The Mount of Glorification

Bible Book: Matthew  28 : 16-20
Subject: Resurrection of Jesus; Easter; Death, Victory Over

Matthew 28:16-20

We come now to a mountain in Galilee. And we see Jesus, not humiliated and shamed by a public crucifixion as before on the other mount, but standing in all his resurrection power, having been glorified by God the Father. The agony in the garden is past. The betrayal is past. The mockery of a trial is past. The scourging is past. The crucifixion is past. The entombment is past. The stone has been rolled away. The declaration has been made, "He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." And the Lord Jesus stands atop this mountain clothed in all power and authority.

I. The Proof of the Resurrected Christ

In this 28th chapter of Matthew we have the story of the resurrection. The fact of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is one of the most established events in the history of the human race. In Acts 1:3 the Bible says that Jesus Christ "shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God...."

There are a number of proofs which 1 could give you to confirm the resurrection of Christ. But let me at least mention one or two evidence of the resurrection.

One attestation to his resurrection is to be found in the living witnesses who saw him, who looked upon him, who walked with him, who broke bread under his gracious blessing, who saw the wounds in his side and hands and who heard his loving voice.

In the 15th chapter of I Corinthians Paul names some of these living witnesses. There was Simon Peter, the eleven apostles, James the brother of the Lord and pastor of the church at Jerusalem, as well as Paul himself. And then he speaks of five hundred brethren who saw the Lord Jesus at one time on an appointed mountain in Galilee. And I believe that when Paul wrote I Corinthians 15, he was referring to this mount of glorification and to the fact that there were hundreds of people who were present when Jesus Christ issued this Great Commission.

An even greater affirmation of the marvelous, incomparable miracle of the resurrection of Christ is to be found in the transformation of the disciples themselves.  It is clear from the gospel narration that when Jesus' body was placed in Joseph's tomb, the hope of the disciples was eclipsed. They were overcome with despondency. Jesus had been killed and buried. Their dreams of the kingdom vanished. This was the end of all their hopes. The dark night of despair settled upon them. Of one thing they were sure. Jesus was dead and buried and that meant the end. They had no thought of seeing him again.

Even when Jesus appeared, raised from the dead, they thought they were looking upon a spirit and an apparition. They were not prepared for the mighty miracle. It was only when their hands had touched him and they themselves had broken bread with him that they were convinced that their Lord was alive.

What a stupendous, miraculous change this sight wrought in their lives. Their hearts were now aglow. Their spirits were now aflame. They passed from doubt to assurance; from fear to faith; from cowardice to courage. They came to the grave weeping. They went away rejoicing.

During the crucifixion Peter stood in the shadows afar off. After the resurrection he stood on the Day of Pentecost pointing his long, body finger into the faces of the people in Jerusalem and cried out, "This. Jesus you have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: him hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses" (Acts 2-23 32)

My dear friends, only the resurrection of Jesus Christ could have accounted for the complete change wrought in the lives of the disciples. It is a psychological impossibility that the eleven could have rallied around the memory of a murdered and defeated Lord. Of course, there are many other evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We do see the proof of the resurrected Christ.

II. The Power of the Resurrected Christ

In our text, Jesus says, ''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." But notice that he says, "Go ye with my power.”

When Jesus said that, it was as if he was touching heaven with one pierced hand and touching the earth with the other, and saying, "All authority is given unto me in heaven and earth -- there is no sinister power. There is no humanistic power. There is no satanic power. There is no power on earth or in earth that can thwart my purpose if you're brought under my authority." I'm just wondering how many of us in this place today know anything of that authority in our lives. Do you know anything about spiritual authority?

I believe God wants to give us authority to direct I divine power in a given situation. I am praying that God might bring into my ministry a new authority so that I might be able to direct divine power as we see it demonstrated in the early chapters of the Acts of the Apostles.

For example, in Acts 3 there is the picture of helplessness at the gate called beautiful. Peter and John are coming down at the hour of prayer. They look at the helpless man, and he actually represents so many of our church people today. So many of our church people are paralyzed, beaten, and defeated. He looks a Peter and John as if he would receive some financial help from them. But Peter says, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” And the man stood to his feet and he leaped for joy and he praised God.

