The Legacy Of Discipleship: A Legacy Of Bringing The Converts

Bible Book: Matthew  28 : 18-20
Subject: Discipleship
Series: Discipleship

In “Becoming A Christ-Centered Disciple-Making Church” Let’s Consider...

“9. The Legacy Of Discipleship: A Legacy Of Bringing The Converts”

Text: Matthew 28:18-20

Theme – Purpose - Introduction

Theme: Today we begin a third and final section in our series, “Becoming A Christ-Centered, Disciple-Making Church.” Our starting point was the “Lesson Of Discipleship” from the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5 thru 7. We then considered the “Life Of Discipleship” using the disciple named Andrew as our case study. Now we’re going to look at the “Legacy Of Discipleship,” and as we shall see today from studying the so-called “Great Commission” in Matthew 28:18-20 as well as Mark 16:15, this is a legacy of bringing the converts.

Purpose: The purpose of this message is to prompt us to do what disciples were instructed to do, and that is “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), “teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19), and “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19 NIV). This was some of Jesus’ final instruction before ascending to heaven. To fulfill the Great Commission is the birthright and legacy of the New Testament church. It is a legacy of bringing converts into a relationship of obedience with Jesus, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever (He has) commanded” (Matthew 28:20).

Introduction: To “preach the gospel to every creature” and “teach all nations” seems like a huge task. Reaching a brother as Andrew did seems like a reasonable goal. Reaching one boy seems equally simple. Even reaching several in the community and bringing them into the presence of Jesus seems like a task within the realm of possibility, but to “Go ... into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15) seems like an impossible undertaking. Perhaps we could compare it to the age-old riddle: How do you eat an elephant? The answer is: one bite at a time. How do we reach the world with the message of Jesus? The answer is: one person at a time.

This is a very moving, poignant scene as “the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them” (Matthew 28:16). While upon this mountain, Jesus instructed them to reach and preach and teach, and “then after the Lord had spoken unto them,” Mark 16:19 says, “He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.” As we consider His Great Commission, I want to highlight three things that Jesus mentioned in relationship to making disciples of all nations.

Main Message

A. Notice The Power Involved In Making Disciples

Jesus said in Matthew 11:29 that He was the “meek and lowly” One, but before He left He wanted them to understand that He was not the weak and limited One. Therefore the first thing that He magnified in this final mountaintop message was His expansive power. He said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). What is the extent of His power? He has “all power.” Where is the environment of His power? “In heaven and in earth.” We learn too that this is an enabling power. Jesus has the power, but He said, “Go ye therefore” (Matthew 28:19). “Therefore” means accordingly. We go, teach, and preach according to His power. We can’t do it in our own strength, but we “can do all things through Christ” (Philippians 4:13).

B. Notice The Process Involved In Making Disciples

Jesus revealed that this is an instructional process. We are certainly to “preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15), but we’re also to “teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19). The modern versions use the phrase “make disciples of all nations,” which accurately expresses the meaning of the word “teach.” The idea is to enroll them as students and disciples in the school of Christ. This is also an identification process, for we are to be “baptizing them.” Without getting into all the denominational differences regarding baptism, suffice it to say that being baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” definitely identifies someone as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

C. Notice The Promise Involved In Making Disciples

I confess that I sometimes suffer from the Elijah syndrome and feel like I’m serving God all by myself (cf. 1 Kings 19:10). I realize the absurdity of this conclusion though, because even though it seems like no one joins in the task, Jesus has promised, “I am with you alway” (Matthew 28:20). There is companionship in this promise, for He said, “I am with you” (italics mine). As we go make disciples of all nations, He has assured us of His almighty power and His abiding presence. There is continuity in this promise, for He said it was valid “even unto the end of the world.” To these truths, I join with Matthew in saying, “Amen” (vs. 20).


Let’s conclude with another mention of elephants. When I was in college, our missions professor, who had spent many years as a missionary in Africa, told about a big game hunter in Africa who had killed a bull elephant. Obviously he couldn’t carry the elephant by himself. Therefore, he went to the closest village and asked several of the men to help him. They all went out together and began to push the huge prize. As they pushed they began to chant in unison saying, “Our elephant, our elephant.” Immediately, the hunter said, “Wait a minute. You don’t understand. I shot this elephant. This is my elephant.” The villagers responded to this by discontinuing their efforts, and one of the leaders said, “If it’s your elephant, then you move it.”

Just as one person cannot move an elephant, one person alone cannot accomplish the task of evangelism and discipleship. We must share the load. Even common sense teaches us that “many hands make light work.” Together we can reach the world with the message of Jesus. If each one will reach one, we can fulfill the great commission and “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19 NIV).