A lot of people talk about wanting to know the purpose of their life. I would argue that you will not know your purpose until you know your Creator. It is the One who created us that gives us our purpose. Fortunately, we can know both our Creator as well as our purpose by reading the Bible. For a Christian, our purpose is very simple. It is to glorify God in all that we do. The primary way that we can do this is by making disciples. Jesus outlined this process in some of His last words to His disciples. A form of the Great Commission appears in the New Testament in some form five times (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20, and Acts 1). How can I live out by purpose? Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all 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 alway, even to the end of the age. Amen.”
If you have been in church for any amount of time, chances are you have heard these verses referenced. They are the commission that Jesus gave to His disciples then, and it is certainly true for us now. While we may have heard it preached on, I am convinced that very few Christians actually understand what Jesus was talking about. It is the process of making disciples. The phrase “make disciples” is the only command in the verse. Therefore, what comes before it and what comes after that phrase is the process of making disciples. So, how do we do it? We begin with going. In the Greek, the phrase literally is translated as “as you are going.” This implies a lifestyle that a Christian lives, not a trip we go on. Every where we go is our mission field. Therefore, as we are going to work, the grocery store, the ball field, or wherever, we are to see our mission field and pray for opportunities to share the Gospel with those around us. Again, it is a lifestyle that we live, not a trip we take. To “go” is to share the Gospel. The other part of the disciple-making process is to “teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” This is the part of the process commonly referred to as discipleship. One thing that I believe we need to learn is that discipleship is not a class we attend or teach; discipleship is a lifestyle that we live. As we live in community with other believers, we are to hold one another accountable for our lives, as well as teach by our actions what it means to follow Jesus. Jesus didn’t set up seminaries for His disciples. Instead, He invited them to follow Him and learn from Him. Each Christian should be in a discipleship relationship with a few other believers. What we see in these verses is a beautiful cycle that is to continuously loop in the life of believers. It begins by sharing the Gospel. When God saves someone, they demonstrate this by being baptized. From there, those who are more mature in their faith should be teaching the new converts in a discipleship relationship what it means and looks like to follow Jesus. As they do this, they will go out and share the Gospel, and the process continues.
However, we don’t want to miss the end of verse 20 where Jesus gives us a promise. He promises to be with us to the end of the age. This means more than just having the presence of God in our lives, though we do. It means that it is Jesus who will help us in every step of this process as we rely on Him. He will help us share the Gospel. We are pointing to Him as we baptize. He will help us live in community to teach and hold one another accountable. Therefore, it doesn’t rely on you, it depends on Him. Our responsibility is to be faithful to our calling. Is it easy? Absolutely not! However, we need to remember that we are not doing it alone, it is God who is working in us and through us as we obey Him. Ask for His help, depend on Him, and see what He will do in you and through you for His glory.
By His grace and for His glory,