A message preached in Garvagh Free Presbyterian Church, Lord's Day evening, October 1st, 2017 by Rev Ivan Foster.
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen," Matthew 28:18-20.
Was there ever a farewell of more significance than this? "Parting is such sweet sorrow," said Shakespeare. That which added sweetness to the sorrow the disciples felt were these final words of the Lord Jesus.
It is very obvious that He was very conscious of their timorous, doubting state and He spoke to them accordingly. They would have been most fearful as they faced the future, given the tidal wave of opposition and hatred they had encountered. His words were aimed at allaying those fears.
I. CONSIDER THE POWER OF THE LORD JESUS
1. He speaks of it as a 'given' power'. Of course, such power was the Saviour's by right but He had laid aside his glory and undertook the humility of a servant in order to redeem his people, Php 2:6-10; Mark 16:19; Rev 5:12-14; Eph 1:17-22.
2. His power is equivalent to omnipotence. The origins of this word simply means "all power"!
3. His is the power of God. It is all power "in heaven and in earth!" There is no power that can resist Christ! The power manifested in the Flood, in Egypt, in the judgment of Korah, in the resurrection of Lazarus and especially in His own resurrection.
4. Christ has power where man feels he rules supreme. Dan 4:17, 25. "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will," Proverbs 21:1. "He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty," Job 12:19.
5. There is no realm where Christ's power is not exercised. "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases," Luke 9:1; Jude 6. "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels," Matthew 25:41.
II. LET US CONSIDER HOW CHRIST EXERCISES THAT POWER.
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations." His power is displayed and exercised chiefly through the preaching of the gospel. "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God," 1 Cor 1:18.
1. It is not through the circus-like antics of modern religion. How many delight in the mere entertainment that is offered in the name of religion! The charismatic, man-centred activities that are shameful.
2. It is through only that taught by the Saviour. "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." The Old Testament and the New Testament contain the sum of all doctrine to be taught. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them," Isaiah 8:20.
3. We are to preach so as to make disciples, to win souls. "Teaching them to observe." The word first appears as "keep", Matt 19:17. It also appears as "watch", Matt 27:36. That is how YOU should look at the gospel, sinner! And having looked to receive the Word of the gospel.
4. Where there is such preaching there the presence of Christ will be known. " . . . . and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen," Matthew 28:20.
May His presence and power accompany His Word tonight and may there be conversions to Christ.