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Subject 13 : The Gospel According to MATTHEW

[Chapter 28-1] The Life of Discipleship (Matthew 28:11-20)

The Life of Discipleship
(Matthew 28:11-20)
“Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, ‘Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.’ So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”
 


Jesus Was an Existential Character


Jesus has resurrected from death and came out from the grave. The Resurrection of our Lord was a very evident fact. His resurrection was not a fabricated story that left room for any doubt. Jesus had resurrected indeed and testified as to His resurrection to around 500 saints (1 Corinthians 15:6), and for forty days, He continually testified of His resurrection until He ascended to Heaven. 
Many historians have asserted that Jesus might not be a real person regarding the Bible as just a mere fabrication of man. And so they have investigated with all sorts of methods just to find out errors in the Bible doubting its genuineness. However, the more they investigate the acts of Jesus historically, the more they are able to confirm and strengthen the fact that indeed He existed. The works He had done on Earth were also written and recorded on other documents aside from the texts in the Bible. Therefore, the more we would investigate, the more we would find out the corroborative facts that show all the historical facts are true, such as that Jesus came to this world; that He was baptized for mankind; that He died on the Cross and then was resurrected; and all the ways and the works He had done while He was on earth. What our Lord has said has greatly influenced all mankind up to and including the present time. And I believe from all the facts that the Lord really existed as a historical reality. 
Many people who doubted Jesus’ historical reality have come to know this truth upon investigating about Him. The original author of the movie, “Ben-Hur” was initially a non-believer. At first, he thought that Jesus never really existed and so he started his investigation to find the data which could overthrow the records of the Bible about Jesus having some kind of a sense of duty to save religious zealots or His fanatic believers. However, he realized that Jesus was a real being who really existed historically and archeologically. Because of that he started to believe in Him and eventually came to praise Him. After all, he praised Jesus and said, “Truly, the Lord is my Savior and my God.” 
There is no other man who has influenced mankind the way Jesus did in human history. Jesus is still in the hearts of the people even as the time passes, and His sayings and works continue to change the hearts of many. Also, He has cleansed the sins in the minds of the people who believe in His Word. And He still is influencing the mind and thought of each individual and also in the whole of human culture. 
 


We Cannot Doubt in Any Part of the Fact That Jesus Has Been Resurrected


Today, celebrating Easter, we cannot have any doubt in the part that Jesus has resurrected. Evidently, Jesus being resurrected, testified of His resurrection for forty days, and ascended to Heaven in the eyes of the people. After ascending to Heaven, He left the Word of God on Earth and He sent forth the Holy Spirit. In other words, Jesus Christ gave to those who knew and believed in Him through the Word the gift of the Holy Spirit and the power to be God’s children. And He has testified eternally to all of what He has done through the Holy Spirit. 
We believe that Jesus is our Savior and God of all Creation. We believe that Jesus has been resurrected and was brought back to life again. Our Lord met His disciples after being resurrected. After the incident of the resurrection, the Roman soldiers who kept His corpse went to the high priests and said. “In reality, the angels appeared and opened the door of the grave. And truly, Jesus has resurrected. He was brought to life again.” Though all the accounts recorded in this Bible are clearly evident facts, I believe that the testimony of the Roman soldiers who kept the dead body of Jesus at that time is the most reliable evidence of His resurrection. The soldiers had heavily guarded Jesus’ tomb for fear that His disciples might steal His corpse and might possibly spread a groundless rumor about His Resurrection. And then they were able to vividly testify because they had seen the empty grave of Jesus with their very own eyes.
Jesus was not found in the grave because He had been resurrected. Upon seeing such an empty grave, the Roman soldiers got terrified and fled. They reported this astonishing incident to the high priests for the first time. The soldiers told them that He really was resurrected and was brought back to life, and that they had actually seen it happened. Then, the high priests bribed the guards with lots of money, saying, “Tell a lie to the people that His disciples have stolen the body while you were asleep. If the governor would know about this, you might be in serious trouble and would be blamed of neglecting your duties. But we will handle that problem. Anyway, go and tell the people that the disciples of Jesus have stolen His body.” So, the rumor spread by the guards could be seemingly widespread among the people. 
 


