I Preached an Entire Sermon Based on Only One Word
As an itinerant preacher, I was invited to preach at a church for its Missionary Sunday. I chose to preach on a practical subject in keeping with the occasion. Even though the sermon was geared toward missionaries, it was appropriate for everyone who heard it.
The congregation was encouraged to turn to Matthew 28:16-20 and follow along with me during the delivery of the sermon that I titled, "Go."
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Father, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 28:19)
Number of Words in the Bible
The Bible contains 783,137 words. Of the 783,137 words, 6,468 of them are commands. Of the 6,468 commands, there is one command that appears 1,358 times.
The Word "Go"
The word “Go” runs like a scarlet thread throughout the Bible. “Oftentimes when the command to go is given, it is in conjunction with something else.
- “Go and sin no more.”
- “Go to the lost sheep of Israel.”
- “Go to a place I will show you.”
- “Go and marry yourself a prostitute.”
- “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan.”
- “Go to Pharaoh and tell him to let my people go.”
- “Go into the promise land.”
- “Go and bury the dead.”
The Bible tells us to go and do something because go is an action verb.
What the Word "Go" Means
Everyone understands what it means to go. To go means to move from one place to another. “Go” is such a simple word that even dogs understand “Go.”
We are more intelligent than dogs, or at least we should be. Unlike dogs, we have a soul. We can have a relationship with God and because we have a relationship with God, we can understand and obey the simple word, “Go.”
Jesus Gives Final Instructions
Jesus had already been crucified, buried and resurrected. Jesus walked the face of the earth 40 days after His resurrection and before His ascension. Because the disciples had some major decisions to make, Jesus called a meeting to give them some final instructions before He ascended. Those instructions included the word “Go.”
The Great Commission
We call it the Great Commission, but Jesus never called it that. There are three distinct parts of this Great Commission.
Three parts of the Great Commission
Jesus says in the part of the Great Commission that He has been given ALL authority in heaven and earth. This could also be called the Christian’s Power of Attorney.
The ASSIGNMENT involved the verb, “Go” because that is the starting point. This assignment is for all believers, with the same rights, the same privileges, the same promises and the same provisions that make it possible for us to make disciples. There is no excuse for millions of believers to leave this task to a small group of people within the church. We are all missionaries because of the AUTHORITY and because of the ASSIGNMENT.
What is the ASSIGNMENT? The assignment begins with “Go.” Up until now, the disciples were told not to go to the Gentiles (Matthew 10:5-6). They were to go to only the lost sheep of Israel. Now they are told to go to all nations and the emphasis is on MAKING DISCIPLES. In other words, disciples should beget disciples. This is not to say that each eleven disciples should go to all nations, but they should disperse
In other words, disciples should beget disciples. This is not to say that each eleven disciples should go to all nations, but they should disperse and make disciples wherever they went. Then the command was to baptize the new disciples in the Trinitarian names of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. This is the only time in the New Testament the names of the Trinity are outlined this way.
The other part of the ASSIGNMENT for the disciples was to teach others to obey everything Jesus had taught them.
The third part of the Great Commission is the ASSURANCE. Jesus knew the task was a great one. That’s why it is known as the GREAT COMMISSION. For this reason, He does not leave us alone.
He says, “And surely, without a doubt, certainly, lo I am with you always.” How long? The Great Commission started with the eleven disciples in Matthew 28:16-20, but it will not stop until the end of the age when Jesus returns.
Notice how many times in this short passage Jesus used the word “ALL.” That means it is inclusive. ALL authority, ALL nations, that means Jews and Gentiles. And teach ALL things and Jesus will be with us ALWAYS.
The Great Commission is for every believer. This is not just for the small group of people within a church designated as missionaries, but it is for every Christian everywhere who should be willing to go and do as Jesus has instructed.