Therefore 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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
- Although Jesus commanded the Eleven, he did so in their role as disciples. Therefore, all who claim to be a disciple of Jesus are bound to this command.
- Jesus did not command the Church per se, but individual members who make up the Church. This is no decree for a “church growth” movement. It is a proof-text for every individual believer to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim. 4:5; cf., also Lk. 24:47; Jn. 20:21; 2 Cor. 10:1-5; 1 Pt. 3:15).
- There is no other plan in place for God to bring salvation to the lost but by a faithful presentation of the Gospel message (cf., Jn. 17:20; Rom. 10:14-15).
- Though entrance into the kingdom is exclusively through Jesus Christ, members of the kingdom are included without distinction (“all nations,” also see Rom. 10:12).
- Making disciples of “all nations” does not necessarily entail leaving our homes or even our neighborhoods and workplaces.
- A commitment to the Gospel is necessarily Trinitarian (“in” or “into the name [note: singular] of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”).
- Making disciples does not stop with a profession of faith. Although “baptizing” is coordinate with a profession, “teaching them to obey” is a life-long enterprise.
- There must be an observable balance in the Great Commission. “If non-Christians are not hearing the gospel and not being challenged to make a decision for Christ, then the church has disobeyed one part of Jesus’ commission. If new converts are not faithfully and lovingly nurtured in the whole counsel of God’s revelation, then the church has disobeyed the other part” (Blomberg, Matthew, p. 433).
- Churches and individuals should be able to measure some degree of effectiveness in both evangelism and edification (on the latter see Rom. 15:1-2, 14). Otherwise, the Church is not being the Church and disciples are not being disciples.