Matthew 28:11-20 Part 12


As we reach the conclusion of seven (plus) years in the Gospel of Matthew (an occasion which causes me both sadness and joy), we could surely make some valid “time-line” observations (such as:  it took us more than twice as long to study it than it did for Jesus to do it!).  And since we’ve always loved to “push things to their limits” for the comic value, we could probably have some fun doing those.

But one particular observation would be a serious one… and worth considering for a few minutes, I think.  As we’ve observed before, our society is one in which there is a very “shallow” concept of history (in some there is no concept at all).  But our people live, more or less, from day to day and from hour to hour.  And there’s not much of a “time-line” to observe!  Many just don’t care what happened yesterday… much less seven years ago – or seventy; or seven hundred.

And the present-day concept of the preaching ministry really does nothing to contradict that (or to teach what’s right); because most sermons are chosen “at random”.  It’s called “newspaper exegesis”.  (Whatever strakes the minister’s “fancy” when he’s reading the newspaper.)  Or maybe it’s the “moral issue of the day”….  Or, “the pulpit as the center of crisis management”….  Or, “It’s Saturday night, and (panic) I don’t have a topic yet!”  However one sees it, the “sermon today” has no connection at all to the one last week!  It stands alone – on its own!  There’s no historical “grounding”; there’s no context; there’s no sequence for anything.

So, the six days during the week pass from day to day; and the Sabbath days pass, week-to-week, with no continuity.  And for the last three hundred and eighty “Sundays” (so many!) the Lord’s people worshipped… and there’s no connection to the Sundays!  All they know is that they must’ve been there; but they can’t even remember what last Sunday’s “newspaper topic” was… much less the one three hundred and fifty Sundays ago!

So, I was just thinking (over the last weeks, as we neared the end here)… what a joy it is to me (hopefully to you) that there is “sense of history” here in the preaching; that there is “connectedness” in worship – from Sunday to Sunday; that the children receive a sense of time and history and continuity!  I think that’s necessary for the planting and rooting of the Truth, because our Lord IS, and WAS, and SHALL BE; and He is God of history.  And He spoke in history!  And in the latter days He spoke in the Person of His Son!

And here’s something else….  Along the way, while we’re dealing with the events and history of God’s Messiah and the Gospel, we’ve also addressed some current events and put them in perspective.  We’ve been doing something (sometimes unwittingly, I’m afraid) which has been extremely helpful.  Many times we’ve set the history and context of the Gospel side by side with the history and context of contemporary life.  We’ve seen them “in parallel”.  Not “mixing” the two, of course (which is deadly); but putting them in to the “line of sight”… side by side!  (I’m going to do that one more time in just a minute, as we follow through from last Sunday.)

But just look for a moment at all that’s happened contemporarily during the last number of years….  While we were mesmerized by the Revelation of God’s Messiah (from the Gospel of Matthew), things were transpiring in our lives, as Christ Spoke from the historic Gospel.

We suffered losses of parents and children and a baby.  But through emotional upheavals and economic stresses (which have tested every one of us), the “rallying point” has been our delight in the Truth of God’s Word (our historic Faith).  Many families have come and gone (one went away and then actually came back); and we even lost an entire Church.  The tape ministry was terminated, but people in it who have received every sermon in Matthew.  Many others have heard one… or ten… or fifty….

We’ve been filled with joy at our children, and their baptisms, and their growing up and continuing nurture in the Lord.  We’ve changed jobs; bought and sold homes; entered into businesses; and we even played a little… on occasion.  We’ve been contentious with each other too….

But the center of it all has been the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The historical, week-to-week preaching of the Gospel of God concerning His Son is that which has, for seven and a half years, been the effective “adhesive”… the history, the reality, that’s run parallel with us, and has been a part of us, and has sanctified us as believers.  What a gracious gift it has been to us all that “THE WORD” has been there.  And that it is a “powerful two-edged Sword” that pierces to the marrow of our bones.  God the Son did come in history.  And it is His voice that is heard in history!

While a world war was being fought in the Middle East, and around us, a much bigger, much more vital, war was being fought for our minds and hearts… as the “rule” of Christ the King was brought into our homes and lives in the preaching of the Gospel!  That’s the real war!

Our Lord has been casting down every high thing that has raised itself up against Him.  As nations were submitted to the will of other nations (at gunpoint), we were being submitted to Christ!

You see, it’s the Voice that’s being heard in the preaching of the Gospel (in the historical event called “preaching”).  And the many “human” doctrines that we hear; and the pagan philosophies that confront us; and all the ideas that we meet… the temptations; and testings and trials….  The historical, transmitted message of Jesus Christ is the Word!  When we keep it, we can’t be moved; because everything is judged by His Word.

During these many years there has been a flood of “new age” thought (which is just warmed-over Gnosticism); but it sounds so good to many… especially when there is no “Voice of Christ” being heard by the general public!

