Are all Christians disciples? If so, what did Jesus mean when He said we are to “make disciples”? Is that simply telling others to become Christians or are we to “make disciples” by helping others grow in Christ-likeness. I believe it is the latter.
True, we seek to evangelize and convert, but if becoming a Christian is being “born again” (John 3:3, 7; 1 Pet. 1:23; Titus 3:5), then we must grow in respect to our salvation. “Like newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2:2). The word disciple is used more than 200 times in the New Testament, and the word literally means “learner.”
In Matthew 28:19-20, commonly called the Great Commission, two different words are used that is translated as “teach” in King James. The first word is the verb form of “disciple” and is better translated “disciple all nations” or “make disciples in all nations.”
The second is word for teach is used nearly 100 times in the Bible, always translated as teach. Neither word merely means to lead people to make an intellectual decision or to pray a prayer of salvation. Those are simply starting points.
We have not truly become a disciple of Christ unless we have done what Christ commissioned us to do:
1) Be baptized (“immersed”) in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
2) Be taught and be teaching others to observe all the things Jesus has commanded us; and
3) Be discipled and disciple others as we are going throughout the nations and ethnicities under the presence, power, and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.
You may go by the name of Christian, but are you truly a disciple, a learning, growing pupil of Christ who obeys all of the precepts and instructions of our Master and Lord Jesus Christ? Are you obeying Christ by making disciples yourself?
A true disciple is not just the twelve whom Jesus called or someone who prayed a prayer as a child. Acts 14:21 and other passages tell us that the early church continued to make disciples. If you are not making disciples, which is part of the “all things I have commanded you,” you cannot truly call yourself a disciple.
In upcoming weeks, you will hear more about four different MasterLife courses to train Christians in making disciples. Be in prayer for those who will lead others in these life-changing courses.