make disciples

Great Commission: Teach them to obey everything

2015-07-23 20.41.10

All of Jesus' disciples are to make others what they themselves are—disciples of Jesus Christ.

DA Carson

Jesus’ universal authority is central to the foundation to his Commission to make disciples.

Disciples accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Inwardly they believe in him and are united with God. Outwardly they learn to obey him. Their first act of obedience is to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There can be no discipleship without calling people to a living relationship with Christ.

Mission does not end with conversions. Repentance and faith must always lead on to teaching new disciples to obey what Jesus commanded, including the command to make disciples. This Commission was not just for the first apostles. Discipleship fuels multiplication.

New disciples are to learn how to follow and obey Jesus as their Teacher and Master. No Christian teacher can usurp his position (Matt 23:8-10).

Jesus is concerned with a way of life. Disciples learn by hearing and obeying Jesus’ example and his commands.

To say that there is a conflict between the Great Commission (make disciples teaching them to obey everything I have commanded) and the Great Commandment (love your neighbor as yourself) is an absurdity. You cannot fulfill one without the other.

Jesus’ commands have universal and enduring authority. Heaven and earth will pass away, but his words will never pass away (Matt 24:35). They are always true.

Failure to disciple, baptize, and teach the peoples of the world to obey Jesus’ commands is a failure of discipleship. You can’t be a disciple, and not make disciples, who are themselves obeying Christ’s command to make disciples.

It’s not easy, but it is clear.

Great Commission series so far:

The Great Commission— "as you go" or "Go!"

When it comes to the Great Commission I often hear people say that only “make disciples” is commanded, that Jesus’ commission is simply to make disciples “as we go,” wherever we happen to be. They say there is no special command to “go,” the disciples are to make disciples of people they happen to encounter along the way.

A little bit of Greek is a dangerous thing.

Some context … “All” dominates and ties these verses together — all authority, all nations, all things, always. The humiliated and suffering Son of Man (Daniel 7:13-14) now exercises absolute authority over the whole universe.

Jesus now has universal authority, therefore his disciples have a universal mission to go and make disciples of all nations [we'll look at what "nations" means in a future post]. Because of Jesus’ universal authority they go in confidence. He is in control.

Now for a little bit of Greek. In the Greek “go”—like baptizing and teaching—is a participle which depends on the imperative “make disciples”.

It is true that the main emphasis of the Great Commission falls on “making disciples.” But grammatically, the participles—“going,” baptizing, teaching—all pick up the imperatival force of “make disciples”.

How are the disciples to make disciples of “all nations” without going to them?

The one command to make disciples of all nations is carried out by going, baptizing, and teaching to obey.

So we are to make disciples of all nations by going to them, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything Jesus has commanded.