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Introduction: Many feel that the mission of the church is to merely be witnesses to a lost world. It is true that we are to bear witness of the risen Christ and His transforming power. We are told in Acts 1:8 that we are to be His witnesses to the ends of the world. Again we are told in Mark 16 to preach the Gospel to every creature. At the 1968 World Congress on Evangelism John W.R. Stott said, “the Church engages in evangelism today, not because it wants to or because it chooses to or because it likes to, but because it has been told to. Evangelistic inactivity is disobedience. It is easy to determine when something is aflame. It ignites other material.” “Any fire that does not spread will eventually go out. A church without evangelism is a contradiction in terms; just as a fire that does not burn is a contradiction.” (Christian Theology in Plain Language, p. 162) While the preaching of the Gospel is our responsibility, evangelism in and of itself is not the complete mandate of the Great Commission. Evangelism is just the beginning of the commission given to each and every individual member of the Body of Christ.
I. THE GREAT COMMISSION – MAKE DISCIPLES
A. Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen
B. John McArthur points out “There’s only one verb in that whole sentence, one major verb. It’s the verb ‘make disciples.’ The word ‘going,’ the word ‘baptizing,’ and the word ‘teaching,’ are participles that modify the one main verb. The responsibility of the church in the world is to make disciples.”
C. In this passage, the verb is in the second person plural – you disciple; first aorist tense imperative mood - signifying instantaneous action or something to be undertaken at once – you do it now; active voice – indicating ongoing action – as you are going about your interactions with others in your life actively disciple those you come in contact with.
D. The main point in the Great Commission is to “make disciples of all nations”.
II. WHAT IS A DISCIPLE?
A. Talmid (Heb.) – Mathetes (Gr.) = a student or learner
• The New Testament uses the word disciple not only of Jesus’ followers but also those who followed Moses (John 9:28), the Pharisees (Mark 2:18), John the Baptist (Mark 11:2) and of Paul (Acts 9:25).
B. A Disciple is one who has a desire to learn from His Master.
1. A Disciple is a learner - One that attaches himself to a given teacher. The original word was used first of those that learned a trade under a master teacher. If you wanted to become a craftsman in a certain trade in biblical times you would apprentice yourself under the discipline and instruction of a master craftsman of that trade.
2. Luke 11:1 “Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
3. Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations… teaching them to observe all things...” Amen
4. There is a difference between being a student and being a disciple. A student may learn things from his teacher but not fully believe those
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