And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the 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 always, even to the end of the age.”(Matthew 28:18-20)
God’s Plan For Making Disciples
The central theme of man’s redemption came after the resurrection of Jesus from the grave and His charge to the eleven disciples. Beginning with the promise of a Seed in the Garden of Eden to the moment the Son of God stood with eleven men on a mountain in Galilee, the need for the salvation of all men was paramount. The Gentiles showed they could not be a law to themselves and the Jews proved man could not keep the written law. Salvation would only come through the grace of God’s Son and the blood of the innocent Savior. Fifty days after the death of Jesus, the world awakened to the glorious message of the gospel that Jesus was the resurrected King. A new day dawned in the hearts of men to see the mercy of a long held promise through Abraham to redeem man. The gospel age of the disciple of Christ had begun.
God’s plan for saving man is established on the authority of Jesus Christ. There is no other name under heaven that will save man. All the power of rule comes from what the Father gave the Son. Heaven and earth are under His mighty rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Whatever Jesus declares is the word of God. As He stood on the mountain with the eleven, Jesus affirmed the plan of God for saving man. It begins with disciples seeking lost souls. There is nothing more imperative in the commission than the necessity of going forth with the gospel. Salt is the savor of the gospel of Christ but it will have no value if it remains in the hearts of God’s people. Going forth is the first step in saving man. The Lord needs those men and women who are willing to take up the mantle of truth and go somewhere with it. Making disciples requires going forth.
Making disciples is finding all men regardless of the color of their skin, economic circumstance, moral character and religious affiliation. There is no person in the world that does not need the good news of Jesus Christ. Phillip the evangelist taught a man from Ethiopia. Peter preached to Egyptians and Arabs. Paul shared the gospel with Greeks, Romans, runaway slaves, Kings and governors, and women by a riverside. Jesus set forth the pattern of teaching when He made disciples from the demon possessed, morally bankrupt, despised people of His time. The command of God is to teach all nations. Refusing to teach a man or woman because of their nationality is a sin. Adam and Eve are the grandparents of every human being made in the image of the Almighty God.
The plan of salvation is highlighted by the joy of baptism. Jesus commanded the eleven to make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Religious groups deny the necessity of baptism as having any part of salvation rejecting the plain teaching of God. Satan has weaved his lies into the hearts of the religious world convincing them ‘almost to become a Christian’ but stopping short of the will of God. He knows that if he can convince people that salvation comes by faith alone or grace alone, he will have them in his grasp. Ironically, it is okay to believe in God, have faith in Him and confess His name as long as salvation is accepted before baptism. Jesus taught disciples come from baptism. Making a disciple of all the nations requires following the complete pattern of the will of God leaving nothing out. Without baptism there is no forgiveness of sins.
God’s final plan for saving man is the teaching that follows baptism. Too often babes in Christ are never allowed to grow to maturity. One of the most important parts of discipleship is found in the teaching that follows conversion. Jesus desired for the teaching to continue so the new disciple is grounded in observing all the commands of the Lord. Discipleship is a life of servitude. Becoming a Christian is the greatest joy but living the life of the disciple is the daily delight of learning more and more about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Spending time each day meditating on the word of God, growing in the knowledge of Christ, communing with the Holy Spirit; what praise and what glory. The comfort of knowing the Lord is always with the disciple fills the heart with security, love and contentment. He will never leave the disciple. God’s plan for making a disciple is complete. Heaven awaits.
For the greatest and most regal work of God is the salvation of humanity. (Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus, c.220)