Peter did not have silver and gold, but do you know what he had? He had been filled with the Holy Spirit and he had the authority to direct divine power in that given situation. Do you know anything of that kind of authority in your life – the authority to direct divine power?

Again in Acts chapter 4 Peter is in prison. He is incarcerated. The voice of the gospel has been silenced. And what does the church do? They go to prayer. We read that throughout the night they agonized in prayer without ceasing. God did something in answer to the prayer of the church.

God's answer to a man in prison; God's answer to the silenced gospel; God's answer to an incarcerated Peter was a little group on their knees before God.

And as they prayed, the prison doors opened, the chains snapped from his hands and he walked out a free man. They had the authority to direct divine power.

Do you know anything of that experience in your life, dear friends9 Has anything like that ever come out of our prayer meetings9 Do you have an Authority? Do you have an authority in heaven and earth because you are under authority to Jesus Christ? Can you direct that divine power to any given place at any given time under any given circumstance?

Do you understand the import of what I am saying? God would never give the church such an enormous task without giving her a supernatural power. That power, that authority, is available to you and me.

But we will never experience the authority to direct divine power until we submit to the sovereign authority and lordship of Jesus Christ. And the authority you have to direct divine power in any given situation is in direct proportion to the degree that you submit to his authority. But this authority is available to each and every child of God. It is your throne right.

But let me say another word about this divine power. Not only does God give the authority to direct divine power, but he gives the authority to destroy satanic power. I believe that behind every evil, deceitful, hurtful thing we see in the world today is a demonic power. I believe in a personal devil. I believe the Scripture teaches that. I believe that under the personal devil are millions of demons that we are seeing released in our cities and communities.

Every morning this past week the newspaper reported at least one murder in the city of Atlanta. You can scarcely walk the streets of Atlanta, particularly in certain sections, without wondering where the next bullet is coming from. It's demonism.

Let me throw this in. It overwhelmed me when I heard it on the radio recently. It was reported that one of the fastest growing industries in America is the topless bars and the topless night clubs. And that last year this industry took in over $3 billion. And that Dallas is the number one city in the nation for this kind of so-called adult entertainment. The city of Atlanta is number four in the nation. It's demonism.

Here's another interesting tidbit of information. This comes from a Senate subcommittee. The figures were based on a survey of 757 school districts. And the statistics show that 70,000 teachers are now becoming victims of serious physical assault each year. And school vandalism now costs the government taxpayer almost $1 billion a year. The survey further showed that in these 757 school districts, 100 students were murdered in a recent year and hundreds of thousands of students in every section of the nation were assaulted and injured. It's demonism.

This week I also called the Drug Enforcement Administration. They estimate that out of the United States populace, 23.7 million people will use cocaine at some point in their life and that 67.7 million people will use marijuana at some point in their lifetime. They also indicated to me that in 1990

Americans spent $41 billion on illegal drugs. I was also told that in 1992 23,000 metric tons of marijuana was produced and 3,400 metric tons of opium was produced, but that 337,000 metric tons of cocaine was produced. It's demonism.

I could tell you about how more and more of our young people are involved in criminal acts, and how the law enforcement agencies of our land are solving only about one in five known serious crimes. It's demonism.

The devil has a hold on men. People are lost because of the devil. And 55 people die without Jesus Christ every minute. That means that there are 554,000 people who died without Christ since last Wednesday evening. They are held in his sway. He has made them captive to do his work. And we'll never be able to touch men with the gospel until we destroy the power of Satan. If we're going to go into evangelism, we need to have our eyes opened to the fact that we're dealing with the devil when we go to win souls.