We Can Win Satan and the World by Believing in Jesus Christ


Just before ascending to Heaven, Jesus told His disciples His last words on Earth: It is written in Matthew 28:16-20, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” 
The Lord said to the disciples that He has received all authority in Heaven and on Earth. The Lord has restored all authority in Heaven and on Earth after being resurrected. Satan was in power before Jesus Christ came to this world. There were nowhere in the world where Satan had not controlled. If we trace the way of life our forefathers had walked, we would know that Satan had been controlling people by interfering in politics, the social system, and culture, even in their value system or in trivial thoughts of them. Both before and after Jesus Christ had come, we could see that Satan dominated the minds of non-believers by being their king. 
However, the Lord says, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” This Word is truly right. There is great authority in the name of the Lord. When we believe in the Lord, we will be saved from all sins, be cut off from curses, and be cut away from the temptations of Satan. I mean to say that when we truly believe in the Lord, we will be cut off from all the hindrances that have tormented us. We used to be the servants of Satan and sin. Thereupon, we were destined to die. We used to fail in everything we did. And these things tormented us. However, we experience being cut off from all those curses when we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit after meeting the Lord. In fact, we have driven away the enemies in the name of the Lord, and we have also driven Satan far away. We have come to abide in God and live in His grace being free from the Satan and his servants who tormented us. 
By believing in Jesus Christ, we could win against the Satan and his followers who had drawn us to the secular world. Essentially, all authority is on the Name of Jesus Christ, if we command in His name, Satan will leave from us. And we have actually experienced such affairs when we stood against him using the faith of believing in the Lord. We have restored the power and the authority that God had given to mankind at the Creation. Owing to the temptation of Satan, we lost the authority with which we had reigned and controlled the Garden of Eden. Man handed over all authority to Satan because he had deceived and made the first man fall. However, Jesus Christ took back all authority that had been stolen by Satan by being born on earth, receiving His baptism, dying on the Cross, and being resurrected. And He gave that authority to us who believe in Him. Jesus Christ has given all authority to the people who believe in His name and stand firm on it. Thus, we can drive so many enemies away by believing in the Lord and we win in the fights against them. 
And the Lord said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Likewise, the clear evidence of salvation is in the baptism of Jesus. The Lord did not tell us, “Practice the ritual of dying on the Cross,” because Jesus’ baptism entails the secret of His salvation that He has taken and blotted out all our sins. However, He said instead, “Believe in Me, make disciples of all the nations, and baptize those who believe in Jesus Christ.” Those who truly believe in Jesus Christ believe that He has taken away all their sins when He received His baptism from John the Baptist, and they were cleansed perfectly from sins by faith. 
Do you believe that all your sins have been passed onto Jesus when He received His baptism? And do you also believe that Jesus Christ took upon Himself the sins of the world for our sake, died on the Cross, and was resurrected? This is none other than the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And the Lord told us to baptize all believers of this gospel to make sure that they have received salvation. Hence, He said, “Make disciples of all the nations, and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” 
It was not the plan of Jesus alone that our Lord took upon Himself all the sins of mankind by coming to this earth and receiving the baptism. The work was planned through God in Heaven, the Father. And our Lord accepted the will of the Father and received the baptism at the Jordan River in order to take upon Himself all the sins of mankind. And the Holy Spirit testifies to this clear fact. Jesus said to the disciples to baptize the believers in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit because the work of salvation through Jesus’ baptism was completed by the Triune God altogether.
This Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is the same God to us. To give us salvation, the Holy Trinity cleared out all the sins of the world by making Jesus Christ born on earth, receive His baptism, die on the Cross, and be resurrected. Jesus told us to baptize those who believe in this because they have been saved through the work He had accomplished. “Jesus Christ has taken all the sins of the world through the water, the blood, and the Holy Spirit. He is God. He became a human being to take over the sins of mankind. He is a human being but He is also our Lord and Savior. He took over all the sins of mankind by receiving His baptism. And He died on the Cross, received the judgment, and was resurrected.” We have to be a witness to the baptism of Jesus Christ clearly as we accept this. 
Jesus told us to make disciples of all nations. We have to follow this commandment of Jesus because we have become His disciples who received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit prior to the others. We have to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and make those who believe in this gospel His disciples. Jesus told us to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all things that He has commanded us. It is proper for Jesus to die on the Cross having taken upon Himself the entire sins of the world through His baptism. And we have to testify clearly that His resurrection from the dead was to deliver mankind from death. And we must follow the command of the Lord that orders us to preach the gospel to all the nations. We, the born-again of the water and the Spirit, must preach Jesus’ baptism to the people who do not believe in His baptism. We must also witness to the blood of the Cross along with His resurrection, and we must teach them that whoever believes in the Lord can be saved without fail. And then, we must baptize the believers, and teach them to keep all the things that our Lord has commanded us. That is how to preach the gospel all over the world. 
 


