Is that what you want? - Matthew 28:19 - 20

Dr. Steve Viars September 18, 1990 Matthew 28:19-20

- we're studying favorite Bible passages and so far we've

looked at 9 different ones, including the one we

studied with you last week

- let's use a different method to review them this week

- I'll read the verse - you tell me where that verse of

Scripture is found (I'm going to mix them up so they won't

be in the order in which we studied them)

- Not by might, nor by power, except by my spirit, saith the

Lord (Zech. 4:6)

- (For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phil.


- They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength,

they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run

and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint (Isa.


- And we know that all things work together for good to them

that love God, to them who are the called according to his

purpose (Rom. 8:28-29)

- Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, lean not unto thine

own understanding - in all they ways acknowledge him, and

he shall direct thy paths (Prov. 3:5-6)

- Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice (Phil.


- I am crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but

Christ lives in me, and the life that I now live in the

flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and

gave himself for me (Gal. 2:20)

- That ye put off the former manner of life the old man which

is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed

in the spirit of your mind, and that ye put on the new man

which after God is created in righteousness and true

holiness (Eph. 4:22-24)

- For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten

Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but

have everlasting life (John 3:16)

- let me encourage you to write those verses out on 3 x 5

cards and work on memorizing them - next week we'll review

with me saying the reference and you quoting the verse

- tonight's verse is definitely a favorite Bible verse, but

perhaps for a different reason than some of the others

we've studied

- we've been noting that from time to time in the study (that

some verses are favorites for one reason, while others are

favorites for another)

- John 3:16 is a favorite for its simplicity

- Isa. 40:31 and Prov. 3:5-6 are favorites because of the

promises they contain

- other verses are favorites because they very clearly

communicate what God wants us to be doing

- that’s true of our verse tonight

- maybe it would be good for me, even before we look at the

verse, to ask - "Is that what you want?" (that is, you


- If you've never trusted Christ as your personal savior,

you've never been saved, you couldn't say that - at least

not in the way that I'm speaking of

- you wouldn't know about a personal, intimate relationship

with God that comes as a result of having the guilt of your

sin removed by the blood of Christ and having your

relationship with God reconciled

- if you haven't made that decision, I'd sure be delighted to

talk to you about that

- but if you are saved tonight, I'm just going to assume that

the verse we're about to study either is or will become one

of your favorites - because it clearly tells us what we

should be doing, and that’s what you want

- Read Matt. 28:18-20

- let's just talk for a minute about the context of these


- I want to say 4 very brief things to you about the

context of this passage and then I'm going to ask you the

question, how is the situation that the disciples are

presently in different than what they've been facing for

the last couple of years

1) Jesus Christ has died on the cross and has risen from the


2) Verses 28:16-20 did not happen directly after verses 28:1-


Input - what's significant about that?

(Matthew, writing words that were inspired by God,

was making a definite point by organizing the

material in the way he did)

3) Verses 1-10 tell of an angel and Jesus appearing to 2

women and telling them that Jesus is alive and that they

should tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee.

4) Verses 11-15 tell of the rumor that was spread by the

bribed soldiers that Jesus' disciples had stolen Christ's


Question is - how was the disciple's situation different than

it had been for the past 3 years?

1) they had to "indirectly obey"

- Jesus wasn't right there with them. They were

getting their information "second handed."

2) they had to exercise faith. Jesus said that He would

rise again, but the "hot rumor" was that someone had

simply stolen the body of Christ.

- with those thoughts in mind, I'd like to to see three truths

about Biblical evangelism from these verses

I. Biblical Evangelism Is A Matter of Strategy

- one of the things that ought to impress us about this

passage is the strategy that Christ sets forth

- says:

A. Goal - make disciples

- if you have a King James Bible, it reads, go ye

therefore and teach

- the word "teach" could literally be translated

"make disciples"

- in Greek, the word mathatns is disciple, a noun

- the word mathntizw is make disciples, a verb

- Jesus used a form of the word mathntizw, go and

make disciples

- INPUT - what is a disciple?