In fact. Mark 3:27 essentially tells us that Satan tries  to hold in his power the souls of men. The only way that we can get the souls of men out of Satan's grasp  is by first binding him. We bind the devil through prayer. Folks, I'm telling you that we ought to be contesting the devil's right to have the souls of men, and in Jesus' name standing against the devil. We ought to be binding him in the lives of those who are lost. We ought to be stealing into his camp. We ought to be on the aggressive. We ought to be lifting up the lost to the Lord, and we ought to be bringing them out of the devil's camp and breaking down the demonic stronghold that keeps them in captivity.

Cecil Paulson said, "The first contact we can make with unconverted people is on our knees. The second contact is the one that we make on our feet."

I just want to tell you, dear friends, there is available to us the authority to destroy satanic power. We talk about evangelism. We talk about recapturing the old-time fire and the old time power, but I want to get back to this authority — the authority that made those early Christians change the world in less than half a century. Yes, in thirty-three and one-half years the whole of the then known world was evangelized.

It's never been done since. How did they do it? They knew the ability of the risen Lord to direct divine power and to destroy satanic power.

III. The Precept of the Resurrected Christ

He said, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations and baptize them…." Now, as we think about the precept of the resurrected Christ; as we think about the divine program for evangelism, I want you to think about how simple it is.

You see. God always supplies us with techniques for our tasks and guidelines for our goals and outlines to follow to help us meet our objectives. When God told Noah to build an ark, he also supplied the specifications for the construction. When God wanted the Israelites to built a tabernacle in the wilderness, he gave a detailed blueprint of how the construction was to take place. When it came time for the temple to be constructed in Jerusalem, God also gave a blueprint, a set of drawings for them to use.

In a similar fashion. God gives us his precepts for prayer; his precepts for being filled with the Spirit; his precepts for revival and his precepts for evangelism. We hear people talking about the secret to successful praying or the secret to revival. These things are no secrets. God has not made any attempt to conceal these things from us. He has clearly given us his precepts for fulfilling the greatest task in the church. Our problem is that we're not following the instructions, the outline, the program that God has given to us.

Over at Peachtree Comers we had a lady in our church by the name of Sonya Foster. She is a concert violinist. She is absolutely wonderful, and some time ago I heard her play a tremendously demanding piece of music. And as I listened to her, I wondered, "How in the world can she do that and produce this beautiful, exquisite music?"

And so I asked her one day. And I said, "Sonya, how do you do it? What kind of regimen do you have that is necessary for you to continue as a concert violinist?"

And she started telling me about sometimes playing the violin for four and five hours at a time, sometimes practicing up to eight or nine hours a day.

And in addition to that, going through a regimen of calisthenics in order to maintain the strength and dexterity required for violin concerts.

When I heard that, I hung my head and thought, "0, God, what a word to a preacher. What a word to a church." Here was a woman who has so disciplined herself and adhered to so rigid a program of music that she has mastered the violin. And here we, the church, have ignored the program for winning this poor, lost world to faith in Christ. It's nothing short of tragic.

Now, let's look at the precept of the resurrected Christ and see if we can't fit into it. And may I say that it's not a matter of adjusting God's program to fit our church. It's a matter of adjusting our church to fit his program.

You know, there are a lot of activities. There are a lot of things that we do in our churches that probably do not make a great deal of sense. I mean, sometimes we may be doing much of what we do just because we do them. We did it that way five years ago. We did it that way last year and will continue to do it that way this year and next year, and even into the twenty-first century. We do it just because we do it.

When I was in Gastonia, North Carolina, the church introduced me to the strangest Wednesday night schedule that I'd ever seen. The prayer service started at 7:17 p.m. We didn't have a lot of activities on Wednesday night, just prayer meeting and choir practice. And prayer meeting started at 7:17. Well, I didn't say anything about it. I was new. I thought maybe they had scriptural grounds for it or something. But after several weeks I started to inquire as to why prayer meeting was scheduled for 7:17. I asked six or eight people and nobody seemed to know.

So I decided to ask Mrs. Braxton. Mrs. Braxton was one of the oldest members of the church. I said, "Why does the church have prayer meeting at 7:17? That's such an odd time."

She said, "Well, preacher, we used to have a trolley service in Gastonia. And the trolley from downtown came by our church at 7:17, and all the folks from downtown just got off and came to our prayer meeting. So we just set the prayer meeting time to fit the trolley schedule."