The Lord Is with Us, Even to the End of the Age


The Lord told us to live by faith in God. It is stated, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). Jesus commanded to the disciples to keep and testify to the principle that we drive the enemies away by faith, receive the blessings by faith, to follow the Lord by faith, enter Heaven by faith, and obtain everything until the time of our resurrection by faith. The Lord said, “Teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” 
We have to defend our faith. And we have to teach people in the world how to live by faith. We have to teach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We also have to teach people that they should have true faith and make use of this faith in every work; we have to teach them that they must believe in the Lord and His Word with heart, rely on Him, witness Him by faith, and live by faith. The Lord told us to teach this for people to observe all things that He has commanded us. How many people are here on earth not living like that? The Lord commands us to make those people to live like that as well. We have to live by faith according to His Will. After all, what the Lord has said to us, is the Truth, we have to live by believing in that Word. 
Another thing we should know is that the Lord is always with us even to the end of the age. We must believe in this and bear this in mind. We, who received the remission of sins by the water and the Spirit, have to believe that the Lord is with us the righteous, that is, the servants of God and the saints until the end whether we personally end our lives or the whole world ceases to exist. More over, we have to believe with our minds and hearts that the Lord is with us in any time and any hour, whether we are in trouble or not, happy or unhappy. We can live a blessed life by believing that the Lord is always with us. 
He does not just leave us alone after He has redeemed us. The Lord is always with us. He earnestly asks God the Father for the faith through the Holy Spirit instead of us when we lack faith. When we believe in the Word of God, the Lord guarantees and helps us as the Supporter, witnessing, “Yes, your faith is right.” He also helps all the saints and the servants of God, who have received the remission of sins, as the Counselor. Therefore, we must not think that we are alone. The Lord is with us all the time. Though sometimes you may feel like living alone, I admonish you to keep in mind that the Lord is always with you, the redeemed. And He is always speaking intimately to us through the Bible, the mouth of the servant of God, the predecessors in faith, or other members. The Lord is always telling us through His Word, saying, “The written Word is right. Do you believe in this? Yes, do believe so.” We must believe that the Lord is always telling us what God has said from the beginning of His Creation.
We must live by faith all the time. We must believe that we will be brought back to a new life just as Jesus was resurrected after He had blotted out all our sins through His baptism and the blood He shed on the Cross. It will happen in the future that when we, the people who have new life end our lives on earth, and when our Lord is descending to earth, our bodies will be brought back to life again. We have to believe that we are going to live with the Lord in Heaven forever, and there will be no other death later once we die and are resurrected. We must know that there is no eternal death to us but we just fall asleep for a while. And we must believe that the Lord has given the new life to us who are born again of water and the Spirit. You must have this faith personally, not any body else. 
We have eaten Easter eggs this noon because today is Easter Sunday. Our young sisters wrapped the eggs with a nice wrapper with the words, “Merry Easter!” or “Jesus Has Resurrected!” and distributed them to the other church members. As the chickens are hatched out from the eggs, we must not forget that our dead and rotting bodies will live forever after obtaining new life and being changed anew. Now, our souls are already born again of water and the Spirit, but our bodies are still the ones that will rot away. However, there is hope for us when we believe that our bodies will revive and both of our souls and bodies will be complete at the day when our Lord will come.
 


Let Us Live as the Disciples of Jesus by Winning with the Faith of Being Born Again through the Water and the Spirit


