Famous Last Words A Sermon by Pastor R. D. Johnson Preached at the Ann Arbor, MI Free Methodist Church Scripture Text: Matthew 28:16-20 April 18, 2010 Sermon #0200 Famous last words: “Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.” - Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872 “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” - David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s. “I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper.” - Gary Cooper, On his decision not to take the leading role in "Gone With The Wind." “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” - Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899. “Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” - Popular Mechanics, Forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949 “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” - Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943 “So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.'” - Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs, On attempts to get Atari and HP interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer. “640K ought to be enough for anybody.” - Bill Gates, 1981 Famous Last words prior to death: The last words of the most infamous atheist of the 19th century, arguably the one most responsible for changing the direction of the world away from God were: I am not the least afraid to die. - Charles Darwin, d. April 19, 1882 I would DEFINITELY NOT want to be him a few moments after he said that! Winston Churchill, just before slipping into a 9 day coma that ended his life, said, “I'm bored with it all.” - Winston Churchill, statesman, d. January 24, 1965 Another famous individual‟s final words were, “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.” - Leonardo da Vinci, artist, d. 1519 The last words of the John Wesley, “The best of all is: God is with us.” Famous last words quote lists usually have Jesus saying, “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.” And these were His last words before He died. But they were not His last words. The Last Words of Jesus Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. – Matthew 28:16-17 Matthew has a very convenient memory. It is true what he wrote. They did go to Galilee as Jesus directed and they did worship Him when they saw Him, but not in that order. This morning marks the second Sunday after the Resurrection. On this day, two weeks later, the Disciples were finally with Jesus in Galilee. Over a week! For more than a week the disciples hid and doubted the resurrection. Then they finally went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. Then Matthew skips the next 5 weeks to report verses 18-20, the last words of Jesus to the disciples before He ascended into the sky and was hidden from view by the clouds. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." - Matthew 28:18-20 Those are powerful last words, but does the fact that they are „last words‟ make them any more profound or true? There are five things Jesus mentions in these last words: Credentials, Commission, Community, Commitment, and Comfort. Credentials: All Authority All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. - Matthew 28:18 Just before Jesus left this world, He said, “I‟m in charge”. „All authority‟ doesn‟t leave much room for argument. For three years some of these disciples had been following Jesus through: Joy and sorrow, miracles and persecution, provision and hunger, confusion and hope. Then they suffered through the worst kind of despair as they saw all their hope destroyed with His death. Now here they stand, hope renewed with the resurrection and hearing this! All authority! Jesus had never spoken like that before. Prior to this statement, Jesus only said and did what the Father commanded Him to. Not because of His sacrifice, Jesus was telling them that He was in full control. What applied to the disciples then, applies to us now. Jesus has all authority even now, even over you. If this claim to authority is true, then these last words are the most profound ever spoken! This morning we will not argue to show the truth of His authority, that is a sermon for another time. Let us instead consider seriously what He says here assuming He really does have the credentials to back it up. Commission: Go and Make Disciples Go therefore and make disciples of all nations - Matthew 28:19a Two questions must be asked: Who is Jesus talking to, and what does it mean? 1- This call, which has been called the „Great Commission‟ is nearly universally accepted by Christians around the world and for the last 2000 years to be for ALL Christians. How many here have ever thought their calling from God might be to preach revivals and take the Gospel to the lost masses? 2- The original Greek here seems to imply “As you go…” Go do this… or On your way to do what you are doing, could you also do… This is not a call to the apostles only, as some might think, their call to be evangelists. That is not what this Commission is about. This is a Great Commission to all believers that „as you go‟ make disciples. Reproduce yourself, your faith in those around you, as you live out God‟s unique call on your life, whatever it is. Community: Baptize Them baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit - Matthew 28:19b The Christian Church (of all denominations who truly follow Jesus) was designed by Jesus Himself to be a community. Not a religious organization, but a living organism. LIVING Baptism unites us in life. It identifies us with the death of Christ and symbolically raises us to life. ORGANISM This church, with all of its members, attenders, and guests, is NOT an organization. We do not exist for some religious structure, nor do we hold to strongly to any structure. We are called to be light, which can not be defined by any size or shape. Like living water we flow to fill any structure that is needed for a time. We are not ice, which retains its shape when called by the master to transition to another structure. In baptizing those who respond in faith to the grace of Jesus, we are destroying the sin and pride that rigidly defined them before Christ, and initiating them into a living „body‟ whose head is Christ. They become as we are, sons and daughters of the light. New Creations of a spiritual nature that can not be defined, limited or put into a box by the world. Commitment: Teach Them to Obey teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. - Matthew 28:20a This initiation into light is not without work – a total commitment is REQUIRED! Salvation is not about a prayer. It is not a sinners prayer that God wants from us to be saved, but an obedience to the authority that has been given to Jesus. Comfort: I Am Always With You And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. - Matthew 28:20b Though Commitment is necessary, which demands hard word and service to God and man, God does not leave it to us to be capable of doing it. With community and commitment we are given comfort. This last line is not simply an add on, it is the assurance of the power and strength we will need to obey and fulfill this Great Commission. Will you honor the Last Request of your Lord / Savior, or will you find an excuse suitable to you, one you are comfortable telling God in the day of Judgment, for why you ignored Him?