Well, the church hadn't had trolley service in over forty years, but the prayer meeting time had never been changed.

What I'm saying is this. We do a lot of things just because we do them, and we'd better get prepared to do some changing and adjusting because that may be a necessity if we're to fit into God's program. We have foolishly tried to fit God into our puny little schedules and programs. It's high time that we said, "All right. Lord, here I am. I'm prepared to fit into your plan. I'm prepared to fit into your program for winning this world to Jesus Christ."

Henry Blackaby says in his book, Experiencing God, that we may need to look around to see what God's doing and just get in on what he's up to.

Look in verses 19 and 20 and you'll see the precepts provided by a resurrected Lord. Now, I can give it to you in four words, "going, winning, baptizing and training." Now, I wish I had time to elaborate on each of these points, and I really feel I need to do it. But I'm going to depend upon you to remember this four-phase program of evangelism and implement it in your life — going, winning, baptizing and training.

May I say that according to God's precept, every Christian is to be a witness. Dr. A. T. Peirson said, "The light that does not shine, the seed that does not grow, the spring that does not flow is no more of an anomaly, a contradiction, than the Christian who does not witness."

Sometimes in our spiritual flights of fancy we talk about winning this world to Christ. And that sounds good, but it will never happen. Jesus said, "wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

The Scripture says “many are called, but few are chosen.” We’re not going to win this world to Christ. But I believe this. We’re going to lift up the banner of Christ everywhere and in all places at every opportunity. I believe when you and I are faithful to do that, we’re going to have some glorious experiences as “ambassadors for Christ.”

So Jesus said “go” with my power. Jesus said “go” with my precepts. “But, Lord, how can I ever do such a task as this?” Jesus said “go” with my promise. So the final thing that I want us to see is

IV. The Promise of the Resurrected Christ

What is the promise of the resurrected Christ? Jesus said “and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” May I say that I believe that the Lord gives his presence in a special way to those who seek to fulfill his precepts.

Are you absolutely sure of the presence of the Lord in your life? Is the Lord working with you? O, dear friend, if the Lord is working with you, you couldn’t care who forsakes you. There came a time in the Apostle Paul’s life when he said “all have forsaken me, notwithstanding the Lord stood with me and strengthened me that by me the preaching might be fully known and that all the gentiles might fear.

O, listen, if we go forth to fulfill the Great Commission, we shall surely go with his presence. It’s his promise. But one day we shall stand in his presence. And when we stand before him, we’re going to be judged, not by our successes, but by out faithfulness.

Many times I have pictured in my mind — I don't know that this is the way that it will be — but I see the great men of God as they stand before him. I see a man like Billy Graham. The things that he has done are read aloud — the millions of people that he preached to and the thousands upon thousands that came to know Christ through his ministry and the thousands more that surrendered to full-time Christian service and the entire nations that were affected by his crusades and revivals. I see the rewards as they pile up higher and higher until we could not dream of them getting any higher. This man — who was so surrendered to God.

But then I see another man who stands in line. His name was ... 0, what was his name? He was the teacher of 12-year-old boys in an old country church.

He was uneducated, just a farmer by trade. He'd work five days a week on his farm and then he'd work about a half day on Saturday. Then every Saturday afternoon he would go out and visit some of his boys. He’d tell them about Jesus. He would make sure that before every boy got out of his class that every boy had an opportunity to give his heart and his life to Jesus Christ. That man was there every Sunday to teach his lesson and he did the best that he knew how to do.

Now the time comes for him to stand before God. And the rewards start to come. And as they pile higher and higher, he interrupts the Lord to say, But, Lord, surely you don’t mean me. Lord, I never preached a sermon. Lord, I wasn’t able to win very many for you. Lord, surely you don’t mean me?”

But it will be Jesus himself who says, “Yes, but you have been faithful over a few things in life. And now I am going to make you the master over many things. Well done, thou good and faithful servant: enter thou into the joy of the lord.” Amen