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OUR IMMEDIATE GOAL

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Evening, June 3, 2007
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“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 28:19-20).


This is probably the second most well known text in the New Testament. Only John 3:16 surpasses it in popularity. We usually think of it as a missionary text. It is indeed a call to missions, but it is more than that. It ought to be the central theme of each local church. It has several elements in it that we should observe as a congregation. In fact, it gives the very purpose of our church.

I. First, the purpose of our church is to teach all nations.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…” (Matthew 28:19).

This literally means “make disciples of all nations.” We do that by broadcasting the sermons preached in our church in seven languages on the Internet to an international audience. The sermons go up on the website each Sunday in Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Arabic. Literally thousands of pastors world-wide read and absorb these sermons every week. We have feedback showing that our sermons are a blessing and help to countless pastors around the world. In far away places, often where there is little solid sermon material, in places like Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, The People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, Korea, several nations of Africa, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, several Polynesian islands, Israel, and many other nations, thousands read these sermons every week. In this way we are helping to spread sound evangelistic sermons throughout the world. We are planning to add several other languages in the next few months. We hope to have our sermons on the website in twenty or more languages in the next several years. The Internet makes our sermons available to thousands of people throughout the world. I hope to see our church posting the message of the Gospel in dozens of languages before I die. That is the first way we are fulfilling the Great Commission, as expressed in our text. We are going to the nations of the world through the international languages of English, Spanish and Chinese. People by the hundreds are reading the sermons in English in Germany, France and other European nations already. And we hope to add the sermons in their own languages in the next few years. Spanish is another international language through which we reach Spain, Mexico, Central and South America and others. Chinese is spoken throughout the world and we are reaching the Chinese in a number of nations through this great language, as well as the others I have mentioned. As soon as possible, we want to add several of the languages of Indochina, reaching people in Southeast Asia, where revival is breaking out in our time. We want to be an encouragement and help to pastors and churches throughout the world, by publishing evangelistic sermons in their own languages.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

We are literally fulfilling that part of the Great Commission right now, by publishing meaty, Christ-centered evangelistic sermons on our website. We are doing that right now! As I said, our sermons already go out on the Internet in Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, Spanish, Arabic, and English every week.   But this is only the beginning! As President Reagan used to say, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

II. Second, the purpose of our church here in Los Angeles.

Look at the second clause in the text,

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20).

I once knew a man who was influenced, I think, by hyper-Calvinism. He said that the Great Commission was only for the Apostles, not for Christians today. He taught that the Apostles in the time of Christ were the only ones commanded to make evangelism the central thrust of their lives. How wrong he was!

Dr. John R. Rice wrote a comment that corrects this man’s false interpretation of the text. Dr. Rice said,

There is no change in Christian duty. Notice [in verse 20] every new convert is to be taught “to observe all things whatsoever I command you,” that is, the commands that Jesus gave the apostles to observe. The same commands are to be observed by every new convert and they are to be so taught (John R. Rice, D.D., Matthew: the King of the Jews, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1980 reprint, p. 502).

People in our church must be taught exactly what Christ taught the Disciples – to go and make disciples themselves. Christ said that the Disciples were to make other disciples. Then they were to teach the new disciples exactly what Christ taught them – to evangelize and make new disciples themselves.

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20).

The original Disciples were taught to evangelize, that is, make more disciples. Then these new disciples were to be taught “to observe all things” that Christ had commanded the original Apostles – that they were to be taught, among other things, to make new disciples themselves, to teach others to evangelize just as they had been taught by Christ. There is an unbroken chain of this throughout the centuries. One group of Christians is to teach the next group the same thing they have been taught – “to teach all nations” themselves. That was what Dr. Rice said, and he was one hundred percent right. And this method of one generation teaching another to evangelize “to observe all” that Christ taught the original Apostles has no end. Down to the end of time, Christians are to continue to teach new converts to evangelize. Just as Christ taught the Apostles, we are to teach the next group of young Christians to do the same thing,

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”

regarding the all-important task of evangelizing a lost and dying world! Therefore the Great Commission is for us today, for it is mandated that it be taught to every succeeding generation by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself!

One more proof exists in the text, showing that the Great Commission is for us today. At the very end of verse twenty Jesus said,

“And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).

Christ promised to be with those who evangelize and make disciples “even unto the end of the world.”