And all the while (during the time when we’re learning the Gospel), pagan, godless evolution is blooming into its fullness in our society!  During the entire time that we’re preaching and hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Darwinism has been reaching its highest point… every thought being thoroughly atheistic!  (Our minds have been protected by the Voice of Christ Himself; the Spirit being our Advocate and Teacher.  But right now most of the world is hearing otherwise!)

The parallel history which is so important to us (seeing our lives and living our lives side by side with the historical Jesus Christ; and hearing His voice in the transmitted Gospel; and coming under submission to His authority) is of absolutely no consequence to Darwinists!  Because if there is only “chance” or “accident” in our past, then history is truly irrelevant!  And day to day, and hour to hour, existence is all that there is!

And therefore “future” means very little either!  If it all began by accident, then what meaning does “future” have?  You see, without the Gospel of the Messiah Who came in history, there is only purposeless existence!  “This is all an accident; and there’s really no meaning to it… other than that which an individual places on it.  So let’s just live today!!  Let me just be… and please myself… and do what I want!  And when I’m done with that, I’ll just die and go away; or I’ll commit suicide and end it.”

That’s where much of our society is today!  And don’t ever let anyone “fool” you into believing that the two can be combined!  “Theistic evolution” is an attempt to combine Christianity and Darwinism.  That can’t be done.  Some may say, “But it has been done!”  No it hasn’t.  Because, as soon as the attempt begins, the Christian Faith has been removed from the equation.  It’s no longer “Christianity”.  (There is no syncretism.)

The Roman pontiff, John Paul, (the so-called “vicar” of Christ) before he passed “admitted” to the world that scientific evolution was the very “revelation” of god!  He pronounced it “truth”!  Somebody said that he “baptized” Darwinism!  (And he spoke “ex cathedra”, too!  So every “vicar of Christ” who has affirmed Genesis one through three in the past fifteen hundred years has been wrong!  But didn’t they speak “ex cathedra”?  Who’s right?)

Romanism has, over the course of history, fallen into error after error.  And this “pronouncement” shouldn’t have come as a shock.  The whole Roman system of doctrine allows for evolution.  In fact, the Vatican has been leaning in that direction for years!  It’s no shock.

But the Christian Faith, the received apostolic doctrine, is the only system of thought that has not received Darwinism as truth.  And so now there shouldn’t be any mistaking the identity of the pagan idolater in the Vatican.  The idolater has finally dropped his mask of deception and revealed himself for what he is.

But, in the preaching of the Gospel over the last several years, we (and all of our children) have witnessed the confirmation of the whole Word of God by Jesus Christ… including the ten creative utterances of the six-day creation – one hundred forty-four hours.

Evolutionary, anti-Christ thought, and its Aristotelian adherents, and its beloved Roman priests, will not even tempt us to believe in the great “cosmic accident”.  Feminists and homosexuals and new age environmentalists must “love” the pope now, because their beliefs are confirmed… and he cut them loose from every restraint, and set them free to justify their rebellion!  (They really aren’t free… but now they do have confirmation with which to justify themselves.)  With a “personal god” there are always consequences.

But we have heard Jesus Christ… sovereign God the Son, without Whom nothing was made that was made.  We have heard His Voice… in history – in context.  And His is the Authority, isn’t it?  And “all authority” has been given to Him… in heaven and upon the earth.  That authority is absolute.  And we are to obey Him and “keep” the faith intact – from faith to faith, and from generation to generation!  That’s why it’s so important to be in a Reformed Church every Sunday!

The “parallel history” is so important.  Hearing Him in context, in history, in sequence… makes us strong to live in history.  While the pope kisses Darwin’s ring, and slips down into the primordial slime, our Lord Jesus Christ has kept us hearing Him, and has kept us strong in the Truth.

Now, a lot of people would say “don’t go there” (referring to history and to Darwinism here in the last sermon in the Gospel of Matthew).  “It’s too boring.  It’s too hard.  Do something else.  There are other things you can do here with the Great Commission.”

But, you see, there is nothing more important right now.  It’s been very important for ten or eleven decades; but it’s even more so right now.  Because individuals and families and Churches have a MANDATE from Jesus Christ to disciple the nations. And that mandate was given, by the One with all authority, in history!

And since individuals are to be reborn into Christ; and since families are to be covenanted to Christ; and since the Church is to be the visible representation of the Kingdom of Christ in the nations; and since the world will submit to the authority of Jesus the King… we’ve got to see what’s running “parallel” to that, and opposing it, in our time!  We’ve got to see what the contemporary situation is!

And what’s “opposing” the Faith and its reality is godless, atheistic Darwinism!  And it is at the center and core of the problem.  It supports and confirms revolt against the King!

I mentioned that this has been important for ten or eleven decades.  The formal theory of evolution has been around for a hundred and fifty years.  But the Church began to be seriously affected by it in the late 1800s.

