Make and Deepen Disciples
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 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,
20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The Great Commission:
You may have heard that Jesus Christ “commissioned” His disciples, and all believers who came after, to “go and make disciples of all nations.” What does it mean to be commissioned? A commission is a charge, a directive – a command; it is not just a friendly suggestion.
Before we are able to obey this command, it is important for us to understand what it means to be a disciple.
Webster’s Definition of Disciple:
“One who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another:”
Biblical Definition of Disciple:
Whether we look at the Greek word, “mathitís” (pupil), the Latin word “discipulus” (student), or the Hebrew “limmud” (taught one); the word “disciple” basically means “learner.”
Notice that the Latin word “discipulus” is that from which our English word “discipline” is derived.
Jesus knows it is not always easy to make disciples. This is why Jesus comforts us with the fact that not only has He been given all authority, but that He will always be with us – through the Holy Spirit – as we carry out this, often difficult task.
Steps Involved with Discipleship:
Faith: It all starts with faith. We must first trust God, believe Jesus and accept the leading of the Holy Spirit:
“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:3).
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well” (1 John 5:1).
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith” (Galatians 3:26).
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).
Follow: To make a disciple, you must first be a disciple. We cannot make disciples on our own, only in the power of the Holy Spirit and by the authority of Jesus Christ:
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).
“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” (Acts 1:8).
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples… (Matthew 28:18-19a).
Making disciples also requires the discernment of the Holy Spirit:
“…be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (1 Timothy 1:1-2).
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2).
Fellowship: Making disciples is not all about teaching. A person must first see God working in your life, for you to have any right to speak truth into their life. This requires spending time together, earning trust and showing them you genuinely care about their needs:
“If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:16).
“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3).
It is extremely important we also continue to fellowship with other believers, for we are strengthened by the body:
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8).
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33).
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (John 15:4).
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you” (John 15:16).
Through women’s ministry, we have great opportunity to disciple others. Some of us are mothers or grandmothers, which embraces a whole other command to disciple (Deuteronomy 11:18-19). We are also urged to disciple the younger generation (Titus 2:3-5).
Sometimes we can get stuck in the being disciples (learning); but Jesus commandment isn’t just to be disciples, but to make disciples. We must start as learners, but then we are to become teachers; to continue the work of Jesus because of what He has done. Although it is always exciting to move on to the next big Bible study, we must remember that not everyone is at the same place in the faith journey. Discipleship means being willing to go back to the basics with the new believers in our churches.
Below are some resources for your Women’s Ministry Team to get started on The Great Commission in your church. Remember: this commission is for all believers. We are not alone in this endeavor, and until our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ returns in all His glory – it will never expire! Blessings on your journey!
Make and Deepen Disciples