No, hyper-Calvinists are wrong. We stand with Spurgeon. The Great Commission is for every Blood-bought child of God throughout the ages of time, including our own time. Christ promised He would be with those who evangelize and make disciples “even to the end of the world.” What could be plainer than that? I can’t see how anything could be clearer on the pages of Holy Scripture!

And we are obeying the command of Christ every time we go to evangelism on the streets and campuses here in Los Angeles! We go to evangelism out of obedience to Christ! Don’t let anyone change what you read in Matthew 28:19-20! Don’t let anyone confuse you! Obey the words of our Lord Jesus Christ and go to evangelism every week. Do it! Do it! Do it! Make this church a lighthouse of Gospel truth in the civic center of this dark and wicked city!

Our immediate goal is to add another one hundred young people to our church. I believe we can reach that goal in the near future! I believe it because that is what God wants us to do! Here is what we must do to reach that immediate goal.

First, I must continue to preach the Gospel. You cannot add another hundred solid young people to a church without constant Gospel preaching. That’s why we say, with the Apostle Paul,

“I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2).

We must not let anyone come through the doors of our church without hearing that message – “Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Young people need to hear the Gospel of Christ. They need to hear that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity. They need to hear that Jesus Christ died on the Cross to pay the penalty for their sin. They need to hear that Jesus Christ rose physically from the dead. They need to hear that He is alive today, seated at the right hand of God in Heaven. They need to hear that Jesus Christ can pardon their sin and impute His righteousness to them. They need to hear that they can be born again by coming to Jesus. And that is the theme of all our messages – all of them – Saturday night, Sunday morning, and Sunday night.

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"
     (Acts 16:31).

To reach our goal, that must be the theme of every sermon!

Second, to add another hundred young people to our church, every one of you who is not yet converted must “Strive to enter in at the strait gate” (Luke 13:24). Like produces like. You really can’t help us reach our goal if you remain in an unconverted state. That’s why I am asking every unconverted young person here tonight to treat your own conversion with great seriousness. Think about it constantly. Pray to God about it daily. Ask God to give you converting grace through Christ Jesus. Do it! Do it! Do it!

Third, all of us must think constantly about evangelism. Do evangelism on your own. Get names and phone numbers and bring them in to be followed up on. Do evangelism in your college, after work, on a daily basis. Do it! Do it! Do it!

Fourth, we must treat every new person who comes through the doors of this church as a special person. Don’t hang around with your old friends. Go out of your way to make every guest feel welcome. When they come a time or two, go out of your way to be kind and make them feel at home in our church. Do it! Do it! Do it!

Let each of us, to the best of our ability, strive with all of our might to make this church a second home to lost and lonely young people. Do it! Do it! Do it!

If we do those simple things with all our hearts, and with the help and mercy of God, we shall fulfill the Great Commission right here, where the need is so great, in the civic center of Los Angeles! May God help each of us to do our part, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Please stand and sing hymn number eight on your song sheet. Sing it thoughtfully and with gusto!


Hark! ’tis the Shepherd’s voice I hear

   Out in the desert dark and drear,

Calling the sheep who’ve gone astray

   Far from the Shepherd’s fold away.

Bring them in, bring them in,

   Bring them in from the fields of sin;

Bring them in, bring them in,

   Bring the wand’ring ones to Jesus.


Who’ll go and help this Shepherd kind,

   Help Him the wand’ring ones to find?

Who’ll bring the lost ones to the fold,

   Where they’ll be sheltered from the cold?

Bring them in, bring them in,

   Bring them in from the fields of sin;

Bring them in, bring them in,

   Bring the wand’ring ones to Jesus.


Out in the desert hear their cry,

   Out on the mountains wild and high;

Hark! ’tis the Master speaks to thee,

   “Go find My sheep where’er they be.”

Bring them in, bring them in,

   Bring them in from the fields of sin;

Bring them in, bring them in,

   Bring the wand’ring ones to Jesus.
(“Bring Them In” by Alexcenah Thomas, 19th century).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Luke 8:11-15.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Rise Up, O Men of God” (by William P. Merrill, 1867-1954).


THE OUTLINE OF

OUR IMMEDIATE GOAL

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“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 28:19-20).

I.   First, the purpose of our church is to teach all nations,
Matthew 28:19.

II.  Second, the purpose of our church here in Los Angeles,
Matthew 28:20; I Corinthians 2:2; Acts 16:31; Luke 13:24.