resurrection appearance of Jesus. The women offered a true report (28:1-10) of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The guards offered a false report (28:11-15). Matthew now says that we, like the women, must offer a true report and resist the temptations that the guards fell for like money and protection.

Note that they go up on a mountain. Matthew places Jesus on a mountain for the Sermon on the Mount (Jesus’ interpretation of the Torah), his Transfiguration (fullness of His Manhood), and the Great Commission (here). Why does Matthew do that? He is showing Jesus as not one who is the law-giver as Moses, but the Law-Maker, as a man he is one greater than Moses. He does not have a shining face on the mountain, but he is a shining person.

Here, Jesus is also greater than Moses in that he gave four sermons in Deuteronomy to prepare the people to cross into the Promised Land and then died on Mount Nebo. Jesus as a Resurrected King gives four commands on the mountain in Galilee to prepare his disciples for Pentecost and the beginning of the Church. Moses was not able to accompany them into the Promised Land. Jesus says he is with us always, even until the end of the age.

Sermon Points:
1. Go to all ethnic groups (Matt. 28:19)
2. Make disciples of all ethnic groups (Matt. 28:19)
3. Plant churches among all ethnic groups (Matt. 28:19)
4. Trust Christ’s presence with you (Matt. 28:20)

Exposition:
This passage is broken into an imperative and three participles with a final divine promise/fact.

1. GO TO ALL ETHNIC GROUPS (Matt. 28:19)
a. The participle not only assumes that we are going, but the grammatical construction of placing a participle before an imperative in the Greek language gives the force of a command to the participle. So “Going” becomes “GO!” If true, and we are waiting for God to call us to go, should we not instead be waiting for God to call us to stay?

b. Assumes we are crossing cultural barriers. The Jordan we cross today is cultural barriers to the gospel, whether to another generation, another racial group, another continent.

c. APPLICATION: Are you going to all the ethnic groups? Are you praying for salvation for those who are lost among us? Are you looking for opportunities to share your faith with those who are different from you? Or do you avoid them in the doctor’s office or in line at the DMV or on your job? The question is not whether you might be called to go to the nations but rather what prevents you from going? If you cannot go, can you give of your resources to the Cooperative Program to help those of us who are called? If you cannot give, can you support those who are going through ministries like the Women’s Missionary Union, Baptist Men, Royal Ambassadors, or Girls in Action? If you cannot support, will you pray for those who are going? This Great Commission is a cooperative commission in which everyone has a responsibility and a privilege of service. In what way are you going to the nations?

2. MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL ETHNIC GROUPS (Matt. 28:19)
a. Disciplize is the word that Matthew coins. Not make converts, not proselytize, but make disciples.
b. Of all nations – panta ta ethne -- not just people like us. We are called to cross the barriers. As long as there are ethno-linguistic groups without a witness, without a church in their language and culture on the planet, the Great Commission has not been fulfilled. When this occurs, 24:14 tells us that the end will come.
c. William Carey: Moderator of Baptist association meeting said to him: If God wants us to reach the heathen, he will do it without you or me.

d. APPLICATION: Are you a disciple of Christ? Are you growing in your relationship with Jesus? If not, why not? Are you in a disciple-making relationship? Are you mentoring someone or being discipled? Are you in a Bible study that has relationships with other believers which help you grow in Christ?

e. Are you looking for opportunities to make disciples of those of other nations who are among us today? Is there a call on your life to make disciples of other nations? Are you pursuing that call? Go on a short-term mission trip either in the States or internationally. Would you be willing to help your pastor organize a mission trip next year to Liberia, West Africa, where we can work with burgeoning church planting movement with friends of Amanda’s and mine?

f. If you are not tithing, begin to do so and also discover the blessings of giving beyond the tithe. Encourage your church to increase its participation in the Cooperative Program.

3. PLANT CHURCHES AMONG ALL PEOPLE GROUPS (Matt. 28:19)
a. Baptizing: Step of obedience to Christ and incorporation into the local church. We have lost this ordinance’s importance. In some countries like parts of India or Pakistan, to be baptized publicly is to invite poisoning from family members, or assassination by radical Hindus or Muslims.

b. It is a Believer’s baptism done after submitting to Christ.
i. Prophetic picture of death, burial, resurrection – Romans 6:4-6. As we baptize, we picture the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ and our participation in that with him. baptizo means immerse or sink. That is why we immerse and don’t sprinkle.

ii. Trinitarian baptism -- We baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This passage places Jesus on the same level of divinity as the Holy Spirit and the Father.
iii. Not baptismal regeneration – You cannot be saved by baptism. Christ is the savior, not an act. If any act has to be performed before you are saved, then you are earning your salvation, baptism included. Regarding the act of baptism as necessary to salvation offends the work of Christ on the cross.
iv. Not infant baptism. If Catholic background, it does not remove original sin in a child. Only Christ removes original sin. If Presbyterian or Methodist, that was a dedication by your parents of you to the Lord. It did not signify salvation but only that you were in the covenant of faith, not that you had made a decision to follow Christ. Believers baptism does not discount or offend what your parents did. If you have not been baptized as a believer, you need to follow Christ in obedience to him.

c. Teaching: Not just preaching. Teaching the full counsel of God “whatsoever things I have commanded you.” Helping others, your children, your coworkers, those of other ethnic groups, learn the Bible, to know its precepts, its flow, its message, its Lord.

d. APPLICATION: Are you in the Word yourself? Or is all the Bible you get these 30 minutes on Sunday morning and what you hear on Christian TV or radio Bible teaching. Read the Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you. Buy Bible reference books and use them to study the word. Feast on him. Learn from others’ lives and the Word.

e. One of the visions I would like to see happen in this church is to plant another church of a different ethnic group, such as Latino or African-American. Has the Lord burdened you with that vision?

