Thursday, February 2, 2023

How to Obey Jesus’ Marching Orders

 Go and make disciples of all nations.” – Matthew 28:19

Recently I ran across this observation from one of my favorite Bible scholars, Warren Wiersbe: “In most churches, the congregation pays the pastor to preach, win the lost, and build up the saved—while the church members function as cheerleaders (if they are enthusiastic) or spectators. The ‘converts’ are won, baptized, and given the right hand of fellowship, then they join the other spectators.”

Is he right? When it comes to sharing the gospel message, are most Christians just spectators or, at best, cheerleaders? Yes! Why is that? Well, it’s not because it’s SUPPOSED to be that way. If you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ—aka, a “Christian”—God has called you to share the Gospel.

In Matthew 28, Jesus delivered one of the most important teachings in the Bible … and it’s one of the teachings most often ignored by Christians. He delivered this message after His resurrection, as part of His final marching orders to His followers. This vital teaching of Jesus is usually referred to as The Great Commission.

Jesus spoke to them on a mountain in Galilee, where He had spent most of his time during his three-year public ministry. But as the 11 apostles saw Him in the distance walking toward them, some were uncertain it was Jesus: “When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted” (v. 17). It may seem strange that any of the apostles would doubt Jesus at this point, since He had already appeared to them several times since His resurrection. But the Greek word that is translated here as “doubted” doesn’t refer to a fixed, lasting unbelief. Instead, it refers to a state of uncertainty and hesitation. At first some weren’t sure it was Him. But within a matter of minutes, their doubts were removed.

Now, think about your own family and friends. Some are a little slow to accept the truth about Jesus—but they’re not necessarily fixed and unmovable in their unbelief. They’re just uncertain and hesitant. Be patient with them, and keep trying to lead them to Jesus.

That’s what Jesus told them to do as he delivered the Great Commission: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20a). That’s quite a list of instructions, but in the original Greek, the active command is to MAKE DISCIPLES. Here’s a more literal translation: “As you are going, disciple all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Notice that Jesus doesn’t command us to “Go!” He assumes we’re already going. Jesus doesn’t say, “Carve out a day and time once or twice a year to leave the church building to tell people about Me.” He doesn’t say, “On Christmas and Easter make sure you invite someone to church.” And Jesus doesn’t say, “Every once in a while, flip your mental switch and start caring about the spiritually lost people around you.”

Jesus isn’t talking about squeezing something into your busy schedule. In fact, He hates it when you compartmentalize your Christianity and shove Him into a little box on Sunday mornings, or on Christmas or Easter. Jesus is talking about a way of life. AS you are going to work. AS you are going to WalMart. AS you are going out to eat. Wherever you are going, on whatever day you are going there … Make disciples of all nations. 

A disciple is defined as “a student; a learner; a follower.” Jesus isn’t interested in converts—that is to say, people who convert to Christianity just to grab some quick fire insurance to stay out of hell. Jesus isn’t interested in men and women who just give Him lip service. He’s interested in true, born-again disciples—men and women who have truly repented of their sin, gotten baptized and are learning to obey ALL of Jesus’ commands. Jesus isn’t just their Savior. He is truly their Lord.

Jesus commands us to make disciples. So, let me ask you: Are YOU making disciples? As you’re going about your daily routine, are you leading people to Jesus? Are you actively sharing your Christian faith with the people around you? Are you helping at all with new believers’ baptisms? Are you helping to teach Jesus’ commands to new Christians? If you’re not, you are being disobedient to your Lord. You are disobeying one of the most important commands He ever gave you.

Warren Wiersbe says it so well: “Christianity is a missionary faith. The very nature of God demands this, for God is love, and God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Our Lord’s death on the cross was for the whole world. If we are the children of God and share His nature, then we will want to tell the good news to the lost world.”

Please, when it comes to winning souls for Christ, don’t just be a spectator. Don’t even settle for being an enthusiastic cheerleader. Be an obedient witness for Jesus Christ.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us at Impact for Sunday services: in person at 9 a.m., or online at 10 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook. For more information, visit

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