“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, 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: 19-20
It’s interesting that the first definition of “church” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “a building for public and especially Christian worship.” It isn’t until you read the third entry that you see the biblical definition of the word: “the whole body of Christians.”
Today’s Bible Quote is what Christians call “The Great Commission.” It’s Jesus’ last instructions to his followers before he ascended to heaven so that the Holy Spirit could come and enable them to accomplish His mission.
But what mission? “To make disciples of all nations” and to “teach them to observe all that I have commanded.” These two important statements are commands, not suggestions. If any particular church is growing in number but not in their faith, it’s not accomplishing this mission.
“Making disciples” takes time and effort. The time it takes to share the gospel and how it should permeate a person’s life and the effort it takes to spread the gospel wherever you go are tasks that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Although salvation is a one-time decision, a Christian’s sanctification is ongoing. This is what discipleship is. Baptizing a new disciple “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” is not just an outward symbol of an inward change. The inclusion of the Trinity also indicates the power and authority from which salvation comes.
The only way a Christian can accomplish the Great Commission is through the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8, which many think is an extension of the Great Commission, says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
First, ensure you’re a member of a church that is actively making disciples. Leading someone to salvation in Jesus Christ and not helping them grow in their faith is not discipleship. Jesus didn’t save us just so we could remain unchanged. He saved us for something not just from something.
Look at your own life and see if there are areas in which you have lacked spiritual growth. How might you begin to strengthen your walk with Jesus in those areas? Are you attending a local church that is always mindful of the Great Commission, or is it focused on numerical growth and feel-good rhetoric?
Discipleship is comprised of all of the Bible’s teachings. Whether it’s serving the poor, sticking up for injustice, loving our neighbor, or being respectful of others, the Gospel must always remain at the center. The Great Commission should be the Church’s only mission because it’s the only mission that matters.