(literally - a pupil, an apprentice, a

follower, a student)

- that had to have impact on the disciples he was

speaking to

because they remember the day Jesus came to them

and said follow me, learn of me

- and now Christ is saying, reproduce yourselves,

find other men and women who will trust me as

Savior, and will be my disciples

- now right off the bat, that explains why some

evangelism is doomed to failure, because the goal is

not making disciples

INPUT - from an evangelistic perspective, what would be

the opposite of having a "disciple making" goal of

evangelism? (a decision making goal)

- Sam Hornbrook a couple of weeks ago - described some

brothers and sisters in Mexico who wanted to have a

campaign where so many folks were supposedly won to


- but they couldn't show him one of those people who

had translated into a disciple

- point is - God will never bless evangelistic efforts

that are not in line with His strategy of disciple-


INPUT - lets brainstorm for a moment on some of the

difference between a "disciple-making" emphasis

in evangelism and a "decision making" emphasis

- What would be some of the differences?

1) what determines when its successful

- so many hands raised in a service, etc.

2) what methods are used to get the desired results

- some use emotional appeals because the decision is

all important - we'll worry later if its genuine

3) how much follow up is done

4) how clearly the expectations of the Christian life are


- Pastor mentioned Sunday the controversy that John

McArthur's book "The Gospel According To Jesus" has


- the central question is - when a person is saved,

do they have to realize that they now must live for

Christ instead of themselves, or is that a decision

they make subsequent to salvation

- we have always said around here that you don't take

half a Jesus

- you can't accept him as Savior without yielding

to him as Lord

- of course a person isn't going to realize the full

implications of that at the time of salvation

- but having a disciple making emphasis in evangelism

is going to lead a person to more clearly explain to

the person he/she is trying to reach what trusting

Christ as Savior and Lord is all about

- so we're saying that Jesus' strategy for evangelism

has the goal of producing disciples

- let me make 2 more quick points about the strategy and

then we'll try to tie some things together

B. through public identification

- Jesus makes it very clear that believers

baptism is an important part of the

discipleship process

- not that baptism saves a person, but that a

wllingness to publically be identified with

Christ and his death, burial, and ressurection

are a sure first sign that a person means

business about becoming a disciple

C. through right doctrine

- notice that Jesus says the person has to be

baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and

Holy Spirit

- now obviously, the Jews who Matthew was writing

to would have trouble with this one, but Jesus

wants the disciples to know right off the bat

- you can't go out and make disciples at the

expense of doctrine

- thats been the great mistake of the

liberal movement

- they wanted to water down doctrine so they

could get more disciples

- deity of Christ went out the window

because some folks couldn't believe in

the virgin birth

- miracles were explained away

- inspiration of the Scripture was


- all so that more people would

become disciples because the faith

was easier to accept

- those kind of churches have been declining

ever since because disciples cannot be

made at the expense of doctrine

D. through learning to change and grow

- its extremely important to notice carefully

what Jesus said in verse 20

- Jesus didn't simply say that a person would be

a disciple if you taught him all the things

Christ commanded

- he said - you teach him "how to observe" all

the things Christ commanded

- INPUT - what's the difference?

- its at this very point that many discipleship

programs fail

- they are content oriented

- that’s why our Christian Life and Growth Class

is designed the way it is

- that’s why our teaching/preaching services have

a heavy dose of the "how to"s

- its an attempt to obey what this passage of

Scripture is saying

- so the point is - Biblical evangelism is a matter of


- Jesus commanded you and he commanded me to go and

make disciples

- now if what I just said is true - then a natural

question has to flow out of that

- that question is - who are you discipling?

- If you're not a Christian here tonight - please

disregard that question and replace it with this

one - why won't you become a disciple tonight?

- if you are a believer - then the next question has

to be - who are you discipling?

- let me say that the "who" in that verse is plural

- Jesus said, go and make disciples

- you may have folks at different stages at the

discipleship process

- you may have just started building a friendship

with one person or family

- with someone else, you've just started giving them a

verbal witness about Christ

- with another person perhaps you have shared the

gospel clearly once and you're looking for an

opportunity to do it again

- perhaps another has accepted Christ and now you are

encouraging them to get involved in follow-up and

the other services

- you're checking on that person's growth

- surely all of us who have families would want to

mention where we stand in the discipleship process

with each of our family members

- but the bottom line is - Jesus commanded us to be

following an evangelistic strategy and everyone of us

needs to ask - who am I discipling?

