The Great Commission

Jesus' final words to his disciples before He left them were: Matthew 28:18-20 18..."All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."1

His command to the disciples and now to us is to "Make disciples of all nations." What is a disciple? First of all a disciple is a follower of Christ. Someone who has placed their faith in Christ and who is actively following Him. Romans 10:9-10 says 9That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.2

What else is there to being a disciple?

Distinctives About Being A Disciple

There were certain distinctives about being a disciple in the first century:3

  1. They were a part of a community of faith. Acts 2:42 42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.4
  2. They had a love for the Scriptures. Acts 17:11 11Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.5
  3. They worked hard at being just like their rabbi. Luke 6:40 40A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.6

Marks Of A Disciple

As you study the scriptures you discover that Jesus taught that there were certain "Marks" of being a disciple:7

  1. They were teachable Proverbs 19:20 20Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.8
  2. They had a servant heart Matthew 10:42 42And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.9
  3. The Word of God was their authority James 1:22 22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.10
  4. They had a supreme love for God Matthew 22:37-38 37Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the first and greatest commandment.11
  5. They were willing to pay any price Luke 14:26-27 26If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple. 27And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.12
  6. They renounced all possessions Luke 14:33 33In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.13
  7. They loved other believers John 13:34-35 34A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.14
  8. They had a fruitful life John 15:8 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.15

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1 Matthew 28:18-20, NIV.
2 Romans 10:9-10, NIV.
3 Ray Vander Laan, That The World May Know:The Dust of the Rabbi, DVD, vol. 6, (Colorado Springs: Focus On The Family, 2006).
4 Acts 2:42, NIV.
5 Acts 17:11, NIV.
6 Luke 6:40, NIV.
7 Mary Yohn, Eight Qualities of a Disciple, 1984.
8 Proverbs 19:20, NIV.
9 Matthew 10:42, NIV.
10 James 1:22, NIV.
11 Matthew 22:37-38, NIV.
12 Luke 14:26-27, NIV.
13 Luke 14:33, NIV.
14 John 13:34-35, NIV.
15 John 15:8, NIV.