Make Disciples Is The 2nd Part Of God’s Mission
In a previous post we discussed the first part of God’s mission that He has for His followers and church. To follow Jesus and be “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). In other words, to obey His command and share the Good News of Jesus with lost people. This command and part of God’s mission is for all believers, not just for pastors, church leaders, or missionaries.
The Great Commission
The second part of God’s purpose and mission for His followers and church is found in Matthew 28:18-20, which we call the “Great Commission”. Matthew 28:18-20 states:
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Analyzing the Great Commission
Here are the key points to understand in these verses and command of our Lord Jesus:
- Jesus starts out in verse 18 saying that all authority in heaven and on earth was given to Him. In other words, Jesus is saying that He is Lord, the Boss, the Master. He is the head of the church and we need to follow and obey Him.
- Therefore … because I am Lord here is what you need to do …
- Go … this does not mean simply go on mission trips to or be full time missionaries in Africa or other places. The word used in this verse literally means “as you are going”. It means as you are going about in your daily life… Sure God’s plan for some people is to be called to go to Africa and other parts of the world (like Nancy and I were called first to Brazil and then to other countries as full time missionaries). But there is only a very small percentage of people that are called and led to do this. What about the rest of God’s followers ?
Where Should We Do Missions ?
- First focus on reaching people and making disciples in your community, and then pray and see if God is leading you or your church to reach out further into the region, or country, or world.
- Go and make disciples of all nations … Making disciples is the focus and command. There are 2 parts of God’s mission – 1st is for all of us to obey Jesus and share the Gospel (be “fishers of men”). We need to reach lost people before we can help to grow and make them into faithful & fruitful disciples. Jesus tells us generally how to do this next…
- First, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is symbolic of their dying to self and receiving Christ as their Lord & Savior and living a new life in Him. Baptism is important because Jesus wants them to do it, and it is a public display of their commitment to Christ.
- Second, teaching them to obey everything Jesus taught and commanded us. New Christians are like spiritual babies, and need love and encouragement and help to grow spiritually in their walk with Jesus. They are also vulnerable to being led astray and falling away from Jesus. Discipleship is loving them and investing our time and efforts and resources into their lives and into their spiritual growth.
The Great Commission Is For Everyone, Not Just Pastors & Missionaries
One key question about making disciples is this: Who in the church is responsible for doing this ? Is it only for the “professionals” like pastors or elders or Bible teachers to do ? Or is it for everyone in the church to participate in, one way or another ?
Not everyone in the church is a pastor, or a Sunday School or Bible teacher, or a small group leader. Yet this command of Jesus, the Great Commission, is for all of us, not just the pastors or Bible teachers.
You may not be a pastor, or a Sunday School teacher, or a small group leader, but you can love new believers and other members of the church. You can invite them or bring them to church. And you can encourage them. You can pray for them. And you can invest your time and efforts and even resources in the lives of others, to help them to grow in their faith and walk with Jesus.
Agape Enduring, Selfless, Sacrificial Love
Loving others like Jesus loves them, with “agape” love, means to love them with a sacrificial love. Only Jesus can fill our hearts with His “agape” love, that is willing to sacrifice for the good of others. That is the kind of love churches desperately need these days. Making disciples is all about love for others and being willing to sacrifice to help them to grow and become all that Jesus wants them to be.
One other very important part of making disciples that many churches are not doing at all, or are not doing a good job of. We need to teach new believers, and all members of the church, that Jesus commanded all of us to be “fishers of men“. We need to teach everyone in the church that we all need to faithfully share God’s love and the Gospel with others. And we need to teach & train new believers and all members of the church how to share Christ and the Gospel with others.
Pursuing Intimacy With God is committed to helping you with the most important thing in your life… your intimacy with God , your fellowship with Him, and your partnership with God in His Kingdom work & mission.
There is much more information on Worship and Praising God in the Pursuing Intimacy With God Bible studies book