- now I realize you might be here tonight and would say

- PV, I need to be honest with you - I'm willing to

do a lot of things in the Christian life, but

making disciples isn't one of them

- I'll attend church, try to grow, give, serve

but I'm not going to do what you're talking


- let me say this to that - I organized these verses the

way I have purposely - because the next point I want us

to see about biblical evangelism is:

II. Biblical Evangelism Is A Matter of Obedience

A. "all authority is given unto me"

- see, this is where the context is so important

- Matthew is setting up for us two very distinct

authorities that could possibly rule the disciples

- on one hand, you have the authority of Christ

which, in this case, had been communicated

second-handed through the women He had spoken to

- and on the other - you have the masses who are


1) Jesus didn't really rise from the dead

2) He wasn't really God

3) He isn't the Messiah

- Jesus is saying - you guys have a choice to make

- it was one thing to obey me when I was walking

right there with you,

- but now you're going to have to decide who to

obey without the benefit of my fleshly


- but let me remind you of something - all

authority is given to me in heaven and earth

- now you can go hide

- you can refuse to tell others about me

- you can choose to not carry out this

commandment I'm giving you

- but you need to see that as direct disobedience

against the God of heaven

- that’s why I say, biblical evangelism is matter of


- Jesus is making this point so clearly because the

disciples have already been failing miserably

B. Didn't go to Galilee

cf. v 7

cf. v. 10

- if you compare this with the other Gospels, you'll

find that the disciples didn't do what Jesus had

instructed them to do

- they were supposed to meet Christ at the Sea of

Galilee and they hadn't done it

- because of fear of the other people or unbelief in

their own hearts, they hadn't done what Christ had

told them to do

- they were already starting the bad habit of


- Jesus says - all authority is given unto me

- this commission I'm about to give you is a matter

of obedience

- biblical evangelism is a matter of obedience

- now most of us are going to have to do some

mental wrestling right now

- because I think most of us would say - I'm not

satisfied with how I'm doing in the area of


- but most of us would probably be hesitant to call

that disobedience to God

- so instead we've concocted quite a few excuses to

soften the blow

INPUT - what are some of the excuses we might use?

- not my gift

- people aren't getting saved anymore

- someone else's job

- don't have time

- might ask I question I can't answer

- is this true - those excuses are often used as a

padding against the point of verse 18

- the command to make disciples is based on the authority

of heaven - to fail to work at making disciples is

disobedience to God

- we announced that the conference we just attended was

entitled Arise...Evangelize

- I'm sure I can speak for everyone on our staff when I


- I was convicted by the Spirit of God as the Word

of God was shared on the subject of evangelism

- its not because I'm not doing anything in

evangelism, or because someone else isn't

- but I'm not satisfied with how I'm doing in that area

- I'm not going to make concrete changes in that area

without admitting, that is disobedience to God

- I wonder if you're here tonight and would be willing to

say that as well

- in fact, I wonder if we've got folks here tonight who

would have to say it even stronger

- PV, it has been days, weeks, months, since:

...I thought about my responsibility to make


...I put any genuine effort into making disciples

...since I prayed for a specific unsaved person

...since I prayed that I would be faithful in

this area with the opportunities God gives

...since I clearly shared the gospel with anyone

see, biblical evangelism is a matter of strategy, and its a

matter of obedience

- now I realize that you might say, PV, I just don't see how

I could fit it in, we're so busy

- I wouldn't for a minute question that many of us are very

busy, but that’s one of the beauties of this passage

III. Biblical Evangelism Is A Matter Of Priority

A. "Go Ye or "As You Are Going?"

the "go ye" in verse 19 is a participle, and could just

have easily been translated "as you are going"

- we're not talking about another something that you have

to add to your schedule necessarily

- we're talking about having a schedule that’s oriented to

the priority of making disciples

- so the person I work with isn't just a co-worker,

he/she is a potential disciple

- the neighbor isn't just a guy who borrows my mower,

he's a potential disciple

- "as you are going", make disciples

B. How To Get Started

1. begin regularly praying for specific lost people

2. look for opportunities to build bridges

3. learn to present your testimony

4. learn to present the gospel plan

5. set measurable goals in evangelism

- so many nights each month set aside for


- present the gospel so many times in a month

- might say - PV, I just couldn't do it

- great thing about this verse, promise that goes with it -

Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and five grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video