Summary: The preaching of the Gospel is our responsibility, but is not the complete mandate of the Great Commission. It is just the beginning. Every individual member of the Body of Christ is called to make disciples.


Matthew 28:16-20

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.


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”.


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 teachings. Whereas a disciple fully believes and acts upon those teachings.

5. In the movie Karate Kid, young Daniel asks Mister Miagi to teach him karate. Miagi agrees under one condition: Daniel must submit totally to his instruction and never question his methods. Daniel shows up the next day eager to learn. To his chagrin, Mister Miagi has him paint a fence. Miagi demonstrates the precise motion for the job: up and down, up and down. Daniel takes days to finish the job. Next, Miagi has him scrub the deck using a prescribed stroke. Again the job takes days. Daniel wonders, What does this have to do with karate? but he says nothing. Next, Miagi tells Daniel to wash and wax three weather-beaten cars and again prescribes the motion. Finally, Daniel reaches his limit: "I thought you were going to teach me karate, but all you have done is have me do your unwanted chores!" Daniel has broken Miagi’s one condition, and the old man’s face pulses with anger. "I have been teaching you karate! Defend yourself!" Miagi thrusts his arm at Daniel, who instinctively defends himself with an arm motion exactly like that used in one of his chores. Miagi unleashes a vicious kick, and again Daniel averts the blow with a motion used in his chores. After Daniel successfully defends himself from several more blows, Miagi simply walks away, leaving Daniel to discover what the master had known all along: skill comes from repeating the correct but seemingly mundane actions. It was at this point Daniel ceased being a student and became a disciple of Mr. Miagi. - adapted

6. A disciple eagerly learns all the lessons he needs to know and puts them into practice.

C. A Disciple is one who has surrendered all to follow his Master.

1. Discipleship goes beyond accepting Christ as Savior. Discipleship means giving all to move one’s personal, intimate relationship with God into an ever deeper Christian maturity. A disciple is someone who lives in day-by-day submission to the loving leadership of Jesus by His grace and for His glory.

2. Luke 9:61-62 “And another also said, ‘Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God’.”

3. 1 Kings 19:19-21 “So he (Elijah) departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, "Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you." And he said to him, "Go back again, for what have I done to you?" So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant.”

4. Luke 14:26-27 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”

D. A Disciple is one who has committed himself to imitate his Master.

1. Mark 8:34 “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

2. A disciple is one who seeks to become like their teacher. In ancient Judaism, the rabbis had their disciples. It was understood that the disciple wanted to replicate in themselves the life of their teacher. They wanted to think like their teacher. They wanted to act like their teacher. They wanted to teach like their teacher. They wanted to live their lives as their teacher would live it if he were them. They wanted to be as it were their teacher.

3. Matthew 10:25 “It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master…”

4. Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”


A. A Discipler is one who is willing to share his knowledge with his Disciple.

1. It will be hard for us to become a discipler unless we have a heart for others.

2. 1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous.”

3. One Sunday evening, William Booth was walking in London with his son, Bramwell, who was then 12 or 13 years old. The father surprised the son by taking him into a saloon! The place was crowded with men and women, many of them bearing on their faces the marks of vice and crime; some were drunk. The fumes of alcohol and tobacco were poisonous. "Willie," Booth said to his son, "These are our people; these are the people I want you to live for and bring to Christ." Years later, Bramwell Booth wrote, "The impression never left me." - W. Wiersbe, The Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, p. 185.

B. A Discipler is one who models his beliefs before his Disciple.

1. 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”

2. As a discipler, you must be able to teach people to do what is in the word of God and then demonstrate in your life that is what you are doing. You can never take anyone further than where you have gone yourself. Words that are not backed up by your life are hollow.

3. James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only…”

4. It should never be “do as I say not as I do”.

5. I Thessalonians 1:5-6 “For we brought the Good News to you, not with words only, but also with power and the Holy Spirit, and with complete convic¬tion of its truth. You know how we lived when we were with you; it was for your own good. You imitated us and the Lord; and even though you suffered much, you received the message with the joy that comes from the Holy Spirit.”

C. A Discipler is one who bonds with his Disciple.

1. 1 Corinthians 4: 15-16 “For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me.”

2. A discipler needs to have a heart that breaks at the point of another person’s needs. He needs to be someone who truly cares about another person, someone who hurts to see the damage done by sin and the need in another’s life.

3. Romans 12:9 “Let love be without hypocrisy...”