If we are following Christ, we will be making disciples.
| posted 12/21/2005
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ can never be reduced to merely producing Christian character in ourselves or loving one another, as important as those things are. Being a disciple of Jesus means making other disciples, because that is what our Lord has commanded us to do. God's sovereign purpose in this world is to create a redeemed people to worship and enjoy Him eternally, but He has chosen to accomplish that purpose through human beings. He has made us stewards of the gospel, placing that precious knowledge in earthen vessels, in the fragile container of our lives.
I assume that you are reading this because you are a Christian, and you understand that sharing the good news of eternal life through faith in Christ is every Christian's responsibility. You may know that and still not tell anyone about Jesus. Do you think you do not know enough to be an evangelist? Do you think you need more training? I doubt that is your problem.
The problem for most Christians is not knowledge but obedience. It is not that we do not know what we need to do or how to do it. What we lack is the intention to do it. We have not made up our minds that the commands of Jesus will come before the demands of this world. When we genuinely deny ourselves and follow Him, when we offer our lives as living sacrifices, our minds and hearts will be transformed. As disciples of Jesus, our first priority will be to make other disciples for Him.
Why the Church Is Here
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 (Matthew 28:19-20).
Do you ever wonder what our real purpose is in the world? Here is the end of your confusion. Our purpose is to make disciples of all the nations. The risen Jesus Christ gave this command to His apostles just before He ascended to the Father, but He intended it for all of us. That is why these verses are known as the Great Commission. It states the mission of the church.
In the original Greek, there is only one verb here—"make disciples." That is the imperative. The other words that seem like commands are actually participles modifying the main verb. What I mean is that the main verb in the sentence is "make disciples," which you do by going, baptizing, and teaching (all participles).
To make disciples in another nation, you have to go where people do not know about Christ. Once you get there and they come to faith in Christ, you have to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. That is to say, you need to bring them to an understanding of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which is demonstrated in baptism. Baptism is important not because it saves, but because it is the public confession of salvation. Then you instruct them to be obedient to their Lord, teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded. You are not alone in this enterprise. Jesus says, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Until the time is completely done for evangelism, I will be with you helping you to make disciples.