4. TRUST CHRIST’S PRESENCE WITH YOU AMONG THE PEOPLE GROUPS (Matt. 28:20)
a. His omnipresence and manifest presence with us in our mission is not just a promise. It is a divine fact.

b. ILLUSTRATION: G. Campbell Morgan, that great expositor of Scripture, was reading this passage to a shut in one day on a visit. He said, “This is a great promise.” She looked out of the side of her eye with a smile, “No sir, that is a fact.”

Cooperative Program Emphasis
Since its inception in 1845, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has always had one mission—the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20). To fulfill its assigned part of this divine mandate, each SBC entity made special offering appeals to the churches. This method was referred to as the “societal” approach to missions and resulted in severe financial deficits, competition among entities, overlapping pledge campaigns, and frequent emergency appeals which greatly hampered the expanding ministry opportunities God was giving Southern Baptists.

In 1919, the leaders of the SBC proposed the 75 Million Campaign, a five-year pledge campaign that, for the first time, included everything—the missions and ministries of all the state conventions as well as that of the Southern Baptist Convention. Banking on that campaign, some Southern Baptist entities took out loans to cover operating costs until pledges or special offerings were received. But the Campaign fell short of its goals, and many agencies found themselves overextended with no way to pay their bills.

In the midst of that embarrassment, a God-given partnership of missions support was conceived—The Cooperative Program. Since its launch in 1925, the effectiveness of CP has been dependent upon individuals, churches, state conventions, and SBC entities cooperating, working toward a common goal of sharing the gospel with every person on the planet.

How it works: Simply put, it begins with you. You give yourself first to God (2 Cor. 5:8). Out of gratitude and obedience to God for what He has done for you, you commit to give back to Him, through your church, a portion of what He provides. This is commonly called a tithe and represents ten percent of your income (Lev. 27:30, Mal. 3:10).

Your church decides the next step. Every year your church prayerfully decides how much of its undesignated gifts will be committed to reaching people in your state and around the world through Cooperative Program (CP) Missions. This amount is then forwarded to our state Baptist convention.
During the annual meeting of your state convention, messengers from Southern Baptist churches across the state decide what percentage of Cooperative Program gifts stays in the state to support local missions and what percentage will be forwarded to the SBC for North American and international missions.
At the SBC Annual Meeting, messengers from across the country decide how the gifts received from the states will be distributed among SBC entities. These gifts are used by Southern Baptist entities to send and support missionaries, train pastors, missionaries, and other ministry leaders; provide relief for retired ministers and widows; and address social, moral, and ethical concerns relating to our faith and families.

The bottom line – people around the world hear the gospel and receive Christ.

Note: Your local Southern Baptist association does not receive CP gifts directly. It ministers through gifts received directly from churches and often receives CP gifts indirectly in the form of support from state conventions and the North American Mission Board.

What it does: At the national level, Southern Baptists support over 5,000 missionaries who are engaging more than 1,193 different people groups around the world through the International Mission Board.
In 2008, over 1,578 new churches were planted through the efforts of more than 5,611 North American missionaries working with your North American Mission Board and individual state conventions.

Working together, Southern Baptists saw 908,165 new believers baptized in 2008! One baptism every 38 seconds. Through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists plant 53 Bible-based churches every day. That’s 19,401 a year.

Through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists are the third largest disaster relief provider in the world.

Six Southern Baptist seminaries (Southern, Southeastern, Midwestern, Southwestern, Golden Gate, and New Orleans) educate in excess of 16,000 pastors, missionaries, and future church leaders each year.

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is dedicated to addressing social, moral, and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families and their faith. They also provide print resources that offer scriptural responses to the moral and ethical problems of our culture.
Your prayers and support also undergird the work of GuideStone Financial Resources, the Historical Library and Archives, and the Southern Baptist Foundation.

Although they receive no CP Missions support, LifeWay Christian Resources and the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) actively promote CP Missions in publications and missions resources.

Churches in North Carolina work together through our Baptist State Convention to support a wide array of ministries and missions including: evangelism efforts, children’s homes, volunteer missions, missions education, church planting, colleges and universities, collegiate ministries, camps, and much more.

Let’s look at a powerpoint presentation about what NC Baptists are doing in their obedience to the Great Commission.

Invitation:
Salvation
Church membership
Call to missions or ministry