Sermons on the Great Commission

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Author: Rob Westbrook
Updated: 1/1/2019
Sermons on the Great Commission


The Great Commission. One of my favorite passages in all the Bible. The church’s marching orders:

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20, ESV)

On a mountain in the backwoods of Galilee, the resurrected Jesus, the One with total and complete authority, commissions His motley crew of followers to conquer the world with the Gospel. To teach those who will follow everything He had taught them over the last three years. To form people into His likeness. To make disciples.

I’ve preached from this passage many times, including a five-sermon series found in Sermon Outlines for Busy Pastors: Volume 3. If you’re a pastor, I’m sure you have, too. It’s so rich in content. The message of Jesus found here is one we should emphasize over and over. In a very real sense, this is one of the primary reasons the church exists. So there’s a deep well to draw from for sermon material.


The passage naturally divides into quite a few specific points. Here’s what I see:

  • The disciples’ obedience
  • The disciples’ worship
  • The complete authority of Jesus
  • Go, don’t wait (Evangelism)
  • The command: Make Disciples
  • Make disciples of everyone, everywhere
  • Baptize them, bring them into the church of Jesus Christ
  • The Trinity in evangelism
  • Teach the new converts all I’ve taught you (discipleship)
  • You will not be this alone, I am always with you
  • I’ll be with and in this process of reaching the world until I return

There is a wealth of sermon ideas in these five verses. As you can see, I have at least 11 specific passage points. You can probably see even more. Each point could be a sermon itself. For example, take the first point: The Disciple’s Obedience.


  1. Jesus expects obedience no matter the circumstances.
    1. Jesus, after His resurrection, appeared to the disciples in Jerusalem.
      1. Jesus told the disciples to meet Him on a mountain in Galilee.
      2. Galilee was 90 miles north.
      3. Walking 90 miles was difficult and challenging.
      4. Jesus could have ascended from Jerusalem, but in God’s wisdom, Galilee was the place.
      5. The disciples’ obedience was expected, despite the circumstances.
    2. Jesus expects our obedience no matter the circumstances.
      1. Sometimes obeying Jesus, in our minds, might not make much sense.
      2. Obedience may be difficult.
      3. Obedience may be challenging.
      4. But God knows better than us.
      5. His will is not always revealed before we obey.
      6. But our obedience is expected, despite the circumstances.
  2. Obedience puts us in a position where we can be used by God.
    1. The disciples obeyed Jesus.
      1. And they got to hear Jesus make monumental statements.
      2. All authority is His.
      3. And He commissions the disciples to carry on His mission.
      4. Jesus commissions them as His ambassadors.
      5. To continue what He had started.
      6. To bring the world to Him.
    2. Our obedience makes us useable to God.
      1. When we obey, we place ourselves in a place of opportunity.
      2. To do things we could never do on our own.
      3. To be an ambassador for Jesus Christ.
      4. To participate in bringing the world to Him.
  3. Jesus meets with us when we obey.
    1. The disciples would not see Jesus again in Jerusalem.
      1. If they wanted to see Him again, they had to obey and go to Galilee.
      2. If they wanted to know what Jesus had planned for them, they had to go to Galilee.
      3. If they wanted to know more, they had to obey.
    2. If we want to experience more of Jesus in our lives, we have to obey.
      1. We’ll never know the full extent of God’s plan for us if we’re not obedience.
      2. We’ll never see the full power of Jesus in our lives without obedience.
      3. If we want to know Jesus better, it begins with obedience.
      4. Obedience is the key to fulfilling God’s plan for our lives.

A three-month sermon series could easily be developed from these points. A church singularly focused on the Great Commission for three months could be a catalyst for real change toward evangelism and discipleship.

Several years ago, I put together a series of sermons based on the Great Commission. The series ran for five weeks. I’ll give you a quick summary of the series. Maybe it might help you to put one together yourself. You can also find the series in Sermon Outlines for Busy Pastors: Volume 3 (book link).

Here are the sermon titles and a synopsis of the sermons.


We call this passage the Great Commission. Everyone knows the definition of “great.” But what is a commission? In this sermon, I define “commission” and what it means for us, as followers of Jesus Christ. What are the elements of our commission from Jesus?


The basic question raised in this sermon is this: Why should the everyday Christian be concerned about evangelism? I give three reasons why every Christian should be concerned about evangelism and obeying the Lord. (By the way, this sermon is available as a free download here)


In sermon three, I try to answer the question “Where do we go?” I remind everyone these aren’t the last word of Jesus concerning evangelism. I use Acts 1:8 as a reference and develop the map Jesus gives us for going.


I work off the fact that there’s only one command in the Great Commission. And it’s not “Go.” It’s “make disciples.” Then I work in some of the phrases from Matthew 28:19-20 as steps to obeying Jesus’ command to make disciples.


There’s no better way to teach a Biblical principle than with a Biblical example. To give people a practical picture of carrying out the Great Commission, I use the Apostle Paul and his actions in the book of Acts as an example.

So that’s an overview of a series of the Great Commission. I hope it may give you a few new ideas for preaching from a foundational passage of the Bible and our Christian faith.

© 2012-: Rob Westbrook - Busy Pastor Sermons