Matt. 28:19 – Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
What does it mean to make disciples? Should everyone be involved in this task? Or is this the job of just a select few—perhaps the pastor, his wife, the deacons, and the Sunday School teachers?
What is disciple-making? Do we just get a person to come to church? Do we teach him/her a whole list of “thou-shalt-nots”? Do we insist that he/she dress a certain way, listen to a certain class of music, and be sure to give his offering every Sunday? This business of disciple-making must be important because it is the last command that Jesus gave his disciples before going back to heaven! So what is it?
To make a disciple, we must GO!
We must take the gospel to them. Disciple-making is not a call for them to come and hear the gospel; rather it is a command for us to go and give them the gospel! That means we must invest our time and effort in this task. When we give them the gospel, the Holy Spirit will convict people of their need of a Savior and people will be saved!
Then the new believer needs to be BAPTIZED—not in order to be saved, but because he is saved! We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism follows salvation in order to be obedient to Christ’s command, to be identified with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection, and to formally unite with other believers in a local church to serve Christ together!
But that’s not all—the Bible says to TEACH them!
Now I am all for going to church, attending a Sunday School or Bible class, and listening to the pastor’s sermon. But we must teach new believers in everyday life! We need to spend time in prayer with that new believer. We need to study the Word together with that new believer. When you become involved in discipling others, it will draw you closer to the Lord. A hypocrite can’t be a good discipler.
Don’t just be a receiver of the Word—be a reproducer!
I travel to Amazonia and teach Indian pastors. Day after day we study God’s Word. They ask questions, and take notes. Then they say, “Pastor, we will take all that we have learned and translate it into the language of our people, and teach them what God wants them to know.”
They are not just receivers—they are reproducers!
Javier Santos is a Guaymi pastor with a growing church in Sabana Grande in the mountains of Panama. If you follow a path through the jungle for 40 minutes, you come to the village of Majagua. Through the efforts of Javier and his church in Sabana Grande, there are now 40 people in Majagua who meet under a tree every Sunday to hear the Word of God. Javier preaches in his village and then walks to the other village to preach to them. He is not just a receiver—he is a reproducer!
II Tim. 2:2 – And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
Compare that to the average American church. People come, sit in the pew (with or without their Bible), listen to the singing and preaching, get up and leave, and never try to witness, win a soul, or disciple a new believer. They are receivers, but not reproducers! So ask yourself, “What am I? A receiver or a reproducer?” Being a disciple of Christ doesn’t mean that you insulate yourself from the world and live in a convent. It means that you surrender your life to Christ, and live for Him each day, and take the message of salvation to the world.