Jesus commanded and modeled discipleship for the early believers. Paul continued with the practice of discipleship in the early church. Today’s church is to follow the commandment of Jesus and the model’s of Jesus, Paul, and the early church.
Matthew 28:18-20 provides the key passage for Jesus commandment for the believer to make disciples. The command in this passage is to make disciples.
Prior to the commandment this passage gives believers the basis for confidence that this commandment can be fulfilled. Matthew 28:18 provides Christians amazing assurance and power to make disciples. The fact that all authority on heaven and earth has been given to Christ assures Christians that no one has the authority to overrule the commandment. Believers are empowered by the sheer amazement at the authority and control which Christ has in heaven and earth.
It is the authority of Christ by which he clearly commands every believer to make disciples. The term used for make disciples is that of making followers or learners. Disciple making is not a forcing but encouraging people to be disciples. Christ did not leave believers with simply the command to make disciples but gave three specific means by which Christians are to make disciples.
The first means of making a disciple is to go found in Matthew 28:19. Normally when you hear this it comes with a commandment or admonition to leave and go to other places or countries. Instead the actual verb could be better translated into “As you go”. The believer is to make disciples as they live their lives. Disciple making is done through bringing people along as you are living your life. Christians discipling is a very personal and life on life experience.
The second means of making a disciple is to baptize them. This indicates the close relationship between disciple making and evangelism. Baptizing the disciple is akin to making sure that they are actually identifying with Christ. Salvation of the believer is normally followed by baptism which is a public identification with Christ, Acts 8:36-38.
The third means of making a disciple involves teaching in combination with an admonition to actually practice what is taught. Disciple making involves teaching all of God’s commandments and that means that no part of the scriptures are off limits. The great part of the disciple making is that there is never a lack of what should be covered. The content of what is to be taught is already present and should already be practiced in their life already.
In conclusion Christians are commanded to be disciple makers. The disciple maker is supposed to be done in the course of everyday life, baptizing new believers, and teaching them to observe all that God has commanded them. Remember also that each believer is encouraged to keep the commandments by Christ’s authority which is complete in both the heavens and the earth.