I want to read you an example of the thought which is produced by those whose presuppositions concerning the existence of the world and of man are evolutionary. This is from a biography about a very prominent Presbyterian theologian (this is his thought).  Listen carefully, now, and you’ll hear evidences of what we call “process theology”, which is distinctly Darwinian:


“One basic hypothesis found in most of his works was that historical change makes religious teachings relative to differing circumstances.  Late in life he came to the point of saying there was no continuing essence or variation on common themes in Christian history at all.  No creed or doctrinal formulation remains in force very long because changed conditions bring about new questions which men should be free to answer as they are led.  He also gave historical backing to the widespread view that religion consists primarily of experiences which deal meaningfully with contemporary problems.  Blended with that pragmatic approach to spiritual affirmation were definitions of Jesus as an exemplar of human virtue, and thoughts of salvation as a social rather than a personal process.”


Now, it was this theology that permeated the Presbyterian Church as early as the 1880s and 90s.  And this was the Presbyterian Church!  The Reformed Church!  The Church that was to “Keep Intact the Biblical Message”!  The Church that was the depository of the Reformation of our forefathers!!!

And, as you heard, this theology is “soaked through” with Darwinian evolution!  Because of “historical change” (read:  evolving circumstances) religious teaching has to change.  No doctrinal formulation (read:  no creed) can remain in force very long, because conditions change!  And when conditions change, men must be free to answer, in new ways, the questions that are raised!  Besides, religion consists of experiences that deal with contemporary problems.  That’s what Jesus did; He dealt with the contemporary social issues; and He was our example of human virtue and thought.

Notice that there are no absolutes here.  There is no absolute Revelation of God in history – the “Fullness” of which is Jesus Christ, O Logos, The Word – the express image of the Father!  There is only the “process” of evolution; and as change occurs religion must deal meaningfully with the contemporary problem!!!  Jesus was an “example”, not an atonement for our sin!!

That theology has now saturated the culture!  There are no absolutes any more in contemporary thought.  And, for example, there is no “ex nihilo” creation of the universe, by God, at the beginning of history; and there is no final judgment of all things by a God Whose Law-Word was revealed in history!

The method and content and goals of education rest in that theology; science and medicine are done in that theology; psychology and social theory and economics and collectivist government are all now accomplished – based on the presuppositions of that theology!  There are no absolutes; there was no six-day creation by a personal, Triune God; and there will be no final day of judgment.

That’s the effect of Darwinism, and it permeates the culture!  And much of theology and preaching has followed suit.  And it leaves the society in hopelessness because there are no answers to contemporary problems!  The very idea that there are no absolutes, and that religion must change to meet the evolving contemporary conditions, is the very thing which has left it all in hopelessness!  There are no answers!  As a result, society is on the decline.

But Jesus Christ said to His disciples:


“All authority in heaven and upon earth has been given to Me.  Having gone therefore disciple the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to keep all that I did command to you.  And, lo, I with you AM until the end of the age.”


By covenantal succession, individuals, families and Churches are required to continue the process until all the kingdoms submit to Him.  They already belong to Him… they just don’t know it yet!

There’s no way out from under the obligation… the duty is there.  Challenge the godless thought.  The Truth is on our side; the Power of the Risen Savior is brought against every high thing that exalts itself against Him.  Every thought must be brought captive to Christ!

Does Satan have a great commission?  Have you thought about this?  Does Satan have a great commission?  Does he have a kingdom?  Are Satan and Christ struggling for supremacy… probably coming out with a “draw” in history?  Will Jesus finally say (somewhere up there at the right of the Father) “well, it isn’t going to work.  I have to go back and do it personally.”  So He comes back and judges His Own work as incomplete, judges the Church as ineffective; judges the apostles for not doing what He said; throws Satan into hell and terminates creation and history.

Is that what’s anticipated of the One to Whom has been given all authority in heaven and upon earth?  No it isn’t.  In the Name of Jesus Christ the Lord… no it isn’t!!

The theory of evolution will be crushed; and all who said it was revelation from God will be red-faced in embarrassment as they are crushed with it.  Thought and worship and nations and ideas (and whatever else) will be submitted to Christ, for His is the Word of God in history!!

Therefore, it is ours to do battle with rebellious thought and ideas and deeds.  For that, it is ours to worship, and pray, and study and prepare… and to obey.  We must understand the “received authority” of Christ and His Word.

It is for the Churches to be places of Biblical worship; and to remain steadfast in the Faith; and to preach the Gospel; and to prepare disciples – to train ambassadors – of Christ to the nations.

It is for the families to be godly places of refuge and faithfulness and love; and where the next generation is given the legacy of the great commission.

This is where it will be won… and it will be won, because it is the promise of the Covenant.  Now we need the people to stand up and be counted… and to speak the word of Truth.


“As you’re going, disciple the nations….”