Satan tells a lie always, saying, “No. Jesus did not resurrect. How can a man live again?” Satan always tells a lie like this. We must therefore know this, and not allow ourselves to be deceived by him. The Lord surely came to this earth, saved us completely by taking upon Himself our sins through the water and the blood, and being resurrected from death. This gospel of the water and the Holy Spirit is the Truth that does not have even a little bit of a lie. It was only Jesus who has left the grave empty among all creatures on this earth. All the exalted and respected people have, such as Confucious, Mencius, Sakkyamuni, and Muhammad etc, died and were not able to be resurrected but were simply buried in the graves and turned into the soil. Only Jesus did not have a grave. The grave of Jesus was the empty one. We will also leave empty graves because we will be resurrected. We have to live having this hope until the day the Lord comes. 
If only we have this hope that we will be resurrected, we will be able to overcome any kind of adversity. The loser becomes a servant of the winner. If we do not have the faith that we would be resurrected from death, we would yield to death and become its servants. And we would tremble at it if death comes to us. However, if we believe that we would be resurrected, we would not surrender before death; but we will defeat it as well as the people who threaten us with it. We will defeat death just like the saints of the Early Church; they stood against death to defend their faith. 
At the time of the Roman Empire when Christians were persecuted so severely, there were many people who died martyrs in the Colosseum. When the men of power in the Roman Empire put the Christians in the Colosseum and released starving lions to kill and eat them, they praised God until they breathed their last breath. They could do that because they had the faith of resurrection. They could praise God and did not yield to death even though it was terrifying, because they had the faith that the Lord would make them live again as He was resurrected even if they died from being torn by the wild beasts. If they thought that there would be no new life and that this death would be the ultimate end, they would say before people that, “I won’t believe in Jesus.” As a result, they would save their lives and would become like the Gentiles who deny Jesus and do not believe in Him. 
The Romans brought a portrait of Jesus before the people to identify whether they were true believers or non-believers of Jesus and said, “If you really believe in Jesus, just pass by this, but if you do not believe in Him, tread and spit on this.” They knew that they could save their lives if only they trod on the portrait of Jesus and spat on it, but if they just passed by it they would be killed. Perhaps, what the people in this world are most scared of is death, loosing one’s life. However, those who were born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, just passed His portrait for they believed in the resurrection of their bodies. Those who have faith have no fear for death. There is nothing terrifying at all whatever danger confronts us if only we have the faith that the Lord has been resurrected. 
We cannot help but die. However, we will live forever by being brought back to life again after falling asleep for a while. My beloved saints, I wish you to surely believe on this Easter Sunday that our Lord has definitely been resurrected. If the Lord has not been resurrected, our faith is useless. If Jesus stays in the grave not being able to be resurrected after being baptized and dying on the Cross shedding His blood, then we will just end up dying with Jesus Christ. What is our faith for if there is no resurrection of Jesus even if Jesus exterminated the judgment for sins by taking sins of the world upon Himself through His baptism and dying on the Cross? Our righteous and blessed lives are more meaningful because we believe that we will be changed into perfect bodies and enter the Kingdom of God in the future. 
The Resurrection of Jesus is the guarantee of our resurrection. All the things that the Lord has done are related with us because He came as our Lord and Savior. He certainly was resurrected. And we will live again definitely like Him as well. We have to live having the faith of truly believing in the Lord in our minds. We must have the faith of believing what is recorded in this Word: We should have faith in His baptism, His death of the Cross, and His resurrection; and we have to believe that Jesus Christ is God. We can be called worthy Christians only when we live having this faith. Only then can we overcome many difficulties by faith, hope, and love. And we can win everything. 
We do not know when the last tribulations will come. But, we do not have anything to worry about. We do not need to worry in advance, because the Holy Spirit in us will direct us in what to say if that time comes. Jesus told us, “But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit” (Mark 13:11). Therefore, we do not need to worry about the Great Tribulation of the last days. The Lord will give us the strength to die as a martyr when we have to do that because He is with us through the Holy Spirit. We have nothing to worry about because the Lord gives us the strength to cope with the antichrist, Satan, and his followers. 
The most important thing is to receive the remission of sins by believing in the Truth that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, died on the Cross, and was resurrected. Whoever believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit from the bottom of our hearts is approved to be a believer in the name of the Lord. And those weak people who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and in the resurrection of the Lord become strong. Dear fellow believers, I admonish you to believe the resurrection of the Lord with all your heart if you have been born again of the water and the Spirit and receive your salvation.
We must be the disciples of Jesus Christ until the day the Lord comes and we must make disciples of all the nations. Are we going to be satisfied just to become the sinless ones after being born again of water and the Holy Spirit? Aren’t we going to be happy when we live the rest of our lives for the Lord? We have to exert our utmost effort to encourage all the non-believers to believe in this true gospel. We must be Jesus’ disciples who lead and teach the people who do not still know this gospel. By doing so, we have to make disciples of all nations. The last command of our Lord on this earth was to “make disciples of all the nations.” Making disciples of all the nations is what we all have to do. 
Who are your disciples? Have you ever made anyone your disciple? Make your own disciples. Christians without having made the disciples cannot be considered as Christians. Christians without their own disciples are like people who do not have any fruit. Dear fellow believers, make disciples. There are many people in the world who do not know this gospel of the water and the Spirit. You have to make disciples of all the nations. We have to make a lot of disciples in our country and in other countries as well. There are so many people who are worthy to be made disciples. If we live a good and faithful life, the fruits grow in clusters to you ready to be harvested. You will be so pleased when you the born-again follow the will of God having the faith that you are the teachers. Though we seem to know nothing, we are great men of faith when we compare ourselves to those who did not receive the remission of sins. We are the people who are really worthy to be respected. 
We have to keep in mind what the Lord has said to us: We have to make disciples of all the nations, baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all things that He has commanded. Not anybody else but you and me must be the ones who live the life of the disciples until the Lord comes. Only those who receive the remission of sins can be the disciples of Jesus, and only the righteous live such a life. Dear fellow believers, though we are insufficient, let us live the rest of our lives as Jesus’ disciples by aiming the life of uniting all together, believing in the Word of God, and making disciples of all the nations.